Thesis Corner: Henry Gardella

This is an interview with senior, Henry Gardella (HG), about his senior thesis “The Alliance of Youtube and Patreon.”

B: To begin with, what is your thesis?


HG: What do you mean what is it called, or what…


B: Basically what is your thesis called and what is it about?


HG: So my thesis is called the Alliance of Youtube and Patron. If you don’t know what patreon is, it is a crowdfunding platform that allows content creators to make money to produce their content. Basically, this is really hard to explain…


B: Take your time no worries


HG: So for example, this sketch comedy group I follow on youtube, loading ready run, has a number of supporters on patreon who contribute a couple of dollars every month to help them produce their videos.


HG: You don’t have pay to watch videos.


B: So basically it is a non-excludable, common pool resource


HG: Yeah, I forgot I was talking to economics blog


HG: I found this topic interesting because it’s not obvious why anyone would pay when they don’t have to pay.


HG: Yeah, so in light of the fact that I had limited access to data and limited resources, instead of looking at why people contributed to patreon, I instead looked at if subscribers on youtube were indicative of subscribers on patreon.  (Pauses)


B: This can be as long as it needs to be


HG: So from a more technical standpoint, what my thesis is actually about, is whether the number of youtube subscribers and/or views to a youtube channel is correlated with the number of patrons…(B: patreon is a hard word to spell)… the number of patrons on patreon, for creators that use both platforms.


B: So, what were some challenges you faced in your research?


HG: So I would say there are basically two types of challenges. The first and less challenging type of challenge were those of limited resources… I think that was incorrect grammar, but that’s okay.


HG: So, because patreon and youtube are both very new platforms, in the grand scheme of things, and because crowdfunding as a whole is a new phenomena, it was difficult to find both literature and data on the topic.


HG: In fact, ultimately I couldn’t find data on my topic at all, so I had to use a website called graphtreon…


Random Third Person: What are you doing?


HG: I am doing an interview. It’s interesting doing an interview with one person writing, because the speed of the interview is somewhere in between writing and talking.


B: I think [Econ professor] will enjoy reading this interview.


HG: I wish I had invited [Econ professor, and Other Econ professor] to my thesis presentation.


B: How do you feel the presentation went?


HG: The presentation went really well. Technically there were two presentations my honors presentation and poster session. My honors presentation went really well, despite the fact that I seriously procrastinated on putting it together.


HG: I was a little less prepared for the poster session, but I feel that went well as well. As it turns out when you spent an entire semester working on a single paper, talking about it for 30 minutes or 30 seconds, is not that difficult.


B: What were the results of your work, and how do you feel about them?


HG: My results weren’t significant, but that’s not surprising… I guess when I saw that my results weren’t significant I was initially disappointed. But then I realized that my limited access to data and relevant control variables meant that it would be impressive to achieve statistically significant results. I suppose I should say what my results actually are…


HG: So again, I ran regressions to test if the number of patrons on patreon, could be predicted by the number of subscribers and/or viewers on youtube… or on a youtube channel, for creators on both platforms. My results didn’t show any significant correlation between support on youtube and support on patreon.


B: Final question, if you had more time what would you look at further relating to your topic?


HG: Given more time, there are two areas I would really like to expand my project into: One avenue for expansion would be, increasing the size of my data set, which even before data cleaning, had only 100 observations. This could easily be expanded to 1000 observations given time.


HG: The second avenue for expansion, would be more comprehensive control variables. As it is, I was unable to take into account, such critical factors as: alternative sources of income for youtube creators, and alternative platforms for video production.


B: Thank you for your time.


HG: Of course, my pleasure.

About Brennan

Brennan is a fourth year economics major at the University of Puget Sound.

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