FROM the moment he started making videos of his travels in 2016, former software engineer turned video blogger Nuseir Yassin, better known as Nas, garnered a huge following thanks to his to-the-point presentation style and winning personality.
Born in Israel to Muslim-Arab parents of Palestinian descent, Nas became an overnight social media star, with about 1,000 daily one-minute videos posted on his Facebook page Nas Daily. He currently operates the Nas Daily Corporation, a video production company that uploads weekly videos.
Now he has his own Spotify Original Podcast, Nas Talks. Nas Talks stays true to the Nas brand, and each weekly episode will dive deep into a variety of personal, timely, and controversial topics.
When asked how he moved from making videos to making podcasts, Nas said: “This stuff doesn’t happen overnight. You don’t wake up one day and say you want to do a podcast. You see how the landscape of the media changes, you see what people consume. They consume books, they consume podcasts, they consume videos.
“For many years, people have been telling me to say whatever the hell I want to say. When I connected with Spotify, they said they wanted me to do a podcast. I said I was thinking about it as well. This made sense because it was a new way to reach an audience in a much deeper way. It is a real community that cares about you, rather than watches you for a minute and then it is ‘bye, bye’.”
For a man who enjoys travelling the world and interacting with people, I wondered how he is coping with the pandemic.
“I don’t think anyone is staying away. Everyone is coming up [to me] and saying ‘selfie, selfie’. I am not personally proud that some people are affecting my personal space, but it is okay. The world has so many bigger problems. I think people should focus on income inequality which is going up, losing their jobs and not finding another one. I have no issues, and I don’t really have anything to complain about.”
When asked how he constantly find things to talk about, Nas pointed out: “Well, the community. I use the community for story ideas. What I do when I land in a country, is that I ask the people what is interesting about their place. What should we report on?
“People will give me hundreds of ideas. Usually two or three of them are the good ones.”
It is the good ideas that he and his team work on. He said you can’t just go to sleep and wake up hoping for a good video idea.
“You have to ask people, you have to ask your mum, you have to ask your followers, you have to ask your friends what is on their mind, what is interesting. And they will tell you. “
His November 2019 book Around the World in 60 Seconds: The Nas Daily Journey, serves to provide his behind-the-scenes thoughts. The idea was to stay true to that idea of a one-minute video.
“Every page was a new thought, a new idea. I did not want to write a 1,000-page autobiography. I want you to be able to open any page and find that there is something for you there.”
The book was meant for those who don’t use social media, and who prefer reading books.
“The goal of Nas Daily is to reach as many people as possible. We believe in the message so much, we want to reach everybody. I want to reach your grandma, I want to reach your kids, I even want to reach the deceased. To do that, we should do a book, we should do videos and put them on Facebook, or Tik Tok. We should put them everywhere.”
He does have his fair share of detractors. How he copes with haters is interesting.
“Well, first of all, I am Palestinian-Isreali. I was born into conflict. Since day one. From the moment I got out of the womb, there were people who hated me. Hate is nothing new, especially in the Middle East.
“The way I look at it is simple. I am not a clown. I am not here to make you laugh. I am not here to entertain you. I am not a comedian. Of course, I am here to make you agree or disagree with me. There are people who hate Nas Daily, and there are people who love it.
“My main goal in life is not to be the one-minute guy. The one-minute video was just my vehicle which I will use to get to somewhere else. I want to be that guy who makes interesting content. Even if it is one hour or ten seconds. I don’t care.”
“I built the ‘Mickey Mouse’, I am the ‘Mickey Mouse’. My next goal is to build the ‘Walt Disney’. How do you build the institution? How do I build an institution with 500 individuals to do something that I couldn’t do by myself?
“That is the number one challenge I am facing in my life right now.”
Nas wants to spread his message to everyone. – Courtesy of Spotify