Interview with Devon X Scott

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Devon Ramdass, self-portrait.

Q: You’ve written this book just as you seem to be scaling back your presence as a traditional YouTube tech presenter. Do you think other Caribbean YouTube contributors should be reconsidering how they engage with the platform? Is there really a place for Caribbean contributors in the fast paced world of modern tech?

A:The slow down in my upload consistency has not been by choice. It’s a result of another way YouTube can be a form of income indirectly. Local companies have seen my videos and love the production quality and have since then hired me to produce content for them.

Due to the current workload, it’s tough to do both but I really want to build relationships with local brands so I decided to prioritize that for a few months until I finish their projects.

Q: Given the way YouTube has been raising the bar for any kind of reward for producing videos, do you think the platform has direct value for contributors or should they be using it as a way to push other strategies for monetizing?

A: I would highly recommend pushing other monetization strategies. I’m always a strong believer of not “putting all your eggs in one basket”. Instead of trying to make a chunk of earnings with one revenue stream, implement as many revenue streams as possible and they may add up to more than one would have, especially with an online business.

In addition, YouTube or any social network for that matter can decide any day that they are changing their rules. Once you monetize the right way, you won’t have to be worried about those kind of things.

Q: Did you successfully sign up as an Amazon Affiliate and earn money? There seem to be a lot of hiccups associated with actually receiving money from Amazon until you go through a lot of tax declaration hoops.

A: Yes, I have. Amazon Affiliate has actually been my most lucrative form of income through my YouTube channel. Once you go through the tax declaration forms and fill them out accurately, it’s as easy as receiving a cheque in your local mailbox every month (once you hit the required threshold of $100US earnings or more).

Q: When it comes to brand relationships, do you find that international brands are particularly demanding on local content producers and influencers when it comes to review units and engagement? It often seems to me that they are looking for unrealistic numbers rather than effective reach when it comes to dealing with local content producers.

A: It’s a struggle for sure, but certain companies understand the importance of it. Some companies are more willing than you know to give out review units once they receive a very high quality video in return. They usually ask to implement said videos on their website and use it for their social media as well.

Q: You mention buying items to review. What’s your experience been with getting review units and the costs involved in shipping them in and paying duties? Has it been easier just buying the stuff?

A: The items that I end up buying for review are either smartphones or items that I actually was going to end up buying anyway. I’ve been using a skybox to receive the items and the costs attached to shipping them in fluctuates depending on the item. I’ve had the same exact item once cost $83.00TT and then cost $815.00TT when I ordered a second one. Once you order a few things you kind of get a sense of discernment.

Q: You’re Devon Ramdass. Why the Devon X Scott alias? Is there value is westernising online and on YouTube in particular? What has the response been like since you “went Trini” in your videos?

A: This one is a loaded question. Prior to Devon X Scott, I used to either be known as T3CHSMASH or The Smasher. It was changed for two reasons. The first being that those names were the result of me already owning the domain name t3chsmash.com long before I thought about starting a YouTube channel. I thought it would be easier to choose a name that I already owned the domain to (a very lazy choice on my part).

Secondly, it limited my content to technology when someone would come across the name. Which I really wanted to avoid since my channel has much more potential than the typical tech videos filled with b-roll and voiceovers.

Devon X Scott is my new alias. Devon is my first name, Scott is my middle name. The X in the middle is for my brand, Xtraordinarywear. The purpose of the brand is to promote being extraordinary in whatever you do.

Whether you’re a photographer, a technician, a cleaner, or a taxi driver, once you do your work extraordinarily, you’ll stand out above the competition. In addition, the name also branded me very differently. It’s a more solid and mature alias and I love the way it rolls off the tongue.

As for going Trini, I was very scared at first, but it has turned out to be a very positive thing. I always get comments in support of Trini once someone hears my accent. Of course there are the negative hate comments against my accent as well, but you don’t start YouTube without being able to handle negative comments.

Q. What do you use, hardware and software, to edit your videos? Do you have recommendations for people just starting out?

A. For hardware I use a mid 2012 MacBook Pro that I maxed out (this was the last model that allowed user upgradability). It currently has 16gb Ram, a 256gb SSD, a 500gb HDD and an Intel Core i5 running at 2.5ghz with Turbo Boost up to 3.2ghz.
Software wise I use Final Cut Pro and I would recommend it above any other editing software due to the ease of use, learning curve and ridiculously fast export times. It currently takes me shorter than the length of a video to export it in 4K.

Q: The Devon X Scott presence seems to have done much better than The Smasher, why do you think that is?

A: I truly think this is due to it being a more mature and well thought out branding. I knew what I wanted to achieve at the time when I decided to switch to it and I’ve been pushing that since then. It also is a lot more memorable in my opinion.

Q: Tell me a bit about your experience with TriniCarSales and TriniTalq. You seem to have a lot of stuff going on.

A: TriniCarSales has been going great so far. My biggest problem is the payment method so I’m actually in the process of signing up with PayWise to make that process easier for customers. TriniTalQ I had high hopes for, but none of the writers or who signed on ended up actually writing so the website is pretty dormant right now until I can allocate time toward it.

Q: You seem to take disappointments with these projects in your stride. What’s the secret of your resilience?

A: The secret is embracing the process. Everything is a lesson and teaches you what you can change in the future.