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Don’t Listen to Anyone: Casey Neistat on Trusting Your Instincts & The Principles That Guide A Creative Life

By September 6, 2015January 19th, 20243 Comments

“Success is defined not by how many cars you have or any of that nonsense but rather by how much of your day you spend doing something you really hate doing.”

Casey Neistat

Today marks my third conversation with the singular Casey Neistat.

Does a guy who has amassed over 100 million total views on his YouTube Channel — not to mention 1 million views daily —  really need a formal introduction? Unlikely. But if for some reason this exciting filmmaker has eclipsed your radar, you can read my in depth thoughts on his extraordinary life and listen to our prior conversations HERE (RRP #73) and HERE (RRP #144).

If you’re well on board the Casey train, you’ve witnessed quite an evolution in his recent trajectory. Since Casey began daily vlogging — posting a new movie on his YouTube Channel every single day since March 27, 2015 — his already incredibly popular YouTube Channel has exploded, growing from around 500,000 subscribers to well over 1.1 million in less than five months. On average, each vlog amasses around 500,000 views. This one tops out at 1.5 million (which incidentally has absolutely nothing to do with what occurs at the 4-minute mark):

A major network television show would kill for these numbers. But Casey has no interest in such matters. He’s not making videos to capture the interest of the system he consciously placed in his rear view. For Casey, YouTube is the finish line — a juggernaut channel he built all by himself. DIY on the most democratic video platform in the world. And that is far more powerful and compelling than anything HBO, NBC, Disney or any other traditional mainstream outlet could ever offer him. Ever.

If you’re not yet hip to his channel, get on it. A unique voice delivered with expert filmmaking acuity, each and every movie hooks you emotionally and never fails to captivate. His movies are so popular in fact, crowds of people congregate daily outside his downtown New York City studio, pining for a mere glimpse of the populist artist.

And now thanks to the new social media video sharing platform he co-founded called Beme, Casey can add technology entrepreneur to his expanding resume.

Intended to change how we view and use social media, Beme allows users to post successive 4-second video snippets without the opportunity to preview, review or even view the clips before they publish. By altogether dispensing with the opportunity to edit and filter, the big idea is to promote honesty, authenticity and ultimately empathy through shared experience. Rather than sharing the well crafted and highly filtered version of ourselves we want the world to see, Beme is about sharing our point of view the way we actually experience it.

Casey was nice enough to invite me to be a Beme beta tester, and I have been having a lot of fun with it. Download the app for free and follow me at richroll and Casey at casey.

In any event, when my daughter Mathis & I dropped by Casey’s epic studio this past July, Beme had not yet launched and was then still top secret. Therefore, I was unfortunately unable to explore the most exciting and relevant aspect of Casey’s current life in this podcast. But no worries — there is always so much to mine from Casey and this conversation does not disappoint.

I love this guy. I admire his determination. I applaud his positive message. I’m in awe of his creative output. And I celebrate his commitment to promting empathy by providing us with new tools to share our lives more honestly and authentically.

Today’s conversation spans:

  • the grind & reward of daily vlogging 
  • creativity & responsibility in the social workplace
  • finding balance in the chaos
  • the principles that govern his creative life
  • the impact of growing up struggling
  • what it means to be truly successful; and
  • the importance of instinct over advice

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Casey vlogs, mainly because I think it captures his ethos and filmmaking perspective quite nicely.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the exchange.

Peace + Plants,


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  • Tommy F says:

    It’s refreshing to see someone living their passion in this world, while simultaneously inspiring others to do the same. So many of us suffer from complacency in what we chose to do, buckling-in to a daily decomposing of our purpose. Securing a paycheck, yet forfeiting our fulfillment. Aligning paycheck and fulfillment.. a seeming impossibility. Casey’s path “is” completely divergent.. but it seems a path worth getting excited about is rarely cleanly paved.


  • Pete says:

    I really enjoyed this conversation. I wasn’t sure how I felt about him the last time he was on the RRP but this time around, I found him to be much more 3 dimensional maybe 4 dimensional. Thanks for posting Rich. I ended that last sentence with an ! then went back and edited myself and just ended it in a period. I thought you should know that.

  • sasha says:

    These are my least favourite POD’s, having just listened to Jason Garner this hard work…the Cheetah is coming is so about death anxiety, its all work, work ,work for what so he can have an hour with his family, not consistent with the other POD’s at all (for me)

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