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Published: 5/Feb/2021 17:00by Alice Hearing
In 2020, Eric “Airrack” Decker proved that it is still possible to make a name for yourself on YouTube within a short space of time, making way for new talent to get recognized.
Between January and December of last year, during a global health crisis, Airrack went from zero to 1 million subscribers. Despite this extraordinary feat, his ambitions are even bigger for 2021.
In 2019, Airrack was just Eric Decker, a video producer in his early twenties from Georgia, who dreamed of becoming a fully-fledged YouTuber, and he simply decided that 2020 was the year he would do that, setting himself the goal of 1 million subscribers by 2021.
“I always wanted to try to do YouTube, so why not set the most audacious goal possible,” he told Dexerto in an exclusive interview. “The goal was like proof that it’s still possible to run the entire channel just to see if YouTube is in fact too saturated or if it’s still possible to make it on the platform in 2020.”
Evidently it is still possible; In April, his most viewed video “I Bought Logan Paul’s $90,000 Couches” blew up, and currently has 2.5 million views. By August, Eric’s channel had already reached half a million subscribers and earned the attention of the Paul brothers and even David Dobrik. Then in September, Airrack posted what he says is his favorite video so far — but also his worst experience.
The YouTuber attempted to steal an $800,000 private island from none other than Mr Beast himself, and successfully planted a flag in the ground on the beach. But it didn’t go as smoothly as he’d hoped.
“We got stuck 200 miles off the coast of America… we genuinely thought we were going to die. Iit was a really stupid idea. We went out there with a 1 engine boat. Everyone was telling us not to do it and we did it, and then the boat basically broke in the middle of the ocean and we had no way of leaving.
“We had to pay $4,000 and max out a credit card to get a private jet to pick us up because there are no airplanes out there. I mean it was misery but looking back it’s one of those stories I will tell my grandkids. It’s one of the craziest things we’ve ever done.”
This also became the influence for his final challenge of the “worst best year” of Eric’s life: stranding himself on a deserted island until he hit his goal. While he was thankful to get off the island where he slept on the sand every night, and amid sleet showers, Eric said his fans are the reason he succeeded: “I think I have subconsciously created a fan base that is crazy and they’ll do anything because I am crazy and will do anything.”
His “Save Airrack” campaign resulted in over 100,000 sign-ups on his website and 2 million link clicks. One crazy fan from Bulgaria drove a massive 30,000 subscribers to Airrack’s YouTube channel and won a collaboration with him as a result, although of course, that will have to wait.
Meanwhile, a collaboration between Airrack and Mr Beast is in the pipeline, and with Eric now deep into the YouTube community, collaborations with even more high-profile names are a strong likelihood. “The people that were once your inspiration become some of your best friends, it’s the coolest thing,” Eric said. He now lives with YouTuber George Janko and other creators in North Hollywood in what he jokingly described as the “really really hype house.”
Eric said that his goal was initially to reach 20 million subscribers in five years, but after the past year’s success, he thinks he can do better — his new mission is “to become one of the biggest YouTubers on planet earth.”
In 2021, Eric will continue to push out as much groundbreaking content as possible, which he says is part of the key to his success: “When you stop uploading is when you lose… keep making content, and don’t lose yourself in this rat race we’re all in.”
On top of that, he wants to focus on other platforms too in order to build up his brand, eventually breaking into the top 20 YouTube creators in the world.
Eric predicts that “in 5 years there will be probably 10-20 YouTube channels that have 20-50 million subscribers and they’re going to be personality based. 50% of attention on the platform will go to those 20 people… I think every day it becomes more difficult to make it on the platform.”
But despite a monopolization of huge names, he said “YouTube is not going anywhere. I very strongly believe in YouTube as a platform.” And Eric isn’t going anywhere either: “This is exactly what I want to be doing forever”