It's funny how wrong first impressions can be. As much as I'd like to think myself wise in my foresight, I'm often wrong about people when I meet them. Some of my best friends are people I didn't think much of at first. Some of the biggest pivoting moments in my life came from seemingly inconsequential decisions.
When I first met Jeff, I didn't think he was a genius. I just thought he was an average dude. And when he asked me to make a video with him, I thought we were just having fun. It was just another dumb YouTube video. I dramatically underestimated both him and the video.
The other day, Jeffrey Harmon of The Harmon Brothers pointed out that our original Orabrush video is still being used to promote the product. It has 26.5 million views.
It's been 7 years since we launched the Orabrush campaign that started our careers (see full story here). That video also launched many other careers and multiple companies.
People in tech/entrepreneurship know about the PayPal Mafia, but I think in the video marketing world, I'll start referring to my former colleagues and me as... the Orabrush Mafia.
Here's a partial list:
- Orabrush - The tongue cleaner brand that started it all. The company has changed hands a couple times since the original team was onboard, but continues to do well, and our videos are still used to drive sales, seven years on.
- Orapup - Our followup product is a multi-million dollar business in it's own right.
- Molio - The marketing spin-off to Orabrush represents household brands like Wilson Golf, ghd, MileIQ, and Strider.
- Harmon Brothers - Makers of some of the most crazy (and effective) video ads of all time. Don't believe me? Check out their portfolio.
- Ackermania Creative - The outlandish genius of Joel Ackerman, writer for the original Orabrush videos, the original Poo~pourri video, and more.
- Devin Supertramp - That awesome-adventure-YouTuber? He was Orabrush's first in house DP and editor. He shot and edited our (in)famous Bad Breath Test video. He started his own channel about a year later. Now he's one of the most sought after YouTube personalities on earth.
- Jake + Katie Schwarz - Maybe you know their name, maybe you don't, but there's a good chance you've seen their work. The Schwarz' absolutely gorgeous video work is used to promote high end TVs and displays. Need some stunning 6K or 8K footage? These are the people to go to. Jake was our in-house DP after Devin left to pursue other projects, and Katie produced many of our videos.
- Stuart Edge - Stuart began at Orabrush in 2013 as an intern. It wasn't long till he started his own channel incorporating what he was learning about production and marketing. His third video was one of the most viral pieces of web media I've ever seen.
- Notable Mentions: While they didn't work at Orabrush, there was a group of close associates that went on to do great things, including Plaid Social Labs (acquired by Corbis in 2015), Lindsey Stirling (the most successful woman on YouTube), The Piano Guys, and others. Can't Stop Won't Stop sold $250K of music from these videos, and is now launching a remarkable music licensing platform.
- Generally speaking, Orabrush helped catalyze the creative video community in our little Utah Valley. Read more about the Utah UTuber community in this 2013 TechCrunch piece.
It's a pretty substantial group, with some impressive accomplishments. I'm proud to be associated with and continue to work with many of these people.
So how did this happen? I'd credit a few common habits.
Bias Toward Action - Jeff Bezos of Amazon has expressed his bias toward action. If you're presented with the choice of doing something imperfectly or waiting to do it later, don't wait. Do it now. All of the people on this list who have succeeded did it by aggressively doing their thing right now. When I was roommates with Jeffrey Harmon, he would have video ideas at 11:00 pm that we had to start on immediately. That was annoying at the time. In hindsight, I realize it was one of our competitive advantages. Don't wait.
Ruffle Some Feathers - Harmon Brothers are famous for poop jokes. Ackermania Creative is anything but politically correct. Devin Supertramp didn't ask permission before pulling off some of his crazy stunts. For the most part, you don't need permission, and not everybody will love your work. That's okay. Do good work, and plenty of people will love it.
Deliver Regularly - All the people I've worked with who have done great work continue to do great work. They're looking ahead, working on something bigger and better. What they've accomplished before is great, but it's not enough. It's just preparation and education so they can accomplish the next big thing.
Orabrush got millions of views? Sold millions in product? Great.
Everybody who worked on that project took what they learned and then made sharper content with higher goals.
Here's the cold reality, kids: Nobody cares what you did. They care what you're doing now and what you're doing next.
What do you think? Is there anybody I'm missing out? Other traits you think should be included? Leave a comment or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.