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Logan Paul: The Man, The Myth, The Mavrik
We have the legendary Logan Paul. Thanks for coming on.
Thank you, Jon. I’m glad to be here.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Logan Paul. I am what they call a social media influencer, except I also act. I do music. I produce, I direct, I write. I am the CEO of Maverick Enterprises, a.k.a. Maverick by Logan. I make videos on the internet. If you have kids, they most likely know who I am. Some of you may have heard of me or see me in the news recently. I am what they call a content creator.
There are a lot of people who create content but your backstory is absolutely crazy. People who know your content know you for being zany and wild and up for doing insane stunts, but you started out your career as a math whiz, didn’t you?
I got a full academic ride to college as an engineer in industrial systems engineering. They called me the Calculus God in high school because I was really good at school. I prided myself on being both smart and athletic. I felt like if I could use my brain not as weapon but as an asset to gain power, because they say knowledge is power, and I could also be athletic and feel comfortable in my body doing sports in a competitive nature as well. That would make me the well-rounded person that I wanted to become.
You grew up in the middle of nowhere, didn’t you?
I grew up in Ohio so it’s odd going from wanting to be an engineer to the 180 degrees opposite in the entertainment industry. My brother and I broke out of the Ohio bubble.
For the audience who are less familiar with you, can we give them a sense of how popular you’ve become online or in general? How many followers do you have?
Across the board, about 60 million.
That’s larger than the population of certain countries. That means on a weekly basis, more people tune in to you than the Super Bowl.
Hearing you say that, it’s even mind boggling to me. I grew up in Ohio watching people on YouTube and watching movies stars. I would always ask my dad like, “That’d be cool to do that one day,” and now I’m doing it.
Whatever engineering you figured out to create great content and engaging content is absolutely incredible. I get to meet and talk to some incredibly extraordinary people. I don’t think that they’ve figured out whatever equation you’ve solved because people are obsessed with your content. I met Logan and his manager when I was at the Snapchat party during Cannes Lion. His manager, Jeff, who’s a super nice guy had no idea who I was. He invited me to hang out. I had no idea who Logan was. Every probably three minutes, somebody would stop us on the street and say to Logan, “I know you from somewhere.” Logan, you’d have the most ridiculous responses like, “I’m your hair dresser. You just don’t remember.”
I play with them. If I’m going to be getting stopped and asked to take pictures, great. I love it. I like being the center of attention, but I figured, “Let me have some fun with this.” I play with people. I try to make them laugh and smile. One of my favorites is when they come up to me and be, “It’s Logan,” and then I’ll just point to him or her and go, “Samantha from high school. It’s so good to see you.” They’re like, “What? No.”
That’s how we ended up meeting and it was completely mind-boggling to me because I hadn’t spent much time exposed to people that do what you do. From a content standpoint, companies seem to kill themselves to try to get a fraction of the attention that you get. What do you ascribe that to?
It’s a combination of things. I am my own demographic. I know what kids my age want. I know what the millennials want, what generation z wants. Beyond that, I am capable of producing that for them both because I am comfortable with being on camera, because I have the creative gene that allows me to make a piece of content or tell the story that keeps people captivated for a full fifteen to twenty minutes or six seconds even because I started on Vine. That was my birthplace on the internet. Even beyond that, there’s the execution. There’s simple things such as lighting the scene you’re shooting for, knowing how to work a camera, knowing when to make a cut, hiring the right people around you as far as an editor goes, videographer goes number, when to pop a zoom. It’s this weird 360 degrees combination of things that I happened to have acquired and mastered.
It’s not that you happen to have acquired. You’ve been doing this for how many years now?
Not only that but correct me if I’m wrong, there was a 500-day period where every single day you made content. Isn’t that right?
Two things: One, it was 460 days. Two, it wasn’t just a piece of content because you can post a picture or a Snapchat and it would count. This was a fifteen to twenty-minute vlog, video log, of what I did that day, cut, edited, shot. We would shoot for eight to sixteen hours every day for 460 days straight, no breaks in between.
Otherwise, what the audience will think is that you woke up, you said hi to viewers, maybe took some photos and added a filter and posted to Instagram, but there’s a clear difference between your work ethic and work habits and what some random Instagrammer is doing. Nothing against them, it’s just if you’re going to develop a following of 60 million people, you took it like it’s your job, which it was and is.
I’m fortunate enough to say that I don’t feel like it’s my job. I like to say, “I don’t work but I work hard.” I can attribute honestly most of my success to my work ethic. A lot of kids on the internet are comfortable with having the popularity, but they don’t want to put in the work to make it to the next level. I’m not satisfied. I’m not complacent with being an internet star. That’s not why I moved to Los Angeles. I could do this shit from Ohio. I came out here so I could build businesses, enhance and increase the popularity of my brand, create brands under me, and become the biggest entertainer in the world.
It seems that whatever you’re doing, you’re doing right. You have a clothing brand called Maverick by Logan Paul, right?
I do. I wear it all the time. It’s a brand that represents being yourself. Our motto is, “Do it different. Be a Maverick. Be the person who goes right when everyone else goes left.” Basically, I’m encouraging anyone who wants to wear the brand that it’s okay to be you. When I was in high school, I was the kid making videos. I was the weird kid who, instead of partying, would be studying. Before I was studying, I was practicing for three hours, and then I would go home and work out or stretch another hour. I was the Maverick. I was the odd ball. No one believed I could achieve the things I did today. I literally attribute that to me just being comfortable in my own skin and doing what I wanted to do.
Maverick is one of the most successful street wear brands in the world, isn’t it?
That is statistically factual, not just us saying that here.
Let’s say I’m the CFO of a brand and I’m trying to market out to millennials. I’m trying to figure out my content strategy. What advice would you give me besides, “Hire Logan Paul”?
When I create content, my starting point when I’m creating something that I want to have meaning, whether it’s a commercial for my brand, a music video, or even a song, I start with the mindset of the brand. It’s the Maverick mindset. What can I create that people haven’t seen? What is something different? Once you have a concept that like, “This seems fresh, new, fun to me.” “I want to make waves” is what we say. Every piece of content I do, I want it to make waves and cause a ripple effect. I want it to go viral, whether that’s having a sense of relatability to it, whether that’s having a shock factor to it, whether that’s creating something that people won’t forget because it’s so catchy. There’s so many different ways to do it. There’s so many different ways to be creative. These CMOs, they got creative directors who “know” what they’re doing. I don’t think they do in a way that is new and fresh. There are a lot of stale things on the market right now. Meanwhile, I’m out here switching it up, creating businesses from being an internet kid and a YouTuber that are becoming more multimillion dollar businesses just because I know how to market and I’m doing it different. I’m doing it with a Maverick mindset.
I love two things about what you’re saying. The first is that as a behavioral scientist, whenever I design anything, I begin with the end in mind and I say, “What do I want people to feel? What do I want them to think? What action do I want them to take?” You clearly do that from the perspective of the Maverick brand. You’re saying, “The action I want them to take is that I want them to be in all of this and I want them to share it. What I want them to feel is the core value of the brand that I’ve developed, which is about being yourself and doing things your way.” The second thing is that there’s this famous study that was done on classical composers and they asked the question of, “Who are the greats?” They mapped how many pieces they wrote during their career and how many of their pieces were great. What they found was that it was almost a perfect line, that the more stuff that they created, the more successful they were in general. Sure there were a lot of duds, but there was also a lot of great hits. Just the fact that you out create everybody means that so much more of your content is going to be a hit.
I 100% agree. To take that even a step further is yes, I’m creating every single day. 90% of it is gold. 90% of it is captivating. You’ll feel like you want to become a part of the Logan Paul World and dive into what it means to be in the Lo-gang. That’s what I call my audience, the Lo-gang. Now, we’re the strongest family on YouTube. Anyone can create content. Anyone can go out and make a video and post for four to six days in a row. Not everyone can make that content mesmerizing and intriguing and captivating.
Let’s start off with the amount of discipline, effort and focus necessary to produce anything for that many days. People don’t brush their teeth that many days in a row. In all seriousness, people don’t eat healthy meals that many days in a row. I don’t remember which book it was but it used the example of Saturday Night Live. What they said about Saturday Night Live is that so many of the great comedians and entertainers came through there. Because when you don’t have a choice but to produce content that goes live on Saturday, then you get real good at figuring out how to separate the duds from the hits. You learn how to create in a moment. When you’ve eliminated that option, you’re like, “We’re going live,” it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks about it. You learn to produce. It’s trial by fire and if you can put yourself through that experience regardless of what it is, I would challenge the creatives at these companies to ship an idea a day, to literally produce one idea a day that’s presentable in front of people, and I guarantee you they will have more ideas that are hits at the end of that and will develop a skill set to be creative and original and thinking new ways that they never had before because just that practice in itself forces and causes the evolution of ideas.
You have no choice but to become great. Every single idea that leaves your mouth is a good one and there’s a good chance you’re going to shoot it. You learn to weed out the duds. There’s a reason my channel was the fastest channel to ever hit 10 million subscribers on YouTube. It took us 333 days because everything was fresh and new and exciting and the shit never got stale. You’re right. The more you do it, you’re forced to become good.
Who’s inspired you along the way? There are countless YouTubers out there, but in the game, who is it that inspired you to go down this path, even in the social content space?
To be honest, I don’t often find inspiration from my peers because I can count on one hand the people who want it as bad as I do and are willing to give their heart and soul into their craft. I find my inspiration from people who are better than me or greater than me or people who I inspire to be, like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He is the perfect human being. This man is absolutely incredible. He inspires not only me, but I envy and admire the fact that he inspires so many people. He is a leader creating leaders. That is something truly remarkable.
He’s got an insane reputation. The fact that he started off in WWE as this character caricature version of himself and has been able to build one of the biggest entertainment empires from movies to social media is incredible.
What you said is another reason why I aspired to The Rock because he is now in an industry that is not very similar to what he started in. I’m in the “digital space” but I want to break into the “traditional space” and the business space trying to become one of the world’s youngest social media billionaires.
If somebody wants to get a start, another kid in Ohio wants to get their start being a content creator, what would they do?
You don’t become a content creator because you can get famous or because you’ll make a lot of money. Don’t do it because you see what I’m doing and say, “I want that.” Do it because inherently, intrinsically in your soul, you love creating. That is my magic word, create. Even when I wanted to be an engineer, before I dropped out of college, I wanted to create a product that would revolutionize the world because becoming an actor and a social media star seemed too far-fetched at the time. If you want to be a concert creator, you better believe in yourself and believe in your ability to create on a molecular level, something that is inside you, “I need to make this thing that I want the world to see” rather than, “I want to be famous,” because that will not last and you will get bored and you will be unfulfilled.
In the book, Good to Great, it talks about what makes successful companies successful is that they love what they do. They’re very passionate about the company that they’re working at. If they’re not, there’s no way they’ll just keep showing up and they definitely won’t be producing content for hundreds of days in a row. I often ask the guests to share something really human. It’s easy to see people’s lives is exciting and perfect. You have all these brands that are doing well. You’re successful business-wise. You’re working your way to become a billionaire, which is a number I can’t even process. What’s a very human secret you’d feel comfortable sharing? Some people share that they suffer from anxiety. Others didn’t have their first kiss until college. What’s something you’d feel comfortable sharing?
I have an intimacy problem in the sense of I am afraid to be vulnerable when it comes to relationships. I’ve just gotten screwed over so many times and tricked, lied to, deceived. It’s tough for me sometimes to become emotional and truly let myself get attached to people because of how my life has unfolded.
Thank you so much for sharing that. That’s one of these interesting things that there isn’t a human being out there who can’t relate to you. All of us had been put through the ringer at some point and that was incredibly brave of you to share. Thank you. You are one of the most passionate people I’ve ever met and clearly you’re passionate about supporting additional creators. Is there a cause that you’re interested in and impacting these days?
This goes in line with my entire brand. People should be encouraged to be comfortable with themselves. I don’t think anyone should feel trapped or should be feeling alone. I want people to know that they are, in fact, not alone. There’s people that care about you, people who love you. I got involved with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Suicide Prevention Awareness. Jon, if in any way you can help people who are maybe feeling like they’ve become stagnant or are in a hole, that would be incredible.
You have my full support in anything that you’re doing. We’ll see what we can do additionally by putting you in touch with the more of the community members that can support this.
While we’re on the topic of saving lives, if you could be any comic book hero, who would it be?
I would be Thor. What I like about Thor is he’s not afraid of a challenge. In fact, in a comedic way, he welcomes it. Knowing that he may lose, he still goes to battle enthusiastically and willingly. I admire that about Thor.
If you could pick any three people to have dinner with that are living, who would they be?
I’d have to go one, Jon Levy. I’d have to say Elon Musk because that is one intelligent man. I’m sure being in his presence for five minutes would make me three times as smart. Lastly, I’ve got to go with a girl by the name of Camila Cabello. I would just like to take her to dinner. That’d be cool.
I definitely want all three of you, but if you and Elon weren’t there, I’d be okay with it. Logan, I have to say I’m super impressed. It’s probably easy for people to think “YouTuber” and not have a clue about how planned out and how smart and strategic you’ve been over the past few years and the empire that you’re building. Watch out Elon Musk, here comes Logan Paul. Who knows, you might beat him at Mars after all. Thank you so much for coming on. This has been a real treat and you’ve been wonderful.
About Logan Paul
Entertainer reaching over 16 million Instagram followers, and 16 million YouTube subscribers. Creating Daily Vlogs on YouTube that capture his day to day life to entertain his viewers.
Anonymous Guest Interview
Welcome back, listeners. This is my favorite part: The Anonymous interview. We have with us Ross. Ross, thanks so much for coming and joining us.
Thanks for having me.
Let’s get a little bit of info about you so that people can figure out who you are and Google around. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Dayton, Ohio.
You eventually made your way to New York?
Yes, by way of Boston.
Was that where you went for undergrad?
Yes, I went to Boston University.
What did you study?
History and Comparative Social Policy. It was one of those deals where you can make up your own major, so I hope that sounds smart.
I was going to say you sound way more educated than I am. I feel like you should be one of the writers of House of Cards or something like that with a major like that. Was there a certain incident or a teacher or experience that inspired you to go into your career?
Yes. There’s a guy by the name of Lance Morrow, and I took his class at Boston University. It was a really challenging class. It was one of those classes where you think you’re good at a particular thing and you realized you’re not good at it at all and your teacher just rips everything up. You have two options: You either quit or you try and get better. I definitely thought about quitting but I didn’t. I’m very glad I made that decision.
You really kicked your own butt there.
It wasn’t just mine. Everybody in the class got their butts kicked. I guess I enjoyed it, is a weird way to say it. I like the challenge of it.
There’s something really satisfying. There are a lot of research on the topic that we really are most engaged when we’re doing something just outside of our skill set.
I think there’s something true to that. If you approach a challenge that’s so far beyond what you’re capable of, you may be more inclined to quit. If it’s just a little bit out of your grasp or a decent amount out of your grasp, I think certain people really enjoy that. For me, if I perform some work and everybody immediately says, “It’s so great,” I don’t trust them. I’m initially skeptical but if a type of person hands something back to me and says, “This is crap. You need to do this and this.” I’m like, “I trust you, I respect you. I’ll do that.”
I remember a study about how people don’t take film critics or food reviewers seriously unless there’s at least some insult in there. You’re not a good editor or something like that on your work unless there’s at least some insult in there.
If somebody doesn’t tell me, “Fuck you,” at least twice, I don’t trust them.
Is there something that you’re really proud of; an accomplishment, a story or something that you did that you’re just super proud of your career?
Yeah. I was part of a team at ESPN The Magazine that investigated the history of steroids in baseball. I was the lowest member on that totem pole. I was just a reporter/researcher. I’ve learned from some really terrific reporters. They did the definitive piece on how steroids infiltrated baseball and how everybody turned a blind eye.
To give people a sense of what you look like, and they’re probably imagining the character from Friends right now with your first name being Ross. Who would play you in a movie besides David Schwimmer?
Probably some strange cross between Drake and Borat.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done on a bet or a dare that caused something of your success or just something outlandish that you did?
I was once paid $800 by Harvard University to do cocaine. It was a part of a medical study that I did in college. They were testing the effects of drugs. They were trying to find a drug that would stop people from being addicted to cocaine. I was part of the test study. I had never done cocaine before. I don’t do cocaine now. That’s not something I ever do. It was one of those things where you’re in college and you need to make money, “This sounds like a cool adventurist thing.” It was actually really dumb. There’s still $800 and then I did something even dumber which is I took all that money and spent it on Nike sneakers.
I’m relieved you didn’t have to spend it on rehab.
It really was not my thing at all. In fact, I lied to get into the study because you were supposed to be an actual drug addict.
That might have been the first time in history anybody lied to get people to think they’re a drug addict. You’re like an undercover cop.
I was curious of what it was like.
I personally have never done it either, but did they just set up lines?
It’s like a test tube that’s tied to a little cart. I call it the cocaine-ator. They would wheel it in and they would be taking blood from you. You’d have an old Apple IIGS computer in front of you and you would then snort the coke out of the tube. They would ask you a bunch of questions. The questions were, “Do you feel euphoric?” You’re like, “Yes, I do.” “Do you feel happy?” “Yes, I do.” The thing with the study is you don’t always get the drug. It was a double-blind study. Sometimes you just got cocaine and another drug that would inhibit the effects and it worked as far as I could tell. In other times, you would just get double placebo. You would sit there for three hours and answer these questions. It’s actually awful because you’re just sitting in a room by yourself, so you’re either coming down or you’re just sitting there bored with this computer in front of you. I think maybe it’s the reason I’ve never really done drugs since because it wasn’t that fun. It’s a good story.
That’s incredible. I think that’s one of the best ones I’ve ever heard. Although Quddus who was from MTV shared a story of how he’d lied his way on to television by borrowing a video camera and claiming to be a reporter. That’s pretty awesome. Listeners, if you haven’t heard the interview that we did with Roy Wood Jr. The story of how his career got started is bonkers amazing, just like what he was able to pull off. He’s just awesome in general. Was there a moment or experience that made you feel like you had arrived to some degree? Not that anybody fully arrives.
To be totally honest, I don’t think I’ve ever felt like that. I maybe felt like that in moments but I think I’m plagued by impostor syndrome. It’s a weird thing, it actually is what drives me to continue working hard because I’m internally constantly questioning where I belong here or whether I’m good enough, whether I should be doing the work that I’m doing. I feel like the moment I feel like, “I’ve arrived, I’m good at this,” something terrible is going to happen. I’m going to make an awful mistake. I’ve never had that for a long feeling ever in my career actually.
I don’t know if many people do. I think it’s pretty consistent. Was there a moment where you felt like you had earned the respect of your peers?
Yeah. I had a cover story in May in 2016 about the movie Lone Survivor. It’s a story about Marcus Luttrell as a Navy SEAL and the SEALs dropped him and three of his buddies in Afghanistan and they’re shot up by a group of Islamist militants affiliated by the Taliban. All of the guys died except Luttrell. He escaped and he was saved by this Afghan villager and they had developed this unlikely friendship. I actually got to the villager years and years later after they made a movie out of the story and made tons of money with Peter Berg, and I got the Afghan’s version of that story which contradicts some of the things that Luttrell had said about what had happened. It also unfortunately shows how this really seemingly heart-warming story about the war in Afghanistan. You have tragic beginning but also it leads to this unlikely friendship. Actually that unlikely friendship also had a tragic ending. I was able to document that in a long-form story that it actually did some good. So much of what we do in my profession I feel like we like to think that it does good, that it helps people, but a lot of times it just provides information and I’m not sure if that’s the same thing as helping people. In this case, the story actually helped. This Afghan guy eventually came to the United States and became a refugee and it ended up helping him get a job and helping his children, so I’m proud of that.
I think you’ve given people quite a few hints. Is there a last hint or riddle you’d want to give to the listeners so that they can figure out who you are?
I work for what Donald Trump would call The Enemy of the People.
Listeners, you have plenty to go on now. If you can figure out who Ross is and submit it, you can win an invitation to The Salon by Influencers and hangout with incredible people like Ross. Good luck.