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Caleb Simpson is taking over the internet one TikTok home tour at a time

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Caleb Simpson is laying the groundwork for an all-encompassing internet presence. Gibson Johns interviews the man behind those viral home tours that you've definitely seen on TikTok, which have featured the likes of Scarlett Johansson and Barbara Corcoran, and he shares behind-the-scenes details of what goes into each episode, what it's like featuring his celebrity guests and how his subject's living spaces serve as a backdrop for telling their stories. They also discuss how he plans to expand the types of series he produces, what motivates him to continue to grow and much more.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

GIBSON JOHNS: Hi, guys. Welcome back to "We Should Talk," a pop culture interview series from In The Know. I'm your host, Gibson Johns. And today on the podcast, we have Caleb Simpson, whose content you have surely seen online. He is the apartment tour guy. He does driving New Yorkers around New York videos. He does pizza review videos, sometimes with celebrities, sometimes with regular people.

But ultimately, it's just about telling people stories. And that's the main thing that I learned through interviewing him, was just that he has seen huge success on social media over the past couple of years. He has millions of followers. He gets millions of views on all of his videos. But he's really not motivated by that recognition or that online fame or the money that's come along with it.

The baseline for him is the ability to tell people's stories and to interview people. And I find that really refreshing. And I told him that. And that's sort of one of the common themes of this talk that I have with him on this episode. And it's just really refreshing. And he's a really great guy. He's really introspective. And he's really thoughtful about what he puts out there. And everything he puts out there is really fun, too.

So Caleb's a great guy. And I think that having this mindset, having this mentality of just, again, wanting to expand his world editorially versus expanding it monetarily, necessarily, is going to set him up for success in the long run. And I think he's there for the right reasons, as they say.

And I think it's really, really awesome to see. So keep listening for my interview with Caleb Simpson. Follow him across social media. And please rate, review, and subscribe to "We Should Talk" on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

All right, so we are here with Caleb Simpson. You have definitely seen his content on the internet. He's taking over social media one home tour at a time. Caleb, I'm excited to chat with you. I'm a big fan. How's it going?

CALEB SIMPSON: Good, Gibson, how are you doing?

GIBSON JOHNS: I'm good. So I know that you've been going beyond New York. So have you-- you post a lot, all the time. But have you been to a city yet that we have not seen content from? Have you just been somewhere that we're not aware of yet?

CALEB SIMPSON: That's a great question. So yeah, I've toured homes kind of all over the world and all over America now. But no, everything's out. Everything I've filmed is already posted, you know? I'm like a duck, you know? I'm like, frantically swimming [INAUDIBLE]. But I look calm up here.

GIBSON JOHNS: [LAUGHS] I love it. So the most recent is Barbara Corcoran in LA. When did that-- when was that filmed?

CALEB SIMPSON: That was last week, so yeah. I flew to LA and filmed her. She lives in a million dollar trailer. So I filmed a video here in New York City with her. And that's like, a $15 million home. And then she's like, come look at my LA trailer! And I was like, cool, yeah, I'm going to come-- yeah.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, that one was unexpected, I feel like, in terms of seeing-- I mean, she's known for "Shark Tank." She's known for basically how much money she has. So do you have those moments where like, you expect something from somebody and their space looks different from what you expect in either direction? Or how do you play with that expectation in your mind?

CALEB SIMPSON: Yeah, that one's interesting because obviously, I saw her $15 million home in New York. And then just going to her LA trailer, it was kind of like, oh, you like normal things. And she was like, yeah, I actually, like this space more than New York. It's so calming. And it's just regular, you know? It's still $1 million home. But it was a little bit more regular.

GIBSON JOHNS: Of course, it's very nice.

CALEB SIMPSON: Yeah, so it's funny. People can surprise you. And celebrities in general are people with a lot of money. They might have way more houses than you would ever think. So that's interesting, too. And they're used for different reasons. Maybe they're only there for like, two weeks out of the year. So they're like, oh, it doesn't need to be all that, you know?

GIBSON JOHNS: Right, right. So taking a little bit of a step back, so I've seen you describe "In Multiple Places," your series, as Humans of New York meets "MTV Cribs." And I think that's a very good comparison. But I want to break it down a little bit because I feel like the "MTV Cribs" part of it to me is very accurate because when I think of "Cribs," I think of it sort of reflecting that era, like, the early 2000's kind of opulence and music video kind of culture and that kind of style.

But I feel like your series very much reflects the times now. There's more transparency. It's not like, unattainable aspirational all the time. Sometimes, it is. But sometimes, it's not. Did you kind of set about having your series reflect the times we're in, or Gen Z, or was that just kind of something that happened?

CALEB SIMPSON: Yeah, I really think with content creation in general, there is more like a real rawness to it. So that's kind of what I wanted to portray. But honestly, as I started the series, things started to click more in my head, like, what it represents or what it was more like or what people will attribute it to, like "MTV Cribs" or Humans of New York.

I was figuring that out as everybody else was. I was kind of like, making the videos. And I was like, oh, these are fun. They're cool. People like them. And I was like, whoa, this really resembles this past thing, or really resembles this thing that's happening right now, so.

GIBSON JOHNS: And then with the Humans of New York kind of element, there's obviously that the human element. When you're doing these home tours, you're able to either tell somebody's story or at least tell a snippet of their story by the questions that you ask them or the things that you show. Why is that human element so important to the success of your series? I feel like seeing some of these stories is really kind of-- their homes reflect some of those stories.

CALEB SIMPSON: Yeah, people always say, Caleb, are you really interested in interior design and homes? And I'm like, to be honest, not really. I was like, I'm interested in humans and experiencing new things and hearing stories from people. And then a home, once you get to know their story, it really reflects that. So back to your question, yeah, I think the human element is the most interesting part. And then it kind of tells the story of the home.

And it's really interesting because I will film 30 or 40 minutes with them. And then I'll sit and maybe chat with them for another 40 minutes, just getting to know them more. And then me deciding what goes a minute and a half into this video, I'm like, what would people like to see the most? What makes the most sense for people to watch? Yeah, so that part is fascinating to me.

GIBSON JOHNS: And I want to ask a very direct, low level question. But obviously, the conceit of the video is you go up to somebody on the street. And you ask them how much they pay for rent in whatever city they're in. And then you ask to see their apartment. Some of them indulge you in the questions. Some of them don't.

But how much planning actually goes into that? So I would just love for you-- however much you're allowed to or you want to share about pulling back that curtain a little bit, do people reach out to you? Do you reach out to people? How much planning goes into setting these things up?

CALEB SIMPSON: Yeah, so I like to keep the viewer confused and myself confused as much as possible.

GIBSON JOHNS: OK, love that.

CALEB SIMPSON: So there might be days where I'm walking around New York. And I'm kind of like, oh, I just want to kind of stop some people on the street and see what happens. And then somebody like Barbara Corcoran might DM me. And I'm like, oh yeah, of course I'm going to go see that. Or like, me and you might be talking off camera after. And you're like, actually, my friend has this insane place. And I'm like, let's go see it, you know?

So it's very just whimsical and just happens on its own a lot because that's just what happens in conversation. And then to pull the curtains back even further, let's say you connected me to one of your friends. I don't really want to talk to them. I don't want to see the space. I just want to start filming and walk in, so then it just feels like, what is happening? Like, oh, you're filming already? That's what everybody says. You're filming already? And I'm like, that's why I'm here.

GIBSON JOHNS: That's the common reaction?

CALEB SIMPSON: Yeah, every time. Oh, you're already filming? And I'm like, yeah, that's why we're here. And then they're like, oh god, here we go.

GIBSON JOHNS: So most of the time, do people-- have they not cleaned up before you got in there? Or much prep do you think your subjects are putting into this?

CALEB SIMPSON: Yeah, well, I mean, if there is more of a pre-planned thing-- or if it's not, most people are like, hey, can you give me an hour to clean, or like, oh, I have some artwork I want to hang up. That's a big one. I think they just expect a conversation first, like, what's about to happen, you know? Or what are you going to film?

What are we going to talk about? Oh, do you want to see the space first? And I'm just like, no, we're starting. And then they're like, oh god, here we go! Hopefully I don't say anything dumb. But my objective is to not make anyone look dumb. I don't want to.

GIBSON JOHNS: No, of course not, no. but there's on the fly just kind of element of it that I think really captures people.

CALEB SIMPSON: Yeah, exactly. And then by the end of it, most of the time, people are feeling much more comfortable and like, oh god, this is not that crazy, yeah.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right, well, I think also because a lot of the people that you feature aren't necessarily used to being on camera, you know? And that's also--

CALEB SIMPSON: None of them.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right, none of them. So I think that that's also-- I don't know. It gives it that rawness, I think that you said at the beginning. It's like, that's what people look for these days, I guess.

CALEB SIMPSON: Yeah, and that's why I love filming on my cell phone because I can just-- I kind of just like, film right here, [INAUDIBLE] cell phone. And then I maintain eye contact. I don't really move my phone around much. And it's easier to ignore a phone than a giant camera with a cameraman or like, four cameras. And then it becomes really awkward.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah.

CALEB SIMPSON: Like, no offense. I mean, I think Architectural Digest, what they've done is sick. But when they do their "Open Door" series, it can be a little awkward sometimes, even for a trained actor. They're like, oh, here's my table. My kids sit around it. And it's like, all right.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, well, that was going to be sort of my next question, which is-- this is really what differentiates what you're doing versus what is already out there in the home tour space, which is like-- I love watching Hilary Duff's $15 million mansion video. But there's been months of planning in that, probably. And it's very pristine. And I think that there's sort of like-- there's always going to be an appetite for that. But I feel it gets kind of exhausted at some points, you know?

CALEB SIMPSON: Yeah, for sure. I mean, I'm kind of tired of it because at this point, everyone just knows what's going on. They know, like, oh, there's multiple camera angles. Everything's been prepared for super long. It doesn't really feel organic.

So that's, when I first started doing the series, I was like, oh, no one's really just going in and having fun, showing a space, goofing off, chatting, making people seem real, whether they're celebrities or just people on the street. And I was like, oh, there's a huge gap in the market. And everybody wants that. We want to see the real side of Margaret Robbie, not just like, hey, here's my pretty dress and my perfect hair and the makeup I did for three hours for this shoot.

GIBSON JOHNS: Exactly, exactly, though, exactly. And I almost think that people would receive it better if they didn't do the three hours of makeup for the shoot, you know what I mean? So--

CALEB SIMPSON: At this point, I think it's just taking the mainstream media outlets some time to catch up to what people really-- what they really want, you know?

GIBSON JOHNS: Absolutely. So at this point, pretty much all of your videos that you put up there perform well. But certain ones really take off. The numbers get into the tens of millions of views. And I'm curious if for you, when you look at what performs that well, is there a common thread that connects some of those that go uber-viral, that really kind of outperform everything else?

CALEB SIMPSON: Yeah, I mean, I do think there are some common threads of videos getting 30 million views versus like, one or two, which, I'm grateful for all of them.

GIBSON JOHNS: Of course, of course, of course.

CALEB SIMPSON: And all the experiences, yeah. But I mean, obviously, the character is the number one. If I'm doing something with Scarlett Johansson, it's like, boom, Scarlett Johansson shows up, 30 million views. It doesn't matter what she says. She doesn't have social media. Everybody wants to watch that, you know, or a Barbara Corcoran or whoever it may be.

And then outside of that, it might just be just like, a really interesting individual. It might just be like, an interesting individual, or they might dress in a certain way or act a certain way-- just like, not common, you know? They seem very uncommon. So that's interesting. And then the space, of course. If it's a, I don't know, "Game of Thrones" themed mansion, you know?

It's like, whoa, what is this? Or the space is like, super tiny. If it doesn't fit a normal mold, then typically, it's like, oh, that might blow up. But every time I go into one of these spaces, I think sometimes, this maybe has potential to go really viral. But you just never know. So I'm like, oh. I don't want to think it's going to be that way.

GIBSON JOHNS: You can't have the expectation because then it's just a letdown. But again, everything does well. It's like, everything you're putting up hits at least a million, I feel like. So it's not a bad benchmark.

CALEB SIMPSON: Yeah, for sure.

GIBSON JOHNS: So you mentioned Scarlett Johansson. You mentioned Barbara Corcoran. And since, I guess, the fall, you've really kind of-- you've done a couple of celebrity things here and there. You had Jared Leto in your car series. Are those mostly those people reaching out to you as just like, hey, let's collab, or let's do something.

CALEB SIMPSON: It's both. There's people that-- I mean, we all love people in media, right? These stars, these movie stars, TV stars, podcasters, whoever they may be, like, we've loved them for years. So there's some people that I'm like, oh, I'd love to meet them! Let's see if we can make this happen, you know? And then there's people reaching out.

Jared Leto reached out. Barbara reached out. Actually, Scarlett reached out. So there's that situation as well. And I realized because there's a gap in the market for a realness for a person and I'm providing that, it's like, good for everyone. My audience likes it because they like this person. They get to be shown in a new light. But it's just challenging to orchestrate all that.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right, and in a really fun way, it's kind of like a random assortment of people, you know? It's Barbara Corcoran from "Shark Tank." It's Jared Leto. It's Scarlett Johansson. And I'm curious just how you envision-- I'm guessing you're going to continue to feature celebrities here and there.

As you continue to go down that road, do you envision it to be like, a stop along a promo tour, like a "Hot Ones" or like a "Chicken Shop Date" thing, where people want to come and have one of their spaces shown by Caleb Simpson, or is it like-- how do you think about where that part of what you're doing could go?

CALEB SIMPSON: You pretty much hit the nail on the head. So how I think about what I'm creating online is like a variety show, you know? I have the Tesla show, that's like kind like, the game show in a car. And then I do pizza reviews, which, I only do those with guests. So I did that one with Logic, the rapper.

And then the home tour show, and that clicked in my head when I was talking with celebrities' teams. And they were like, well, they are a very private person. Do you have any other options for them? And I was like, you know what doesn't really exist online is the late night show, James Gordon. He has a variety show on TV. And everybody loves to see that online.

So I was like, let me just create other options for celebrities to play in. And then I think it's really fun because it's not just celebrities. Anyone can be on it, which is not normal, you know? It's like, you could just have a person on the street be on the same show that a big celebrity is on. And it's like, wait, what's going on here, you know?

GIBSON JOHNS: Right.

CALEB SIMPSON: And that's just fun, you know?

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, it's like, in your Jared Leto video, when you pick up that other young woman, at first, I was like, oh, are we just going to another car ride? But no, it's the same car ride. And they're in the car together, you know? And that was unusual and fun to see.

CALEB SIMPSON: Totally, totally. So I think it's fun because I can kind of push the limits of what a TV studio can't do because I'm kind of like, well, let's just do it. Let's see what happens.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, 100%.

CALEB SIMPSON: And then we can move a lot more quickly on ideas and stuff, so.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, and then I read an interview you did. And you talked about that Barbara collaboration of her New York apartment, her $15 million apartment or whatever it was. And she gained 150,000 followers on TikTok or Instagram or just on social media from that video. She received an unsolicited offer on her apartment to buy it. And it wasn't even on sale.

I guess, first, what about that feature do you think allowed it to break through in that big way? And secondly, when you get a stat like that, where she gained 150,000 followers from your video, that must speak to you in terms of the power that your network and your reach has at this point. And it's a value to other people to be featured in your stuff.

CALEB SIMPSON: Yeah, I'll always go back to that collaboration as like, the tipping point for my online video creation career because it was such a shock. People were like, whoa, what is she doing, participating on TikTok in this crazy way, getting so personal and showing off her home, and revealing how much she paid and stories about the apartment and just all the things.

It was like, a whirlwind of just, no one's really seen that. So they were just like, whoa, what just happened? And then yeah, when I reached out to her team, they kind of revealed all that. And that was like a big aha moment for me, where I was like, whoa, this is really powerful in a way that I don't really know. And I try not to think about it that much, to be honest.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, it's probably overwhelming.

CALEB SIMPSON: Yeah, but it's fun. It's fun to have those stats because then it's like, when you're pitching other show ideas or other people to be on it, you can kind of be like, well, this is like what it could potentially do for you. I have no promises, but, you know.

GIBSON JOHNS: And obviously, you call it a tipping point. But also, obviously, it seems like you and Barbarba just connected on a human level as well, like you've done with clearly a lot of your guests because again, you just featured her place in LA. Did you guys kind of strike up a special relationship during that feature? Because it just seems like you guys, you have a fun dynamic that, again, is seen in both those videos.

CALEB SIMPSON: Totally. At this point, yes, we've been communicating since the first video. And then I've been helping her team, connecting her with other people in the social media world and stuff like that. So I mean, she's awesome. She's super fun to be around. And hopefully, we make more stuff together in the future. But I think that's what's really interesting about this series too because not just with celebrities or anyone, you're in such a personal place with them and hearing such a personal story.

It's not like a man on the street interview, however that may be, it's like a moment in time on the street. But when you bring in someone to their home, maybe you cook them a meal, give them some water, you sit on their couch, you jump in their bed, now, you have shared a real bond. So that's probably the coolest part because I'm actually able to build relationships throughout this, not just with celebrities or anything like that.

GIBSON JOHNS: Just people.

CALEB SIMPSON: Just lots of people, yeah.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, you're disarming them in the man on the street style. But then it's like, you've disarmed them so much that they're letting you into the most personal space in their entire life.

CALEB SIMPSON: Yeah, seriously.

GIBSON JOHNS: You jump on their beds, you know? That's not nothing.

CALEB SIMPSON: It's not.

GIBSON JOHNS: We talked about the Arch Digest home tours, which, again, I think very much serve a purpose. They're great. But they're very different from what you do. But one of the things that-- you kind of hear whispers about it. And there's trend with those, which is like, apparently, a lot of the celebrities who feature their homes on that show, they're basically setting them up to sell.

And it's basically like, free advertising for their home. There's apparently, a lot of celebrities have sold their homes off the back of "Open Door." What do you think of that? And I know that, again, Barbara got an offer on her apartment. So would you be open to also having your series be a way for people to do that? Because that's just an interesting concept to me.

CALEB SIMPSON: It is an interesting concept. You know, if people have other, I don't know, motives outside of just showing their home, I try to keep away from it because it feels inauthentic. It has happened once or twice, which I didn't even know. I was talking with the person. They're like, oh yeah, we did this because we're actually selling it. And I was like, bro, couldn't you have told me that beforehand, so then I know whether I want to help promote this or not? I don't know.

GIBSON JOHNS: You should get a cut of the selling price.

CALEB SIMPSON: I mean, not even that. It's just like, I don't want to be just out here just promoting things all the time and just getting caught in that web. And then it's like, we don't want to watch this anymore. So the most important thing for me is I just want to make more videos.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, 100%.

CALEB SIMPSON: I just want to make more stuff. This is fun, you know?

GIBSON JOHNS: Do you think that's a trap, that-- and not even thinking of anybody in particular, just like in general, when you look at how people-- what people's trajectories are on TikTok and on social media? Do you think that's a trap that a lot of people fall into, which is like, OK, this is probably an easy buck. Let me just do this, this, and this. And that's clearly not your motive, at least just from a base perspective of just wanting to create more videos and expand your universe, I think like, editorially, and just what you can do that way.

CALEB SIMPSON: Exactly.

GIBSON JOHNS: Do you notice other people falling into that trap, though, that you're not falling into?

CALEB SIMPSON: Yeah, I mean, social media is such a funny place. Let's say you go viral. You get a couple of million followers. And then brands start reaching out. And you've never had money. And then you just think, yeah, I'm taking this, you know?

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah.

CALEB SIMPSON: And it all varies. Maybe you really need it. Maybe you need to pay your rent. Or maybe you don't need it. But I just think the larger vision is much more important. And obviously, I'm going to do brand deals. Obviously, I'm going to do stuff that, quote unquote, "sell" my audience. But I just don't want to be shoving it down their throat on accident or on purpose all the time, you know?

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, very conscious with it. We mentioned at the beginning, you've expanded geographically. Recently you've been to Paris. You've been to Hong Kong. What's a dream location for you? I mean, you've literally gone all over the world at this point. But what do you envision in terms of that, in terms of where you can feature, and then how that expands, again, the content that you can give out to people?

CALEB SIMPSON: Yeah, I mean, first and foremost, I'm just trying to lead with a place for curiosity. Like, where have I been curious to go? Where have I been curious to see? Who have I been curious to talk to? And then that's what I first think about, instead of like-- a lot of people say, go to Dubai. They're like, you should go to Dubai. And I'm just thinking, I don't know, is that, that interesting? It's been shown a lot.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah.

CALEB SIMPSON: It's been shown a lot. So I do want to spend some time in Africa because I've gone twice. And it's just a fascinating place. And then I can learn and see it on a much deeper level. And then I do want to go back to China. I mean, I was in Hong Kong. But I didn't go to mainland China. And then Europe, I mean, there's cool places in Europe. There's so many cool places.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, so many.

CALEB SIMPSON: Every conversation, someone's like, you know where you should go? I'm like, man.

GIBSON JOHNS: I know, dude. Yeah, exactly.

CALEB SIMPSON: I wish I had more hands. I wish I had clones of myself. But I don't.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right. And as you've gone to different cities, and obviously, in New York, we have so many different cultures and perspectives on things. But again, at the top of your episodes, you ask people how much they pay in rent. And some people are down to share that. Some people aren't down to share that.

Who do you notice is more open to, I guess just more open in general and more willing to answer those? They're questions that I think, maybe even generationally, we think about things differently. What trends have you noticed there? And how do you think about how people answer that, that one question?

CALEB SIMPSON: That one question, it's a tough question. And I think the internet, they get a little upset if someone doesn't answer it.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right.

CALEB SIMPSON: But most of the time, the reason is so good. It's like, hey, I have a rent-controlled apartment. I'm in litigation with the building. And if I start sharing this stuff, it's just going to come down on me. So I'd rather not. And I'm like, totally fair. Share what you're comfortable with. I feel like if people know they're in the middle of the road, they're like, OK. It's like, a comfortable place.

GIBSON JOHNS: Totally.

CALEB SIMPSON: If you're up above that at all, people are a bit weary because they're like, I'm going to get roasted online.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yes.

CALEB SIMPSON: And I'm like, you are going to get roasted. I'm sorry. Like, it's going to happen, most likely. Yeah, there's that. And then I don't know, like, there was a tour that I did recently with some people that didn't want to share. And it's because they rent out their space for photo shoots and all this stuff.

And they're like, if I share how much I pay, then people might go look at that and then be like, why are you renting this space for this? That's going to kill my business. This is how I survive. And I'm like, yeah, let's not share it. But then people rip them apart online for not sharing it. And I'm like, that's a perfectly good reason.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, very much so.

CALEB SIMPSON: This is how they eat, you know?

GIBSON JOHNS: Very much so.

CALEB SIMPSON: Yeah, so I think that's pretty much it. And then just if the price is high, people are a little bit weary. But I don't know, I always think a big comment is like, daddy's money, or they must have done this or that.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right.

CALEB SIMPSON: Like 99% of the people that I've interviewed have worked their entire lives or are living paycheck to paycheck with their business to try to build something. And I'm just like, oh, that's painful. Or they grew up in the projects. And they're wealthy now. They're like, dude, I came from nothing. Now I'm just getting ripped.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right.

CALEB SIMPSON: I know, I know.

GIBSON JOHNS: And I guess that's like, the one, the singular drawback of just like, it's a minute and 30 seconds. You can only fit so much into a short form video, you know? And it's like, they can't tell their entire life story to you. They can give you-- you can feature them in a way that gives them really good insight into who they are, right? But that's a luxury to be able to tell your story like that. So I think-- I don't know. It's just--

CALEB SIMPSON: Totally, yeah, it's give and take. I have to sit everyone down beforehand. I'm like, listen, there's going to be comments from, I love you, to as bad as you could think.

GIBSON JOHNS: 100%.

CALEB SIMPSON: So just don't read into it. Don't comment.

GIBSON JOHNS: Or don't even read them, right.

CALEB SIMPSON: Yeah, yeah, it's hard. It's hard because I forget sometimes that this is someone's maybe 15 minutes of fame. People have gotten famous from this, sold hundreds of thousands of dollars of artwork, built social media careers, got job offers. It's this big moment for them. And then to me, I'm just like, making another video. And I'm like, Caleb, you're not making another video. This is disruptive.

GIBSON JOHNS: The stakes are higher for them, yeah.

CALEB SIMPSON: Yeah, the stakes are higher for them. So it can be a lot. But I just try to coach them through what's about to happen.

GIBSON JOHNS: Right, totally. I mean, we've touched on this. But you're on pretty much every social media platform. You post videos all around the internet. And I'm curious just like-- I mean, we've talked about expanding, again, what you can cover, how you can feature people in what different ways.

And it seems like a lot of your growth mindset is really based around the stories you can tell and how you can tell them versus very much about the numbers. How much do you think about the numbers in comparison to that? And again, as you think kind of with growth-mindedness.

CALEB SIMPSON: Great question. You can't ignore the numbers. I think stats tell everything. And that's what keeps the show going. And that's what keeps people wanting to watch. But I also think-- I have written down on my wall, it's like, it's about the human. It's about the people. So I'm trying to focus on that. And then with the stuff that I make, I'll look at the numbers, of course.

But I'm not thinking that I'm going to get 30 million views every video or something like that. And obviously, I've watched people on social media for years and know tons of people. Things have cycles. So I'm in an uptrend cycle. So it's like OK, what else can we develop? How can we just keep building off this idea that people like? Yeah, but the basis of everything I'll ever do is interviewing people in new, creative ways.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, but in some ways, the numbers are what lead to the new opportunities to expand that universe, right? So it's like--

CALEB SIMPSON: Exactly, exactly.

GIBSON JOHNS: They're hand in hand.

CALEB SIMPSON: It's a necessary evil.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, totally. So Caleb, winding down, I mean, again, I feel like I have some teases for where your mind is going and sort of what we could expect next from you. But is there anything you can directly tease in terms of just what you're hoping to do or how you hope to continue to expand? Is there another concept for a series that you're marinating in? Or how are you thinking about the rest of this year and beyond?

CALEB SIMPSON: Yeah, honestly, it's been such an amazing year of just growth and destroying my own boundaries of what I think is possible, you know? So now, it's, you get pitched TV shows. People want you to write books. They want you to be in movies. They want you to do music. So for me, all of it excites me, you know?

And it's just about picking and choosing what makes the most sense right now and what I can put the most energy into. And I just plan to create things that excite me for the next 15 to 20 years. So it'll all involve people and interviewing people and showing that off for the next 15, 20 years, yeah, for sure.

GIBSON JOHNS: Well, I will say that knowing that you're not just saying yes to everything that comes your way I think is really, honestly-- it's not something that-- I think a lot of people aren't that way. And I think it's really refreshing to see that you're in it for the right reasons, almost. And not that everyone else isn't. But you see-- I don't know.

I've done a lot of interviews, too. And you see people that clearly are kind of motivated, but motivated by something else, you know? And it's not necessarily bad. But I think it's setting you apart. And I think it's going to help you in the long run. So I think it's just really cool that that's where your mind is.

CALEB SIMPSON: Yeah, I appreciate that. I mean, my whole life, since I moved to New York for the past almost decade, I've been making videos for the goal of being able to make videos and sustain myself and do things that I find interesting and fun. So I'm like, as long as I can keep doing that, then I'll be happy. So that's where my mind is at, you know?

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, totally. All right, well, Caleb, I think that's all the time. But thank you so much. This was so much fun. And again, I'm just excited to see where else you can take this because I think the possibilities are really endless.

CALEB SIMPSON: Yeah, I'm excited too, man. Thanks, Gibson. Thanks for this.

GIBSON JOHNS: Yeah, of course. Yeah, thanks so much.

Thanks for tuning in to "We Should Talk." I hope you enjoyed the interview. You can find out more about In the Know at intheknow.com. You can follow me, Gibson Johns, @gibsonoma on Twitter and Instagram. And you can listen to all of our interviews, past and future, by searching "We Should Talk" wherever you get your podcasts. Hope to see you next time.