Today I wanted to share a story about my friend Alan Lastufka. If you don’t know Alan, he runs DFTBA Records, has produced music with Tom Milsom and Luke Conard, among others, and used to make videos on the channel fallofautumndistro.
Back in 2008, when I was first starting to make videos and become a part of the YouTube community, I was having a hard time getting any traction on my channel. Looking back now, the videos I was posting were awful, but back then I was getting frustrated that I wasn’t getting many views or subscribers. At that point, most of the friends I had on YouTube were people I already knew from the Harry Potter fandom, but I was really excited about the YouTube community and wanted to be a part of it. I had heard about Alan’s book YouTube: An Insider’s Guide to Climbing the Charts, and one day when I was in Barnes and Noble, I saw a copy on the shelf and read through most of it in one sitting. This was on April 13, 2009, and I sent Alan a YouTube message just telling him how much I enjoyed it and his videos.
I wasn’t really expecting a response, since I saw Alan as somewhat of a celebrity, having such a huge channel as fallofautumndistro and having been part of fiveawesomeguys with Alex and Charlie the previous year. But he did respond, and he subscribed to my channel and put me in the featured channels module on fallofautumndistro. This was huge, because every time someone would subscribe to fallofautumndistro, they would be asked if they wanted to subscribe to that list of featured channels, which now included mine. It was through that module that I got my first big burst of subscribers and regular viewers, and it gave me the confidence I needed to continue making videos and not give up. All I really needed was one friend who was “in” on the YouTube community, and that just opened up so many opportunities and made me even more invested in the community myself.
I’ve met Alan twice now, once in 2010 when a bunch of us went to his house for a weekend, and then just a month ago right before LeakyCon. I’m so happy that we’ve stayed friends this whole time, and I’m always inspired by how hard he works and how much he’s contributed to the nerdfighter community.
The reason I’m writing this post now is that Alan recently started daily vlogging on his new channel persistenceofvideo and he just finished the first week of videos. If you want to get a behind-the-scenes look at DFTBA (and follow the saga of the broken treadmill), you should definitely subscribe.
And the other moral of the story is that if there’s someone who has made something you love, or who you think would love something you’ve made, just send them an email and let them know. They just may surprise you and become one of the most important people on your way to success, and really, what do you have to lose?