- Austin Evans, 29, is a YouTube tech content creator with over 5 million subscribers.
- His channel includes a wide variety of tech videos, including PC builds, product reviews, and contests.
- That’s how he got started and his advice to other budding creators, as Jay Silver recounted.
This narrated essay is based on a conversation with Austin Evans, 27, about how he got his start as a tech content creator on YouTube. It has been edited for length and clarity.
Growing up at home in Missouri, I didn’t have many friends as a kid. But one of my earliest memories from when I was younger was looking at an old PC at Goodwill and asking my mom to let me buy it just to tear it down.
Fearing that I would be electrocuted, she said no. But that didn’t stop me from being intrigued by the technology. In 2009, I created a channel on YouTube with technology reviews. Now, 12 years later, this channel has over 5 million subscribers and works with brands such as Toyota, Microsoft and Intel.
I was introduced to video games and technology at a young age
When I was about 5, my dad bought my family a Playstation because he was trying to get us all to do something together. This love of video games from a young age also introduced me to my first Gameboy in the late 90s. I was also fascinated by computers, which became an important part of my early teenage years. I mostly used the computer for writing stories as well as watching videos on this new (at the time) platform called YouTube.
In 2008 the iPod Touch debuted, and I wanted to review as many of its apps as possible. So I created a YouTube video doing just that. When I started, I immediately remember hitting 100 subscribers and seeing positive comments on my videos. So I continued to make more and more videos, with one upload per day.
It wasn’t until 2011 that I saw my channel really start to take off
At that time I downloaded a video teach you how to build a PC for less than $500. At that time, the video got hundreds of views – and while it wouldn’t be considered viral today, the video created a lot of traction and started to shape the trajectory of my channel. The more videos I posted, the more the views kept increasing.
And as my content evolved, so did the team behind it all. In 2016, I moved from Missouri to Los Angeles just as the channel was getting more serious and I was ready to go beyond a one-man show. I founded Overclock Media, a team of editors, cameramen and writers, including my creative director, Ken Bolido. Right now we have nine people, all working full time. We continue to grow: a few people have been hired recently, and more will be in 2022.
My channel moved from tech reviews to entertainment tech
As YouTube evolved, so did the way I enjoyed creating videos. I consider my reviews now more like entertainment tech than reviews. Some videos include a series known as Broken vs. Pro, where I compete against Ken to build high-end or cheaper PCs and see who wins. I also went to Microsoft headquarters to get an exclusive look at the all-new Xbox Series Xhave automatic cars testedand to have created PCs for NFL players. Perhaps one of the best-known series on my channel is a segment on mystery technology where my team goes out and gets weird tech products that may or may not work.
Although my channel has seen growth, it has also had setbacks. In 2014, my apartment complex caught fire and I lost almost everything except a phone, a computer and some papers. I had to spend time rebuilding, and got help from other tech YouTubers such as Marked BrownleeI’ve known since I started creating content, and Lewis Hilsenteger from Unpack the therapy. It was really nice to see these content creators not only coming to surprise me with new gear, but also working with me to keep creating content. We went from only seeing each other once or twice a year at the annual Consumer Electronics Show to frequently collaborating on videos.
My channel has been sponsored by companies from Intel to Toyota
When I started making YouTube videos when I was 16 or 17, I remember my first check from YouTube ad revenue for a total of $167. Years later, not only was I making money with this system, but I was also sponsored by tech companies such as Intel, AMD, and Microsoft.
I work with my agents to form new partnerships with these companies, and then I work with company representatives to create the content. While it takes a bit of compromise to work with companies on what can be released, the finished product is still worth it. An example is one recent video I created for Microsoft by building a PC in a Fomula1 wheel for driver Sergio Perez. Some members of my team and I had the opportunity to create the PC and travel to Guadalajara to surprise Perez with it.
My advice to budding creators: start now
For anyone looking to become a content creator covering technology, my advice would be to start creating yesterday.
I know there can be hurdles for those interested in creating PC building content – things like expensive and hard-to-find equipment, graphics cards, and other tech. But when I started, I used basic equipment for recording videos like a webcam and a microphone from Rock Band 2, and worked my way up from there. There are so many things you can do without having the physical product in your hands; you can take photos with a phone or technology you like, or make an opinion video about a product that a lot of people are talking about.
You can also see what people covering a similar kind of technology have done in the past. When I first started making videos, I had no plan on which YouTube videos would be successful. These days, there are dozens of creators who can inspire you and your content.
The most important thing is to learn from your videos. There will be content you post that may not be the best, but if you take what you learned from these videos and keep working hard, you will succeed.