What do you have to do to go from 0 to 1M subs on YouTube in 365 days?
“Become” David Dobrik and “ask” for his lifestyle
Haul a Yatch that you won in a manhunt to MrBeast’s private island
Jump out of an airplane with Logan Paul’s $90,000 sofa. And then blow it up.
Here’s the YT success story of Airrack.
Meet Eric Decker
Airrack, aka Eric Decker was born on Jan 12th, 1997 in Atlanta, Georgia. According to his own admission, he wasn’t a great student. But he was a star diver. At the end of school, he was banking on getting a diving scholarship to get to a prestigious university. Life, however, had other plans.He fumbled the diving competition. With it, he missed his chances of getting a scholarship. Eric moped for a while.
But he soon fixed his sight on his next target.
The next target – YouTube
He had been an avid consumer of YouTube for a while. He had even tried his hand at making his own content and had started 2 channels in the past. One called ‘Fresh Flipping’ which had videos of him trying his hand at fancy flips (and one groovy Harlem shake). The other was a collab channel called ‘With the Bois’ where he put up content of his life in Georgia. Pretty tame stuff compared to what we’ve come to expect of him.
On April 2, 2015 he made his own private channel. He called it Airrack. Why Airrack? Well, the YT channel name ‘Eric’ was taken. So he went with the closest sounding word.
So, Airrack started uploading videos and blew up immediately right? Right!?
Yes, Airrack wanted to be a YouTuber, but real life had come calling. He had to go to college and get an education. Just because he couldn’t get a fancy scholarship didn’t mean his parents didn’t expect him to NOT go to college and so he went to a community college in Georgia.
But in typical ‘Airrack’ fashion, Eric already had a plan to get out.
His plan was this-make enough money between freshman and sophomore year at college that he could justify dropping out to his parents. Simple enough right? Except, ‘enough money’ to him was $100,000 in one year.
He settled on building a video production company to make the money. It made sense considering the demand for video content and the fact that he eventually wanted to become a YouTuber. Only one problem though.
He didn’t know how to make videos. So for the next few months of his life, Eric learned the grammar of video. Who was his teacher? YouTube (and a lot of Casey Neistat). He learned how to shoot, edit and make video magic all through his internet connection.
Eventually he started his own production studio. He began with videos for companies but realized that wedding videos had a better premium. Way better. So he hired a friend and became a studio that specializes in weddings. In time, he found a way to double down on his advantage.
By outsourcing work to video makers all over the country and promising short turnaround times to customers, he was able to scale his business up. It was an early indication of his entrepreneurial DNA. Soon enough, Eric had made a $100k/year business and dropped out of college.
It was 2019 and Eric now had the skills and the funds he needed to pursue YouTube however times had changed. YouTube in 2020 was a different beast altogether than YouTube in 2016. The competition had increased exponentially, it took a lot more time and a lot more crazy to make it as a creator. Here are the numbers. In 2019, the number of creators had increased by 23%. By 2020, there were close to 38 million YT channels(a conservative estimate). With people uploading 500 hours of content every single minute. However, only 22,000 of those 37,000,000 had over 1 M subscribers.
That’s 0.05% of everyone on YouTube.
Almost all of those 22,000 channels were started close to 10 years ago and they took their time to get to where they are today. In 2020, to scale the 1M mark in one year was something most creators would consider impossible.
Airrack wanted to test that.
So in January of 2020, with a little more than 1000 subscribers, Airrarck began uploading videos onto YouTube consistently. To prove that in 2020, you could still make it on YouTube. And hit 1 M+ subscribers in 1 year.
His first couple of videos were prank style videos-they were immediately attention-grabbing and well made. However, they didn’t perform as well as he’d hoped. For YouTube in 2020, it just wasn’t able to break through the clutter.
He thought about what would guarantee him views. A collab with a bigger YouTuber, he knew, would get him some attention. But what about collabs with 3 of the most popular YouTubers on the planet?
Now, that would get him million dollar attention.
But how do you collab with the biggest names in the business? After all, it’s not like Logan Paul or MrBeast or David Dobrik are just waiting to collab with a random YouTuber with 1.5k subs. Well, you find a way around, through, over or under whatever obstacle is in front of you to get to where you have to go. You make it happen, as Airrack would say, against all odds.
It’s important to mention here that, apart from his ability to make killer videos, Eric Decker also has one more signature ability. He is able to get into and out of places he has no right to be in. Almost at will. He had even made a video of him sneaking into the same concert in multiple costumes. He’s so confident in his abilities that he’s even made a video about how he finessed a schoolbus into a concert.
Now, a few weeks earlier, Logan had announced that he was looking for a new member to join his team and so when Airrack heard that Logan Paul would be attending his brother Jake’s fight(vs AnEsonGib), he knew that this event was an opportunity that was made for him.
He decided to meet his possible future boss. And collab with him.
Cue Logan Paul and David Dobrik
Airrack flew to the event; snuck into the ultra-exclusive event as a member of the organizing crew; then dressed up as a reporter; interviewed Logan Paul and hand-delivered his resume to him. All while shooting the entire process. It made for great content.
Logan was impressed.
However, he did NOT get the job. For whatever reason, Logan thought it best to reject this offer. All that effort for nothing, you say? Not exactly. Airrack’s channel went from 1.5k subscribers to 45k subscribers in 2-3 weeks. He may not have gotten the job but his strategy sure was working and with that Airrack doubled down with his next YouTuber- David Dobrik. Now, space on David Dobrik’s vlog is one of the most expensive pieces of YouTube real estate there is. In fact, as Airrack points out, if you’re under 25, your biggest dream is probably to be in a Dobrik video. Obviously Airrack had to feature in it.
But why are millenials so obsessed with Dobrik?
Well, he’s widely considered to have the coolest lifestyle of anybody on YouTube. Cool friends, fast cars and connections with A-List Celebrities can be an addictive mix. Airrack’s plan was to “become” Dobrik. And just ask him for his life. This was his entire plan:- Get a fancy sports car that he got from an automotive YouTuber called Edmund; paint David’s face on the car; dress up as David himself; present the car to him and simply ask for every part of his lifestyle.
The plan worked.
Somewhat. He obviously did not get Dobrik’s lifestyle. But he did make an appearance on Dobrik’s Insta story and that increased his sub count by 35k. As his sub count kept increasing, Airrack had still kept tabs on Logan-to find a way to “collaborate” with him again.
He kept hitting dead ends until one day, he found an Insta story of Logan desperately looking to sell his $90k Mercedes Couch.
Airrack had found his in.
Airrack got his manager to negotiate the couches down to $17k (if he did it himself, he would be recognized by Paul’s team); Made a brand deal worth $17k to buy them;Flew to LA and took a U-Haul to Logan’s mansion(for the couches) and hid in the back of the U-Haul.When they opened the U-Haul at Logan’s mansion to load the couches, Airrack jumped out, surprised Logan, and once again asked to be a part of his team.
But once again, Logan did not give him what he wanted.
The Couch series
Airrack had to show for his efforts was an empty bank account and 4 pieces of Logan’s Mercedes couch. That and 150k new subs of course. Now what he did with those couches is YouTube Hall of Fame material. He created a series called the “Couch Series”
In it, he did whatever the top comment on his previous video suggested he do with the couch. In one episode, he traded the Mercedes branded couch for an actual Mercedes. In another, for possession of the couch, he boxed Jake Paul. In episode 4, he literally surfed with it(couch surfing, geddit?). For episode 5, he skydived with the couches. And finally, as one does, Airrack blew the couches up.
Goes without saying that the videos blew up on YouTube.
By Sept 2020, Airrack had amassed over 500k subs on his channel. Popularity came with it’s benefits- Mack joined his team. Mack had been a filmmaker in-training who had given up studying in film school to join Airrack’s quest. He became the Vlog’s editor and cast member. Airrack and his team now had 4 months to get close to half a million subs.
It was time for him to up the ante if he had to reach his goal.
…and then came MrBeast!
He then put a target on another [email protected]. What was his plan?
In Aug 2020, MrBeast had gifted an entire island to Chandler, the winner of the Island challenge. Airrack’s plan was simple- he would take the island (named Jeff) from him. But how does one take an island from someone, you ask?
Well, you challenge a bounty hunter(Patty Mayo) to a manhunt; Win a $100k boat from said bounty hunter; Drag it from Florida to the Bahamas(where the island was), and finally challenge the owner of the island to a game of basketball.
Yeah. All of that happened.
Unfortunately, Chandler, the owner of the island, had sold it. So the challenge was a bust. However, MrBeast did give Airrack a call and said that he would feature him on his channel, the next time he did a YouTuber challenge.
But Airrack wasn’t going to wait around for that.
In the month of September alone, Airrack got close to 130k subscribers. A few more insane videos later (like the one where he “steals” David Dobrik’s girlfriend or another where YouTubers control his life) and Airrack could see the finish line- 1 Million Subs.
Deleting his channel?
At the start of December 2020, he was at 750k subscribers. As impressive as that number was for 11 months’ effort, it wasn’t his goal. Airrack had announced that if he didn’t make the number of 1 million subscribers, he would delete the channel. It was do or die.
So which YouTuber did he choose for his final act? Himself.
For his final video of 2020, Airrack chose to maroon himself on a deserted island on a 24/7 live-stream and declared that he would stay there until he hit 1M subs.
He takes this ‘do or die’ stuff seriously.
By the start of the last week of December, Airrack still had a solid 200k subs still left to go. For back to back to back days, Eric and Mack stayed on the island. They called subscribers, played games, did pushups, and did what they could to stay sane while on LiveStream.
On 28th December 2020, Airrack hit 1 Million Subscribers. He was on the island with Mack staring at the ticker when it happened. There was hollering, chair-throwing and some wiping away of tears.
Airrack had over 250,000 subscribers during the month.
In the next video, Airrack said that he was taking a break for a few weeks to relax. He also gave us a promise, “I can’t say much, but if you thought this year was big, oh man, next year will be even bigger.” We believe him.
So to recap:- The recipe to go from 0 to 1,000,000 subs in 365 days is some ingenuity; a lot of elbow grease and (sort of) help from a few big-name creators.
That and a whole bunch of cojones.
We’ll know the recipe to go from 1Million to 10 million subs in 1 year(Airrack’s supposed next goal), in about a year from now. Till then, as Airrack would say , “That’s pretty much it guys. I’m leaving.”
What’s Airrack been upto?
Airrack’s been racing determinedly towards his next creator goals. Although the number 10M was thrown around as the goal at the end of last year, Airrack seems to be much less numbers focussed this time around. A much healthier way of being a creator, in our opinion.
This doesn’t mean, he’s been any less prolific in terms of gathering new subscribers- he’s already at 2.5M subscribers and it’s not even the end of the year. In terms of other changes, Airrack now has a bigger crew- Fidias and Tyler seem to be full-time members along with Mack.
In terms of what’s remained the same? He’s still creating in that sweet spot between social experiment and outright prank. Videos like ‘Hiring 50 Bodygaurds’ and ‘Hiring 100 Fake Paparazzi’ video are among his most watched videos on his channel
And of course, he’s still sneaking into super exclusive events. He snuck into the Jake Paul-Ben Askren fight; the Logan Paul-Mayweather fight and a couple of high-profile music festivals. All in a day’s work for YouTube’s resident king of sneaking.
Apart from his channel, Airrack has also started an online creator course called ‘Creator Now’. The course is a 6 week, community-focused program that is meant to instill the habit of creating regularly in its attendees.