Casey Neistat

Illustration by Matt Chessco

    Casey Neistat’s rise to prominence started with iPods—yes, really. In 2003, the Connecticut native and his brother Van created a short film called iPod’s Dirty Secret, which critiqued Apple’s lack of a battery replacement program (which Neistat discovered when his own iPod battery went cold and Apple suggested he simply buy a new one). The video received over 6 million views in its first month of release—and this happened three years before YouTube even launched. (Apple implemented a battery replacement program two weeks after the video was posted to the Internet.) Eventually, after Neistat and his brother created a number of other short digital films, HBO purchased an eight-episode series called The Neistat Brothers from them for nearly $2 million. But it wasn’t until the 2010s that Neistat became one of the power players on YouTube. Over the course of a decade, and at one point treating the platform like his personal diary, he posted videos on everything from New York City bike lane ticketing (which earned him the title of “Bike Lane Vigilante”) to footage of him snowboarding through a blizzard on city streets. Today, he boasts over 14 million subscribers on YouTube, which he’s parlayed into advertising, tech, and startup ventures.

    As a filmmaker, Neistat has both appeared in and directed national television commercials for brands including J.Crew, Mercedes-Benz, Samsung, and Nike. Taking his filmmaking accolades and influencer status to greater heights, in 2015 Neistat created a video-sharing app called Beme, which was reportedly acquired by CNN the following year for $25 million. Neistat quickly jumped into a new venture in 2018 when he launched 368, a workspace where YouTubers and other creators could collaborate. Although he left 368 to move out of New York, Neistat has still held on to some ownership of the production space, and shows no signs of slowing down when it comes to his YouTube channel footprint, either.