Monday, June 30, 2008


What impressed me most about the simply labeled “guitar” video was how totally unpromotional it was.
A) The title of the video was “guitar”. Not, “best guitar ever!!” or even “Canon Rock” which was the song that is being played.
B) The guitarist has a hat pulled over his head so you can’t see who he is. The entire video becomes about his technical virtuousity and the beauty of the song rather than his performance ability.
C) He put the video up anonymously under an account called “funtwo”. In fact, after the video came out and started getting millions of views, there were several attempts from people who claimed to be funtwo but weren’t.
45,000,000 pagev iews later, here’s “guitar”:

A couple of comments:
When I first saw the video I thought that the guitarist came up with the composition. But its actually a composer (on YouTube, “JerryC”) from Taiwan who did the original version of “Canon Rock”.

Here’s the JerryC version of the song:

Of course, JerryC., who was largely unknown before the “guitar” cover came out of his song, has now signed with a record label, HIM, and his website, has tens of thousands of posts on his forum including the latest post I saw which was from some girl in France asking if he has “emotional nice character”.
So who did “guitar”? A South Korean guitarist (he learned how to play in 2000) named Jeong-Hyun Lim. When the New York Times asked him why he covered his head he said,
““I think play is more significant than appearance. Therefore I want the others to focus on my fingering and sound. Furthermore I know I’m not that handsome.””

Furthermore, his anti-showmanship approach is exemplified by this quote (despite the 10s of millions of fans who clearly enjoy his guitar playing), “I am always thinking that I’m not that good player and must improve more than now.”

Racking up 5.4mm pageviews is “the new canon rock” which is arguably a step up from the prior two performances, however, its funny to me that about half the comments has to do with the guitarist’s appearance since he doesn’t choose to hide himself:

Finally, with all the renewed interest in Pachelbel’s Canon, comedian Rob Paravonian did a pretty funny rant on the piece:. The video below is past 5,000,000 pageviews and I have to think its because its related to the “guitar” video, even if distantly.

And, (more finally), here’s funtwo playing Vivaldi’s “summer” from the Four Seasons

-James Altucher

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Little Superstar

“Little Superstar” is a primal viral video. I say “primal” because it almost seems like the younger brother of what was probably the first viral video on the Internet: the “Dancing Baby”:

First off, here is Little Superstar:

What makes this video interesting enough to spread like wildfire is the shock and awe characteristics:


  1. Is that a child or an adult or some kind of animation?
  2. Does a professionally made movie really have a child smoking a cigarette?


- the dancing is kind of cool.

The actor, Thavakalai, from Chennai (otherwise known as Kollywood) was in many movies but its this clip that became a world-of-mouth sensation (16 years after the fact, since the original movie, Adhisaya Piravi, came out in 1990) .

As an example, this clip of Little Superstar:

only became popular after the first clip had reached its first 10,000,000 views.

Like any good viral video, the original inspired some spoofs like this Ron Jeremy version:

And I kind of like this spoof of Little Superstar all grown up:

There are many decent videos of people dancing on YouTube. Obviously what sets this apart is the question: is this a child or an adult. The answer is he’s an adult suffering from dwarfism. But it’s the fact that he might be a child who moves and acts like an adult that creates enough shock value for us to send this around in an email to our friends saying, “you have to see this”. Much like the original “what the hell is that baby doing?” video, the “Dancing Baby”. This was popular, pre-YouTube in 1996 when it was released in conjunction with an AutoDesk product that was used to make presentations. Here’s the YouTube clip of the Dancing Baby

And finally, the original Little Superstar clip, despite being popular in 2006, actually comes from 1990. So what is Little Superstar up to now?

Recently he choreographed this Doritos commercial:

And to see what Little Superstar looks like now, here’s a Behind the Scenes of that commercial:

-James Altucher

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Chris Bliss juggling meme

One of the pleasures of viewing a viral video is to see all the spinoff videas that play upon the same concepts as the original video. Not only does the video spread like a disease (the "viral" aspect) but the idea itself spreads through people's creativity. A great example stems from Chris Bliss's video where he's juggling to a Beatles song. The song is "Golden Slumbers/Carry that Weight/The End" which is the last song on their last album (known for its last lyric "the love you take is equal to the love you make". The video first popped up in 2006 and within 40 days had 20,000,000 views. I first saw this video yesterday and had never heard of it it before.

Apparently when the video came out it caused quite a stir among jugglers who weren't impressed by Bliss's use of just three balls and no fancy technical tricks. So, for instance, there's this "Chris Bliss Diss" video by juggler Jason Garfinkel which uses five balls and a variety of tricks.

This video also immediately went viral, racking up a few million views. I appreciate the technical virtuousity but I prefer (slightly) the Chris Bliss video only because he makes it more like a dance rather than just a technical feat. I like how his hands move throughout the song. Its like romance versus pornography. One thing I like in the Diss video is that he directly lifts the song from the Bliss video so you get all the audience reaction, which is funny considering Garfinkel is in an empty gym.

Interesting to note that Garfinkel is also quite possibly a better juggling trainer than performer. Here's a video of nine year old Vova Galchenko (note also his sister doing cartwheels). The video was originally shot in 1997 and Vova didn't begin training with Garfield until 2004.

Now here's a video of Vova and sister, Olga, 10 years later. I like Olga's quote, "we are genetically engineered to be the best jugglers in the world."

So to bring it full circle, rapper Fatboy Slim then challenged the internet to do a juggling video "like that chris bliss one" to his song "that old pair of jeans". Here's the Vova Galchenko version:

-James Altucher