Barbara Dunkelman: Managing Rooster Teeth’s Community (RWBY, RTX, Lazer Team, Red vs. Blue)


This week, Barbara Dunkelman, Community Manager of Rooster Teeth, details the journey of how she began working at Rooster Teeth. She and Gus Sorola are Co-Directors of the RTX Event, a fan and industry gaming conference hosted by Rooster Teeth in Austin, TX. The Event in 2014, featured over 30,000 attendees. Barbara chats about what it’s like interacting with Rooster teeth’s impassioned fans both online at RTX.

Barbara tells Ryan what she’s learned working for Burnie Burns and the story about she found herself working at Rooster Teeth, after growing up a fan of the series Red vs. Blue in Canada. She also talks about what it’s like voicing the character Yang in the Rooster Teeth anime-series RWBY, and gives Ryan pointers on what makes a good pun. Finally, they discuss Lazer Team, the recent IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign, where Rooster Teeth shattered film crowdfunding records by raising over $2.4 Million dollars.

Listen to Ryan’s podcast with Guest Burnie Burns, Founder of Rooster Teeth:

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Follow Barbara on Twitter:

Find Barbara on the Rooster Teeth site:

Learn more about the RTX Event:

Rooster Teeth’s Lazer Team:

Watch Episode 1 of RWBY:

Barbara in the Daily Dot Ryan referenced:

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • What makes a good community manager
  • How to create a community of lifetime fans
  • How Barbara Dunkelman got started at Rooster Teeth
  • What makes the RTX Event special
  • What is the anime series RWBY
  • What is the machinima series Red vs. Blue
  • What it’s like working at Rooster Teeth

The Podcast Download with Michael Wolf (Next Market Podcast Host)


This week Ryan chatted with Michael Wolf, host of The Next Market Podcast. Michael and Ryan discuss the art and science of podcasting.  He’s somewhat of a podcast historian (even though the industry is very young), and Michael started podcasting in 2006.  He is also a writer and researcher, who has written for GigaOm, CNN, New York Times, Forbes.

Michael shares insights into how to start a podcast, and they chat about the Mt. Rushmore of podcast hosts.  Michael talks about some of his favorite podcasters like Bill Simmons, Roman Mars, Ira Glass, The Accidental Tech Podcast (Marc Ament), and Adam Corolla – and what makes them so good.

Michael’s start-up podcast network:, which is a collective of tech/media podcasts to help listeners discover great technology shows.   His new podcast is:  Smart Home Show, where talks about home technology (think Nest and Dropcam).

Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, and Soundcloud

Michael’s podcast:  The Next Market Podcast, features “conversations with technology and media makers. Topics include digital publishing, web, investing, podcasting, crowdfunding and pretty much anything else on the frontiers of tech innovation.” 

 If you want to check-out his Next Market Show (which you should), The Next Market Podcast:


Michael on Twitter:

Smart Home Show:

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How to start podcasting
  • How to book guests on a podcast
  • How to build a podcast business
  • Who is on the Mt. Rushmore of podcasting
  • The reasons for starting a podcast
  • What podcasts to listen to, to learn how to podcast
  • The ROI of podcasting
  • What is Technology FM
  • What’s the Next Market Podcast

Andy Baio on “Making a Living Doing What You Love, XOXO Fest, & (Part 1 & 2)

Ryan spoke with Andy Baio, one of the greater minds on the internet. 10 years ago Andy launched, an event-based community, and one of the pioneering social networks. To kick-off the show, Ryan and Andy discuss the rise and fall and now the return of This conversation was so awesome, we divided it up into 2 parts. This is “Part 1,” and “Part 2” will be up in the next few days.

Andy’s site was acquired by Yahoo! in 2005, and Yahoo! Eventually terminated the website (sadly for Andy). However, there is a happy ending, during the past year, Andy re-acquired the website, and launched a Kickstarter to re-build his community. In merely 48 hours, Andy reached his funding goal of $30,000, and a month later he raised over $100,000 from Kickstarter backers.

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Andy Baio , Founder of XOXO and

Andy Baio , Founder of XOXO and


Andy was also the founding CTO of Kickstarter, and he and Ryan discuss the early days of Kickstarter and some of his favorite campaigns (like Cards Against Humanity). Additionally Andy speaks about about the XOXO Festival that Andy founded along with Andy McMillan

The festival has taken place in Portland the past two years. The conference is for: “Artist and makers and hackers of all kind making a living doing what they love using the internet,” as Andy puts it. He raised over $175,000 for the conference, again launching it on Kickstarter.

Andy is an inspiring guy, who has built a lot from the internet, and offline around events. To take a page from past guest, Adam Grant’s playbook, Andy is a true giver who gives to people on the internet. The maker/builder community is a better place with Andy’s projects, and the internet “gives him a hug,” every time his projects get funded.

Part 2:

In Part 2, Ryan talked with Andy, about “Making A Living Doing What You Love,” and how Andy launched the XOXO Festival.  The next XOXO is coming up in September, 2014 in Portland, Oregon. and you can register/view the speakers: Dan HarmonHank Green, and Kevin Kelly.  (You can listen to Ryan and Earwolf CEO Jeff Ullrich, talk about Kevin Kelly’s inspiring 1,000 True Fans article on Episode 7 of the Influencer Economy).

Andy chats about how a theme of the XOXO conference is about “going independent” as a creator, and how it is difficult to go independent, often the pros outweigh the cons. When someone by-passes publishers in the book/gaming/board gaming/movies world (all creative industries), it can be incredible to see how far people’s ideas can go.

Ryan asked Andy about creating projects online (Kickstarter or otherwise), without having a large (pre-existing) fan following, and how one goes about that.  Or if it’s even possible.  Andy said creators with free-standing ideas that are high concept can often succeed, if you tap into a subject that people care about.

Andy sites Indie Game the Movie as a great example of a project where you don’t need a pre-existing fan-base to get off the ground.  By inviting people into the story& engaging people through the creative process, you can build a base in the process, like the creators of Indie Game did.  (You can listen to Ryan chat with VHX Founder Jamie Wilkinson about Indie Game the Movie on Episode # 8.


On this podcast you’ll learn:

  • The story of the launch, acquisition and re-birth
  • How to leverage the power of Kickstarter
  • How to run successful Kickstarter campaigns (Andy’s projects as examples)
  • How Kickstarter was founded
  • What the XOXO conference is all about (you should sign-up for updates:
  • How awesome the internet is and can be for givers
  • How to “go independent” and by-pass publishers as a creator
  • How Indie Game the Movie, built-up a fan-base and launched a movie with a large (pre-existing) following
  • How board games were re-vitalized via crowdfunding


Andy on Twitter:

Sign-up for updates on the XLXL Festival:

Sign-up for the re-launch of

Michael Goldfine: Online Film Collaboration (Producer of Camp Takota)

Ryan spoke with Michael Goldfine, producer of the ultra-successful film, Camp Takota. The summer camp comedy movie, Camp Takota stars YouTubers Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart and Mamrie Hart. The film was distributed exclusively online, and turned a profit within four days of its release. It is an online film juggernaut based on the passion of their Takota Nation fan base.

Michael’s company Rockstream Studios, produced the film, where it was #3 on the indie film iTunes charts, behind major studio films like Dallas Buyers Club and 12 Years a Slave. Ryan and Michael talked about the dilemma that every person creating in media faces: Do I go traditional or exclusively digital? He elected for digital only, and the film was a massive success – without any initial mainstream attention. It was independently financed, distributed, and marketed.


Michael and Ryan in the sunlight of SoCal

Michael and Ryan in the sunlight of SoCal

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • The benefits of releasing your movie, book, music album exclusively on digital platforms.
  • How to persist in business when you keep talking to people who say “no, no, no”
  • How to launch a film or idea, without mainstream press
  • How to create your ideas in film, and break into the film industry
  • How to create a new business and distribution model for your passion projects


Camp Takota Movie Poster

Camp Takota Movie Poster





“A Revolutionary Approach to Success,” Author Adam Grant

My guest this week on the podcast is Adam Grant, the author of the New York Times’ best selling book:  “Give and Take:  A Revolutionary Approach to Success.”  Adam is a professor at Wharton, and their highest rated teacher ever.  His research around giving and taking has revolutionized how people can achieve business success.  Listen to hear more about how “giving” actually helps everyone achieve more success in the long run.

Listen on SoundCloud Here

Listen on iTunes Here

Listen on Stitcher Here: 


Adam broke down with Ryan the three key styles in the work environment: 1) Giving 2) Taking 3) Matching.

Givers are the types of people who show-up early at work, mentor others, and stay late to help-out.  They give without expecting anything in return.  Takers are the types of people who “take” and look out for only themselves.  While matchers are the most common type of person at work.  Matchers have the philosophy: “You help me, and I’ll help you” (tit for tat).

Buy the Book here

Follow Adam on Twitter

What you’ll learn from this episode:

  • How to think more like a giver, and giving is greater for you in the long run
  • The characteristics around the key styles in the work place:  giving, taking and matching
  • How to take the long view in business, as life is NOT a zero-sum game
  • That takers have a short view towards life and work
  • How takers can learn to become givers 
  • How five minute favors and making 3 intros a day changed Adam Rikin’s life (and the lives of others)
  • How givers like the venture capital investor David Hornik succeed more by giving

Adam speaking at Google:



Freddie Wong: Launching a Film Studio in the Internet Age (Part 2)

Filmmaker Freddie Wong is on for Part II of his conversation, on the “The Influencer Economy.” You may know Freddie for his popular web series “Video Game High School, which has reached over 65 million views online. To state it simply, it’s “Harry Potter for video games.”  Ryan and Freddie had such an interesting conversation, he had to divide it up into 2 episodes.  To catch last week’s episode click here  Ryan and Freddie sat down at RocketJump Studios, in Burbank, CA. for this conversation.

We talked about what it’s like to run a modern day media company, in the day of the internet. And the conversation takes an unexpected twist when Ryan’s memory runs out on his camera, which we’ll leave for your to listen to. This was one of our favorite chats, Freddie is a true professional when it comes to creating and conversing.

Please subscribe to The Influencer Economy  on Stitcher and on iTunes

Find Freddie on Twitter
Find Freddie on YouTube
Find Freddie at Rocketjump
Watch Video Game High School


Freddie Wong: Breaking Crowdfunding Records & Video Game High School

RocketJump meets Influencer Economy

Freddie and Ryan (awkward smile guy)

Filmmaker Freddie Wong is guest # 8 on the “The Influencer Economy.”  You may know Freddie for his popular web series “Video Game High School, which has reached over 65 million views online.  To state it simply, his series is the “Harry Potter for video games.”  According to, Video Game High School is an action/comedy web series about best friends, first loves, and landing that perfect head shot.

Subscribe to The Influencer Economy on Click Here for Stitcher and Click Here for iTunes  

In early 2014, Freddie Wong and VGHS shattered an online video crowdfunding records, raising over $900,000 for his IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign.  He is also  the filmmaker behind the popular YouTube Channle /FreddieW which features video game / sic-fi / and special effects heavy content.  The Channel has over 7 million subscribers, and has an amazingly loyal online following.
We had a funny and enlightening conversation, Freddie and I met at his RocketJump Studios, where his team is creating VGHS.  We chatted about the real definition of crowdfunding, what it’s like being famous on YouTube, and why it’s smart to build a community before you launch your film or project.  He’s a super funny and intelligent guy, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • How Freddie created his crowdfunding perks for Video Game High School
  • How to build a community around your video content
  • What it’s like getting recognized if you’re a YouTube creator and how accessible YouTube creators are versus celebrities
  • How Freddie as victim to inversed digits, and kept getting wrong number calls
  • How Crowdfunding really evolved from bands like Radiohead and musicians like Trent Reznor
  • What is the real definition of crowdfunding
  • Why it’s important to build an online community before you launch a film or any media-driven project
Find Freddie on Twitter
Find Freddie on YouTube
Find Freddie at Rocketjump
Watch Video Game High School

Flula: The Passion of YouTube, Reddit, and Dirk Nowitzki

It was a pleasure to have Fula on “The Influencer Economy,” he’s a well-respected DJ/musician/host on YouTube.  Flula has over 500,000 YouTube subscribers on his channel and has built a loyal global audience.


Flula shows the power and everything that is right with the internet.  He created a video “Flula in Germany” video which found the front page of Reddit, and garnered over 400,000 views.  This video was in made in response to his deportation to Germany, which made him sad.  However, the video had such a popular online reaction, it propelled him to prioritize making videos on YouTube and the web.

Growing up in Germany, one of his heroes was Dirk Novitzski.  He made a video entitled “German Moses,” and also sang The Rolling Stones “Satisfication,” in his patenteded “auto-tune” series where he sings/raps in a car.  You can see the Dirk collaboration here:

It fantastic to have Flula on “The Influencer Econony,” he is an inspiring artist and one funny dude.  Subscribe to him on YouTube for more videos!
Flula on YouTube:
Flula on Twitter:
Flula on Facebook:
Flula on Instagram
Ryan on Twitter:
Ryan on Instagram:

Launching a Podcast Network with Earwolf Jeff Ullrich



Earwolf’s Jeff Ullrich joined me on the show to talk about how he launched the Earwolf podcast network, with his business partner Scott Aukerman.  We speak about how the role of talent, producer, and entrepreneur are all merging in the world of media.  Shows you may have heard of: Comedy Bang Bang, Sklarbro Country, and Jeff’s podcast The Wolf Den, are produced in-house at Earwolf.  He also founded The Mid Roll, which is a advertising tool for artists to monetize their shows.  Nerdist, Marc Maron’s WTF, and an entire network of shows leverage The Mid Roll product.

Listen to the show on Stitcher   Find the show on iTunes

We talked about how he got to 1,000 true fans for his early podcasts, how the innovator’s dilemma inspired him to create the business.   He’s built a podcast network with over 7 million monthly downloads, and over 10 million in revenue, hope you enjoy the conversation.

The Mid Roll:


Jeff’s Wolf Den Podcast:

We Are All Self-Distributors: Talking Aziz Ansari, VHX, & Indie Game the Movie” with Jamie Wilkinson

Excited for episode #5 of The Influencer Economy, with my guest Jamie Wilkinson. Jamie and I had an awesome chat about media, video , and making stuff on the internet. It was so good, I had to divide up the conversation into two different episodes. The chat is a fascinating glimpse into the world of where the film industry.

Find us on iTunes and find us on Stitcher

Jamie is currently the CEO and co-founder of VHX LINK , a direct distribution platform where creators can sell videos, TV, film and content directly to their fans. They are paving the way for creators to connect with their fans, and empowering a generation of artists to generate revenue around their passions.

In the first episode we chatted about VHX, and and early successful project they worked on with the comedian Aziz Ansari. They helped Aziz distribute his comedy special via the platform, which made six figures of revenue within the first day.

Jamie is also the co-creator of Star Wars Uncut and won a Primetime Emmy – for “Outstanding Achievement in Interactive Media Non-Fiction in 2010. The film is an amazing crowd-sourced re-creation of the original Star Wars film.



In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • How to Aziz Ansari and VHX teamed up for his comedy special
  • How Indie Game The Movie partnered with VHX and created a blueprint for how to self-distribute a film
  • How Camp Takota distributed their movie via their YouTube followings
  • What types of risks filmmakers can take to keep the rights to their film
  • How the future of film is direct communication and collaboration with the film’s audience
  • How to launch a film brand, create a film, and build audience ahead of your film’s release
  • How Star Wars Uncut was created and crowdsourced from the community
  • How one Tweet can change your career path, and how Andy Baio Tweet’ed the Indie Game the Movie filmmakers about VHX and the rest is history
  • That the next generation of filmmaking is fans and creators directly communicating throughout the filmmaking process

Watch Star Wars Un-Cut

Follow @JamieW on Twitter:

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 5.49.05 PM


Watch Indie Game the Movie, Camp Takota, Aziz Ansari’s Dangerously Decilicious , and many other films on VHX







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