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Making It Count and How To Do More

By February 24, 2014August 10th, 202312 Comments

“Work hard and be brave.”

Casey Neistat

Simple yet profound words from this week’s guest, a man in full embrace of the ethos of living an impactful, creative, authentic life in overdrive.

Uncompromising. Unapologetic. Filmmaker, photographer, builder, father, humanitarian, athlete. But most of all, an artist leveraging his boundless creative energy to tell personal stories that inspire all of us to find the adventure in life. To invest in experience. To be bold. And to do more — both for yourself and for others.

I first became aware of Casey around 2010 when his show “The Neistat Brothers” aired on HBO and was immediately captivated by Casey’s DIY sensibility. His fearlessness. His acute ability to find the wonder in the seemingly banal. And his refusal to await permission from the gatekeepers to create. I’ve been a fan ever since, eagerly anticipating each new upload to his wildly popular YouTube channel — 82 movies he refuses to monetize; a network that enjoys a quarter of a million rabid subscribers; and dozens of viral sensations with 50+ million views.

At this point, many of you have likely seen his remarkable “Make It Count”. If you somehow missed it, please watch it now for context before listening to the episode (I’ve watched it at least 20 times and never get tired of it). Hired by Nike to create an advertisement to promote the Fuel Band, Casey audaciously ignored the agreed upon commercial treatment and instead brashly spent the entire budget traveling the world, all the while documenting his incredible adventure until the money just flat ran out. 34,000 miles, three continents, 13 countries, 16 cities and 10 million views later, the rest is history.

This past December, Casey raised the bar. Contacted by 20th Century Fox to create a movie to help promote “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, Casey agreed, with one caveat: permission to donate the entire commercial budget to typhoon victims in the Philippines. Tying creative expression to service,   “What Would You Do with $25,000?” became an instant viral hit, trending on Twitter to over 3 million views.

Then just one day after we sat down for this conversation, Casey headed out in a blizzard to “Snowboard NYC”— a sponsor-less lark he posted within 24 hours of shooting that clocked 5 million views in it’s first five days.

In the words of Wired Magazine, “Casey Neistat’s bite-size Internet movies have so much viral potential they make influenza jealous.” But what is it that makes Casey and his work so irresistible?  Sure, the movies are fun.  Irreverant.  Visually captivating with great music and personal storylines that always star Casey himself as the ever-appealing protagonist.

But in my opinion, what makes Casey stand out, what gives his work permanent residence in my consciousness, is his devotion to authenticity — an axiom of conviction that infuses every single frame of every single work he produces — and the predominant over-arching theme of this podcast.

It was a treat to drop in on Casey’s Lower Manhattan studio —  “one of the most compulsively organized, ridiculously customized, and mind-bogglingly gear-saturated spaces on Planet Awesome”  — and I am super pumped to bring you this powerful conversation with a life premised upon creative passion, a tireless work ethic, a conviction to constantly invest in experience above everything, and an oftentimes logic-defying faith in the journey.

Something I like to call the warrior path.

Listen with ears open. Objectively ponder the limitless possibilities presented in your own life. Then — to echo the words permanently inked on Casey’s forearm — DO MORE.

The awesome black & white photo of Casey (below and in the above YouTube clip) is courtesy of the incredibly talented Manfredi Gioacchini.  Check out his website and follow him on Instagram !

Peace + Plants,



Thanks for listening and thanks for the support!


  • LorieM says:

    You get to meet the coolest most interesting people, who just don’t take things at face value. They question, they inovate, they evolve, and revolutionize… I’m grateful that you are willing to record and share those experiences with the rest of us. Thank-you.

  • JasonRH says:

    He nails it with his continuous emphasis on execution over ideas. Working in the field of computer science and technology, I always get texts/emails from friends who tell me they have great ideas but don’t really want to put any energy behind developing them. Execution is everything. Ideas are worthless.

    Rich, really enjoy the interesting repertoire of guests.

  • briangagliardi says:

    Could not have spent my time any better than listening to you and Casey today. Thanks for the podcast!

  • Jenny C says:

    THANK YOU! I forced myself out the door, this afternoon, for an hour’s walk…wondered what I could listen to to keep going and keep my mind off a sore calf muscle, the heat, the feelings of apathy and lethargy…I have never heard of Casey before, and chose the podcast mainly because of the time-frame. I couldn’t have been happier (and more challenged)! It is the BEST motivating and kick up the arse and inspiring listen that I have had in ages.

  • Tedthegirl says:

    Hi Rich and co, you are doing the most awesome stuff bringing us such inspiring people. Thank you for all that you do.

  • Erica Golub says:

    This was AMAZING! Thank you so much for having such diverse guests and ideas on your show. Sometimes I think the universe conspires through your podcast to get me to stop and hear what I need too at just the right moments.

  • Jory Howell says:

    So many of your guests inspire me and Casey is one of the biggest inspirations! I just watched several of his videos and I am truly impressed my his passion, creativity, and sense of adventure! I could sit and watch them all, but I must finally peel my eyes from the screen to sleep!

    Every time I listen the the Rich Roll Podcast I am reminded that anything is possible; there is no limit or expiration on what we can achieve in our lives if we simply believe in ourselves!

  • thepriesthood says:

    Big fan of the podcast and really appreciate the overall content, but didn’t connect with this one…

    Neistat seems to lack the spiritual grounding that many most guests have. I watched a handful of his videos–this guy is making a living doing borderline-narcissistic Youtube selfies that are covertly trying to sell me something. I just don’t get the adulation here. Maybe there’s more to the guy. But anyone who uses cover frames of his girlfriend in a bikini to get more Youtube hits, well, to me that seems desperate and immature. I wouldn’t describe that as “uncompromising”.

  • Jdgauthier says:

    The quote that Casey is talking about is persistence by Calvin Coolidge
    Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
    Calvin Coolidge
    30th president of US (1872 – 1933)

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