How did an average-looking, Muslim, Arab boy from a village in Israel make it to being one of the world’s most well-known content creators with over 26 million subscribers today?
Here’s the story of Nas Daily.
A difficult beginning
Nuseir Yassin was born in Arraba, a city in Israel on 9th February 1992. He was the second of four children, born to Muslim-Arab parents. As a Palestinian born in Israel, he grew up seeing constant conflict.
That’s why he decided at age 18 that it was time for him to leave.
Where would he go? He loved the USA and one of his biggest dreams was to study at Harvard. But for a kid who grew up in a little village in Israel, Harvard was a long way away. And not to mention, cost $60,000 a year. Most of his friends told him to give up.
Nuseir applied anyways.
A new chapter
He got in. And not just that. He got a full scholarship. He calls this the “greatest piece of luck he got in his life”. Before he left, he realized that Nuseir was too complicated a name for the people in the States. So he changed it to Nas.
‘Nas’ means people in Arabic.
While studying at Harvard, he hustled. He co-founded a pay-it-forward registration service, and a social media search engine. But he dreamed of greater things. In 2014, he graduated from Harvard with a degree in Economics and a minor in Computer Science.
Appreciating his hustle in college, Venmo a software developer offered him a job as a software developer. For 120,000$. Nas accepted-he would be making more money than his entire family combined.But one year into his new job, he knew for sure something was off.
Working at his job in New York, he had a great life. He was earning a lot and he was living comfortably. But he wasn’t satisfied. So he did the now-infamous calculation. He went on Google and typed ‘Life expectancy Male United States’.
Google answered ’76’.
He was 24 at the time. 24 out of 76 was 32%. He realized he was done with a third of his life. He was one third dead. That’s when he decided that it was time to take control of his life. It was time to use the remaining 68% of his life building something that he would be proud of.
So he tried figuring out what he would do. He loved traveling; meeting people and making videos. He put the three together and decided he would travel the world, meet people and make 1 video every day. For 60 days.
Another condition he gave himself was to make each of the videos only 1 minute. Why 1 minute? In Nas’s words, growing up as a middle child he felt he didn’t deserve attention. So he always used to say what he wanted to say really fast.
This translated to his style of making videos.
Changing the YouTube scene
He also decided he would upload only on Facebook. It was where his friends and family were. Plus he did not like the type of content that was uploaded on YouTube. He thought they were click baitey, women-objectifying and mostly meaningless prank type content.
And that’s how Nas Videos started. From NYC he would go to Kenya; then across the border to Ehiopia; cross the oceans to India; then to neighbor Nepal; then fly to Japan; back to SF and finally NYC.
How did he afford to do this? He had saved up 20,000$ from his time at the job. And what was his equipment? One drone, one camera, one Go Pro and a whole lot of persistence.
A video a day. Even at 1 minute that’s a huge task. His 24-hour process involved waking at dawn; coming up with an idea; contacting the people necessary to make it; shoot(6 hrs) & edit(3 hrs) the video & upload it the next day.
All the while figuring out boarding, food and tickets for his next destination.
His first videos were by his own words “just bad”. He did not have practice shooting with his camera; his equipment was not the best and they had no storyline. It also felt more like a travel vlog more than what his videos would eventually become.
But by virtue of his uploading pace and his 1 minute time frame, he was developing a loyal band of followers. By his 30th video he got over 5000 likes on his page; close to 500,000 views and a reach of over 1.2 Million.
Rebranding his channel
On day 30, he also renamed the channel-calling it “Nas Daily”.
On day 58 into Nas Daily, he got a message on Facebook. It was from Alyne Tamir, a fellow traveller who had seen one of his videos. They decided to meet up and Nas made a video with her.
They would go on to (mostly) travel together for the remainder of the journey.
On day 60, Nas had been to 8 countries already and had 16,500 likes on his videos and 2.2 Million Views. He decided that he was way too much fun to just pack up and go back to NYC. So he decided to keep going.
He went next to Nigria; then on day 83 crossed continents to Europe. He would go to France, Germany, Romania, and much of Europe before ending up in Italy on day 138.
By day 155, he was back in NYC. He had been to 19 countries and had over 47,000 new Facebook friends. He took some time to decide what to do next. He decided he would continue his journey but this time through America.
He went through NYC, SF, Cambridge and LA in the next 70 days sticking to his posting schedule. On day 200, he took on a new challenge-to wear the same T-shirt EVERY SINGLE DAY. What would be the design? A reminder of his time left on earth.
On day 225, he was at 70,000 followers on his Facebook page. But the travel bug was hitting him again and so he took off again-this time to Asia. He started off with Japan; then moved on to South Korea and North Korea. By Day 260, he was in Singapore and he crossed over 100,000 followers.
But it would not be till video 270 that he would blow up.
Hitting the mark
On 4th Jan 2017, he uploaded the video “How Cheap Is Thailand?!” which blew up across the platform. That one video netted him 25 million views and increased his follower count to 250,000.
And just like that after 25 countries and 270 videos, Nas Daily went viral.
With this success he starting understanding how to make better videos. What was the difference? The story. “It’s the difference between me getting coffee or talking about how expensive coffee is.”, said Nas.
With this realization, things started getting easier for Nas.
He started getting more brand deals and people slog-to tell the story of interesting people, cultures and places from all over the world.
Bringing the world together
Here are some of the most amazing people he’s met.
Ei Ei, a 11-year-old tour guide from Myanmar, who can speak 10 languages Elsnestein, a survivor of the Rwandan genoicide who forgived his attackers Mohammed, a sprinter who aimed to be the first Palestinian Olympic Winner
Danit Peleg, the first person in the world to 3D print clothes
Over the next year, as his journey continued, his follower count would keep increasing. So did the significance of his guests. He would meet go on to meet,
The President of Malta
The President of AlbaniaThe Prime Minister in Singapore
He even met Casey Neistat and Mark Zuckerberg! By his 400th video, he had reached 1 Million followers. Another milestone? He announced that he was officially dating Alyne.
Somewhere around day 600, he was making 100,000 views per video. Around this time FB changed their algorithms to favor Nas’s type of content and for video 610 onwards, he started making upwards of 1 million views every video.
On day 650, he got an email from Agon Hare, a fellow content creator. He said he was incredibly inspired by the videos that Nas was putting out and that he too was focused on making a change in the world.
He joined Nas as his videographer and editor.
To new teams and new adventures
The 3 of them would go to Tanzania, Egypt, Morocco, Tasmania, Maldives, and Iceland. On day 750, Nas announced that he would continue this journey only till day 1000, because he had bigger things planned for after.
On day 860, the trio was in Papua New Guinea, a remote island off the coast of Australia. In another example of Nas’s crazy dedication to making his 1-day deadline, they had to shoot the video; edit it on 3 different laptops(because of no available electric stations), and drive 200 miles to find an internet connection to post the video.
All in one day.
By day 1000, Nas had been to 64 countries; had tasted several hundred cultures; met thousands of people; had over 10 million Facebook fans and had been viewed over 4 Billion times.
What sets him apart
Why did Nas Daily succeed? According to Nas himself, it was integrity, not giving in to the loneliness on the road, RELENTLESS persistence and just NEVER QUITTING.
He also says you have to reframe what it means to be successful.
“You really need to get into the mentality of really enjoying every new experience, and that’s real success.”
He also says that to do something like this, you have to be ready to cry.
“To succeed at something like this project means crying. 5 times from happiness. 50 times from sadness. But those 5 times are worth it.”
So what’s next for Nas?
Two more 1000 day challenges. One is to build a company that manifests the values of Nas Daily. To tell longer format stories every week for 100 weeks. Stories that are a force for good. The company is called Nas Studios.
Paving the future
Another is a Creator school, called Nas Academy. Nas Academy is a LIVE online course where Nas’s team teaches anyone to be a creator. So that they can learn to make a career out of storytelling!
In just 4% of his life, an out-of-place young man from Israeli Village has made the world a more inclusive, aware and positive place. All with the power of his stories and an internet connection. We can’t wait to see what he will do with a team and 50% more.
What’s Nas been upto?
Nas Academy, his online Masterclass-like venture for learning how to be a creator, has raised a $11M funding round. This on the back of having made over $2M for its first 5 creators.
Nas has also launched a Spotify original podcast, NasTalks which deep dives into controversial topics with guests like historian Yuval Noah Harrari, Yogi Sadhguru and entrepreneur Gary Vee.
Nas Studios continues to act as a production house that creates videos for social media for both the Nas brand and brands like ‘ByteDance’ and ‘Facebook’.