Over the years, YouTube has grown to become the online home of various content creators. Videos on the site can cover various topics such as lifestyle videos, study tips, beauty tutorials, home workouts, and business videos. The key to making it big on this platform is to find the right niche and create videos in a way that is different from what everyone else is doing. That is precisely what YouTuber Jake Tran has done, being the first to popularize what he calls business video essays.
Jake Tran specializes in cinematic, highly produced, intellectual YouTube videos about things in the world of economics, geopolitics, business, power, and crime. His channel currently has over 500,000 thousand subscribers, and some of his most popular videos have over a million views each. While he is experiencing a lot of success as a content creator, his path to YouTube was far from straightforward.
Born in Saigon, Vietnam, Jake Tran moved to Southern California with his family when he was two years old. Struggling in elementary because of the language barrier, Jake Tran slowly became a straight-A student as he got a better grasp of English. “I got better academically, but I didn’t have a lot of friends. I always felt like an outcast in school,” Jake shared.
He found solace in Taekwondo. “After class, I would go straight to the studio to train,” Jake Tran said. Eventually, he started competing and teaching other students of all ages. “With Taekwondo, I felt like I belonged. Through the work I did at the studio, I learned to communicate better. I learned how to teach and how to lead. These skills helped me a lot as I started my YouTube channel,” he said.
Jake’s current channel was not his first foray into content creation. “I started a channel where I posted Taekwondo tutorials and tournament highlights,” he recalled. But the channel was taking too long to grow. Burnt out, Jake Tran took a break from both YouTube and Taekwondo.
He enrolled in community college to study Computer Science, which exposed him to coding and thinking in terms of algorithms. He even seriously considered a career as an artificial intelligence researcher. But all his plans changed when a friend recommended he read The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ Demarco. “I finished it in one sitting, and it completely altered my worldview.” Jake realized he wanted to be an entrepreneur.
At 19, Jake Tran tried launching several businesses, including a software-as-a-service web application. “That business didn’t take off,” shared Jake, “But it did teach me a lot about coding and business.” After that, he went into web development and eventually landed a job in this field. Earning a significant salary at 19 without a degree, Jake saw no reason to continue his education, so he dropped out to work as a web developer.
“That web development job was the dream job that I thought I wanted: it was remote, great pay, great people. But it wasn’t intellectually stimulating. I wanted to be involved in all aspects: the business side, engineering side, and the creative side.” This realization brought him back to YouTube, producing videos for his current channel Jake Tran.
It took a while for his new channel to gain traction, but after releasing a video called Why Graham Stephan is Killing the YouTube Algorithm (a video analyzing a popular finance YouTuber on the platform, Graham Stephan) Jake Tran blew up on the platform. “Graham Stephan shared that video, and my views and subscriber count started snowballing. That video reached 100,000 views within a matter of weeks and I was mind blown.”
Today, Jake Tran is known for producing video essays about business, investing, cryptocurrency, and geopolitics, among others. His topics may be varied, but each one is infused with his opinions, insights and unique writing style. The skills he accumulated on his winding path helped him succeed on YouTube. Jake Tran said, “My goal with each video I release is to inspire viewers to be an independent individual who takes full ownership of their lives. I want them to know that it’s their duty to reach their full potential.”
Jake Tran is the content creator who popularized the business video essay on YouTube. He is currently working on a few business ventures separate from his personal brand. To watch his videos, go subscribe to his YouTube Channel.