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James Stephen “Jimmy” Donaldson[b] (born May 7, 1998) is an American YouTuber, entrepreneur, and philanthropist better known by his online identity MrBeast. He is recognised for his fast-paced, high-production videos that include intricate challenges and hefty giveaways. With over 240 million subscribers, he is the most subscribed individual on YouTube and the second-most subscribed channel in general.

Donaldson grew up in Greenville, North Carolina. At the age of 13, he started posting videos on YouTube under the username MrBeast6000 in early 2012. “Videos estimating the wealth of other YouTubers” were among his early output. He went viral in 2017 when his “counting to 100,000” video received tens of thousands of views in just a few days, and he has gotten increasingly popular.

Donaldson is the founder of MrBeast Burger and Feastables, as well as a co-founder of Team Trees, a fundraising for the Arbour Day Foundation that has raised over $23 million for its projects, and Team Seas, a fundraiser for the Ocean Conservancy and The Ocean Cleanup that has raised more than $30 million. Donaldson earned the Streamy Award for Creator of the Year four years in a row (2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023), as well as the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award for Favourite Male Creator twice (2022, 2023). In 2023, Time magazine named him one of the world’s 100 most important individuals. He landed on the Forbes list for the highest paid YouTube creator in 2022 and has an estimated net worth.

Early Life

James Stephen Donaldson was born on May 7, 1998, in Wichita, Kansas.[30] as the son of Sue Donaldson. He was mostly raised in Greenville, North Carolina. His parents worked long hours and served in the military, so he moved frequently and was cared for by au pairs. His parents were divorced in 2007. Donaldson graduated in 2016 from Greenville Christian Academy, a local small private evangelical Christian high school. He briefly attended East Carolina University before dropping out. After skipping out, Donaldson and his buddies attempted to decipher YouTube’s recommendation mechanism and determine how to make viral videos. Donaldson said around this time, “There’s a five-year period in my life where I was just constantly, unhealthily preoccupied with studying virality,

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YouTube career

Donaldson made his first YouTube video in February 2012, at the age of 13, using the moniker “MrBeast6000”. His early output included Let’s Plays, primarily on Minecraft and Call of Duty: Black Ops II, videos assessing the wealth of other YouTubers, videos providing advice to aspiring YouTube creators, and commentary on YouTube drama. Donaldson made only a few appearances in these videos.
In 2015 and 2016, Donaldson began to acquire fame with his “Worst Intros on YouTube” series poking fun at YouTube video openers. By mid-2016, Donaldson had approximately 30,000 subscribers. In the autumn of 2016, Donaldson dropped out of East Carolina University to pursue a full-time career as a YouTuber. His mother disapproved of this and forced him to leave the family.

Rise to fame (2017–2020)

Jimmy Donaldson’s breakout viral video was a nearly day-long film of himself counting to 100,000, released in January 2017. The ordeal took him 40 hours, with some sections accelerated to “keep it under 24 hours.” Donaldson rose to prominence during this period with stunts such as attempting to break glass with a hundred megaphones, watching paint dry for an hour, attempting to stay underwater for 24 hours, which failed due to health issues, and an unsuccessful attempt to spin a fidget spinner for a day. Donaldson had given away $1 million through his outrageous actions by 2018, earning him the label of “YouTube’s biggest philanthropist”.
During the PewDiePie vs T-Series rivalry in 2018, a competition to be the most-subscribed channel


YouTube content

Early in his career, Donaldson’s output consisted mostly of Let’s Plays, “best and worst” videos, and YouTube comments.Donaldson’s current videos are categorised into three genres: Stunt videos, where Donaldson or other participants do challenges that are fascinating, demanding, or risky; “junklord” videos, where Donaldson uses a vast quantity of particular product in an unexpected way or spends an excessive amount on it; and giveaway movies, in which Donaldson gives away big sums of money or costly prizes to individuals, generally with a competitive element. Giveaway videos are said to be a distinguishing aspect of Donaldson’s programming.

Donaldson’s videos use YouTube’s recommendation algorithm to go viral, mostly by increasing click-through rates and viewer retention. To increase click-through rates, he concentrates on crafting effective subjects, titles, and thumbnails. In an interview with Lex Fridman, he noted that in order to make a viral video, it needs to be “original, creative, something people really need to see, ideally never been done before”. His headlines are intended to entice viewers by promising extreme stunts and using terms such as “24-hours” and “challenge”. His thumbnails are intended to be intelligible, well-focused, and brilliantly coloured. To maximise viewer retention, Donaldson paces the videos so that viewers remain engaged throughout. His videos often last 10 to 20 minutes. He captivates audiences by delivering the premise in under Half a minute into the video, it promises a “finale” that will keep viewers engaged until the conclusion.According to The Verge, his revenue is self-sustaining: “The more viral he becomes, the more brands want to work with him, and the higher his AdSense earnings become.” He can then tempt viewers by creating larger freebie videos. “It’s an endless cycle.” Donaldson generates passive income via goods, MrBeast Burger, and Feastables.

As of 2023, Donaldson employs around 250 individuals. They include authors, editors, and producers. Many staff are recognisable to Donaldson, including relatives and family members.[ Some former employees claimed that Donaldson created a tough working atmosphere. Matt Turner, an editor for Donaldson from February 2018 to September 2019, alleged in a May 2021 New York Times article that Donaldson berated him almost daily, including calling him a “retard”. Turner claimed that he was frequently not credited for his contributions. According to Insider, Turner earlier posted a video in 2018 clarifying his charges, and in October 2019, he produced a deleted Twitter thread claiming that he was “yelled at Donaldson bullies me every day, calling me intellectually dumb and replaceable.”

Nate Anderson, another editor, departed after working with Donaldson for a week in 2018 due to what he saw as onerous standards, and he referred to Donaldson as a perfectionist. Anderson reportedly received death threats from Donaldson supporters after posting a video about his incident. Nine additional Donaldson employees reported that, while he was sometimes generous, his demeanour changed when the cameras were turned off. Donaldson refutes these allegations, saying, “We have high standards, but it’s not a toxic work environment.” Donaldson further claims that at the end of Turner’s employment, he paid him $10,000 and suggested he take a job with another company.

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