What We Saw at Open Sauce 🛸

Highlights from William Osman’s science creator fest

Good morning. Sabrina Carpenter's “Espresso” (arguably the song of the summer) now has a dessert aisle counterpart: Van Leeuwen released an espresso ice cream flavor in collaboration with the singer. Half of the profits from the flavor’s sales will go to The Ali Forney Center, which helps LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness.

Science Creators Shine at Open Sauce

Open Sauce by William Osman (right) gathers speakers, inventions, and exhibits by science creators and engineers / Photography courtesy of Open Sauce

This weekend, over 10,000 engineers, creators, and science enthusiasts flocked to San Francisco for the second-ever Open Sauce—a three-day exhibition founded by science creator William Osman to showcase STEM makers.

The common thread: Future-oriented imagination—from 3D-printed surfboards to AI-powered self-checkout—paired with creator conversations from the likes of Mark Rober, Michael Reeves, and Adam Savage. 

Here are some of the highlights from this year’s Open Sauce → 

The future of Mark Rober’s subscription businesses? All about collaboration with other creators, according to CrunchLabs COO Jim Lee. Working with more creators will help Crunch increase representation and build out an affiliate program with referrals and sponsored content. “We don’t balance between content and product—it’s all entertainment. We have to make sure we can fund the channels and the videos with [these subscriptions],” Lee said.

The future of YouTube Shorts, according to some of the highest-performing Shorts creators? “We’re noticing that the middle ground is leaving,” engineering creator Estefannie said on a panel. “We’re getting very short videos and very long videos. People are watching longform on TV and scrolling Shorts on their phone.”

The future of physical art creators? Welding, if the artists at Open Sauce have called the next big thing right. “We used to work with PVC, but that is so lightweight it kept breaking with larger builds,” Jay from Wicked Makers said. “So we learned how to weld—it’s easier to learn than sculpting or painting, and it can bear tons of weight so we can make larger projects.”

From Apple’s Video Team to Mark Rober’s Head of Production

Luke Hale (left) shares what he learned from leaving Apple and joining Mark Rober (second from right) at CrunchLabs / Photography courtesy of Luke Hale

In 2014, Luke Hale began working as a video producer at Apple. While there, he crossed paths with science creator Mark Rober, then a full-time engineer at the tech company.

A decade later, Hale became Rober’s Head of Production. Here’s what Hale learned transitioning to a creator-led media business in 2023 →

Curiosity is a foundational skill. Hale says falling in love with learning is essential to the fast-paced nature of YouTube, where “what’s required next month is probably different than this month,” he told us. His fascination with video production started in his teen years working at a local news station.

Big companies teach you to kill your darlings. Hale said the “hard creative battles” with coworkers at Apple often led to a great final product.

“I feel like I was raised as a creative at Apple…the longer I’ve been in this field, the less emotional I get about things needing to change,” he said.

Working remotely helps Hale zoom out. When he’s not traveling to Rober’s Bay Area HQ, Hale lives with his family in Idaho. This time split allows him to spend less time on day-to-day creative execution and more time managing logistics and hiring.

“With great producers in place, it gives me [some] latitude to see things from a little bit of a higher level,” he told us.

This is part of our series covering the operators who power creator businesses behind the scenes—read more here. Know someone we should highlight? Hit reply and let us know.

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YouTube Introduces ‘Notes’ Under Videos

YouTube experiments with user-added notes to the bottom of videos that are similar to X’s Community Notes / YouTube

YouTube announced a new experimental feature today that allows users to add “notes” under videos. Notes might point out “when a song is meant to be a parody” or “when older footage is mistakenly portrayed as a current event,” according to the company’s blog post.

  • The feature is currently available to a limited number of contributors.

  • “Third-party evaluators” (and, eventually, all YouTube users) will rate notes based on “helpfulness.”

  • Higher-rated notes will begin to surface under videos in the coming weeks and months.

Zoom out: X (formerly Twitter) has a similar feature to combat misinformation. In May, X claimed that over 500,000 users had contributed to its Community Notes program, with 37,000+ notes shown in 2023 alone.

But: X requires so-called “ideological consensus” on Community Notes, making it “almost impossible” for the feature to ensure accurate fact-checking, according to The Poynter Institute.

👀 Creator Moves

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🔥 Press Worthy

  • Twitch CEO Dan Clancy describes competing platform Kick’s decision to sign streamers to big deals as a “complete mistake.”

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  • More Americans are using TikTok as a news source, according to a new study from Pew Research.

  • VTuber Gawr Gura is performing at an LA Dodgers game.

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