Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Who is Hank Green, and what is his is profession? Many, many different things. He's the creator of SciShow, CrashCourse, the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, VidCon, 2-D glasses, DFTBA Records, among other things. He's a producer of more than a dozen Youtube shows. His projects range from adapting classic novels into weekly vlogs (Pemberly Digital) to organizing the biggest conference on online video in the world (VidCon). How did it all start?

In 2007, John and Hank Green decided to start a Youtube channel where they would alternate uploading videos every day for a whole year to improve to their relationship. This project morphed into Vlogbrothers. John Green, his brother, collaborated with him on many projects over the course of the next decade after the success of the original "Brotherhood 2.0" project. John Green wrote books such as The Fault In Our Stars and Paper Towns while Hank worked on dozens of projects, often introducing them on the Youtube channel. John and Hank's collaborations as brothers As Brian Uzzi notes, "creativity is not only, as myth tells, the brash work of loners, but also the consequence of a social system of actors that amplify or stifle one another’s creativity." John Green mentions in the New Yorker about his brother that ". After the first year of Vlogbrothers, they resumed other forms of communication; John told me that they now talk on the phone every day. “If anything, we talk to each other too often. Now our collaboration is so deep, and our work together feels so intertwined, that I can’t imagine we were ever so distant. But we still need projects.”

Collaboration deepens their relationship as siblings, and fuels their creativity. They even film their weekly videos together sometimes just for the fun of it as brothers, answering questions from their subscribers even though they live across the country from one another (Hank Green lives in Montana; John Green lives in Indiana). Every year, they host the Project for Awesome in order to raise money for various charities. Hank Green founded "The Foundation to Decrease Worldsuck" as an official nonprofit for the yearly project. They also launched the education channel CrashCourse together, which now has over five and a half million subscribers with about a dozen shows focusing on topics such as mythology, biology, astrology, government, and so on.   
(John and Hank Green cohosting VidCon 2012)
Ultimately, their recognition of needs within the world fuel their projects. Hank Green created VidCon after realizing the gap in the conference market for online video creators. John agreed with him, and decided to help make the very first VidCon. Hank usually initiates many of the projects, but he often relies on help from his brother. 

In Bennis' chapter "A Computer with a Rebel Heart," Bennis discusses Steve Job's abusive leadership style by saying "decency in the workplace, especially one that depends for its success on the talent and devotion of its employees, isn't just the right thing to do. It's the smart thing to do." Hank Green would agree.

In this recent video, Hank Green discussed the nature of working with his employees, and rejected the hypothesis of doing harm in order to get more done creatively, as Steve Jobs had done in Apple. Hank also left the following comment in the "Show more" section in this video.

"But I have seen many people do things they don't believe in to accomplish some career goal, to grow their business, or to make a bunch of money. They convince themselves of the good things that will allow them to do, but in the end they often seem quite sad. I know this will not be the case for all people, and it is likely more the case for me because I'm a rich white guy, but I have found that being kind and thoughtful and empathetic is a fantastic way to create successful art as well as successful business. And I'm tired of seeing small business owners trying to learn their lessons from Fortune 500 CEOs like Steve Jobs. Don't be Steve Jobs, he was amazing, but he was a dick. Be a human and treat humans like humans, because that's where the real work gets done." 

When Hank first pitched the idea of "Brotherhood 2.0" to his brother, he had no idea he was beginning a creative collaborative effort that would span more than a decade. Hank and John even founded a new podcast Dear Hank and John on top of their other projects simply out of a desire to create more together. Bennis tells of great creators who "all abided by the same pattern of being embedded in a network of artists or scientists who shared ideas and acted as both critics and fans for each other." Hank and John Green have found that in each other.

Collaboration and Creativity: The Small World Problem by Brian Uzzi and Jarrett Spiro
The Teen Whisperer by Margaret Talbot (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/06/09/the-teen-whisperer)
"A Computer with a Rebel Heart" in Organizing Genius by Bennis.


  1. I really enjoyed reading your blog post on the vlogbrothers. I used to regularly watch their youtube channel as well as the other channels they have developed over the recent years. I only started watching the youtube channel because I read a few of John Green's books. I never knew how the youtube channel started so its interesting that it started as a way to improve their relationship and communicate for a year. John and Hank Green are two very intelligent and creative individuals on their own, but I like how you mentioned that their collaboration aids their creativity. These two brothers definitely use their creativity to make the world better for everyone which is pretty awesome!

  2. The great success and creativity of both Hank and John Green is incredibly inspiring! They started countless amazing projects that all in some way, in the words of Hank Green, decrease "worldsuck." Moreover, the two brothers are intriguing as public creatives simply because they are genuine and likable people! The fact that they are brothers brings up two questions in my mind--what is the importance of close relationships and also one's genetics in creative processes? The two serve as a testament to ways in which working in supportive environments with people who know you very well can aid creativity. Additionally, John and Hank Green suggest that creativity is at least in part determined by biology. All in all, John and Hank Green are some of the most likable famous creatives that I know. The Hank brother's public platform hopefully inspires others to embark on creative projects with family and friends.

  3. I love Hank and John! they are such smart people and they help explain the world to the average person. It's amazing how their channel and community has grown over the years. They have been a part of so many big projects like Project Awesome, Vidcon, Crashcourse, and the LBD. The two brothers are definitely huge creatives and they work off each other very well, but their videos have grown into something that the two brothers had never conceived possible. I think Hank explains it best when he shares his thoughts on the LBD on his personal channel. LBD was one of the first projects he started that did not need Hank Green to run and it was still immensely popular. the Nerdfighteria has become a power unto itself and it's really interesting how the audience has become incorporated with the creative. I think it is only possible because of the platform of the internet and youtube that these brothers are no longer finding creativity solely by themselves and working solely by themselves but now drawing inspiration from their audience and fellow creatives. It's amazing how small their subscription numbers are for the interesting content and huge projects they play a hand in. As noted they are extremely likable which is almost unheard of in a super smart and creative person. I love how they combine audience participation, education, entertainment, and their relationships to each other, their fellow creatives, and their audience in all of their content. I look forward to their works and I hope they continue to inspire, educate, entertain, and create for a long time. DFTBA


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