I’m very fortunate that most of the folks reading what I spew on Twitter know me well enough to put things in context. But recently, I got called out on a couple of tweets by an anonymous YouTube fan. I know it’s just one person, but I figured it’s worth a quick blog post.
At home, I’ve been having a lot of debates and discussions with family about what constitutes being successful. As anyone from a South Asian or Asian family like mine already knows, success in my culture is defined by how big your paycheck is.
True for South Asian families as well.
So while I can list a whole bunch of good things I’ve done and the recognition I’ve received for it, there will always be relatives that will not see me as a success. I’ve kind of learned to live with that reality. And, others in my culture encounter the same thing (see here, here, here, and here for a story from Masarat – creator of the largest TEDx event in the world).
Though there are times when I feel my relatives are right and this week is one of them.
Last year, I was invited to speak at VidCon. I had about ten days notice but was able to come up with a presentation that I am grateful was very well received. Since then I’ve been developing a story about how momentum from last year’s VidCon led to even bigger things in Bangladesh.
Unfortunately, I will not be there to tell that story at VidCon.
Sneak peak of the story I had hoped to tell in person at VidCon.
There is no YouTube drama, politics, or anything like that. Stuff happens and sponsorship to get me to VidCon didn’t come together. Sadly, in light of this, my conversations with my family have kind of looped back to the debate on how you define success.
Basically, even if some in my family concede you can be successful doing something on YouTube, they will point out charity work isn’t one of them. Making music, making jokes, microwaving things, and making explosions is success in this space according to them (a metric measured, among other things, through sponsorship to events like VidCon).
I am very proud of the many friends in the YouTube community that are musician, comedians, microwave specialists, and graphic effects pros. And I love how they’ve taken these talents and turned them into a success (both personally and financially). I also don’t think their success means others working in other areas can’t also be equally successful by the same metrics.
But, especially given the conversations I’m having and have had with family and relatives, I can’t help but feel a bit down. My tweets were just me sharing what’s going on in my life and weren’t intended to be a swipe against anyone. I’m glad all but one of you realized that