A new rationality YouTube channel emerges

post by Dominik Tujmer · 2019-08-28T14:56:01.673Z · score: 19 (10 votes) · LW · GW · 9 comments


Um: Exploring the Art of Rationality - The Map is not the Territory

Partially inspired by Write a Thousand Roads to Rome [LW · GW], I've decided to launch a YouTube channel dedicated to explaining core ideas from the Sequences, Less Wrong in general, Slate Star Codex, and other adjacent blogs and books.

The aim is two-fold: 1) to provide another medium for these ideas (maybe your smart friend would like to watch a video, but doesn't feel like reading a long article); 2) to use the Feynman method to better understand these ideas myself.

There is just one short video up there right now, but I intend to cover a wide range of topics, and will be posting more in the following weeks.

Criticism and input is always welcome.


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by bendini · 2019-08-29T07:40:36.400Z · score: 10 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Critical question : If you've done some cursory research you'll know that you aren't the first person to think of this. There have been somewhere between 10-100 channels started that focused on the Sequences, with only a couple achieving minor success (e.g. Julia Galef's channel). Given this reality, what do you plan to do differently so this doesn't end up as a waste of time?

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2019-08-29T10:24:57.109Z · score: 8 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Pretty sure learning the skills to make youtube videos and practising explaining ideas isn't a waste of time for someone to try, even if the channel doesn't take off.

comment by John_Maxwell (John_Maxwell_IV) · 2019-08-30T04:19:56.216Z · score: -4 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also, in general, if you observe someone doing something that seems like a suboptimal use of time to you, before being critical, it might be worthwhile to take a guess as to what this person will do with their time if they abandon this project. Like, it could very well be that alternatives are not "YouTube video creation" vs "super optimized project bendini would approve of" so much as "YouTube video creation" vs "YouTube video consumption" ;-)

And if you want to convince someone to adopt a superior alternative, I humbly suggest putting on your salesperson hat and finding a way to create desire instead of scolding. After all, for today's discount price of acquiring some salesperson skills, you could help launch 100 high-impact projects ;-)

comment by bendini · 2019-08-30T08:17:34.476Z · score: 15 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I disagree.

If someone specifically asks for criticism and I have something to say, I like to treat them like an adult instead of assuming they're just repeating tribal shibboleths. This also has a bonus of punishing people who are insincere about wanting critisism while rewarding those who honestly seek it.

While it's possible to gain useful skills from a failed project, opportunity costs are real. I don't think people should be risk averse (quite the opposite), but I do think people should put a bit of thought into a viable strategy before commiting the time needed to determine if a project will succeed.

Yes, I'm aware that my comment resembles the snark you get on Hacker News, but there is a distinction: I'm saying "There's a pile of skulls on this mountain, if you are going to climb it, figure out how to avoid making the same mistakes"

comment by Dominik Tujmer · 2019-09-05T11:01:34.275Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't know the exact formula for making a successful YouTube channel, but my intention is to focus on the quality of the movies and to explore the subjects that I have a personal interest in. In my current situation, focusing too much on what other people are or were doing probably takes away time and energy from actually doing things myself. But building a popular channel instead of an unknown one is obviously preferable, so I'll give it some more thought and maybe I'll have a better answer then.

comment by bendini · 2019-09-06T05:46:32.830Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Focusing on video quality instead of talking to a webcam is a differentiator, so that should raise your odds of success.

comment by John_Maxwell (John_Maxwell_IV) · 2019-08-30T16:23:56.637Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ah I didn't see he was asking for criticism, that's fair.

comment by John_Maxwell (John_Maxwell_IV) · 2019-08-30T04:11:26.442Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Here's another successful one:


Is there a reason to think the success rate for rationality channels is below the success rate of new channels in general?

comment by Dominik Tujmer · 2019-09-05T10:49:42.092Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wouldn't say that a small viewership represents a waste of time - in any case, I'll gain useful skills and may be of use to at least a small number of people, and in the best case, the channel will become a raging success.

I really don't know what other people tried but I will try to make high-quality short movies instead of vlog-style videos - I guess that's what's going to be different.