It's 9:20pm CET: Wow, thank you all for your questions and for joining the AMA today. It was more than I expected and I tried to answer as much as possible and now my brain is pudding. Signing off for today. If you want to ask more stuff, maybe ask others from the team, head over to r/kurzgesagt or checkout our (independent) discord community.

Again, thank you for your watching our videos. Doing Kurzgesagt is truly a privilege and a dream job. You are making this possible. The entire team and I appreciate it more than you can imagine.

I was really bad at school and I dropped out of high school at age fifteen and generally was a pretty stupid and not interested in learning anything. While pursuing my secondary school diploma I met a remarkable teacher (thanks Frau Reddanz!) who inspired a passion for learning and understanding the world in me. (Mostly by screaming at me passionately). This changed how I looked at anything education related - school really made stuff horribly boring but with passion and a different teaching approach everything actually became super interesting.

So I went on to study history but that was boring too ( university, not the subject) and finally I switched to communication design with a focus on infographics, wanting to make difficult ideas engaging and accessible. During that time Edu Youtube became big and I ended up doing a video as bachelors thesis.

This project became one of the largest sciency channels on YouTube over the course of the following eight years. (It is still pretty funny to me as I'm the most unlikely person too that should explain people anything about anything) Today we have more than 16 million subscribers and 1.5 billion views on our main channel on YouTube and a team of 45 individuals working full time behind the scenes of the channel. We are known for the insane amount of hours we put into every video, which currently is north of 1200+ hours per video. Also we only published 150 videos in 8 years.

For the last decade, I've been working on and off on a book about the immune system, and decided to finish it during the pandemic, as it (obviously) felt like the right time. In the book, I take you on a journey through the fortress of the human body and its defenses and discuss a few diseases and how amazing your defenses are. The book happens to be released today if you want to check it out!

Ask me anything!

Also, here's my proof

Comments: 1854 • Responses: 70  • Date: 

Stormin2083154 karma

Hi Philipp!

How do you feel knowing that teachers all over the world are choosing to use your videos to educate students of all ages? Not only do teachers trust you, but they know you've made the video in such a way that students will enjoy watching and listening to an educational video

kurz_gesagt3131 karma

I mean. Amazing. It feels amazing. I hated school and learning a lot as a teenager and I like to think that if edu videos like this would have existed like they do today, my time might have been much better. It feels great to (hopefully) make the learning experience better for others!

FapleJuice430 karma

You haven't just made students learning experiences better, but also all my friends who I make watch these videos because they're so damn cool!

They hate me a little less when making them learn things now lol

kurz_gesagt313 karma

That makes me honestly happy, thank you! <3

eadcda2606 karma

Hi Philipp,

I have only one fricking question...

WILL THE DAMN BIRD EVER STOP DYING?

sincerely, a person who's thankful everyday that channels like your exist on youtube so we can improve ourselves.

kurz_gesagt2469 karma

Haha. No.

And thank you!

bonzaidalek1146 karma

Hi Philipp!

I have two questions.

  1. Why did you choose the duck as the mascot of Kurzgesagt?

  2. What inspired Kurzgesagt’s artstyle?

kurz_gesagt1521 karma

Hey!

  1. Super simple: When I started illustrating in 2012 I was really bad it. By accident I made a few of these birds, they were simple, quick to design and just look at them. They look ridiculous with their dead eyes and colors and shapes. I love them. So it was a mix of saving time and having something that was a bit funny.
  2. A variety of minimalistic flat designers. It has been a long time so I don't remember everybody, but for example there is the small studio "Always with Honor" that I really looked up to and was really inspired by. Check them out here: https://www.alwayswithhonor.com/ The illustration style of Kurzgesagt got really elevated and much better when Philip (yes, same name, confusing, I know) joined the team.

discr33t_enough224 karma

Did you ever think of calling the channel Philipp and Philip?

kurz_gesagt92 karma

Well it is too late for that now. Or is it?

bfandreas50 karma

You don't want to follow the Phil(l)ip(p) rabbit hole down to the bottom.

That is a lot of permutations of Philip and Phillipp will always be miffed is you misspelled Philipp as Phillip.

We should have had a DIN Phillipp ages ago. This lack of standartization is not normal.

kurz_gesagt73 karma

OH MY GOD. Yes. I'm basically never spelled correctly and every other Phil(l)ip(p) probably feels the same. Happy with my name in principle, but at this point I've totally given up.

Coenzyme-A950 karma

Hi Philipp!

Firstly, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank yourself and everyone else involved for the love and care you put into Kurzgesagt. The videos have certainly helped myself and doubtless many others when times are tough.

My question is, do you have any plans to create videos on meta-research topics, in the vein of the "Can You Trust Kurzgesagt" video? As a research student, I find science communication incredibly interesting, and have huge respect for how you convey often complex topics. Do you think you would ever create videos looking at how primary research is produced and reviewed, or on scientific skepticism and distrust within the public?

I hope this question isn't too lengthy.

Best Wishes,

John.

kurz_gesagt964 karma

Hey John! Thank you, so great to hear!

To answer your question: YES! Soon too! We are working on a video about science communication and what it means and why it is important for society and even experts. It will be published early December if nothing terrible happens.

And in a perfect world we'll hopefully do even more videos like that, discussing what science is, how it works, what different sorts of research mean and eventually discussing things like journals and the replication crisis.

annabiler913 karma

Hey Philipp! Is the German voice the same Person as the English voice? It’s a really good translation

kurz_gesagt1570 karma

Hey! Thank you! No, Steve Taylor is our english voice and Christoph Jablonka is the German one (also the voice of German Homer Simpson!)

ThexLoneWolf859 karma

Hello Philipp! You've been open about admitting you are wrong in the past, most notably with your refugee and addiction videos. Are there any other videos from Kurzgesagt's past that you consider to be sub-par by the standards you set for the channel at the time?

kurz_gesagt1044 karma

Hey! Absolutely – the worst mistake was in the "Limits of Humanity" video where I was off by several orders of magnitude on a core fact of the video – but we have fixed that earlier this year. Aside from that, in general I don't like many of our older videos that much because I would do them very differently today. From the perspective of us/me doing the videos at the time I think there is nothing that I felt was below standard. There were videos that did not meet expectations but they were never published.

ThexLoneWolf208 karma

I see. If given the opportunity to redo these videos, would you take it? If so, is there anything in particular about a certain video you would change?

kurz_gesagt506 karma

We are trying to redo 1-2 videos are year (not all of them, just the ones that are worth it)! I want to update the research, double their length (the early videos were 5 minutes long, I can't even...) and just have the amazing illustrators and animators update the horrible stuff I made 7 years ago :D Everybody working at Kurzgesagt today is just so much better than I was when I started.

naznazem64 karma

What was wrong with the refugee and addiction videos ?

Aarros292 karma

Both were too simplistic and presented a singular view as fact instead of presenting a more nuanced and balanced view on the issues discussed.

The refugee video presented a simplified, in American terms "liberal" view on it, and at least indirectly insulted people who disagreed with accepting so many refugees or at least the system that was in place to take refugees. It presented Syrian refugees as being of economic benefit to the countries recieving them, which isn't entirely untrue, but is a rather debateable claim, and missed that a lot of the refugees and migrants involved in the crisis were not even Syrian. It didn't properly address people having geniune concerns over the potential security risks posed by the crisis (e.g. increased crime that inevitably comes with large numbers of desperate people, especially young men, and terrorists posing as refugees and so on were a real threat) and brushed these fears away with studies that weren't necessarily really applicable (some of the studies were about Mexican immigrants in USA etc.). It also didn't really discuss the political problem with so many refugees wanting to go into specific countries and the way the system hadn't properly been set up to handle a crisis of this scale and for example distribute the refugees in a more fair manner among EU countries.

Basically, it was too political and divisive and didn't try to first explain the subject objectively and only then give the opinion of the Kurzgesagt team, but instead went directly to preaching a specific political view without honestly discussing the complexity of the issue and reasons why people might have concerns about everyhing related to it. This ultimately meant that it failed in both things it tried to do: It didn't properly inform people, and it didn't come off as proper and understanding argumentation, but instead felt like a propaganda piece that obviously isn't going to convince the people who were not already in favour of accepting refugees.

The addiction video was based on a view on addiction that isn't necessarily shared by the majority of experts when it comes to addiction and painted a too simplistic picture based on only one source. It wasn't that it was wrong, it is that it presented as fact a view on an issue where there wasn't a proper scientific consensus, and didn't present the alternative views or in general emphasize the many unknowns and problems left with understanding addiction.

Thankfully, they took the videos down, and although they won't make a new video on the refugee crisis (it is over, after all), they said they will make a more nuanced video on addiction at some point.

Edit: Rewatching the video, I would like to add that there were plenty of far-right claims and even outright propaganda going around at the time, so it wasn't surprising that people wanted to strike back at these claims with a passionate video. The video does also at least briefly mention many of the issues (it does in fact also make a mention of the refugee system putting too much pressure on specific countries), and the claims made in the video are generally correct or at least entirely not wrong based on data at the time (e.g. economic impact of Syrian refugees wasn't really something you could know at the time). The main failure is more in the tone of the video, the lack of disclaimer that it is more an opinion video instead of a science video, and other features that made it just throw more fuel into the fire instead of trying to present a level-headed and understanding overview of the issue, and why Kurzgesagt sides with a certain approach. In my opinion, the main factual failure of the video was that it focused on Syrian refugees and seemingly didn't understand that not all of the migrants were refugees, and not all of the refugees were Syrian.

If I remember correctly about what I thought at the time, I was myself fully in favour of helping Syrian refugees, but was very worried about the problems that the non-Syrian migrants could possibly cause and desperately hoped there would be more nuanced discussion about the problems that may come with these migrants, but felt that the public discussion largely put all the migrants together and was either fully in favour of letting everyone in with no deeper oversight, or completely opposed to letting anyone in and in favour of a complete shut-down. I saw the video at the time and felt that while I agreed about helping refugees, the video probably wouldn't be helpful because I could immediately see many ways that the video would easily be picked apart by people who don't already agree with it.

kurz_gesagt215 karma

Great summary! I have nothing to add!

LastRedCoat109 karma

Must be cool having fans so knowledgeable about your work that they can just rattle off detailed explanations like this.

kurz_gesagt117 karma

It blows my mind that this is a thing.

Swleaf725 karma

Hi, I love your work on Andy Weir's story, can you recommend us some books like that?

kurz_gesagt749 karma

My favorite short story sci fi book by far is: "Stories of your life and others" by Ted Chiang. I tried to get permission to animate on of his stories but sadly it went nowhere. But yeah, if you like science fiction stories that stay with you, that book is gold!

Aokuang_Dragon480 karma

Hi Phillipp.

Long time listener, first time caller. Thank you for the work that you and your team does, it's amazing and I love the channel!

What's the hardest topic that Kurzgesagt has produced a video/collateral on, and why?

kurz_gesagt568 karma

Hey, thank you for watching! : )

In general I would say anything food related. Not only is the amount of papers overwhelming to say the least but many of them have sort of conflicting information. Really hard to simplify in ten minutes. Also people sort of lose it when it comes to diet.

Animeshkatyayan404 karma

Hi Phillip, who are your favorite authors?

kurz_gesagt618 karma

Oh god, there are many. In no particular order: Martin Suter, Ted Chiang, John Green, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams.

jmorfeus145 karma

Oh great. As if I could be a bigger fan. Damn it.

I know it's probably late for the AMA, but if you still get to it, have you read the Science of Discworld books and what are your thoughts about them?

kurz_gesagt169 karma

I have read them all a long time ago as a young person. They were among the most formative books I've read and I think my writing today is heavily influences by disk world novels (and there are long and funny footnotes in my book because of them!)

Interesting-Block83443 karma

I am guessing John Green is high in the list.

irl_sushant21 karma

How come?

tropicalphysics98 karma

Crash Course is probably the main inspiration behind Kurzgesagt becoming a Youtube channel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbgnlkJPga4

See Philipp's pinned comment on this video.

kurz_gesagt100 karma

It was, it still is!

HawkErZZ378 karma

How simplified are the videos really? Always wondered how much more complicated the things being talked about are

kurz_gesagt554 karma

I mean, pretty simplified but also as true to the underlying science as we are able to make them in ten minutes. In the end it always comes down to making decisions which facts to include and which to drop for the sake of not overwhelming the viewer. We’ll release a video talking about that in more detail in a video that will be published in December!

Amlethus281 karma

My kid loves Kurzgesagt and our copy of the book is arriving soon. He loves learning from the duck squad and asking questions about concepts in the videos.

He is barely 5 years old. Thank you for helping to inspire a love of learning in him.

Have you and the team ever thought of making some material that is focused on children?

kurz_gesagt279 karma

Thank you. I'm so happy to hear that. Kurzgesagt was never meant to be for kids but we hear all the time that people watch our videos together as a family and that makes me seriously so happy.

There are no plans to do anything video focused on kids in the near future – because I think that watching stuff that is "for adults" is sort of great as a kid. We might dabble into something that has to do with learning for kids at some point though! Something that helps make school more exciting.

92eb5ffee6ae2fec3ad7278 karma

Hey Philipp! You liked my tweet about your new book which I was over the moon about!

My question is, do you ever think sit back and think about how even the smallest interaction with someone or their content can brighten their day?

Also, are you writing in your own gratitude journal?

kurz_gesagt327 karma

Hey, great to hear! Sometimes I do but then I get dizzy and anxious and then I have to stop. No but seriously, the numbers are too large at this point and the amount of input we get from people telling how much it means to them what we do on the channel is pretty overwhelming. We tried to do the math once, for example how many tons of meat people might not have eaten after our meat videos or how many friendships might not exist today without our loneliness video – but in the end there is no way to know these numbers for sure. Idk. Doing content that has this much reach sometimes can feel like interacting with an endless stream. In the end I try to remember that each of these interactions represents a person (well, except the ones from spam bots).

Nitemarex57 karma

I think you just brightened his day

92eb5ffee6ae2fec3ad728 karma

For the second time today!

kurz_gesagt58 karma

Let's make it three times!

daneeyul_102204 karma

Hey Phillipp, have you seen Tom Nicholas' video on Veritasium's partnership with Waymo? If so, has it made you think about how to best approach partnerships, especially those with The Gates Foundation?

kurz_gesagt470 karma

For us these sorts of partnerships are pretty straight forward: No sponsor has input on the script. Ever. No exceptions, also we have a contract for that. Not fine with that? No problem, but then we can't work with you. We have said no to a lot of money over the years.

So Gates is pretty controversial right now so I'll just take them as an example. It always started like this "Hey, would you like funds to make videos about X (for example global health or climate change)."

We said yes! All the legal stuff got cleared and then they did not hear from us for like 9 months and then we told them what we made and then we uploaded the video. No sponsor has input on what we say in our videos, they can fund a topic but they need to trust us.

It is the same with every partner we pick. We are at the fortunate position that we have way more sponsorship offers that we could do even if we wanted, so can afford to be very picky and only play by own rules that we feel good with.

Also because Gates is pretty controversial right now let me say the following: We have been working with them since 2014. Not once did they pressure us to do anything, not once did they try to push us in any direction. We kept them waiting for way longer than was ok at times and they were always understanding and great. They were great partners through and through. It pains me that the Gates Foundation is painted in such a negative light so often because that just does not match with my experience. (For full disclosure, we have no current contract with them and are currently not seeking another).

blobsocket39 karma

Do you have to show the sponsor the video before posting as a condition of the sponsorship for them to approve it? If so, wouldn't them not approving it for a specific reason count as input?

kurz_gesagt94 karma

Nope, that is not a thing. We usually show them before we upload but we don't ask for permission – oh and it is usually cash first so its not like the sponsor could pressure us at this point. It did happen in the past that a big sponsor was not super happy and just told them "trust us, this is going to be work out".

Sponsors have to trust us because in the end we will do our work as we think it is right.

BoyManners193 karma

What will you tell the youth of this world who mostly remain confused in teens and early 20s or any age group of their lives searching for a passion and career?

kurz_gesagt277 karma

We'll make a video about that, no spoilers right now : )

RedTwinkleToes192 karma

Hi, how was the book researched? Given how much of the science of Immunology is likely constantly changing, how did you make sure your science was accurate? Did you have a science adviser to double check your work or was it all just amateur reading of the scientific literature? Was there any facts that changed under you due to a new discovery?

Also while I'm at it, will it remain as physicals copy's only or will there be digital copies?

kurz_gesagt311 karma

Hey! Oh boy. Ok so technically I wrote/researched the book three times. First in University, mostly using beginners Immunology books (which where mostly horrible) and Wikipedia. The second time around 2015 when I had an offer to publish it and rewrote it from scratch, that time I dipped into some papers on top of that. In the meantime I began having conversations with experts about the topic as I made Immune System related videos for the channel. So in a sense I always had regular refreshers and I just LOVE the topic deeply.

Now for the final and actual publication I redid the whole research but it really helped that I had done this two times, which made it much easier to get into. With ten years between the first research starting and then the process of writing the actual book it was pretty amazing to see how many updates there had been in the mean time (or maybe my latest research was just way more in depth this time). I read a LOT of papers for the book (immunology papers are horrible, I read them the speed of a first grader) and had many calls and conversations with Immunologists that also recommended further reading for me. On top of that the classics, like janeway immunobiology. In the end, three experts read the book three times and gave extensive feedback.

Did that answer your question?

For digital: I think the book is available as an ebook and there are more plans!

BigBlackHungGuy183 karma

Hi Phillipp, love the work of your team.

Do you plan on doing any more content like you did with "The Egg"?

I thought it was great.

I think Asimov's "The Last Question" would be a great one to try :)

kurz_gesagt265 karma

Hey! Thank you!

Yes, totally! "The Last Question" is my white whale. We got in touch with the Asimov people many times and begged them to let us make an animation video, even free of charge. But sadly they said no every time and I think at this point they think of us as annoying internet people. I haven't given up all hope yet, but it doesn't look good.

DasGanon155 karma

Hi Philipp been a fan of the channel for a long time.

One thing I love is all of the different Easter eggs and references that get hidden in your videos, like the Tardis and "Pokemon girl" in your earlier vids, to the very unexpected "Anime Betrayals" line in the ATP video.

Is there an Easter egg that nobody seems to comment on, and which one is your favorite?

kurz_gesagt205 karma

Hey! Thank you for this question, there is indeed one that makes me sad. The first 20 or so seconds of the first ant video (World War Ant) was basically a recreation of the intro of the video game KKND2. I was really happy with myself for that but I think basically nobody has noticed.

Davrosity136 karma

I noticed it as I worked on the games. But then I thought how weird and what are the chances. But thanks, I'll let the members of the team I'm still in contact with know. They will be very excited.

kurz_gesagt85 karma

Oh really?! Well thank you for your work, young me had a blast and I still think back fondly to playing the game as a young teen and getting lost in it!

DjaNikPro107 karma

Hello, Phillipp! Big Kurzgesagt fan here. I have 2 questions:

  1. Seeing how the animations are approaching Pixar levels of quality (especially in the last Dinosaur video) and you are tackling a lot of serious subjects like global warming, how many people are on the Kurzgesagt team in order to keep producing so many high quality videos consistently and what % of them are birds ?

  2. What do you think is the meaning of life ? ( this question comes from my mom as we watch your videos together)

kurz_gesagt193 karma

Hey! Thank you, Pixar level is a huge compliment!

  1. At all times there are about 25-30 people working on Kurzgesagt videos in various stages of completion. For example right now I'm writing scripts for next spring, the research team is two teams of illustrators are working on videos that will be published in February and teams of animators are working on our December videos. But of course that is not all – we have producers and office assistants and a social media director, about 15 in total, that are working behind the scenes to keep the huge machine running. So in total, currently we are 45 people to sustain our current production schedule. 100% birds of course.
  2. Oh my. Do you really want my answer? I don't think there is inherent meaning to life but the one that you decide to make for yourself. In that sense, I have decided my meaning of life is to have a positive contribution to humanity, to be a good friend and partner and to try to become a better person over time. And to work really hard and do something of quality (which does not necessarily mean Youtube, if this all ends I could imagine trying to make quality coffee).

ThisIsMyCouchAccount43 karma

You don’t have to be specific - and my intent is not to be rude or nosy.

But how do you pay for so many people while producing so few videos?

Are they full time? Volunteers?

Or am I underestimating how much money your videos, Patreon, and merch bring in?

kurz_gesagt95 karma

Totally fair question! Everybody is full time and we try to pay fairly and living wages and try to avoid overtime if possible. We pay 10% of company earning before taxes out to the team once a year. We talked a bit about our different sources of income in our behind the scenes video.

In the end, we are totally funded by our fans and viewers, mostly through our shop and products, Patreon and YT ad revenue.

It is enough to fund what we are today.

k4bulosu98 karma

Hi, Philipp!

I 'm cofounder of a brazilian science YouTube channel with almost 1 million subs and we produce vídeos about a lot of subjects from undestanding COVID to the newest scientific discoveries about longevity. With that being said, I have 2 questions:

  1. Do you think we (my team and I) could somehow help you and your team produce a portuguese version of Kurzgesagt? It'd be great if we could.
  2. We're really interested in producing videos about the immune system. Would you be willing to make a partnership so we produce this content based on your book to advertise it to brazilians and portuguese speakers? Even though the book is in english I bet we can increase the sales of your book within portuguese speakers interested in this subject worldwide.

What do you think? Cheers from a great fan from Brazil!

kurz_gesagt71 karma

Hey! I know you channel, great stuff!

  1. We are already working on that sorry, it will hopefully be out next year!
  2. Right now the answer has to be no as there are multiple ideas floating around what we will do with the contents of the book/Immune system content and it's just too early to say what will play out.

KotaDaJedi96 karma

Hi Philip!

How much money does the average video take to complete?

kurz_gesagt152 karma

A high five figure amount, in some cases more. Edit: I checked, edited accordingly.

moodash6876 karma

Hello Philipp! How many videos do you usually work on simultaneously?

kurz_gesagt125 karma

Hey! Usually two in illustration, two in animation and 2-6 in research and the script phase.

10thunderpigs73 karma

What would you tell your 10 year old self if you could?

kurz_gesagt155 karma

Being a teenager will be worst phase of your life but it is only up from there. The next few years will suck but if you survive them life will be great. Also floss!

Austinisftw71 karma

Hello Philipp!

My two questions is about the kurz team:

Whats the best feature of your team?Whats also the biggest rivalry in the office (like mac vs windows) etc...

kurz_gesagt109 karma

Hey!
I think the best feature is that everybody here is actually always giving their best. Like everybody working on these videos is putting their soul into it, there is no half assery. Which is an incredible environment to work in because it is so motivating. You always want to do great work if all the people around you are pushing themselves.

Rivalry: Hmm… I’m not sure there is something like that but I’ll edit this comment if something comes to mind!

SoruReads65 karma

Hello Mr.Dettmer

I feel overwhelmed by all the terrible news you let everyone know of. And sometimes it really gets me down. Therefore i would appreaciate it very much if you answered me following question:

Can we still afford to have fun in our lifetime if we are to make our homeplanet stable again?

And what form of education would help young people to get in the right direction of doing change?

Thank you very much.

kurz_gesagt116 karma

Hey! Philipp is fine! :D

Sorry that all that stuff is bringing you down. Indeed it is hard not to lose all hope considering the current state of the world and the bombardment of bad news we all have to handle. It took me years to get out of my own climate change depression. We are making a video about Climate Change and hope right now that will be published in a few months and we are working on another video that will give tips on how to have the most impact.

In general: Yes, you can and should have fun. You have a future, humanity has a future and while the challenges of our time are enormous, I'm confident and hopeful that in the end we will come up on top of that. Humanity is worth it.

SenatusSPQR52 karma

Hey Philipp! Having recently DMed you and miraculously gotten multiple responses from you - how do you find the time to engage on Reddit while also building such a huge "brand"? What does your week look like, in terms of what you spend most of your time on?

kurz_gesagt100 karma

Hey! You must have gotten lucky :D Most of the time I have reddit (and really all social media) blocked with an app called "SelfControl" because social media is the worst and I hate it and it makes me deeply unhappy. Every few months I don't activate the block for a few weeks and descend into madness. When I begin hating myself enough the block goes back up for weeks or months.

So the answer is: I try not to do social media because it is such a time sink.

A typical (good) week is like 60% writing scripts and research and about 40% company stuff, which means all sorts of meetings, CEO decision stuff, new business and creative direction on videos. Is that detailed enough for you or were you looking for something more specific? : )

TheKleba33 karma

Note to myself: check out app "SelfControl" :D

kurz_gesagt24 karma

Do it, it changed my life for the better.

ToTiHe39 karma

How much has the creation and growth of Kurzgesagt impacted your personal life? Keep it up with the awesome video's and making the world a tiny bit smarter every day!

kurz_gesagt62 karma

I mean. Considerably! I was on a totally different life trajectory when Kurzgesagt became a thing and I'm putting that on my gratitude journal every single day. For example I never planned (or wanted) to have and run a company, I've met some of my best friends through the channel and it really gives me a sense of meaning and purpose in life.

0ForTheHorde38 karma

Hi Philipp!! I am a Patron of Kurzgesagt and buy literally all your merch, what other ways can I help your channel?

kurz_gesagt74 karma

Hey! First of all: Thank you so much. Please know that are already helping us a lot, in a huge way, there is nothing more I would dare asking of you. In general, just watching and sharing and engaging with the videos is super helpful.

lawaythrow38 karma

Hi. My son loves your channel (he is 8 but has always been interested in advanced science topics). And he could not wait to get your book. He just received it today after waiting eagerly for a month.

Do you think he will understand the book? Also, thank you for putting quality content out there.

kurz_gesagt52 karma

Hey, that is great to hear, tell him Hi from me!

Hm. 8 might be a bit young to be honest, the book is written for adults and it helps if you had some high school biology education. I would recommend it at 12+. If you can remember, I would love to know how his experience with the book was, if he could get into it though!

SnooMarzipans230734 karma

Your videos are incredible!

Philipp, what's the Kurzgesagt video you're most proud of making so far?

kurz_gesagt87 karma

Thank you! I'll copy my reply from another comment here:

No question, the loneliness video. Not only did it help myself understand my past much better and (hopefully) make me a better friend, but the reaction to that video showed that there were millions of people who needed to hear what the video said. I still read the comments regularly. The video makes me feel that if I die today, I had a positive impact in the world. Next year there will be a follow up.

sakshiiidee31 karma

Hey Phillip, are you into science fiction? Also, how are you doing? and are you giving Mochi enough belly rubs and pets?

kurz_gesagt56 karma

Hey! Yes! Very much. My favorite sci fi author is Ted Chiang.
Right now I’m a bit stressed because this AMA is going on and I’m trying to answer as many questions as possible while my internet has decided to be bad today :D
Mochi is getting belly rubs at least once a day, usually after getting up in the morning.

sirprizes30 karma

Hi Philipp, really enjoy your content. One question... is everyone at the channel in a good place mentally? Because it seems like there's a lot of existential crisis type of videos.

kurz_gesagt47 karma

Hahaha! Honestly, I'm often surprised how much existential dread some of the videos cause, many of the topics feel just entertaining to me. We are trying to be more conscious with that nowadays and not overdo it – a little existential dread is great imho, it gives you perspective.

philicher12125 karma

Hi Philipp!

How many experts (as you call them) on average do you contact per video? How do you end up in contact with them? For example, do you go through a slew of papers, notice that one of those researchers are still active, and drop them an email?

Thanks! (Also, I love you videos!!!)

kurz_gesagt53 karma

Hey! It depends on the topic, some are easier than others. But never less than two. In general we contact 3-6 experts for each video and we end up working with 2-4 (some don't reply, some are busy). Nowadays we have a large network of experts/scientists we can contact and that are eager to help, so sometimes it is just enough to go through our lists and see who might be a good expert for a video. And yes, we often contact the authors of papers we read for our research, to clarify something we didn't quite get or to make sure we did summarize their research properly.

The easiest way to get experts is to just write them polite and friendly emails – really over all these years we made almost exclusively positive experiences with that. Scientists are just people and most are super happy to use their expertise to help communicate their work!

unisenpai24 karma

Hi Philipp! I've been watching your videos for 6-7 years and I'm super proud of how far it's grown and how many people it's reached!

What's been your favourite topic or video that you've created so far? Or perhaps it's one that's still in the pipeline?

kurz_gesagt25 karma

Oh wow, that is a long time, thank you for staying on! <3

No question, the loneliness video. Not only did it help myself understand my past much better and (hopefully) make me a better friend, but the reaction to that video showed that there were millions of people who needed to hear what the video said. I still read the comments regularly. The video makes me feel that if I die today, I had a positive impact in the world. Next year there will be a follow up.

alalal98220 karma

How does a channel like yours handle and find your writers?

I'm a writer for a semi-well-known youtube channel and I'm currently trying to branch out and take on more work. Since this is such a niche field though, I'm curious if larger channels just straight up hire journalists, or if they're looking for writers that have the ability to sound more casual so those watching youtube channels and the general public will understand.

kurz_gesagt37 karma

This is one of the largest, if not the largest challenge of running a big Youtube channel. Writing for Youtube in a sense that feels right for you as the original creator is just incredibly hard and nobody I know had an easy time with that. You see that with some channels, they just lose something over time as they publish more. Over the years and despite interviewing hundreds of people I only found a small handful of people who I trust with the content our videos (who I'm incredibly grateful to have found <3 ). So even at our size, I remain the head writer and the main person responsible for our scripts. Good luck!

fileheist19 karma

Hi Philipp, Jae from the discord here, what's the bird species you hate the most?

kurz_gesagt35 karma

Hey Jae! I love all birds!

Party_Replacement_1619 karma

Hihi Philipp!

I have an autoimmune disease and I get infusions of a drug that neutralises my T cells preventing them from interacting with their receptors on the cell. I have found all of your immune videos so fascinating and was wondering is there is a chapter about autoimmune diseases in the book?

kurz_gesagt33 karma

Hey! Sorry to hear that! Yes, there is an autoimmune chapter and the topic gets mentioned several times as it is so crucial! Good health and all! <3

Awesomeuser9018 karma

You add lots of references to external things. You put the Ice King in the what if we bring the sun to earth video, you have Sailor Moon in the second neutron star video, and more. You guys big fans of stuff like that?

kurz_gesagt30 karma

Many people working at Kurzgesagt are huge nerds or fanboys/girls of weird/nieche stuff. So yes!

Dementor33317 karma

What is your favourite Pokémon?

kurz_gesagt38 karma

Caterpie!!!

FullKnight5114 karma

Hey! Do you have any plans to write another book?

kurz_gesagt37 karma

Not in the near future. Writing a book is haaaaaaaaaarrrrdddddd and I'm happy that the first one is over and done. Although my secret dream is to write an updated version in a few year if it does well enough.

TheSquarePlanet_14 karma

Hi phillip,

Do you ever get recognized in public or not very often because Kurzgesagt is a largely faceless channel?

Keep up the great work Kurzgesagt team, been watching your videos for 5~ years now. loved all of them. Also what prompted you to start the channel?

kurz_gesagt36 karma

Hey! Thank you! It has happened a few times but not often, no, and I like it that way. The decision to have Kurzgesagt be mostly faceless was an active one and no accident.

What prompted the start of the channel? Well, super simplified: I didn't want to get a real job and this video thing was just really fun. Fun felt good so I did more of that.

nuclear_bum13 karma

Tips for someone who loves learning but hates studying?

kurz_gesagt16 karma

Nothing that will be helpful, sorry!

JoyTheGeek11 karma

Do you think education systems across the world (and especially in the U.S) need massive reform? You mentioned them being boring, but it also seems that they're actively hurting people psychologically on mass.

kurz_gesagt30 karma

Yes! Oh my god, yes. Many aspects of the public education system stem from weird countries 150 years ago that don't exist anymore. School should be a great experience, where you get prepared for life and figure out what you are good at. This is not what is happening way too often. For example, why do we not learn at school how to make friends and how to retain friendships? How relationships work and how to be a good partner? How the economy works and what place we envision for ourselves? Or more timely: How the internet works and how to find a responsible way to deal with it?

Maybe we'll do a video about it at some point.

BeneficialEngineer3710 karma

Does every person working for kurzgesagt have a college degree? What are your thoughts on intelligence vs education? Would you ever hire someone without a college degree?

kurz_gesagt16 karma

Most people at Kurzgesagt but not all of them have some form of college degree. I have hired people without formal education in the past and I will in the future if the person is good at what they do, shares our values and is motivated. Many people (at some point most) working at Kurzgesagt are career jumpers who did not train for what they do today – and I think there are a lot of upsides with that. For example, you don't "know" what you can't do and so you just can try out stuff more freely. I've meet people with degrees who were really bad at doing their jobs and people without who excelled at them.

Having said all of that, a degree is often helpful because it gives you a certain amount of experience that can be hard to get without it. Also certain jobs just require them (our inhouse lawyer for example obviously has to have one)

DUTCH_DUDES10 karma

Hi Philipp!

I’ve always been curious since your channel seems to tackle such a wide variety of topics in good depth in subjects like Biology, Psychology, Chemistry and Astronomy (to name a few). Is there some topic/subjects you’ve always wanted to make a video on but for some reason haven’t/couldn’t yet? For example some topics more in Economics or Math Theory?

kurz_gesagt12 karma

Hey! Absolutely! History and economy videos in particular is something I'd like to do at some point but haven't quite figured out how to do them yet. I struggled with Climate Change videos for many years but I finally have found a way to articulate that topic without the scripts being horrible. So I hope this will work out for the other topics too eventually!

LuLu_Geek8 karma

Hi Philipp !

Before I ask my question, I wanted to say thank you to your team for giving me my passion for sciences !

I have two simple questions : Is there any foreign language version channel planned ? Like in French or Italian ?And Is there any history or cultural related video planned ?

kurz_gesagt13 karma

Hey and thank you!

Yes! Several actually and if things work out we can launch them next year!

EpicRaginAsian7 karma

Hey Phillip, looking into one of your answers here, I saw that you have a hate for social media, and I agree that it is definitely something that harms a lot of people. Do you plan on making a video covering such a topic, or something along the lines of that?

kurz_gesagt10 karma

Hey! Ah man. I don't know. I've started such a script several times but I just can't manage to make something that fits within our ten minutes format. The topic is just not leaving the world or my mind though, so I figure at some point there will be a video about social media or related phenomena.

CreationsByARK3 karma

I heard that you had illness (cancer more specifically).

If it is true. How are you holding up with it? Did it had an effect in the shaping of this channel?

kurz_gesagt6 karma

Yeah that happened. I mean, it was a pretty fascinating experience. Not one I can recommend or that I want to have again, but I learned a lot about myself and about medicine and of course the immune system. Don't think it affected the channel (aside the fact that during that time I pretty exhausted) too much as it did not change my worldview a lot. So far I'm in remission and clean if you are wondering and I don't think about it that much.

Watsdisa2 karma

Would you say that your social skills played an important part on your success?

Personally you are one of those amazing people I can only think wonders of. When I see "that someone" and read bios like yours I think to myself "well, yes, it was hard, but surely they were likable and that's the difference between me and him/her"

kurz_gesagt2 karma

HA! Let me guarantee you, I'm just a dude.

Over the the last few years I've met many successful people, some have become friends and I can tell you: Everybody is just a person. Don't put people on pedestals. You are not doing them or yourself a favor.

My success is (in no particular order): Timing, hard work, luck, perseverance.

Also especially in my late teens/early twenties my social skills were bad until I actively worked on them.

Good luck stranger, you can do great things!

ForboJack2 karma

Are there any plans to release kurzgesagt videos in 4k in the near future?

kurz_gesagt9 karma

Not in the near future. The thing with 4K is that it would make our render times (which sometimes are already multiple day long affairs for the final videos) SO much worse. And right now most people could not really tell the difference anyway (50% watch on phones). So at some point for sure, but not soon.

AliYil2 karma

Hi Philipp! Hope you're doing okay!

Here is a question coming from my friend.

In your Optimistic Nihilism video, it is mentioned that the view is an unscientific, subjective point of view and the philosophy of Kurzgesagt. Is this your personal proposition or is the idea embraced by the team?

Thanks for the amazing things!

kurz_gesagt2 karma

Hey! Hmm.

Well the script for that video came from entries from the journal I used to have during that time. It was in a very real sense, a way to deal with life and to get over the meaningless universe, something that really unsettled me at the time. It was a personal script for me, I can't speak for the rest of the team here. Although over the years some people told me that they wanted to work with Kurzgesagt because of that video. So I think at least some people at Kurzgesagt vibe with that sort of philosophy.

DiracSeaMandelstam2 karma

How was Dr. Matt Caplan like (if you ever met him)?

He's currently a professor who challenged me to help me find my current passion in nbody simulations of space.

kurz_gesagt2 karma

Prepandemic he used to visit us in Munich once a year! Matt is amazing and funny and I hope to see him in real life again next year! Tell him I said hi!

Zai02 karma

Berlin vs München?

kurz_gesagt2 karma

Berlin for visits, München to live at.