Xavier Di Petta
When I was about 10 years old, my cousin showed me this hilarious video on MySpace. It was a video of these two average guys lip-syncing the Pokémon theme song with 20 million views.
And growing up in Australia, my dream was to be an actor and move out to LA. So after watching this, I decided to make my own YouTube videos. They were these terrible comedy sketches where I was the only character in them. I wrote them, directed them - everything. And they were just absolutely horrible, but I was so bad, it was funny.
After 3 months, I had about 700 views. And as an 11-year-old, I thought I was famous. It made me think about how I could get more views, how I could market it. So after a year of marketing my channel, I was able to get a good following of subscribers - I became the 10th most subscribed channel in Australia. Then YouTube invited me along with a bunch of other YouTubers to be a part of its new program where we would be paid for making videos.
But as I continued, I started getting more and more interested in the marketing of the videos than the content. For 4 months, I made music video reviews so that people would click on them thinking it was the actual music video, and from that alone, I got about 35 million views on these videos.
Once in high school, I met a couple of people on YouTube who were doing a similar thing and we starting making Facebook pages together. We sold these to invest in Twitter pages. And then once we gained a decent following, we started doing pay per click ads.
We were making real money, after a couple of months of doing these pay per click ads, and that's when I started taking this whole social media thing very seriously. I met some people from LA who saw my hobby as a venture-backed business, and we connect with one another and formed it into a real company.
At this point, I was thinking about whether or not I should go to university or just get a U.S. visa through the company and move out to LA. I found out about USC and thought that I do both. So, I got my visa, graduated from high school, and then moved out to LA a week later.
It was everything that I had imagined, and it truly beat growing up in a small country town in Australia planning to take over my dad's accounting practice.
Once I got to LA, I started working in our office in Culver City with out 10 employees. It was a lot of fun, but at the same time, everyone I'm working with is 30 years old. I didn't have much in common with them; i didn't care that they were having kids. I just couldn't relate. So, I applied to USC, got accepted, and fell in love with college.
A lot of this is just serendipitous - I got into the right social networks at the right time. I met the right people - and it all just sort of grew from there. I'd like to believe that I knew what I was doing, but truthfully, I didn't. There are a lot of smart people who are less successful and a lot of average people who are way more successful than me. Sometimes you're lucky and sometimes you're not. There's definitely people who are living very average lives and if their cards fall a certain way, they could be living in Beverly Hills mansions. For me, a lot of it was luck and a lot of it was timing.
Xavier was named by The Times as one of their 'Top 25 under 20'. He is a sophomore majoring in Business Administration at USC. He is CEO of Well & Well, a PR and Digital Marketing firm. Though he doesn't miss his small town, Xavier is a proud Aussie who misses his family and plans to name a new plant after his mom.