Oh God…so I’m running on very little sleep, but I’m also still running hard because it’s what I’ve become used to. I’m writing this mostly for me, so feel free to disregard. Without getting into any specifics, I want to talk about the problems we solved at this year’s VidCon (which I’m very proud of) and new problems that we identified (that I’m looking forward to taking care of next year.)


Signing Nightmares

Last year we had a lot of people get in long lines to signings that ended before they got anywhere close to the front. That was super sad. This year we had a signing lottery that made it clear who you were going to get to see before you arrived. We allowed people to get refunds after the lottery was drawn. This had three extremely positive effects:

  1. People spent far less time in line and so got to do way more stuff
  2. Since they got to do that stuff, we have succeeded in a major goal of making it clear that VidCon is about much more than signings and photos
  3. Since attendees knew they were only going to get a couple signings, they came with proper expectations and thus had a much better time at the event.

Out of Place Creators

With the explosion in fan attendance to VidCon in 2014, we got a lot of feedback that hobbyists and upcoming creators felt out of place in the community track but couldn’t afford the industry track and were considering not coming back to VidCon. This was a huge crisis in my mind because I originally made VidCon mostly for those people and I think they’re a hugely important to this community. So we introduced the creator track which allowed us to serve these attendees specifically. This is the content that I spent most of my personal time curating and building this year and the feedback has been enormously positive. I’m so happy about this.


Online video has become, in a lot of ways, very mainstream. Along with that, in 2014 we saw a lot more traditional fan/celebrity dynamics than were were expecting. So while we used to be able to escort people through public areas, in 2014, VidCon attendees would occasionally (and unsafely) rush toward anyone who looked like they might have a security escort. This year, we moved all creator transportation from hotel to convention center to behind the scenes shuttles. I’m kinda sad that we had to do this, as it reinforces the false distinction between community and creator, but it was necessary for the safety of everyone at the conference and thanks to a lot of people who are great at solving problems on the fly, it functioned really well.

Caged Creators

We also had some issues last year with creators feeling like they were caged in the hotel for a full week and unable to leave without causing a dangerous mob. We overcame this by building behind-the-scenes transportation and also working with sponsors to provide lots of fun on-site activities for creators.


VidCon Crashers

We have some internal policies that we use to determine whether we can’t have a creator at VidCon and they mostly have to do with whether a creator has done something that shows a disregard for the safety of their fans. A number of creators have done those things and we have told them not to come to the conference. But many of them, Going forward, we’re going to be more strict about creators who endanger their fans, whether that’s through manipulation online, or by intentionally creating mob scenes at VidCon or other similar events. We will communicate to them that they are not welcome and will arrest them if they attempt to create a mob. Two of our security officers were injured this year in a mob caused intentionally by a creator who did the exact same thing last year, and we simply cannot allow that in the future.


This is a known problem that we’re still trying to deal with. There are definitely more white male online video creators than any other demographic and we are going to continue moving toward a more representative conference so that we can reflect the world as we want it to be. We’re likely going to engage someone to work with the conference to help us achieve that goal.


The culture of VidCon is, ultimately, the most important asset the conference has. The lack of a distinct line between creator and fan is one of the things I love most about online video and we want to do everything we can to reinforce that. Of course, for safety and logistical reasons we can no longer expect everyone to mix all the time, but I am also very aware that I am literally putting a badge around people’s neck that you can look at and tell whether they’re a “big deal” just by seeing what color it is. This year, we only gave yellow badges to people who were doing content, which was a very distinct line we could use and also allowed smaller creators behind the curtain if they were doing content at VidCon.

That hard line is really nice for us because one of the things we spend the most time on is fielding requests from MCNs, agents, and managers for guest passes for their talent. But if we start giving passes to independent creators with 50,000 subs as part of a hierarchy minimizing program, MCNs get really angry that their creator who has 1,000,000 subs isn’t invited as a featured creator. In the end, if we opened all of VidCon’s behind the scenes to everyone who was doing something fascinating with a sizable audience, there would be thousands and thousands of people backstage, and it would be a little unsupportable. 

This is something I’ve struggled with since the very beginning of VidCon, and a problem I really would like to solve. It’s just a very logistically difficult one. I have a couple ideas, but I need to run them by some people before I share them.