Caspar Lee spoke at the Cambridge Union in Lent termNordin Catic

Caspar Lee, YouTube sensation turned serial entrepreneur, is a name familiar to most of Gen Z. As someone who grew up watching on YouTube alongside Joe Sugg, Marcus Butler and Alfie Deyes, my 12-year-old self could not contain her excitement when I got the chance to interview him at the Cambridge Union.

Known for paving the way for social media influencers, he has spent the past few years building a start-up empire that is a far cry from the prank videos and YouTube boyband he first attained fame from. It was this pipeline from YouTube to business empire that I was most keen to speak about when I sat down to speak with him.

“It was always my mother’s dream to have me attend Cambridge”

We start our conversation with Caspar reminiscing about his experience at a Cambridge May Ball, being pennied, and his thoughts on the excessive drinking culture that comes so naturally to us Cambridge students. His answer in short being: “You guys drink a lot. You drink way too much”, which he appends with “and study too much.”

After asking him about how he found Cambridge while sober, I am met with a chuckle which is quickly followed by a genuine reflection on how excited he is to speak at the Union. This is echoed by the heartfelt message he left in the Union visitor book – “It was always my mother’s dream to have me attend Cambridge, I wasn’t very smart so that never happened but now I can at least tell her that I spoke at the Union!”

The pandemonium surrounding him makes sense – throughout our conversation, Caspar’s friendly, calm and witty demeanour shines through. Having amassed almost 7 million subscribers on YouTube, I ask him to reflect on his prolific years in front of the camera. He recalls how “we filmed every prank we probably did…if they were good or bad, whatever it was, you could upload them and we still got views from people” purely because the content “was so consistent.” He speaks of the social media sphere as being a “very niche thing” and how it is often hard to conceptualise how complicated it is unless you are immersed in it.

“You’ve got to make the best content to survive”

However, these comments are quickly qualified by some more sombre reflections on the changing nature of social media. He warns me of how the reality of social media is one in which creators are faced with a far greater, more stressful challenge because “you’ve got to make the best content to survive”, adding that “this whole space is evolving massively.”


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This isn’t to say that Caspar doesn’t recognise the degree of luck and favourable timing that factored into his success. He notes how he is “lucky that I can use the YouTube thing to get me into interesting rooms” which then segues into some interesting discussions on his three-year hiatus from YouTube. This break came as the result of wanting to direct all his energy and resources towards developing his business empire.

His latest endeavour, ‘Proper Living’, seems a big shift from his trademark prank videos. The housing development in South Africa is targeted at university students and seeks to reimagine how student halls should function. Caspar speaks about how the inspiration behind the project “was to create a brand that understood how to build itself on social media.” This is a far cry from the current state of student accommodation which he describes as being “run by a bunch of landlords who don’t know how to market themselves to a generation of people who discover stuff online.”

Beyond this, our conversation is littered with moments of intense wisdom, particularly as he speaks about how everyone should aim to have what he calls a “three c” epiphany. His “three c” realisation came as he discovered that he produces his best work when working under a framework of “creativity, collaboration and consistency.”

As our conversation draws to a close, Caspar leaves me with a powerful message on the transience of life: “We all age at the same pace.” It is this combination of entrepreneurial spirit, social media savviness and genuine humility that makes Caspar Lee such a fascinating figure to talk to.