Marques Brownlee / MKBHD

Illustration by Matt Chessco

    In 2009, when he was just 15 years old, Marques Brownlee posted a video he’d recorded about his new HP laptop. Little did he know, that video would launch his career as a professional YouTuber. Today, the now-27-year-old tech reviewer boasts a whopping 14.7M subscribers to his channel, called MKBHD (a combination of his initials and HD, for high definition), where he posts in-depth product reviews, explainers, interviews, and showcases of the coolest tech he’s encountered. Brownlee’s videos are at once straightforward and incredibly well-produced, making his channel an essential resource for those shopping for a new phone, electric car, or camera drone. Not only has his expertise and irresistible curiosity allowed him to grow his audience—they’ve also garnered attention from the likes of other high-profile tech enthusiasts, such as Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, actor and entrepreneur Will Smith, and former president Barack Obama. Brownlee’s New Jersey-based operation is now a full-fledged empire featuring a team of cinematographers, VFX specialists, and a dedicated studio space; he also has his own podcast and line of MKBHD merchandise. Tech companies actively seek him out to place their latest product announcements on his channel, though he’s more likely to conduct a detailed, honest breakdown than offer a fawning press release. As if transforming your passion to a veritable business isn’t enough already, Brownlee is also a professional ultimate frisbee player.