Episode 058

St Pete X features business and civic leaders in St. Petersburg Florida who share their insight, expertise and love of our special city. An initiative of the St. Petersburg Group, St Pete X strives to connect and elevate the city by sharing the voices of its citizens, and to bring awareness to the opportunities offered by the great St. Petersburg renaissance.

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11/01/2019 | Episode 058 | 32:35

Blake Wilson, a.k.a. BatDad

Going viral: Blake Wilson talks becoming BatDad, monetizing content and managing the pressure of internet fame

On this episode of SPx, Blake Wilson, a.k.a. BatDad joins our host Joe Hamilton in the studio. BatDad, a viral internet sensation who became famous through the now-extinct platform Vine, has 8.1 million followers on Facebook and 722,000 subscribers on YouTube. Through the last six years as BatDad, Wilson has taken the internet by storm and monetized his platforms enough to make BatDad his full time job. Two years ago, Wilson and his family moved to St. Petersburg, Fla., and is now a local St. Pete gem.

Key Insights

  • This episode's guest is Blake Wilson, a.k.a. BatDad. This internet sensation now resides in St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • Our host, Joe Hamilton, ran into Wilson by chance one day at Ninja Academy of St. Pete, a recent investment by Wilson where both of their kids attend martial arts training.
  • BatDad initially went viral on Vine, a now-extinct platform that allowed users to make 6 second, unedited videos.
  • On Vine: "Being a guy with a family I guess what drew me to that was how quick it was. You kind of had to be clever and witty within this very short timeframe and that was it."
  • "Unfortunately, it went away, but yeah, that's how I started, Vine, and then I didn't know anything about social media, I had maybe 60 Facebook friends, no YouTube account, no Instagram, I just didn't care."
  • The origins of BatDad: A trip to Target when Wilson bought the Batman mask. "I just decided to buy it and then as soon as I got in the car I put it on and said I'm BatDad. And then I made the first Vine video in the car with Jen... And then it was just like lightning in a bottle, it just took off from there."
  • Wilson went from Vine-niche famous with 100,000 followers to a million view viral sensation overnight after he mashed 20-25 Vine videos together and put it on YouTube. The next day it was front page of Reddit.
  • Wilson talks about the change from Vine to Facebook and YouTube and how video monetization changed the game for video platforms.
  • Leaving Vine: "People just quit posting altogether, people with millions of followers were just like I'm out. You guys can't get your shit together, we're out of here."
  • Now, Wilson's main audience is on Facebook, while a lot of people view his content on YouTube, Wilson explains that the Facebook algorithms are much more friendly to the length of his content.
  • On Facebook: " My videos were doing really well on there - whether they were 15-seconds, 30-seconds, a minute, it was crazy. My page, it blew up, it got to a million likes in about a month."
  • On strategy: "I never plan out anything man, like ever. It's always been whatever is going on in our day-to-day family life. And if a joke pops into my head about something silly, then we'll make a video on that."
  • Monetizing on Facebook changed drastically after the 2016 election, since that time, Wilson has had to make adjustments to the ways he makes revenue and how he engages with sponsors.
  • Looking back: " If I could go back in time I would have started earlier on Facebook. I would say I missed a good chunk of change by not posting these on Facebook, probably about two years of not really honing in on Facebook portion."
  • Wilson talks handling internet fame, avoiding trolls and handling constant connectivity when being a social media star is your full-time job.
  • "It does get to a point where the line between having fun and then feeling like it’s a job starts to get crossed and blurred and I had to learn how to deal with all of that. I had to learn how to say no and just chill."
  • On St. Pete: " St. Pete seemed like a good family town, you know, we didn't want to go to a party area like Miami or Fort Lauderdale really. So, we decided on St. Pete and here we are."

Table of Contents

(00:00 to 01:56) Introduction

(01:56 to 4:54) Becoming Batdad

(04:43 to 7:40) Going Viral

(7:40 to 11:25) Switching Platforms

(11:25 to 12:14) Defining Batdad’s Audience

(12:14  to 18:04) About Ad Revenue

(18:04 to 18:50) A Quick Look Back

(18:50 to 19:54) Working With Brands

(19:54 to 21:15) The Experience For Batdad’s Family

(21:15 to 24:20) Handling The Trolls

(24:20 to 26:08) Being Internet Famous

(26:08 to 28:08) Working With Multi Channel Networks

(28:08 to 29:11) What’s Next

(29:11 to 30:18) Moving To St. Pete

(30:18 to 32:35) Conclusion

Full Transcript:

Transcription begins [00:00:52]


Joe: Joining me on SPx today is Blake Wilson AKA-


Blake: Batdad.


Joe: Alright, that’s great. Yeah, so my kids love BatDad and we had a happenstance meeting in an investment we made recently in an MMA facility.


Blake: Yes.


Joe: And it’s funny because when I first saw you there I think I mentioned to you because we have so many kids, parents and stuff, and my wife manages a lot of the relationships. A lot of times I’ll see other dads and stuff and I feel like I’m supposed to know them because I’ve seen them at events and if I don’t remember them I feel a little guilty. And so, I saw you and I recognized you and started talking to you like I knew you and you kind of looked at me like-


Blake: I was like, “Who is this guy?” [Laugh]


Joe: Exactly, and then I was like man, you know? And then I remembered why I recognized you and it was from YouTube, which is where I actually discovered you, which is not your main outlet. 


Blake: No, but a lot of kids watch there. Most of my audience is on my Facebook, but kids don’t know Facebook, kids know YouTube.


Joe: Yeah.


Blake: So, kids get on YouTube, you know, and they can search for anything on there. And so many people have mashed up my videos, there’s so many of them out there and that’s where the kids know me as Batdad from YouTube.


Joe: Yeah. And to catch people up, so your persona online is BatDad.


Blake: Correct.


Joe: Which is you have a mask and the great voice and then you did short videos on Vine sort of about having fun with family life and your kids are all involved in the videos and they’re pretty hilarious.




Blake: Thank you. So, it will be six years in September, so it’s crazy how the time flies. And now every time I post a video most of the comments are about how big my children have gotten, because five years when you’re an adult, it’s not that much, but when you watch a child grow five years they look completely different. So, that’s what most of the comments are like. But yeah, I started on Vine. A lot of people don’t really remember it, especially older people, but when that first came out I was just instantly hooked. It was an app where the videos were only six seconds long, couldn’t be any longer than that and you couldn’t edit your videos. So, you open up the app, you touch the screen to record, let go to stop recording. And you have six seconds to touch and go, and that was it. And being a guy with a family I guess what drew me to that was how quick it was. You kind of had to be clever and witty within this very short timeframe and then that was it. 


And then you get instant feedback, there’s no post processing, editing, any of that stuff, you just think of something funny, or catch a moment, and post it and you’re done. And that’s what I loved about it; I wish it still existed. I was busy with little twins at home and just the rat race of being a parent, which I’m still doing. But as the time goes on I discovered the other networks, okay I need an Instagram, okay I need to do this on Facebook, okay YouTube. So, most of the stuff I do I put on Facebook, I put some on Instagram too, and then every once and awhile I’ll throw things on YouTube because YouTube wants longer content and my stuff is shorter, Facebook and Instagram fit better for me. 


Joe: And then did you— with the mask— were you fooling around with that before you even made videos? Or did you make videos and the mask sort of came a little bit later?




Blake: I made videos for about two, three months before the mask on Vine just goofing around, figuring out the app, just playing with creativity, it was just annoying stuff. And then Jen and I were at Target and we were buying a present for a kids birthday party we were going to that weekend and I’ve seen that mask there a hundred times in the aisle and I don’t know why I did it. I have no idea, but I picked it up, I just decided to buy it and then as soon as I got in the car I put it on and said I’m BatDad. And then I made the first Vine video in the car with Jen. You know, she thought it was so stupid, we both did, we were just laughing at how dumb it was. And then it was just like lightning in a bottle, it just took off from there. And I was so into it, I was making videos non-stop and we thought we were just getting a kick out of it. 


Joe: Yeah.


Blake: And after a couple of weeks it went viral. 


Joe: So, it went viral pretty quickly then? It wasn’t like you did a hundred videos and it was a slow build, you did a handful, or a couple of weeks and then they just hit?


Blake: Well, what happened was at that time I probably had 20 to 25 Batdad videos, which were all Vines so they’re six seconds long. And there’s a guy named Chris Muhlberger, he used to make Vine videos too, and now he does YouTube stuff, streaming. But he told me he’s like, “Hey man, people would love this stuff if you put it on YouTube.” And going back to me not knowing anything about social media I was just like, “Really? You think so?” He’s like, “Yeah, this stuff, this is really good.” And I was like, “Oh, okay,” So, one night, it was around 9:00 p.m. and I was kind of getting ready for bed and I was just sitting there, I created a YouTube account, took the 20/25 Vine videos I had and I just mashed them together, put them on YouTube and just called it Batdad. Didn’t think anything of it, went to sleep. The next day around 2:30/3:00 my phone- I don’t know, when you get a bunch of notifications at once the phone just kind of goes into overload, starts buzzing and making weird noises and that’s what happened to me. So, that guy Chris Muhlberger, he took the YouTube video, put it on Reddit, and when he put it on Reddit it got to the front page of Reddit.




Joe: Wow. 


Blake: So, then it was a million views overnight and that’s what made it go viral. And then from there the phone just started ringing, the news organizations all that kind of stuff.


Joe: So, it was more it didn’t go viral on Vine necessarily, it went viral on YouTube?


Blake: At that time, I had about a hundred thousand Vine followers. But Vine was a niche-


Joe: Which is no small number.


Blake: No, it’s no small number, but Vine wasn’t mainstream. It was like its own little ecosystem. So, they used to call people, you know, “Vine famous” so Vine wasn’t mainstream, YouTube, everybody knows what YouTube is. So, when you go viral on YouTube or on Reddit that’s more you were going to get the mainstream attention as opposed to on Vine. Vine was like its own bubble.


Joe: And was there any way to monetize Vine?


Blake: No, the only way to do it was brand sponsorships.


Joe: Okay.


Blake: So, companies will pay you to make a video for them. That started I want to say after Vine was around for maybe a year. I think that’s one of the reasons it eventually went under because creators – I wasn’t one of them, but I know there was a bunch of Viner’s that as they were growing their audience and started to realize well, hey, if I post all of this stuff on these other platforms I can make money from this and you guys aren’t helping us out at all. And Vine was never really meant for that and I think that’s why it went under, yeah. 


Joe: And with YouTube, you think you have in the hundreds of thousands of subscribers on YouTube, but you have close to eight million on Facebook. So, how did you make the jump back then? Did you go from YouTube kind of to Facebook or is that in parallel?


Blake: Well, Vine was what I loved, so it was still Vine for a while. And then I started to notice the numbers really all across the board for all creators just everybody, things just started declining. 


Joe: Right.




Blake: And you kind of get this feeling like uh-oh. [Chuckle] So, I already had a Facebook page, but I wasn’t really posting on it. And it’s funny the way this works, but I did a similar type thing. I think my Facebook page had 30,000 likes on it. And I just decided one night to post a three-minute compilation on Facebook on that page and it just blew up to over 80,000,000 something like that views in a week or two. Then the lightbulb went off that okay, most of the older people because Vine was really more for a teen audience, Facebook is more for I would say our demographic. It clicked in my head like okay, I need to be posting on Facebook. So, then I just kept that going and that’s how that started. 


Joe: So, you mentioned you noticed that across the board the Vine audiences were declining and you said you kind of thought uh-oh, right?


Blake: Yeah.


Joe: So, was that uh-oh at that point, I mean, what was your sort of relationship with the traffic at that point? Were you saying I’m doing the stuff; I’m getting this amount of interaction with it and that’s where your value came from and as that started to decline? Or was it the sponsorship opportunities? Or what sort of comprised the uh-oh that made you want to move as far as engagement, and money, and you know?


Blake: At that time nothing was about money.


Joe: Okay.


Blake: I was working for a company called InSource Employer’s Solutions and they do workers comp and I was doing sales for them, renewals for them. I didn’t know that this stuff could make a good chunk of change. So, that uh-oh moment was more of the seeing the numbers, not monetary, but likes, views, all that kind of stuff, just seeing the platform in general seem like it was declining. People were leaving, people just quit posting altogether, people with millions of followers were just like I’m out. You guys can’t get your shit together, we’re out of here. 


Joe: Yeah.


Blake: And you start to notice that stuff when you’re posting all the time and on an app you get to know it’s little nuisances and you can see the shifts and the changes. And to their credit they really tried, they noticed it too, but it was too late. Like they brought in a bunch of people to try and have relationships with the creators, they realized what was going on, but it was like I said, it was never built for that from the get-go and it was too late. But the ‘oh shit’ moment was just seeing all the numbers declining. 




Joe: Right, so then Facebook went well? 


Blake: Mm-hm.


Joe: You have an insane amount of views. And so, then you started making Facebook and YouTube regular posting points for yourself.


Blake: Mainly Facebook. I like YouTube, I know the kids love YouTube, but YouTube for me has been more of a struggle just because the content has to be longer. Their algorithm prefers, you know, 10, 15, 20-minute-long videos as opposed to 60 to 90 seconds of a quick laugh. 


Joe: Right.


Blake: So, Facebook was more, you know, you get a quick laugh and you scroll on. YouTube is more people go there and they’ll spend hours just watching YouTube videos and that’s hard for me because my brain works in the quick jokes, not the long thought out ones. I don’t know if that sounds bad or not like I’m stupid. But Facebook – my videos were doing really well on there – whether they were 15-seconds, 30-seconds, a minute, it was crazy. My page, it blew up, it got to a million likes in about a month.


Joe: Right.


Blake: The most followers I ever had on Vine I think was three and a half million. And like you said now on Facebook it’s almost to eight million, so it’s surpassed Vine by a lot. So, that’s mainly where I gravitated towards.


Joe: So, when you think about your audience, I mean, I watch it with my kids and I laugh as hard as they laugh. And obviously there’s a family appeal, do you kind of segment your audience in different silos? Or how do you sort of think of your audience?


Blake: I don’t segment anything, I never plan out anything man, like ever. It’s always been whatever is going on in our day-to-day family life. And if a joke pops into my head about something silly, then we’ll make a video on that. I know that it’s children and young adults, I don’t know, up until maybe 50 or so, you know? But that audience is the parents between 24 and 45 to 50. So, where they are not too old and they get social media, and it’s something that they can watch with their children. So, I know who is watching, I try not to be too vulgar or anything, but I will throw some innuendos in there, some adult humor.




Joe: So, let’s talk about the progression of the money piece of it. 


Blake: Sure. So, for me once my Facebook page got to around seven, eight hundred thousand likes I got this email from a company called Diply, I don’t know if you ever heard of them, but they are pretty big on Facebook. And what they would do is reach out to people like me, you know, we’re called influencers – I hate that name, I’m not trying to influence anybody. But people like me that make videos or have a larger following online they would reach out to us and say, “Hey, we wanted to talk to you about a publishing opportunity.” And I’m like, “Publishing opportunity? What are you talking about?” So, I really didn’t pay too much attention to the email and I’m lying in bed one night and I look over at Jen and she’s on her phone and she’s reading an article from Diply and I was like, “What is Diply? I got an email from them, what is that?” She goes, “Oh, I don’t know, I just clicked on it on Facebook.” I said, “Oh, okay.” And that was like another little lightbulb moment like so this is something you’re just clicking on it because it’s there. So, anyways, basically Diply is a company, they would produce content, articles, and then they would get people like me to share those on their Facebook wall. My reach is in the millions so lots of clicks and then it would be a way to earn ad revenue. So, that was very profitable and lasted about two and a half years, maybe three. And then Facebook kind of did this whole crack down after the election in 2016 with the fake news and the publishers and they said you can’t do that anymore. So, around the same time they did that they started monetizing Facebook videos like YouTube does. 


Joe: So then in that case then instead of Diply putting the content out and selling the ads against the content it’s just simply Facebook selling that ads against your content directly?


Blake: Correct.


Joe: Okay.




Blake: Yeah, correct. It’s like YouTube now so there’s CPMs, there’s ad insights, I see all that stuff through Facebook.


Joe: Right.


Blake: The only catch is the videos have to be at least three minutes.


Joe: Oh, on Facebook?


Blake: Yes, when they first did it was a minute and a half and I was like okay because most of my videos were normally 20, 30-seconds. And I’m like well what am I going to do now? So, I would mash a couple together and make them a little longer, a minute and a half, that was fun. And then when it got up to three minutes I was like man, people like the quick jokes, like a lot of people don’t want to just sit and watch, people’s attention spans are nothing these days, if you’re still listening out there, congratulations because people want the quick joke, they want the punchline, and then they want another one, and another one, and another one.


Joe: But you think Facebook would know that.


Blake: You would, but these companies want the eyeballs to stay for a long time. So, they figure if you’re putting out videos that are extremely engaging and want to see more of you’ll come back more and more. 


Joe: So, it’s like YouTube, you know, they see people spending like you said hours watching YouTube and Facebook wants that.


Blake: Or a piece of it.


Joe: A piece of it and their brain trust says longer videos help us accomplish that?


Blake: Yeah. 


Joe: And when you say it was lucrative, was this, you know, this became your full-time job lucrative where that was your sole source of income? 


Blake: Yeah, that was it, just being Batdad and kind of running the Facebook page. And then I would do brand sponsorships every now and then. It got to a point where I couldn’t do both things at the same time anymore, like it was stressing me out. I was like oh, I’ve got to do this, but I have this job, and it got to be too much. So, once the Batdad stuff didn’t come from that started surpassing the other one then it was time to make a decision. 


Joe: Yeah, well that’s nice, that’s a luxury, huh?


Blake: Yeah, it is.

Joe: Unexpected luxury.


Blake: Definitely unexpected. And it’s funny because another comment I get all the time is like what the hell do you do for a living? And I always say I sell propane and propane accessories like- [Laugh] I just make a little King Of The Hill joke because younger people know that you can make money from this stuff, the older generation, and when I say older, again, it’s late 30’s and up, they don’t know. They just see a video with millions of views, but if you think these prime-time TV shows you watch, if a show gets three million views an episode these guys make a lot of money.




Joe: Yeah, I think the way they charge the CPMs for YouTube and what gets passed along to the actual creators ends of being, you know, like one cent per view. So, I think 100,000 views gets you about a thousand dollars give or take at one point?


Blake: No. 


Joe: No? If you have a video on YouTube or on Facebook actually and it gets a million views, what kind of revenue would you expect to get from a million-view video? 


Blake: You’re going to make me do math. So, there is the CPM rate and that’s per thousand views and that’s cyclical. So, ad rates are the lowest at the beginning of the quarter and at the highest at the end of quarters. And during the holidays that’s like the mega money. So, like right now for example, we’re in April, it’s the beginning of a quarter and I saw my CPMs on Facebook drop by about five or six dollars per thousand views. So, if let’s say your CPM is $10, if that ad is shown to a thousand people, that’s $10.


Joe: Okay.


Blake: That’s kind of how it works. And then Facebook will take their cut or YouTube will take their cut, it’s usually around a 60 –


Joe: That’s about what I said, I said a 100,000 is $1,000. So, if it’s a thousand people gets you $10 multiply that by-


Blake: Maybe before their cut. I’m thinking I’m like well if I get a 100,000 views I don’t get a $1,000.


Joe: You don’t get a thousand? Again, I only looked at YouTube but I think the content creators get like 30% of the money or something like that, I don’t know.


Blake: It’s more around 40, but then a lot of people on YouTube work with I think they’re called MCNs which is a network that helps manage their channel so then they get a cut too.


Joe: Got it.


Blake: So, that’s probably where the 30% number is coming from.


Joe: Do you get to a point where you can negotiate with YouTube around that? Or they’re just the behemoth and whatever they say goes?


Blake: Well, as far as I know they’re the Behemoth. I’m not big enough on that platform. You know, they got their mega stars on there that I’m sure they have more. I think YouTube gives them preferred rates, but that’s not me.




Joe: Yeah, I hear you. So, given your sort of unintentional journey through the money piece of it are there things you would have done differently if you could go back in time and been more intentional about?


Blake: If I could go back in time I would have started earlier on Facebook. I would say I missed a good chunk of change by not posting these on Facebook, probably about two years of not really honing in on Facebook portion. 


Joe: Before the Russia crash or whatever.


Blake: Yeah, the Russia crash. If I could do anything differently as far as posting and the money and all of that stuff, yeah, that’s what I would do differently.


Joe: And what about opportunities that are outside? I know you mentioned some brands had talked to you about opportunities that are outside of the straight viewership revenue.


Blake: So, the brand stuff is funny. Actually, I just finished one for Black & Decker that I’ll be posting soon when they approve it. The brand stuff is interesting because brands want – for me and my family most of our videos are sporadic. There’s not a script, there’s not take after take after take after take, and when you’re involving children in that process, it can become very, very difficult. So, for me I have to outweigh the positives and negatives. The money is good, but it’s not as much of an enjoyable process. 


Joe: Right.


Blake: It’s getting better now that the children are older, but I remember when I first blew up on Vine, Tide they wanted to fly out to our house and film all day to do 10 Vine videos and my twins were like two and a half years old. 


Joe: Right.


Blake: The money was great, but it was crazy. So, it’s literally one of those things where like – are you just doing this for the money? And it’s a struggle, I haven’t done as much brand stuff, but I am trying to do more now because of what did you call it? 


Joe: The Russia fall or whatever.


Blake: Yeah. [Laugh] Yeah, the adpocalypse I think is what they’re calling it on Facebook.


Joe: Yeah, I like it. Well, you mentioned your family, so how has this experience been? You know, you have four children and the twins, and you brought Ben with you today, what’s it been like for them? You know, obviously the kids at school know that they’re a part of these videos, and what’s that general experience been like?




Blake: It’s been fine. We’ve just tried to instill in them that they’re not special. Like they’re special to their parents, but they’re just like any other kid. They’ve been to a few different schools since all of this has started and once the kids kind of catch wind, it’s fine. The kids are like oh, it’s cool and I’ll walk in and hey BatDad, and they get a kick out of it, but they’re just themselves. They’ve just grown up around this they don’t get the gravity of everything. They do know now more so because they watch a lot of YouTube and pay attention to subscribers and how many people are watching. Like they get that people know who they are. But I haven’t had anything negative, it’s been fine. The reason Ben is here today is because I think he got a spider bite, had to go to the doctor this morning. We’re just like a normal family, we really are. I give my kids breakfast, pack their lunches, take them to school, going to book fairs, going to the doctor, going to MMA at night with them, and then I’m in bed by like 10:00. It’s nothing crazy. 


Joe: I’m pretty sure I had him convinced it was a flesh-eating virus. 


Blake: [Laugh] I hope not. 


Joe: I don’t think you have the kind of celebrity that inspires stalkers like a lot of people do. 


Blake: Yeah.


Joe: But it’s almost impossible to avoid trolls and things like that. So, you know, when you’re looking at comments, how much of that are you into and what’s that part of the experience?


Blake: I can walk around anywhere and nobody, I’m a short bald guy.


Joe: Unless you wear the mask.


Blake: Yeah, but so normally the people that get recognized are Jen and the kids and then they put two and two together because I’m with them and it’s like oh, Batdad. But as far as the comments go Facebook is pretty good, Instagram is pretty good, the meanest comments that we ever got were from Vine and it was all teenagers. Teenagers online can say some of the craziest stuff. I mean, “I hope your kids get cancer.” “I hope they die.” “You’re a pedophile.” You’re this, you’re that, blah, blah, blah, and that’s jarring at first. At first it was so much fun, you’re connecting with all these people that like what they’re seeing. And one of my things is I always talk back to people, that’s a big part of social media is commenting back to people. But it would drive Jen crazy, Jen hated it and some of the comments would get to me a little bit. And then I just realized it was part of it and now I just block people, and it wasn’t a lot. I mean, we’re talking maybe two or three percent of all comments. But still, you’d read stuff about your kids or your family and it does get to you, I don’t care who you are somebody says something like that it’s going to bother you. Now on Facebook that’s where most of the comments are and they’re positive, people come and go, I’ve been doing this for five years and some people, “This isn’t funny anymore, you suck now, it’s not funny.” And I’m like alright man, well bye, I don’t care. I’m not doing all of this for you, I’m just a guy putting stuff on the internet.




Joe: Sure.


Blake: If you don’t like it, than leave, thanks for watching what you did, but it’s okay. There’s never been anything that I have seen on the internet that is fueled me up with so much rage and anger that I felt like I just needed to bash somebody.


Joe: Yeah, well I think my assumption with the younger generation the barrier to doing that is just so low they feel like they just throw it up and it’s just a normal part of their day. If I think it I want to make a comment somewhere and there’s no more barrier to that, I just thought that it was a weird thing because I think people who existed before the internet for you to insult somebody you would have to go up to their face. Like I grew up in a small town and if somebody really said something like what would be an average comment in today’s videos, if you actually said that in public and someone existed with you that would make ripples that lasted a long time. And you know I think as a society we’re still recalibrating the gravitas we give to those comments. And I think the younger generation it just sort of rolls off them, which is unfortunate. And the older generation I think it hits them harder because of the sort of memory of what that would have meant in their formative years. 


Blake: Well yeah, and I told you this last week, but I said I’m young enough to still understand it all, but I’m old enough to remember what it was like without it. And the younger people today don’t know what life is like without it. But honestly man, I post a video and I’ll spend maybe 30 minutes to an hour commenting to people and then I just walk away. I have notifications on my phone off because it’s too time consuming.




Joe: Right.


Blake: Even if it’s a bunch of positive stuff, if you spend that much time glued to your phone, it’s just not good. I mean, I put it down and I just go on with my day. 


Joe: Did you ever find yourself getting really, I don’t know- 


Blake: Addicted?


Joe: Addicted, yeah, I don’t know if that’s the right word for you, but to the comments and that whole-


Blake: Yeah.


Joe: So, is that something that it kind of pressed up against you a little bit?


Blake: Yeah, I had to go through that phase. It’s dopamine man like when you start getting all these likes, and comments, and followers, it’s a head rush and that’s what these kids are searching for. People are doing anything today to try and become internet famous. I’d say about the first year when everything really blew up I didn’t really know how to handle it. I didn’t do anything crazy, but I was stressed a lot. I was stressed from the constant communication, the feeling like I had to keep up with what was going on, the feeling that I had to keep almost entertaining people. It does get to a point where the line between having fun and then feeling like it’s a job starts to get crossed and blurred and I had to learn how to deal with all of that. I had to learn how to say no and just chill.


Joe: I’m assuming in the logic holds in the marketing world that consistency is important. You know, so if you have this audience and you’re on this sort of trajectory that if you just decided to not put anything out for a couple of months that it can be damaging. Did you feel that kind of pressure to say hey, it’s been a week and I haven’t put a video out, need to think of something and do something?


Blake: Yeah, I did and then I stopped. And there have been times where it’s been a month where I haven’t done anything like not posted anything, not commented or anything. And I realized that when you come back the people are still there.


Joe: Yeah.


Blake: So, just because you don’t post something, doesn’t mean everybody just goes away. 


Joe: Sure.


Blake: Because think about do you seek out pages to unlike? No. Like you’ve liked or followed somebody, and if you don’t see them if you’re really into them you might wonder and go to their page, but most people just look in their feed and if they’re scrolling through and they see somebody they like then they see it. So, I’ll go crazy, me personally I can’t function like that. 




Joe: One thing I also noticed- And I really don’t know how this affects things, but I noticed that people will do they’re not fan pages, so some of the people I listen to or watch on YouTube I’ll look down and sometimes the content is from them, but sometimes it’s from somebody else who has just cut up their content and reposted. You know, so are all the BatDad Vine compilations on YouTube all done by you? Or are other people putting up those same compilations or making their own compilations and then are they monetizing off of your content?


Blake: So, it’s other people doing it and then I mentioned earlier about MCNs, they’re called Multi Channel Networks on YouTube. And I work with a company called Collab Creators and they’re actually really good. And what they do for me is they copyright ID all my stuff. So, if Joe Blow takes my videos and monetizes them, great monetize it, but I’m going to get the money. So, I still get money every month from this company even if I don’t put anything out there because there are videos of my stuff out there that people take and it gets claimed as mine. So, I think that used to be the worse a few years ago, especially on Facebook people would just steal and take anything and grow these meme pages. But on YouTube they have a pretty good grip on it and Facebook does the same thing now. Like I have a rights manager where I can upload my video and Facebook will scan it in and then if anything pops up matching the sound or visuals of that video I’ll get notified and see if they’re trying to make money off of it or not and then I can claim it. 


Joe: And what else does the agency do for you?


Blake: So, they’ve helped me in the past with brand deals and they’re actually helping me right now, I’m going to start doing something with- I don’t think I’m allowed to say it, but it’s a major clip company that has a bunch of funny videos and I’m kind of hosting a web series type thing for them on Facebook which is going to be coming out pretty soon. We’re going to do a ton of episodes. And they help me negotiate that type of stuff.




Joe: Cool, well that was going to be my sort of final areas of what’s next. Obviously to maintain the brand and to keep new people discovering you, it sounds like you’re doing a lot of stuff in that direction.


Blake: Yeah, that’s so funny, what’s next. I remember when I first went viral everybody was asking me what’s next and I’m like I don’t know, this just happened. You know, in my mind most people go viral and then you never hear from them again in a week. 


Joe: Right, but you don’t want that.


Blake: No. [Laugh] Well, I realize that as long as I keep making stuff then it will be okay. But in terms of what’s next it’s the project I’m working on with that clip show. I do have my own website called batdaddaily.com that’s going to be coming out soon to help – It’s going to be like funny articles and to help me recoup some of that ad revenue. We actually just tested it on my page today. So, kind of in the final stages there. And then I still make videos with my kids and post them on Facebook and brand stuff, that’s pretty much it. This stuff, it does take up a chunk of my time, but I’m busy being a dad man. Like being a dad takes a lot of time, so that’s my main focus. 


Joe: And I do have to ask, you’re in St. Pete now.


Blake: Yes.


Joe: And you weren’t previously. You moved here, what? Two years ago, or so?


Blake: Yep.


Joe: How did that happen?


Blake: So, I was living right outside of Atlanta, Georgia in a suburb called Roswell, but most people probably don’t know what that is so you say Atlanta. And the BatDad stuff I can do this anywhere; I can get a new iPhone every time they come out with one and that’s it. I need an iPhone and a computer, so I can do what I do from anywhere. The only family that we had in Atlanta was my father, I’m very close with him and he decided to move down to Florida. So, we’re like well, do we stay here and have no family around? Or do we check out Florida? So, we decided on St. Pete. I always loved Florida. I’ve lived in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm, Jupiter, I was born in Jacksonville, but I don’t really remember it because I moved when I was five. But I love the sunshine, I love being down here in Florida. So, we just said what the hell, why not? St. Pete seemed like a good family town, you know, we didn’t want to go to a party area like Miami or Fort Lauderdale really. So, we decided on St. Pete and here we are.




Joe: Cool. Well, we end every show with a shout out to someone who is doing cool work and I’m going to suggest one to you. 


Blake: Okay.


Joe: A gentlemen named Jay.


Blake: [Chuckle] Yes, shout out to Jay, he started teaching my son Ben MMA two years ago when we moved down here. And if you have kids you kind of know how difficult it can be to find something that they’re into. And we went through football, baseball, gymnastics, we tried a bunch of stuff. And as soon as he got into martial arts it was like yes, I want to go, I want to go, I want to go. And I think a big part of that is because of Mr. Jay, his coach. And Mr. Jay and I decided to open up our own martial arts studio for kids. It opened in March and it’s called Ninja Academy of Martial Arts and it’s going great. It’s just for kids after school MMA program. I don’t know how to do this stuff, but he’s really good at it. [Laugh] So, I’ll go there, I’ll hang out, I’ll talk to people, but he’s a really good guy. I think he really knows what he’s doing. Your two kids go there.


Joe: That’s right.


Blake: Which is why I’m here essentially. 


Joe: Yep.


Blake: So yeah, shout out to Mr. Jay.


Joe: Cool, and that won’t be relevant for our listeners who are not near St. Petersburg, but for those who are we’ll make sure we have all the contact info and stuff in the show notes page. Blake, it’s been a pleasure, thanks for all of the information, and thanks for the great content, we really enjoy it.


Blake: Yeah, no problem man, nice talking to you.


Transcription ends [00:31:35]


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About the host

Joe Hamilton is publisher of the St. Pete Catalyst, co-founder of The St. Petersburg Group, a partner at SeedFunders, fund director at the Catalyst Fund and host of St. Pete X.

About the St.Petersburg Group

The St. Petersburg Group brings together some of the finest thinkers in the area. Our team is civic minded, with strong business acumen. We seek to solve big problems for big benefit to the city, its businesses and its citizens.