3blue1brown is creating animated math videos
5,860
patrons

I make videos about math, animated programmatically.  I also have an affection for anthropomorphic pi creatures.  The channel runs because some people choose to pay for it, and for that, I cannot thank you enough.  Such patronage is also crucial for feeding the surprisingly ravenous pi creatures.


Main things to know:

  • Pledges are per project, and I typically produce 1 or 2 per month.  You can effectively make it a monthly pledge by setting a "monthly max" on checkout, say of 2, but I honestly can't see myself producing more than that.
  • You get early access to videos, plus some other perks (see tiers).
  • Thanks to your support, since the summer of 2018, videos have been kept sponsor-free.  The aim is to keep the content purely about the math, with incentives aligned towards giving viewers a better experience.

The goal of the channel

When most people think of math, what comes to mind is something opaque, and perhaps even painful. To reappropriate an Elon Musk metaphor, it arouses feelings of staring into the abyss while chewing glass.

But these thoughts are accompanied by a begrudging admission that the topic is incredibly important. Science and technology rest on mathematical foundations, and the skills gained from learning math transfer readily to help you excel in other fields. This is why we make it mandatory in schools, right?

The goal with 3blue1brown is to create visuals and storylines that illustrate how topics which may seem intimidating at first, like linear algebra, Fourier transforms, differential equations and more can be surprisingly understandable; to shed some light into the abyss and make the glass a little less sharp.

Each video takes a huge amount of time. My hope, though, is that it save orders of magnitude more time for anyone trying to learn, and more importantly that each video instills viewers with optimism that makes them want to learn more.

Why this model?

There's no denying it, the business model here is weird, but I honestly believe it points incentives in the direction of achieving the above goal better than anything else. There are so many pressures to make content that gets the largest number of views, but that shouldn’t necessarily be the target. Reach is important, but only if it comes with real lessons.

Think about it, what are the options for content creators?

  • One is to provide content for a price, as happens with movies or college lectures. Incentives would be aligned to give people highly valued experiences (or rather, the anticipation of a valued experience), but there is a meaningful barrier to who gets those experiences, and importantly how sharable it is. Granted, some of my pi creatures who have career aspirations of winning an Oscar one day keep pressuring me to produce a movie, but let's not let the tail wag the dog here.
  • The most common model, of course, is to support through ads. Because YouTube ads are so low yield, the kind of advertising which lets creators make a living and run a business typically will be embedded in the content itself. You’ve all seen these, some product placement or a personal message from the creator in a piece. This lowers the barrier to consumption but directs incentives towards reaching larger numbers of clicks and eyeballs.

    The more worrying aspect of this model is that these ads too often flirt with influencing the content itself. After all, the actual incentive at play is to get people's attention onto the ad, not onto the key message of the content. I used to include these kinds of ads in 3blue1brown, but have since steered away thanks to direct support. I'm also increasingly worried that Randy the pi's single-minded focus of becoming an Instagram influencer has resulted in a bit too much vanity lately.
  • There are other options, like using the name-recognition generated from widespread content to go on speaking tours or to write books. There's nothing wrong with this, but it does mean time and efforts get pointed away from videos towards whatever the bread-winning gig happens to be.
For math lessons, none of these seems optimal. I think you'd agree it doesn't make sense for these videos to be anything other than free. Even setting aside the realities of how internet media is shared and discovered, students endure enough costs with college and textbooks as it is. On the other hand, digging into something technical often means making content which necessarily won't reach as many people. The most significant videos on this channel, I believe, are those in series (linear algebra, calculus, neural networks, etc.), but such series all have a power-law drop-off in how many people watch each successive video.

Luckily, we somehow live in a world where content can be free while still running on a direct relationship between the creator and the consumer. How? If you have the spare funds, then you, yes you, simply pay what you want to pay. If that's $0, fair enough. But is it because that's how much you value the content, or because it's simply not in the category of things you're in the habit of paying for?

If you're in a position where you'd have to think twice about signing up for sustained support, please don't worry about it. I'd much rather you save your spare dollars; that's why content is free.
For those of you who decide on something greater than $0, thank you. In return, I will do everything I can to produce content that lives up to your vote of confidence, which hopefully causes a meaningful shift in peoples' perceptions of math.  As a more tangible thanks, there are perks such as early access, animations sneak peeks, name in credits, and more.

At the risk overdetermining my call to action here, if you're someone who lives comfortably, I'd encourage you to think about what other pieces of media out there benefit from this model. There are lots of great independent creators, like Matt Parker, Nicky Case, Ben Eater, Tim Blais, Primer, Wait but Why to name just a few. But also think about larger organization, like Wikipedia and Khan Academy, where the freedom enabled by this more direct relationship likely makes for higher quality work. What the internet looks like is a direct product of the economics underpinning it, and we as consumers play into that.

All the best, and keep loving math,
-Grant
Tiers
Early access
$1 or more per Video

New video = Chocolate bar


Supporters get an early view of new videos.  Plus, every time a pledge is made, somewhere in the world a new pi creature is born.


Curious about probability?  See these thoughts.

Double the love, half-off the store
$2 or more per Video

New video = Cup of coffee


As a thanks for letting your cursor stray past the minimum pledge, in addition to early access for videos, if you are interested in anything from the store (plushie pi creature, shirts, math socks, etc.), you have access to 50% off pricing.

Animation previews
$4 or more per Video

New video = Fancy cup of coffee


For all you lovely Fourers (Fouriers?), while I'm working on a new video I'll give you sneak peeks of the animations I'm making.   And of course, you get the early access and discount rewards as well.

Transformed name animation
$8 or more per Video

New video = Burrito


In addition to previous rewards, if you want, I'll animate the text of your name in some 3b1b-style mathy way.

Description credits
$16 or more per Video

New video =  Going to the movies


Thank you, you are not kidding around when it comes to supporting more math videos for the world.  In addition to all previous rewards, I'll include your name (or rather, Patreon user name) in a wall of thanks linked in the description of the videos you support, like this
.

On-screen credits
$31 or more per Video

Aha!  You thought it was powers of 2, didn't you?  Looks like someone never saw that early video I did on circle division.

For your seriousness about this project, I'll include your name on the screen at the end of all videos that you support.

Grothendieck prime
$57 or more per Video
While there are no new rewards at this level, you will get to feel a certain connection with one of the greatest mathematicians in recent history, Alexander Grothendieck.


From this biographical article: 


In a mathematical conversation, someone suggested to Grothendieck that they should consider a particular prime number. “You mean an actual number?” Grothendieck asked. The other person replied, yes, an actual prime number. Grothendieck suggested, “All right, take 57.”


Let's just say that he was more on the abstract side of things.

Einsteinium
$99 or more per Video
Up in this sublime realm where rewards no longer motivate the pledges, perhaps your relationship with math is a bit more applied in spirit than Grothendiek's; a little more motivated by connections to the physical universe.


Well, my friend, perhaps you'd prefer to relate to Einstein.  You see, the next number in our sequence (which is http://oeis.org/A000127, by the way), not only has the privilege of being a Kaprekar number, and the sum of three consecutive cubes, it is also the atomic number of Einsteinium.

Prime-generator
$163 or more per Video

Okay, I'll admit it, the only reason I keep adding tiers here is because of an itch to round off to the final power of 2 in the sequence.


Fun fact, look at the polynomial n^2 - n + 41.  Despite the relative simplicity of this polynomial (it's only quadratic!), it will produce prime numbers for n = 1...40.  It almost feels like magic.


The reason underlying this has to do with the fact that 163 is a Heegner number, the largest one in fact.

GigaGalactic computer
$256 or more per Video
And there we are.  Incidentally, can any of you find a nice proof that this is the last power of 2 in the sequence?

Also, please enjoy this video on how big 2^256 is.

I make videos about math, animated programmatically.  I also have an affection for anthropomorphic pi creatures.  The channel runs because some people choose to pay for it, and for that, I cannot thank you enough.  Such patronage is also crucial for feeding the surprisingly ravenous pi creatures.


Main things to know:

  • Pledges are per project, and I typically produce 1 or 2 per month.  You can effectively make it a monthly pledge by setting a "monthly max" on checkout, say of 2, but I honestly can't see myself producing more than that.
  • You get early access to videos, plus some other perks (see tiers).
  • Thanks to your support, since the summer of 2018, videos have been kept sponsor-free.  The aim is to keep the content purely about the math, with incentives aligned towards giving viewers a better experience.

The goal of the channel

When most people think of math, what comes to mind is something opaque, and perhaps even painful. To reappropriate an Elon Musk metaphor, it arouses feelings of staring into the abyss while chewing glass.

But these thoughts are accompanied by a begrudging admission that the topic is incredibly important. Science and technology rest on mathematical foundations, and the skills gained from learning math transfer readily to help you excel in other fields. This is why we make it mandatory in schools, right?

The goal with 3blue1brown is to create visuals and storylines that illustrate how topics which may seem intimidating at first, like linear algebra, Fourier transforms, differential equations and more can be surprisingly understandable; to shed some light into the abyss and make the glass a little less sharp.

Each video takes a huge amount of time. My hope, though, is that it save orders of magnitude more time for anyone trying to learn, and more importantly that each video instills viewers with optimism that makes them want to learn more.

Why this model?

There's no denying it, the business model here is weird, but I honestly believe it points incentives in the direction of achieving the above goal better than anything else. There are so many pressures to make content that gets the largest number of views, but that shouldn’t necessarily be the target. Reach is important, but only if it comes with real lessons.

Think about it, what are the options for content creators?

  • One is to provide content for a price, as happens with movies or college lectures. Incentives would be aligned to give people highly valued experiences (or rather, the anticipation of a valued experience), but there is a meaningful barrier to who gets those experiences, and importantly how sharable it is. Granted, some of my pi creatures who have career aspirations of winning an Oscar one day keep pressuring me to produce a movie, but let's not let the tail wag the dog here.
  • The most common model, of course, is to support through ads. Because YouTube ads are so low yield, the kind of advertising which lets creators make a living and run a business typically will be embedded in the content itself. You’ve all seen these, some product placement or a personal message from the creator in a piece. This lowers the barrier to consumption but directs incentives towards reaching larger numbers of clicks and eyeballs.

    The more worrying aspect of this model is that these ads too often flirt with influencing the content itself. After all, the actual incentive at play is to get people's attention onto the ad, not onto the key message of the content. I used to include these kinds of ads in 3blue1brown, but have since steered away thanks to direct support. I'm also increasingly worried that Randy the pi's single-minded focus of becoming an Instagram influencer has resulted in a bit too much vanity lately.
  • There are other options, like using the name-recognition generated from widespread content to go on speaking tours or to write books. There's nothing wrong with this, but it does mean time and efforts get pointed away from videos towards whatever the bread-winning gig happens to be.
For math lessons, none of these seems optimal. I think you'd agree it doesn't make sense for these videos to be anything other than free. Even setting aside the realities of how internet media is shared and discovered, students endure enough costs with college and textbooks as it is. On the other hand, digging into something technical often means making content which necessarily won't reach as many people. The most significant videos on this channel, I believe, are those in series (linear algebra, calculus, neural networks, etc.), but such series all have a power-law drop-off in how many people watch each successive video.

Luckily, we somehow live in a world where content can be free while still running on a direct relationship between the creator and the consumer. How? If you have the spare funds, then you, yes you, simply pay what you want to pay. If that's $0, fair enough. But is it because that's how much you value the content, or because it's simply not in the category of things you're in the habit of paying for?

If you're in a position where you'd have to think twice about signing up for sustained support, please don't worry about it. I'd much rather you save your spare dollars; that's why content is free.
For those of you who decide on something greater than $0, thank you. In return, I will do everything I can to produce content that lives up to your vote of confidence, which hopefully causes a meaningful shift in peoples' perceptions of math.  As a more tangible thanks, there are perks such as early access, animations sneak peeks, name in credits, and more.

At the risk overdetermining my call to action here, if you're someone who lives comfortably, I'd encourage you to think about what other pieces of media out there benefit from this model. There are lots of great independent creators, like Matt Parker, Nicky Case, Ben Eater, Tim Blais, Primer, Wait but Why to name just a few. But also think about larger organization, like Wikipedia and Khan Academy, where the freedom enabled by this more direct relationship likely makes for higher quality work. What the internet looks like is a direct product of the economics underpinning it, and we as consumers play into that.

All the best, and keep loving math,
-Grant

Recent posts by 3blue1brown

Tiers
Early access
$1 or more per Video

New video = Chocolate bar


Supporters get an early view of new videos.  Plus, every time a pledge is made, somewhere in the world a new pi creature is born.


Curious about probability?  See these thoughts.

Double the love, half-off the store
$2 or more per Video

New video = Cup of coffee


As a thanks for letting your cursor stray past the minimum pledge, in addition to early access for videos, if you are interested in anything from the store (plushie pi creature, shirts, math socks, etc.), you have access to 50% off pricing.

Animation previews
$4 or more per Video

New video = Fancy cup of coffee


For all you lovely Fourers (Fouriers?), while I'm working on a new video I'll give you sneak peeks of the animations I'm making.   And of course, you get the early access and discount rewards as well.

Transformed name animation
$8 or more per Video

New video = Burrito


In addition to previous rewards, if you want, I'll animate the text of your name in some 3b1b-style mathy way.

Description credits
$16 or more per Video

New video =  Going to the movies


Thank you, you are not kidding around when it comes to supporting more math videos for the world.  In addition to all previous rewards, I'll include your name (or rather, Patreon user name) in a wall of thanks linked in the description of the videos you support, like this
.

On-screen credits
$31 or more per Video

Aha!  You thought it was powers of 2, didn't you?  Looks like someone never saw that early video I did on circle division.

For your seriousness about this project, I'll include your name on the screen at the end of all videos that you support.

Grothendieck prime
$57 or more per Video
While there are no new rewards at this level, you will get to feel a certain connection with one of the greatest mathematicians in recent history, Alexander Grothendieck.


From this biographical article: 


In a mathematical conversation, someone suggested to Grothendieck that they should consider a particular prime number. “You mean an actual number?” Grothendieck asked. The other person replied, yes, an actual prime number. Grothendieck suggested, “All right, take 57.”


Let's just say that he was more on the abstract side of things.

Einsteinium
$99 or more per Video
Up in this sublime realm where rewards no longer motivate the pledges, perhaps your relationship with math is a bit more applied in spirit than Grothendiek's; a little more motivated by connections to the physical universe.


Well, my friend, perhaps you'd prefer to relate to Einstein.  You see, the next number in our sequence (which is http://oeis.org/A000127, by the way), not only has the privilege of being a Kaprekar number, and the sum of three consecutive cubes, it is also the atomic number of Einsteinium.

Prime-generator
$163 or more per Video

Okay, I'll admit it, the only reason I keep adding tiers here is because of an itch to round off to the final power of 2 in the sequence.


Fun fact, look at the polynomial n^2 - n + 41.  Despite the relative simplicity of this polynomial (it's only quadratic!), it will produce prime numbers for n = 1...40.  It almost feels like magic.


The reason underlying this has to do with the fact that 163 is a Heegner number, the largest one in fact.

GigaGalactic computer
$256 or more per Video
And there we are.  Incidentally, can any of you find a nice proof that this is the last power of 2 in the sequence?

Also, please enjoy this video on how big 2^256 is.