Landon Nickerson is a name well-known among younger generations as a gaming YouTuber with millions of subscribers — but now, he’s putting that behind him to focus on his new tech startup Arkh.
Nickerson defines Arkh as “the paradigm shifting in technology to come,” focusing on Augmented Reality (AR) spatial computing with the aim of becoming the first mainstream AR platform.
We spoke with Landon about his YouTube career, what Arkh can do for society and, among other things, the pressure of leaving behind a $2m-a-year career to pursue the unknown.
“It was kind of scary,” Landon said, when asked about leaving YouTube to pursue a tech startup. “But something I learned was this: Once you identify your passion, you should never be concerned about what anyone else is saying, especially if it’s ‘this is impossible to do’. If you truly believe in yourself and keep going after something, YouTube for example, you’ll get to where you want to be.”
There’s no denying that this has been a huge leap of faith for the 21-year-old, who even at his tender age has made more money than many of us could fathom — and is consequently willing to give it all up to chase an opportunity that could end without any of the success he’s seen so far.
Landon has realized, though, that his interest in Arkh and this new idea for innovative technology was worth the risk — or, more importantly, he would never forgive himself for passing up on the opportunity to take the risk.
“When I first got the idea I realized I could pursue it, or I could continue doing YouTube the same way I had been doing pretty comfortably,” he said. “And I realized that if I didn’t pursue Arkh and this crazy idea that I would probably look back and regret it, and YouTube would always be there.”
The obvious question here is how Landon’s platform helps Arkh going forward. As someone who created gaming content with Fortnite, Minecraft and Roblox, the correlation between his YouTube audience and the tech audience looks to be almost nil.
Nickerson isn’t concerned, though, and he believes his core audience, those who tuned in every day to support him, will still want to interact with Arkh and see what they’re doing.
Moreso, he firmly believes that Arkh offers a technology that can “benefit everyone,” so while younger fans might not understand the relevance of AR and spatial computing, they might still reap the benefits.
If you needed any further proof that Landon is all-in on this project, he just about confirms that he’s done with his content creation for now, saying that he’s “really trying to step away from the YouTube stuff” even if it leaves him “nameless,” and that he’s “really focused on trying to allow my startup’s brand to live through myself.”
Needless to say, it takes true belief to step away from such insane annual earnings as his projected $2m to go all-in on a tech startup — but, he says, it’s his understanding of social media, and YouTube in particular, that helped present this opportunity.
“Once you understand that the main commodity of social media, including YouTube, is people’s attention, you can divert your following or your influence in any direction.
“Whether that’s Emma Chamberlain and how she has a coffee company now, or a very popular route is making a clothing brand. Once you have the attention, you can introduce things to that group of people, you can do anything.”
In fact, he says, he’s learned a lot from fellow YouTubers, particularly after attending both KSI vs. Logan Paul boxing matches. “Thinking about KSI, he’s the perfect person to show that you can do anything,” Landon explained.
“He defined a YouTube path and then found a path that was not well worn, where he had this opportunity to do something where people were saying ‘don’t do this, you’re going to get hit in the head, it’s not going to work out for you,’ and he did it. Look where he’s at now. He has this limitless mindset.
“When I saw KSI and Logan Paul fighting… They’re not scared of trying and failing. They’re really just focused on doing something. They’re not worried about what could go wrong, but only worried about what’s going to go right. Watching that fight kind of made me realize that.”
So with the upcoming launch of Arkh, does that mean Landon Nickerson, the guy with a million V-Bucks, the guy who got banned from Roblox twice, has given up on YouTube completely? Not at all.
“I see myself coming back to YouTube when the time is right,” he said, evidently already in the mindset of a tech CEO. “I really, really want to prove to the world that what we’re working on here is very legitimate, and I think once that’s established, it’ll be really good for me to come back into the YouTube life.”
While Nickerson might not be on our screens and in our YouTube sub box right now, he believes that he might be back one day. But, for now, he’s taking on the tech giants we’re all so fond of — and, in his own words, pushing them to up their game, approach technology differently and innovate even further.
Speaking with Landon, there’s one resounding message that repeats throughout our conversation: anything is possible. Whatever you want, if you go for it, you can achieve it. Having seen so much success by the age of 21, it’s hard to disagree with him, and impossible not to buy into his belief in Arkh’s success.
While details on Arkh are scarce right now, Landon assured us that by the end of September, the AR spatial computing company will see their first big activation, and he sounds more excited than ever.