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“How” vs” “Why”

Our YouTube Channel is now seventeen months old. In that time, it’s had 2,283,831 views as of this writing. We have 41,421 subscribers, 22,228,620 minutes of video watched across our 153 videos. I tried to find out how many comments we’ve had, but, there’s no analytic for that. I can approximate it though, as we get about 1 comment or like per 12 views. Being that we probably get twice as many likes as comments, that comes to…. about 64,000 comments.

Why all the numbers? I’m trying to establish volume. Volume of people watching and interacting with our videos. Suffice to say, quite a lot. Not as many as the big channels, but… enough to prove the point I’m trying to make.

Along the way, there have been some naysayers. People who just don’t get what we’re doing, and that’s okay. I’ve grown a thicker skin in the past year and a half than ever before and come to realize some people are simply… cruel.

There are others though, who aren’t necessarily cruel, they just aren’t our audience. I’ve had to realize this too. Not everyone will love or even like or care about our videos. Not everyone will appreciate the time and effort spent to get to where our videos are today. Trust me when I say we’ve changed our entire lives to bring our viewers the content you see today. Many thousands of dollars in equipment, hundreds and hundreds of hours of recording, research and editing, not to mention responding to comments, hanging out in the Facebook Groups and doing things for our Patrons. It’s essentially a full time job… plus some. So when we get a nasty comment, it’s disheartening.

That’s not what this is about though.

I’ve come to realize there are two basic types of people who watch YouTube Videos. There are the “How” types, and the “Why” types. I see this in cooking too, and even photography to a lesser extent (and it’s less effective).

The Hows are those that simply want instructions. Tell them what to do and they will do it. They are the type that either instinctively understands things by doing, or will follow directions to a T expecting the same result each time. If they are the instinctive types, all good, and they will get a lot out of very short videos and instructions. They can read between the lines and piece together the Why. The latter though, they blindly follow instructions, and tend to blame the instructor when things go wrong. They might be right, but many times, being they didn’t understand the concept, they changed things. It’s all to easy to substitute out this or that, and say you followed the recipe or directions. If you don’t understand the concept of why things are being done… well, you get the idea.

I’ve had many comments such as, “I made your Vikings Blood exactly, but used pineapple and watermelon, doubled the honey ‘cuz I want more alcohol and added agave. Why didn’t mine come out like yours?”. That is a quote by the way. They believe they made the same recipe as we did in the video, when… obviously they didn’t. If they understood the method and reasoning, they would know that pineapple doesn’t ferment quite the same as cherry, and watermelon… that’s a whole other thing entirely. Adding double the honey won’t necessarily do what they think, and adding agave is just adding complexity in the ferment where it’s not needed. Yet they think they did the same as me.

The Whys are people who watch people like Alton Brown but never recreate his recipes. People like me. I don’t actually watch him for a recipe so much as a method. I learned that a roux is a thickener and how to make it because of him many years ago. That sparked an entire range of cooking I had absolutely no idea about. I learned a concept and a method, not a recipe. I understood what was happening, why it was happening and how to apply that knowledge to another project or recipe. The Whys get this, and want to understand the nuance of change, and why to do this vs that. They want to know why they shouldn’t double the honey in a brew. They want to know why this yeast vs that yeast, or why to cut a certain vegetable to this size as opposed to larger or smaller.

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably a Why. A How would have either gotten the gist, or think they did and stopped reading. A Why wants to know what the purpose of this article is, what prompted it, and what I plan to do in the future.

Remember early on in this article when I established volume? 64,000 comments or so. That’s a lot of comments. Out of those, about 200 said something along the lines of, “Don’t you ever shut up?”, “Get to the point already.”, “This 30 minute video could have been done in 3 minutes.”, or any other of a variety of similar thoughts.

Yesterday, I happened upon another YouTube Channel that has similar content to ours, not all of it, but some of it. They were making a brew that we made on our channel, and the creator said this, “If you want to waste 30 minutes of your life watching a video that has 5 minutes of information in it, this isn’t the channel for you.”. He then went on to create a rushed, choppy video that lacked any comprehension or understanding of the brew being made. It was lifeless, and though short, quite boring. It also had less than 200 views in 8 months. The ironic part about it is… he learned to make this brew from our channel, and I know this about 99% as a certainty. He used the information we gave and then had to use some form of condescension to further his own video. I’m not angry, I feel sorry for him. Having to stoop that low to sell your video is pretty sad. No, I will not tell anyone who it was or what the video was of.

That situation made me think of this article though. The Hows just want the facts and the basics, whether they get it or not is on them. The Whys want to soak it all in, and really understand what is happening.

I’m a Why. Most City Steaders are Whys. The Hows have long stopped reading this article and have skimmed 5 others by now. The Whys probably went back to the first paragraph to see the numbers again.


This entry was posted in Blog, Brewing, Cooking, Gardening.


  1. Joseph Stopkey July 31, 2019 at 1:57 pm #

    You’ve already realized this, but the internet is full of trolls. Dont take the hate they spread to heart. So many of your viewers like myself, the whys, appreciate the quality content Derica and you produce.

    Thank you for the hard work yall do.

    • brerica July 31, 2019 at 1:59 pm #

      Joseph! Yeah, we do realize it. It took me a while to understand why people wouldn’t want to know why things work as they do, then I had to step back and realize not everyone thinks the same way. Duh, I know, but that’s what I had to understand myself. Now… why they feel the need to be a troll and leave nasty comments? That’s a whole other article!

  2. Chaz July 31, 2019 at 5:03 pm #

    Just keep doing what you are doing Brian and Derika, watching you is informative and fun, yes you do waffle on a bit, but it is what makes what you do entertaining.

    It is easy to see you know what you are talking about and it is evident in the posts I have seen that your information is good and to the point, even if we do have to watch you with a pen and paper to get the basics down pat.

    So I am a ‘why’, possibly, I have never given it much thought. I enjoy the way you come across and think if circumstances were different eg we knew each other from school or lived next door to each other we could get on like a house on fire.

    I love to brew, but I do end up giving most of it away, although I am determined not to do so with this year’s batch of Rosehip wine or all of my Apple, lol I only have two bottles left from 10 and I have drunk 2. The six demijohns I bottled and got me 34 bottles, and from those I have 8 left.

    Anyway, if people are dissing you it is only because you have hit a nerve and they are jealous of your success, God bless

    Keep at it you two, if only for sanities sake besides, I need some more recipies.

    • brerica July 31, 2019 at 5:05 pm #

      Thanks! Don’t get me wrong… we’re not really put off by the negativity. It’s just interesting that people feel a need to tell us they disagree, when there’s soooo much content out there, their time is far better spent watching that than complaining. I mean… I’m not going to change. 🙂

  3. Jeff July 31, 2019 at 6:50 pm #

    I used to watch Alton Brown whenever I got a chance, and for the same reason, so I guess I’m a “Why.” 🙂

    I thoroughly enjoy your videos, and I truly appreciate you explaining the “whys” of what you’re doing. And when I want to start experimenting with different types of mead (for example), I’ll have a better understanding of what’s likely to work and what probably won’t.

    Because I am a “Why” and proud of it.

  4. Jan July 31, 2019 at 8:21 pm #

    We need a T Shirt “I am a WHY kinda person”!

    • brerica July 31, 2019 at 8:23 pm #

      I’m coming up with something like that!

  5. Aaron July 31, 2019 at 10:54 pm #

    Keep up the great work on your videos and ignore the haters. I have been brewing, cooking, gardening etc for years before watching your videos. People like you are what make youtube such a great resource. I like how your videos show people that EVERYONE can brew and create their own food 100% naturally. Even though I have been doing what you do in your videos for years, I still find them informative and entertaining. No way I could do what you guys do. You give people all the information they need in a video, and they still ask questions that the video answered. For God sake people, don’t brew without a hydrometer!!!

    • brerica August 1, 2019 at 12:34 pm #

      Thank you. A big part of why we do the channel is to bring back the idea that “you can do this”, instead of believing only big corporations can make us food and drink. Too many people have lost sight of this, and it’s only the past 100 or so years where this change has happened.

  6. James August 1, 2019 at 12:23 am #

    I just wanna thank you guys for the wealth of information you give out, and the time and energy you put into your videos. Ive learned so much over the past couple months from your videos and the FB group, and im extremely grateful for it. Ive been inspired to try something ive never done before, and im loving it. I have so many different recipes i cant wait to try. My first batch is aging right now in preparation as a wedding gift for a best friend, and i cant wait to see how it turns out. Anyways, rant over. Thanks again and dont change. The channel is perfect the way it is.

    • brerica August 1, 2019 at 12:32 pm #

      Thank you! Glad to have helped inspire you!

  7. Pete Wermecke August 1, 2019 at 12:27 am #

    I’m not a “subscriber” or “like” or “comment” kind of guy[til now]. I have enjoyed your vids tremendously though for the last 6 months. So your new analytic is for every 2,283,831 views there’s at least 1 guy that you had no idea truly appreciates all you have done to this point & looks forward to what you share with us in the future.

    Senor PorQue

  8. Daley August 1, 2019 at 4:07 am #

    I’m definitely a Why!

    I was watching a lot of 5 to 12min long cooking videos, I’m fascinated by methods, never to replicate, but to incorporate tricks into my own cooking. When I first stumbled upon your videos, I saw 20 to 35min long videos, and would question whether to commit my time to it.
    I’m glad I did, because the 30min of content, it contains ramblings, it contains insights into your personalities, and it contains little hints and mentions of the things you’ve learned through your journey.

    Because of your channel, I’ve restarted brewing mead and ginger beer, after some failures in the past had me lose interest altogether, I’ve been making my own yoghurt and cold brewed coffee, and am looking to make my own bread too. And I’m having a great time doing it.

    Thank you.

    • brerica August 1, 2019 at 12:31 pm #

      Love hearing this! Thank you!

  9. Oskar Johansson August 1, 2019 at 12:14 pm #

    Ive been brewing mead from time to time for a few years but not very actively – until I stumbled upon your channel by accident. Its lovely to see someone explain and speculate in detail as the video goes on instead of “do this and do that and dont do it any other way than me”.

    So i picked it up again and havnt stopped since, all thanks to you. I find myself watching one of your videos sometimes just for entertainment as i eat 😁
    Keep up the terrific work and ignore the haters, they are all just envious or besserwissers anyway!

    • brerica August 1, 2019 at 12:30 pm #

      Thank you! Hearing things like this just confirms what we already thought!

  10. Brian Hartman August 3, 2019 at 7:12 am #

    I must be one of the why people too, and I’ve been as enamored by your videos as I ever was by Alton’ Brown’s. You guys make me laugh frequently, with the “damuch” and trbos, etc. More importantly you make me want to try these things for myself and teach me enough that if I fail, I know what to do differently next time. You guys are awesome and your videos are awesome. Don’t let the trolls get you down.

  11. Jim Peaco August 5, 2019 at 1:14 pm #

    I have learned to recognize a Brian rant and I love. It shows the passion of his work.

    I fell asleep last night watching his show on backsweetening (it was way past my bedtime). I woke this morning with the urge to make sour kraut…lol.

    Thank you both for what you do.

    • brerica August 5, 2019 at 1:35 pm #

      I do love a good rant. And sauerkraut. Not necessarily at the same time though…. Thanks!

  12. Amy V July 25, 2020 at 8:48 pm #

    I am into science, so I like the why of it. I thoroughly enjoy your recipes, rants, detailed explanations and t-shirts!
    I am so glad I found your channel. I don’t remember what I was looking for. Maybe what to do for a mead that would not stop bubbling or clear up even after 4 months.
    2 months later, clear but still bubbling. 0_0
    Looking forward to the next one.

    Be well!

  13. James Keal July 26, 2020 at 3:09 am #

    I’ve watched you two since your Viking blood mead first edition. And I watch some more and more. When I thought i had it all together i made it, sort of .i took my eyes off the scale for just a moment and i had close to 4 pds of honey not 3pds. So I proceeded with the process. Until the hydrometer came out of the tube. No yeast in it yet,I’m safe; sort of. Of to get more juice, just tart cherry to cut what i had already. Though all of it, it came out pretty darn good if i said so. I’ve made several other meads and wines since and have followed instructions but have enlarged my batches . And they all have turned out good and some better than others.
    Don’t pay attention to others and what they say. There lost not yours. Just do what you do and build from there, witch your doing. Opponents are like ___ _____ some show them more than others. Assume everyone is a know it all, until they can’t do something. And they find you to help or point them in the right direction. And to me you’ve directed myself and many others to enjoy the taste of the direct they were looking for.
    Your #no’s show just how much your application and welcome in many homes. That’s what matters the most.
    I used lees just a week before your videos came out. And that lees has given me a wine that’s abv is just points away from 20% . Figure that one out, maybe the pineapple, cantaloupe, watermelon,and honeydew ( fruit salad wine) .
    So if you don’t mind I’ll stop here. I need to get ready to bottle about 20 gals of mead and wine tomorrow.
    Just keep doing what you’ve been doing, your good with me. Thank You!

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