Hello, I'm Mark Rober. I have a YouTube channel where I build stuff and come up with new ideas. I recently cofounded #TeamTrees with Mr. Beast. My passion is getting people (especially the young folk) stoked about Science and Engineering. AMA!

PROOF- https://www.dropbox.com/s/1c3coui7rzuhbtc/AMA%20Proof-%20Mark%20Rober.png?dl=0

My channel- https://www.youtube.com/markrober

My most popular videos on reddit were probably: 1) Glitterbomb- https://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/a739zk/package_thief_vs_glitter_bomb_trap/ 2) Carnival Scam Science- https://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/78k522/carnival_scam_science_and_how_to_win/ 3) Courtesy Car Horn Honk- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lv8wqnk_TsA

tl;dr of me:

-I have a Masters in Mechanical Engineering. I worked at NASA for 9 years (7 of which were spent on the Curiosity Rover). After that I worked for Apple for 4 years doing Product Design in their Special Projects Group (I just quit to do YouTube full time 6 months ago).

-Some highlights for me this year were: + Co-founded TeamTrees with Mr. Beast + Went from 3M to 10M subscribers on YouTube and passed 1B views (I make 1 vid/month) + Announced a show I'm making with Jimmy Kimmel that will air on Discovery where we prank people with cool contraptions that violate social norms

EDIT- Ok. After 2 hours I'm gonna sign off for a bit! I will check back later and if there are any questions that have bubbled to the top I will try and address them. That was fun and different for me!! You guys are the best!

Comments: 4393 • Responses: 48  • Date: 

McLovin_01-47-874415207 karma

Hi Mark!

About 4 years ago I reached out to you for advice before starting University, and you told me to study purely for the sake of learning - not for the sake of getting a good GPA. That advice stuck with me, and it was easier to follow for some classes than others. After years of doing my best to heed that advice, I was lucky enough to be offered a job working on Mars 2020 at NASA JPL! I believe studying for the sake of deep understanding played a strong role in getting this amazing opportunity.

Do you have any advice for engineers about to enter the workforce? Are there common mistakes you see young engineers make that can easily be avoided?

Thank you!

Edit: Thank you for my first Gold and Silver!

_scienceftw_3016 karma

That's so cool!!!! Congrats! I will be down there filming I think for a video this year. They are flying the back-up Descent Stage from when I was there which means I have hardware going to Mars again!!! What section are you in?

captaindp6522878 karma

How close are we to the first human landing on Mars?

_scienceftw_4513 karma

They are definitely alive. Not sure if they're in grade school or high school or already graduated. I sure hope it's the latter.

helderdude85 karma

Do you think it's important for us to put people on mars, if so why do you think so?

_scienceftw_66 karma

Yes. I covered that answer in good detail in this video. https://youtu.be/lARpY0nIQx0

tomtompics2582 karma

Did you get any news from the guy who stole one of your glitter bombs?

_scienceftw_4822 karma

Yes! He finally started returning our calls and texts! I would characterize his response as not very happy :)

helderdude592 karma

What did he say? Like did he return the box, did he agree it was dumb to do this to you of all people?

_scienceftw_1518 karma

Belligerent. Threatened legal action which is why I need to be sort of careful of what I write here. I lawyered up pretty strong on this one so I feel really confident in my position all across the board. The reason there were two reactions that weren't blurred was because we had signed releases from those people. We didn't try or weren't able to obtain releases from the rest and I don't want to ruin their lives for a single bad decision without their consent. Also gets more legally tricky unblurred and without a release because you open yourself up to some ambulance chasing type of lawyer who would track them down and encourage them file a lawsuit.

helderdude482 karma

Owhh I was wondering why some were not blurded so you talked with two of the "victims", can you talk a little about that was like, or was it only to sign the release?

BTW I love what you do!

_scienceftw_1365 karma

I showed the footage to Jimmy (Kimmel). I give him sneak peeks of my videos on occasion and he always has really good input. In this case, he said I really need to try and not have those faces blurred because their facial expressions are so great. One of the producers from his show called them up and worked their magic so I had no interaction with them. As a testament to how cool a human being he is, he was willing to get on the phone with the dudes himself and ask them if it came to that. Luckily, it didn't.

Rebuildingz193 karma

Did he tell you whether he started getting pestered by the scientologists yet? And how many of those cards did you send out? Lol

_scienceftw_435 karma

No comment on how many were sent. The uncertainty here and difficulty proving what was actually sent is the real charm. I know from his response it’s eating him up and he can’t exactly go ask all his neighbors if they received a post card with details on where/when he is supposed to meet his mail order bride :)

Stevo2k-iwnl-1992 karma

Oh Hi Mark,

Do you think you will go to space in your lifetime? What is the most important thing that needs to happen/improve for this?

Congrats on 10 Mil! 😄

_scienceftw_2491 karma

For sure. In fact it might happen this year :) Hardest part will be getting clearance from the wife.

TotallyNotDalton1716 karma

Of all of your videos, which one was the most expensive to make?

_scienceftw_2589 karma

Probably Jello Pool or maybe Glitterbomb 2.0. We got a deal on the phones because they were used and refurbished from China at $100/per but it still adds up.

Proguy90941645 karma

What made you switch over from NASA to Youtube?

_scienceftw_3347 karma

At the time it was a pretty easy decision. I started a Halloween company based off my first ever YouTube video. Sold it to some guys in the UK and they wanted me to come up with more ideas. It may sound like a downgrade but it was a fun opportunity and a chance to see what it's like starting a business plus I knew I could always go back to NASA if it failed abysmally. After doing that for 2 years I was offered a position at Apple to do really cool stuff so I took it. My philosophy on career paths and life really is like crossing a river by jumping on stones. Have a very rough general idea of your path but then look at the best stone and hop on it. Only at that point will you really see the next available rocks and then wiggle them all with your foot and pick the best one. This idea of a having a 20 year career plan or knowing exactly what you want to do with your life in high school is a fallacy and it stresses people out. We think life paths are a straight line but they are always filled with twists and turns and mountains and valleys. That's way more interesting anyways :)

EDIT- link to that Halloween video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOQws77j_6c

doctor-greenbum745 karma

Oh hi Mark 👋🏼

I’m afraid I don’t have a question but I wanted to say thank you so much for the content you put out. It’s genuinely all super interesting, and at any age too. Your videos provide me a really valuable escape from life. Well done on the 10M subs and the stuff you have in the pipeline now, it’s all completely deserved, and I get second hand excitement thinking about what you’re gonna do with these opportunities. Honestly mate, thank you for all the knowledge and for making life a little less drab!

_scienceftw_498 karma

Thanks doc :)

VituzSvk1351 karma

What led you to do partnership with MrBeast?

_scienceftw_1654 karma

We are friends. Been talking about collabing since I did the lemon powered car video. Once someone suggested we work together on this we just started talking about it and one thing led to another.

RedPanda87321109 karma

What was your first project that really kickstarted your enjoyment for engineering?

_scienceftw_1291 karma

Maybe the different projects you do in high school physics (egg drop, toothpick bridge, boat race, etc.). I love approaching a problem and the brainstorming part at the beginning and trying to get really clever on the best approach. The more out of the box and simple the better :)

YeetThemBurrits808 karma

If something happened and YouTube wasn’t an option, would you keep doing these builds for fun? Also, what would you do for a living?

_scienceftw_1735 karma

I'm getting my teaching credentials! My dream job is to teach High School Physics (part time and volunteer).

jj_is_the_name729 karma

If you were given an unlimited budget for a video, what invention would you make and for what purpose?

_scienceftw_1124 karma

I mean that self driving and drifting Deloran was pretty cool...

RacingboomThePleb634 karma

Am I allowed to say I love you platonically?

_scienceftw_607 karma


mmm_toasty630 karma

Hi Mark,

Thanks for doing this AMA! What are the most technically challenging things you've designed, either in industry or on your own, and why? Do you have any plans for even more challenging designs?

_scienceftw_888 karma

My March 2020 video I've been working on with a team of Stanford students for 8 months. It will take the cake even above the auto bullseye dartboard. They are all hard for different reasons. The Glitterbomb is so tricky because it needs to be robust and work in so many different situations. You'll noticed the lady that stole the package after covering herself up didn't have a reaction. That's because the weather was slightly colder and the box malfunctioned. GPS still worked so we found it in the dumpster next to her apartment (we recovered probably 90% of the boxes and they were always in the closest dumpster... fart spray ftw). At NASA and Apple the problems were much harder but you also have massive teams working on them so one person's job is always doable.

PinkyWrinkle231 karma

Is this video related to the self driving Delorean?

_scienceftw_326 karma

Lol. no. But there are some cross-over elements.

drejkkk628 karma

What job did you like more and was more interesing to work at, Apple or NASA?

_scienceftw_1032 karma

NASA is cool because it's freaking space and I'm designing stuff for another planet. Apple was cool because you have more freedom and bigger budgets to try crazy things. Less red tape to deal with.

MineBlox2007339 karma

Wait Apple gives a bigger budget than NASA?

_scienceftw_426 karma

Apple has a more accessible budget to the lay engineer. For example, if I wanted a piece of test equipment at NASA that cost $100k it could take months and lots of approvals. At Apple, it would take just a single email.

PensandJags607 karma

Hello good sir,

What is your favorite tool that you have in your workshop?


_scienceftw_1096 karma

Elon Musk Flamethrower. And that absolutely qualifies as a tool.

SunYourBunz496 karma

How often do you get noticed in public?

_scienceftw_775 karma

Depends on where I'm at. Being in a place with a lot of people (e.g. sporting event) increases the chances as does certain parts of the country. At this point it's maybe once a day. I've noticed if I hold a camera it goes up about 10x and if I stop to take a pic with someone then people will look at you to see if they know you and it goes up a lot then too.

helderdude314 karma

How do you feel about your (level) of fame, does it bother you, do you like it? Would you prefer if you could live anonymously?

_scienceftw_589 karma

Conflicted. I never wanted that part. At this level it is fine and I enjoy being able to something so simple as taking a picture with someone and making their day. But I have deep empathy for people who are super famous and can't go out in public without constantly being barraged. I could easily see how that would feel like a prison.

helderdude175 karma

Was there ever a time it got in the way of your normal life or a really u comfortable thing that happend because you are famous?

_scienceftw_416 karma

My pharmacist, my doctor, the House cleaner are all examples of people that have recognized me where I would have preferred anonymity :/

wysmyster412 karma

Hi Mark, I am an computer engineering student in my 4th year at university. While I still very much enjoy my field of study, I find myself suffering from burnout because of the grind. Do you find yourself getting burned out from time to time? If so, how do you deal with it?

Also, any more colabs with Destin planned soon?

_scienceftw_794 karma

I feel strongly about burnout. I can't speak to your situation but I will speak to mine and hopefully there is some nugget that will translate for you. I feel like YouTubers feel this pressure that as soon as they see some sort of success they need to scale up. Hire a team, do merch, write a book, start releasing 4 vids/week, start a podcast, etc. It's the equivalent of turning up the speed on a treadmill. At first it's exciting and you're killin it but the problem is that the dopamine wears off (that's a feature not a bug of human evolution to keep us striving for more) but you're stuck on a treadmill at a sprinter's pace. That to me is the definition of burnout. It's the same input but you're not getting the same output you used to. I have done 1vid/month for 9 years. I JUST hired my first full time employee a few months ago. I still do all my own editing because I like it! Why would I outsource that?! I've just really tried to keep my treadmill at a jogging pace and keep the video quality high and as a result I've never felt burnt out yet. There's a great story about this concept- https://bemorewithless.com/the-story-of-the-mexican-fisherman/

Jackfrost0714290 karma

You edit your own videos?! That’s amazing! I based my video where I documented my grades Washington DC trip and I tried to use some of your styles of editing! What editing software do you use? Video link: https://youtu.be/QcylEyyT8Xg

_scienceftw_344 karma

Dude, that was great. You have a talent for that. Keep making stuff. I use première pro but it doesn’t really matter. I could make my same videos in iMovie.

Infinite-Baker408 karma

If you had to prove a flat earther wrong with just a couple of statements how would you do it?

_scienceftw_1337 karma

Ugghhgh. *sighs* *thinks for a bit* This whole premise is flawed. As they say, "You Cannot Reason People Out of Something They Were Not Reasoned Into". I think the psychology of conspiracy theorists is fascinating. I think generally they are people who weren't the smartest in their class growing up. This gives them the "secret knowledge". They have a leg up on the sheeple. Then a community forms and now they have an identity and friends. There is just no incentive for them to look at it objectively. Confirmation bias runs strong. If they agree the Earth is round then they lose all their friends and go back to being the not smart ones. They don't receive a hero's welcome from us either. We're like "it's about time idiot". It's just misaligned incentives. If it wasn't flat earth it would be something else. Don't despair if you feel people are getting stupider they're just getting better at sharing it.

Zaboomafookaloo350 karma

Hi Mark!

For glitterbomb 3.0, can I suggest a high power fan at the base so that it flies everywhere instead of just a concentrated area? The fart spray will also spread further too lol.

Love what you’re doing!

Thanks Mark!

_scienceftw_598 karma

One reason some people didn't smell the fart spray was because the motor was spinning slower at first and it wasn't atomizing the spray and making it float in the air. We fixed that for the reactions you see where they actually smell it. Having said that, next year I will double it again. My goal is to not have a single person NOT comment on the smell!

avery_ingram316 karma

Will you ever do another fundraiser like #teamtrees but with another topic? (Like cleaning the ocean, trying to stop wildfires, etc.)?

_scienceftw_476 karma

Stay tuned. Two cool things I will be doing in the coming year.

Yolo1212123294 karma

Hi Mark, I love your videos! Do you think you will ever have time to make more than 1 a month?

_scienceftw_658 karma

I will never do that. See my post above on burnout. I want them to feel special and to keep the quality high.


Hi mark, what happened to the how ridiculous trampoline? Are you still working on it?

_scienceftw_250 karma

February video most likely!

hey_im_cucumber_guy211 karma

Do grades really matter at school?

_scienceftw_584 karma

For your first job, yes. For the rest of your career, no.

lcspe162 karma

Hello mark. How did you decided to start youtube? And did you guys really believed from the start that #TeamTrees would reach the 20M goal? Cause many seemed skeptical about it!

Big fan.

Happy holidays!

_scienceftw_252 karma

Start of YouTube was just me posting my Halloween costume online and it accidentally went viral. With #TeamTrees I had no idea. I either thought we were going to raise $100M in the first weekend or we would never break $1M. To be able to raise the full amount right at the end was the best case scenario. It was such a group effort from so many YouTubers and people who just really latched on to it and it was really special to be part of it and watch it unfold. It was a lot of work but one of the things I think I will look back on and be proud of for being a part of (as I hope everyone feels who joined).

FortniteMasterKid151 karma

Hi mark Im a huge fan! So since you do a video every month, How far ahead do you plan for each project? And how many do you already have planned right now?

_scienceftw_264 karma

I have all my videos for 2020 planned out :) They are all at varying stages in builds and planning.

It_Tyler138 karma

Hey Mark, I plan on going into engineering. Electrical/mechanical. I was wondering, do you believe your master's degree prepared you for your employment?

I am also a big fan of yours, my favorite video was "200 dropped wallets".

_scienceftw_195 karma

I got my masters degree after working industry for awhile. For me that was the better path. I cared more and knew the things I was most interested in after working in the field for a bit.

ibsnuggs115 karma

Hey Mark,

I've come across a video of yours here and there over the years but recently have decided to binge your channel. Only regret is that I didn't start sooner.

From my perspective, you are a role model, kind-hearted, wholesome, successful, smart, accomplished (I mean how is coolest uncle quest not complete yet?), and many other positive attributes. It seems like you've got a good handle on this thing called "life." As someone who is struggling with life, I wonder, are there any hardships you've had to overcome in life that you wouldn't mind sharing?

_scienceftw_221 karma

Thank you. My only kid has Autism. My April video will talk all about that.

Robot_Beep_Boop106 karma

Thanks for all of your brilliant contributions to the Maker and Scientific communities! What does your /actual/ workshop look like? The tools on your bench always look too new and orderly!

_scienceftw_120 karma

Lol. I clean them up before I film! Also, I just got sent a bunch of new tools from Carlyle!

minijack2101 karma

Why do you write the date in an ambiguous format?

_scienceftw_156 karma


shnarnarbnarnar93 karma

Hey mark, Ive been a fan for a while. My question is do you think we can get a day in the life of Mark Rober? Thanks and have a great day.

_scienceftw_166 karma

Unlikely :) don’t take this the wrong way but there are parts of my life I want to keep private. I never put my wife or son in videos. I post to other socials but it’s once or twice a week and it’s high level stuff and not details of my daily life. I feel like for it’s it’s just healthier this way.

gooddumbdog79 karma

You told a bunch of us to email you a while ago on Twitter, what happened with that?

_scienceftw_75 karma

Lol. I did? About what?

gooddumbdog54 karma

Yeah, you created a new account and told people to email you, here’s the tweet: Image

_scienceftw_144 karma

Oh. Haha! Um, that was sort of a joke cause it was AOL. I never really checked... sorry. Joke was on me though cause I had to use my phone number to do it and immediately after I started getting tons of spam calls.


Hi mark,

What do you most regret?

_scienceftw_178 karma

Not having a better answer for this question...

Catchears61 karma

Will the show be uploaded to your channel?

_scienceftw_96 karma

I will upload at least one episode so people can taste a sample. YouTube is still my first love so I plan on still making my monthly videos.

Trixy97561 karma

Holy freaking cow! My daughter and I literally just stumbled on your glitter bomb video on youtube like an hour ago!

My daughter wanted me to ask, what is the best Christmas present you've ever gotten?

_scienceftw_162 karma

Welcome! Best present ever? 20M trees and 10 M subs!

chip5779450 karma

Hey mark,

Just wanted to say how great your videos and also do you have any funny stories from your time at NASA?

_scienceftw_100 karma

I rigged a rat trap to notify us using LEDs when we caught a rat in the floor before it started smelling really bad after a few days.

MineBlox200746 karma

Ever went through a time where you had depression? If yes, can you give some advice?

_scienceftw_182 karma

Not really. Sorry man. I have people really close to me who do though and it sucks. Like constantly trudging uphill while others coast. Advice- Get professional help the same way you would if you had a broken arm. Brains are weird. It’s not your fault. I’m happy mental health is becoming less and less stigmatized.

initialddriver41 karma

hi mark!

if you remember your carnival games video, how long did it take you to compile all the data?

_scienceftw_57 karma

I think we said it in a video but if I recall we just went down there for a day.