How I Made Penn the Most Popular Non-lecture University YouTube Channel in the World

In March 2010, the University of Pennsylvania hired me to start their web video unit and gave me $15,000 to buy equipment and a fancy new Mac Pro. Within two years, I took their YouTube channel, UnivPennsylvania, from 70,000 (mostly views of commencement addresses by Bono and Jodi Foster) to over six million views. Today it is the most popular university YouTube channel by views if you don't count lectures and speeches (Penn uses Coursera, not YouTube, for those types of videos). Here's how I did it.

I produce high-quality, popular videos for Penn, videos such as Robot Quadrotors Play the James Bond Theme  (with almost 3.5 million views) and my latest viral hit RHex the Parkour Robot (which I released four days ago and now has over 220,000 views) among other videos. When I release a video, I contact my list of journalists that have asked me to send them all of my popular videos. Normally, my videos are posted on sites like,,,, Engadet, io9, boingboing, and many others, often within minutes of the video's release..

Now, I've launched Kurtis Films, with the plan to produce popular video content for a broader range of clients. I expect to work mainly with news organizations, nonprofits and universities, but I do see the possibility to produce popular videos for great companies as well. It's a very exciting time of rapid innovation in web video, and my plan is to continue as a leader in this burgeoning industry.