A few weeks ago, sitting in an all-too-familiar meeting where people were trying to sell us the world and take SORTEDfood along with it, one of the people sitting opposite said to me “the thing is, one day you four guys are going to have to ask yourselves what you want to do when you grow up”.
Now, this question took me by surprise… No one had said that to me for at least 15 years!
Looking at the evidence, I would have to say that I was already “grown up”… I’m 29 years old, married, just bought a house and have a daughter who’s about to turn 2. And the other guys are moving in similar directions.
As a group over the last few years (with a lot of help), we’ve grown SORTEDfood to a team of 15 people, become the world’s most engaged cooking channel on YouTube, reaching over 2 million people, totalling more than 200 million video views, and currently growing at more than 12 million per month.
We’ve built a platform around food for people to learn, be inspired by and inspire others to get cooking by sharing their cooking expertise through user-generated recipes and photos… with their followings now even outgrowing ours!!
And then it dawned on me… They didn’t see this side of SORTED, they only saw the 3 videos that go up every week… Usually laced with d*ck jokes (which, by the way, will never not be funny… regardless of how old or grown up you are).
But the videos aren’t the point. They’ve never been the point, and never will be. These people were missing the spark, the thing that makes SORTEDfood so incredible.
These businessmen aren’t interested in the stories we get emailed every week from people who have been inspired to start cooking, who have actually learnt how to cook and who have met new friends all through this incredible community we call SORTEDfood.
They don’t see how this community has helped strangers through eating disorders, family tragedies or big celebrations… All they see are numbers, and how they could help us “make them bigger”. Which is all a bit sad really.
As you can expect, the meeting finished pretty swiftly after this conversation, and all follow-up emails have been ignored.
But it did leave a lasting impression on me, because it showed me exactly what is happening in the online world and where we fit within it. As people have flocked online, so have big businesses with their big money, and it’s becoming very ugly, very quickly. These businesses are turning it into a numbers game, and just as a new way to make money.
But that’s not why we’re here. And speaking to a lot of other native online creators, it’s not why they’re here either.
Of course it’s in our interest to grow SORTED – after all, it now helps to support a team of 15 people and we have some BIG ideas of where we want to go in the future – but there’s no point in us growing if it doesn’t mean anything to anyone.
We’re not here for the numbers. We’re here for the food, for the people, for their stories… and for the fun that comes along with it.
Everything else takes a back seat.
We’re determined to become the home of cooking online, but – as with any home – it has to have meaning.
And if that takes a little bit longer, then that’s fine with us… Maybe we’ll grow up in the meantime!
If you want to get even more involved in our story, sign up to SORTEDfood! You can create a profile, upload your own recipes & photos and join in our global conversation! Food is the way forward people.
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