After a week of holiday cheer, festive feasts and very unmerry spats with insufferable in-laws, it’s that time of year where everyone looks back on the year that was (hopefully from the comfort of your couch) with year-in-review content. We’re no different. Every year, we compile our list of most-read content pieces from the past 12 months. There’s no rhyme or reason to the list with a splendid mix of hyped-up trends and topics, fascinating personalities and in-depth analysis.
Before we get started, the list is not meant to be exhaustive. There are trends and topics that didn’t make the cut. So, please cut us some slack. These are just the 10 articles that you found most engaging. Thank you for reading and hopefully we’ll see you again in 2022.
Number 10: Turning the Tables
If the Internet is good at one thing, it’s giving people a platform to disagree with strangers about anything. Turn the Tables, a YouTube channel featuring a father and son duo, where the son Conner gets his pop’s take on his son’s music. Do these two disagree? A bit. But it primarily shows what happens if you keep an open mind to other people’s opinions. The format’s structure is simple: Conner goes through his favorite albums track for track with father Kevin and gets his reaction. And it’s struck a chord with their audiences—200k subscribers within 6 months of launch. Now, the pair are monetizing the channel on Patreon and through ad partnerships. In October, we broke down the format’s recipe for success, the role hip-hop heavyweights have played in the channel’s rapid rise and how their business model could be music to everyone’s ear.
Number 9: We wanted to buy Reebok
“Reebok is for sale.” That four-word declaration would have been unheard in the late-80s and early 90s—and this past March multitudes of people around the world, from hardcore sneakerheads to tangential observers of sneaker and pop culture, had their attention firmly caught. In the OMR editorial desk, we started toying with the idea of what we’d do if we had enough money to snap up the old love brand. Maybe OMR boss Westermeyer found a couple of billion in scratch under his pillow? This article is all about turning that wishful thinking into a serious exercise of what we’d do differently if we bought and ran Reebok to get Reebok back to the top of the sneaker game. If you like what you read and have a spare “bil” lying around, please send it to email@example.com.
Number 8: A childhood hobby becomes a grownup business
I don’t know about you, but growing up my hobbies consisted of running around outside, being a general nuisance to my parents and terrorizing my younger brother and sister every chance I got. Unless I’m missing something, there is nothing in being a little shit that could be the key to launching a massive digital business. Simon Haase grew up a tinkerer, making figurines of his favorite characters out of clay. Haase transformed his childhood passion into 3 million subscribers on YouTube, over 400 million views and plans for his own film studio. We spoke to Haase, better known as ClayClaim, about his childhood passion, how it saved him from a life of drudgery and how clay translates to eCommerce.
Number 7: SoRare founder Nicolas Julia in the OMR Podcast
2021 was a big year for yours truly. In February, we launched the OMR Podcast International, where OMR founder and CEO Philipp Westermeyer and I interview fascinating personalities and trend-setters in the digital marketing space. If 2021 had one topic that dominated all the rest it was NFTs. And at the forefront of the hype is Sorare. CEO and co-founder Nicolas Julia started Sorare in 2018 and since has struck deals with the biggest soccer clubs and leagues in the world, from Bayern Munich to Juventus to, most recently, the Mexican soccer league. In February, I spoke to Nicolas about the power and potential of NFTs, how Sorare combines collectability with utility and how he managed to convince storied soccer clubs to partner with a startup in a space that even digital natives have trouble defining.
Number 6: A craving for snackable vegan content
In just under 2 years, Maya Leinenbach has amassed over a million followers to her channel “Fitgreenmind,” mostly thanks to a content strategy that prioritizes videos on Reels. The real hook of the story, however, is that Ms. Maya is just a wee lass of 17. So how is she able to create vegan recipe content daily, build a thriving community and write cookbooks while focussing on finals? We spoke to her in October to unearth the beet and potatoes of her business.
Number 5: The girl’s got Moxi
From a business perspective, sports are a gold mine. Community is built-in, the product itself is the epitome of passion and with athletes looking for any edge, new and innovative equipment and attire represent a never-ending source of revenue for clever entrepreneurs. Michelle Steilen is one such sports entrepreneur. Steilen is the brains behind Moxi Skates, a lifestyle brand born on the no-holds-barred roller derby rinks of southern California. Convinced that there was a market for skaters of all shapes and sizes who didn’t want to risk bodily harm, Steilen left the derby for the shop and created a love brand for beginners and professionals. In November, we took a closer look at Steilen’s business and content strategy that’s helped Moxi become synonymous with coolness, female empowerment and diversity.
Number 4: Excel and TikTok—does that really add up?
It does for Kat Norton. She has taken mundane table calculations and made them a hit on an app aimed at getting teens to shake a leg. “Miss Excel,” as Norton has become to be known, launched an influencer career on Tiktok making videos where she gives Microsoft Excel tips. Since she started, she’s amassed 676,000 followers on TikTok and another 552,000 subscribers on Instagram. With an array of Office software courses on offer, she probably will crack 7-figures in revenue this year. We were fascinated by the combination and her success—and so were you.
Number 3: The world’s most-valuable NFT collection
Where there’s a hype, it doesn’t take long for fortune-seekers to come in droves. One of the big winners of the gold-rush fever in NFTs was Axie Infinity, a turn-based online card game and possibly the world’s most-popular blockchain game. Every day, more than two million users are active on the platform buying land and equipment, feeding, breeding and training their “Axies,” pitting them in battle against each other and earning crypto cash in the process. In August, Axie Infinity was the most-valuable collection of NFTs on the planet—in October came a USD 150m funding round. Not bad for a game.
Number 2: Looks like no one wanted to join the club
Back before NFTs broke, there was another hype that was on everyone’s minds. Clubhouse. It flashed and then fizzled out spectacularly. In mid-January, that’s all anyone was talking about. Invites were coveted and being sold for absurd buckage. By April, it was an afterthought. If you’ve forgotten what Clubhouse promised: The app let(s) you create audio rooms, in which speakers can entertain users with live audio content. With registrations limited and the app only being on iOS, there was significant FOMO driving the hype du jour. In Germany, two digital nerds were instrumental in driving the hype—and y’all seemed captivated by it as well.
Number 1: What the actual NFT!?!
As far as buzzwords go, it’s hard to remember one that sprung up out of the blue and has captivated our collective imaginations as much as NFTs. For better or worse, NFTs have been on the top of everyone’s mind since they burst onto the scene about a year ago. And when the next big thing drops, people invariably fall into one of three categories: those who know, those who don’t and those who don’t, but pretend they do. In August, my colleague Florian did god’s work and put together the OMR NFT Explainer. A fun, informative read that will help you hold your own and join the conversation.