How a Gaming Nerd Conquered the Digital World

The insane rise of Mr Beast

How a Gaming Nerd Conquered the Digital World

The Insane Rise of Mr Beast

“After some point it’s like you feel like you should quit but you want it so badly you just keep going.” 

In the vast arena of social media, where content creators vie for fleeting moments of our attention, one name has soared to unparalleled heights—MrBeast.

Renowned for his jaw-dropping stunts, awe-inspiring giveaways, and captivating content, MrBeast, born Jimmy Donaldson, has not only garnered a massive following but has also revolutionized Youtube and social media.

His journey from a small-time gamer to the most influential figure on YouTube is a testament to relentless ambition, boundless creativity, and the power of generosity.

Picture this: a company warehouse brimming with the remnants of legendary videos.

Over here, stacks of GameStop merchandise from a challenge where a contestant could keep everything they fit into a triangle.

Over there, are crates of inflatable dinosaur costumes from a hilarious stunt titled “Walking Into Random Stores With 100 Dinosaurs.”

And in the back, a staggering one billion Orbeez, tiny gel-filled pellets that once transformed his best friend’s backyard into a vibrant sea of color.

This eclectic collection isn’t just a testament to his wild creativity; it’s a symbol of how far determination can take you.

MrBeast’s rise is more than just a story of personal success—it's a beacon of hope for creators, gamers and entrepreneurs worldwide.

He has popularized the video game, inspiring countless others to push their boundaries and think outside the box.

But perhaps more importantly, he has shown that YouTube/social media can be a force for good.

By raising millions for charity and sparking a wave of generosity among his peers and fans, MrBeast has proven that entertainment and altruism can go hand in hand.

Today, MrBeast stands as a titan with 263 million subscribers, and over 50,000,000,000 views - the highest ever on YouTube.

Yet, despite this monumental success, he remains grounded, letting his results do the talking while maintaining a private personal life.

His story is one of an underdog who stared down rejection, embraced risk, and sacrificed comfort to chase a seemingly impossible dream.

It's a story that resonates with each of us because it's built on the fundamental belief that with hard work, creativity, and a little bit of daring, anyone can rise to greatness.

Welcome to the era of MrBeast—where the impossible becomes possible, and where each of us is reminded that we, too, can make a difference.

Today on David to Goliath:

The Art of Gaming

Born in May 1998 in Greenville, North Carolina, Jimmy’s childhood was marked by constant moves, long hours spent under the care of au pairs, and the backdrop of his parents' demanding careers, including military service.

In 2007, his parents divorced, and life could have easily spiralled out of control.

But Jimmy had something extraordinary brewing within him.

He was not the brightest kid in school.

In fact, he often felt quite the opposite.

“I have zero idea how to use a comma, punctuation, or spell 82% of the English language. I used to edit videos in the back of high school English class.”

While others excelled in academics, he found his passion in something that was often dismissed as mere distraction—gaming.

He wasn't just playing video games; he was strategizing, mastering, and immersing himself in the digital worlds that fascinated him.

His love for strategy games was an addiction that fueled his determination and creativity.

By 2012, at the tender age of 14, Jimmy embarked on a journey that would redefine his life.

He started a YouTube channel from his bedroom under the username ‘MrBeast6000’.

His early videos were a mix of Let's Plays and commentary, and estimating how much money YouTubers like PewDiePie made.

But there was something different about Jimmy.

Despite five years of minimal traction and being an introverted kid, he did not waver.

He kept creating, kept editing, and kept pushing the boundaries of his content.

In the fall of 2016, fresh out of Greenville Christian Academy, Jimmy faced a critical juncture in his life.

His mother, like many parents, urged him to attend college.

So off he went, enrolled at East Carolina University. But his heart was not in it.

Instead of attending classes, Jimmy found solace in his car, where he would sit and edit videos, driven by an unshakeable love for his craft.

After just two weeks, he made a bold decision: he dropped out of college to pursue his YouTube dreams full-time.

This decision was met with disappointment and resistance.

His mother, feeling both concern and frustration, kicked him out of the house.

Imagine the weight of such a moment—a young man, seemingly alone, faced with the harsh reality of his choices.

But Jimmy knew something that others did not…

Obsession - The Key to Greatness

He knew from an early age that greatness doesn't take shortcuts.

He knew it demands risk, sacrifice, and complete obsession.

One egg, one basket.  

Dropping out of college wasn't just a bold move—it was a necessary one.

He knew he had to go all-in to break out from the ordinary and become extraordinary.

But it left Jimmy at a crossroads.

It was time for him and his friends to embark on a quest to decipher the enigma that is YouTube's recommendation algorithm.

Day in and day out, they jumped on Skype calls, poured over data, dissected trends, and unravelled the secrets of what made content go viral.

Literally from the minute, they woke up to the minute they went to bed.

To the point that, just to find what brightness of lighting worked best on thumbnails, they would analyze thousands of videos.

This level of obsession is one in a million.

"There’s a five-year point in my life where I was just relentlessly, unhealthily obsessed with studying virality, studying the YouTube algorithm. I woke up. I would Uber Eats food. And then I would sit on my computer all day just studying shit nonstop with [other YouTubers]."

"I was just relentlessly, unhealthily obsessed,".

But what a beautiful obsession it turned out to be.

For years, Jimmy’s channel floated in the vast ocean of content, unnoticed and underappreciated.

But he knew the lack of attention was just part of the game.

It’s like pushing a stationary train at first.

Using every ounce of energy to push it forward just an inch, before momentum picks up.

So he kept grinding, kept creating, and kept learning.

A turning point came when he shifted his video strategy to insane stunts and engaging challenges.

His dedication, his relentless pursuit of virality, those thousands hours of data mining, were about to pay off.

Going Viral

In 2015 and 2016, Mr Beast had a modest following.

His "Worst Intros on YouTube" series managed to garner chuckles and nods of agreement from around 30,000 subscribers.

But little did the world know, this was merely the calm before the storm.

It wasn't until 2017 that the universe conspired to unleash his true potential.

Or moreover, he pushed so hard it had no choice but to act in his favour.

He realized that to stand out, he had to push boundaries and capture imagination.

So what ensued weren't just videos; they were statements.

With a single video, "I Gave My Friend $100,000," he caused a tsunami of viral fame.

Declaring that MrBeast was here to disrupt the norm, to redefine what it meant to be a content creator.

Millions were captivated, not just by his generosity, but by the raw, unfiltered content that spoke directly to the soul of the internet.

What was his secret? It wasn't just about entertainment; it was about inspiration.

MrBeast crafted content that didn't just pass the time—it sparked curiosity and compelled viewers to hit that 'share' button with reckless abandon.

This was his strategy. And the world took notice.

Suddenly, MrBeast wasn't just another YouTuber; he was a cultural phenomenon.

As his subscriber count soared into the millions, so too did his income.

YouTube ad revenue poured in like a flood, fueled by the sheer volume of views his attention-grabbing content attracted.

But that was still just the beginning.

Leveraging his massive and engaged audience, MrBeast attracted lucrative sponsorships and brand partnerships.

Companies clamoured to align themselves with his brand, eager to tap into his reach and influence.

With every stunt, every giveaway, every moment of madness, he became a beacon of hope for aspiring creators everywhere.

And this was only the beginning.

Crazy Until Genius

In 2017, Mr Beast once again captured the internet's attention with an audacious feat – counting to 100,000 in a nearly day-long video.

This Herculean task, spanning 40 hours of relentless counting, marked the next chapter of his meteoric rise to fame.

From this point forward, he would capture the imagination of millions with his outlandish stunts.

From breaking glass with a hundred megaphones to watching paint dry for an hour, his early exploits were as bizarre as they were captivating.

Yet, it was his heart of gold that truly set him apart.

By 2018, he had given away a staggering $1 million through his escapades, earning him the name of "YouTube's biggest philanthropist."

But his journey was not without its trials and tribulations.

In 2017, he found himself embroiled in the PewDiePie vs T-Series rivalry, a battle for supremacy on YouTube.

He rallied behind PewDiePie, leveraging billboards, television ads, and even a Super Bowl stunt to support his fellow creator.

As the years passed, Mr Beast’s ambition only grew.

In 2019, he orchestrated a real-life battle royale competition, offering a prize of $200,000 and capturing the thrill of gaming in the real world.

The following year, he shattered records with a rock, paper, scissors tournament that drew over 662,000 concurrent viewers – a testament to his unparalleled ability to captivate audiences on a global scale.

But perhaps his most defining trait is his unwavering commitment to reinvesting in his craft.

“You’re crazy until you’re successful, then you are a genius.”

Despite earning a staggering $54 million in 2022 alone, he remained grounded, pouring every penny back into his videos.

It's this dedication to his craft, coupled with his infectious enthusiasm and relatable demeanor, that has endeared him to millions around the world.

In a landscape where influencers often succumb to cynicism and self-indulgence, MrBeast stood as a beacon of authenticity and generosity.

And this is one of the biggest takeaways we can acquire from this digital supremo – It’s not about getting rich and flying off in a shiny lambo.

He’s not in the content creator business anymore. He’s in the empire business of business itself - driven by value.

And if you’re playing that game, once you hit a wave you pour all of your resources to turn it into a god damn tsunami. Fighting against complacency.

Using the cash to hire better talent, utilize better technology, and supercharge your media presence.

“My mindset was just ‘reinvest everything I make’ – every time I got a paycheck, that was the month’s budget.”

Leverage at its finest.

And it set him up for something of the likes we’ve never seen before.

Digital Domination

In the tumultuous landscape of YouTube, where trends flicker like candle flames and creators rise and fall like empires, Mr Beast has continued to rise.

Fast forward to January 1, 2021, as the world collectively exhaled after a year of unprecedented challenges, he unleashed a seismic shockwave with his video "YouTube Rewind 2020, Thank God It's Over."

In a bold declaration of independence, he rallied against the traditional order, insisting that creators deserved a greater voice in the platform's annual recap.

And in November 2021, he electrified the internet with "$456,000 Squid Game in Real Life!"

A masterstroke of creativity, he brought the gripping tension of the hit series Squid Game into the real world, captivating millions with the promise of fortune and glory.

The video soared to unprecedented heights, amassing over 130 million views within a week.

But he didn't stop there.

December 2021 witnessed the birth of a new era as MrBeast unveiled his third influencer tournament, offering a mind-blowing grand prize of $1,000,000.

As the dust settled, Forbes bestowed upon him the crown of YouTube's highest-earning creator for 2021, with an eye-watering $54 million in earnings, a feat that placed him shoulder to shoulder with icons like Vin Diesel and Lewis Hamilton.

Yet, these milestones were but stepping stones on MrBeast's path to greatness.

July 28, 2022, marked a historic moment as he ascended to the coveted realm of 100 million subscribers, joining an elite pantheon of YouTube legends.

And on November 17, 2022, he etched his name into the annals of history, seizing the Guinness World Record for "Most Subscribers for an Individual Male on YouTube," a title once held by PewDiePie.

With each video, he raises the stakes, defying expectations and redefining the very essence of entertainment.

Mr Beast’s success is no accident.

It's a meticulously crafted symphony, orchestrated to perfection.

Leveraging YouTube's recommendation algorithm like a maestro, he coordinates videos that transcend mere entertainment to become cultural phenomena.

His recipe for virality is a blend of art and science.

Crafting titles that tantalize, thumbnails that mesmerize, and topics that captivate, he beckons viewers into his world with promises of the extraordinary.

With a keen understanding of viewer psychology, he weaves narratives that ensnare attention from the first second to the last.

Leaving audiences clamoring for more.

And now he has a team of over 100 people making this a reality.

A Catalyst for Change

While Mr Beast is now a name synonymous with extravagant stunts, he has transformed the digital sphere into a platform for profound change.

From giving away cars, houses, and islands to his subscribers, to spearheading monumental fundraising initiatives, his journey is now rooted in kindness.

“Every time I order pizza I get a flashback to when we tipped a pizza delivery driver a house. And then I feel bad for just tipping them instead of giving them a house.”

What started as entertaining content evolved into a movement of compassion, uniting millions worldwide in the pursuit of a brighter future.

In a January video titled “1,000 blind people see for the first time,” surrounded by doctors, he pledged to cure their blindness.

As the patients emerge from cataract eye surgery, some in tears, he hands some of them a suitcase filled with cash.

“Here’s $10,000 to make your day better,” he tells one woman, who falls to the ground and screams.”

In another video from May, he buys prosthetic limbs for 2,000 amputees.

He has a licensed charity which functions as a food bank to feed communities across the US, and he has helped raise tens of millions of dollars to help the environment.

The impact of MrBeast's philanthropy extends far beyond the confines of a YouTube video.

With initiatives like Beast Philanthropy, where every dollar earned is dedicated to charitable causes, and projects ranging from providing Thanksgiving turkeys to his hometown to building wells in remote African villages, he has become a beacon of hope in a world often overshadowed by despair.

On October 29, 2021, MrBeast organized another collaborative challenge event on YouTube titled #TeamSeas.

The goal of this project was to raise $30 million for the Ocean Conservancy and The Ocean Cleanup by January 1, 2022.

The $30 million goal would fund the removal of 30 million pounds of plastic and other waste from oceans, rivers, and beaches.

Through his unwavering dedication to making the world a better place, he has ignited a spark within each of us—a reminder that together, we have the power to create profound change.

Harnessing the power of his YouTube success, MrBeast ventured into uncharted territories, launching not just one, but several businesses.

Among these ventures stands Feastables, a meal delivery service, and the iconic merchandise line that bears his name.

“I want to build Feastables, Beast Burger, etc. and eventually be able to sell parts of them for billions of dollars so I can give away billions in future videos.”

His merchandise became more than just apparel; it became a symbol of belonging, adorned with slogans that resonated with millions.

And with each purchase, supporters not only embrace his brand but fuel his vision for a broader impact.

He also ventured into the culinary world with Beast Burger, a testament to his innovative, entrepreneurial spirit.

Today, MrBeast stands as a titan among content creators, commanding a legion of over a quarter-billion followers across five YouTube channels.

Future of The Beast

In the vast landscape of digital content creation, few names command the same reverence and awe as MrBeast.

He embarked on his YouTube journey with nothing but a camera, a dream, and an insatiable hunger to make a difference.

Now, with each click, he orchestrates moments of joy, awe, and sometimes even tears.

But beyond the spectacle lies a deeper mission – to inspire and uplift.

His generosity knows no bounds, whether it's planting millions of trees or revitalizing struggling businesses.

He doesn't just give; he ignites hope in a world hungry for heroes.

As the curtains rise on the next act of this epic saga, the world watches with bated breath.

What will MrBeast do next?

How will he shape the future of digital content creation?

With a canvas as vast as his imagination, the possibilities are limitless.

But one thing is certain – he won't rest until he's left an indelible mark on the world, until his name is synonymous with inspiration and change.

The legend of MrBeast is far from over.

So, take a page from his playbook.

Embrace your obsessions, dare to be different, and never, ever give up.

The path to greatness is tough, but if MrBeast's story proves anything, it's that the rewards are beyond imagination for those who dare to pursue it with everything they've got.

To the dreamers, the doers, and the visionaries who refuse to settle for anything less than extraordinary.

Here’s to the crazy ones.

Conclusion/Top 5 Takeaways:

1) Gamers are seriously underrated talent

2) Obsession is a precursor for greatness

3) It takes money to make money (so reinvest)

4) Purpose is endless, money is fleeting

5) Fortune favours the bold

So with that being said keep dreaming like a Giant.

But fight and believe in your dreams like a god damn underdog baby!

The end.

-Nigel Thomas

P.S. If you enjoyed this story there are 3 ways you can get more involved:

#1: Not yet subscribed at David to Goliath? Subscribe Here so you don’t miss out on the next email!

#2: Prefer listening instead of reading? Listen to the Exclusive David to Goliath Podcast Here

#3: Check out my LinkedIn Content Everyday I post stories, tools and mindset tips on our charge to 100,000 subscribers.