Since the Yes Theory YouTube channel got its start in January of 2014, its video views have climbed to more than 659 million. The channel’s content is all about the following mantra: “We believe that life's greatest moments and deepest connections exist outside your comfort zone.” And they’re constantly encouraging followers to “Seek Discomfort.”
If you haven’t seen their stuff, picture profiles on inspiring people, heartwarming stories about strangers, abandoned property exploration, and more.
According to YouTube Fandom, “their content has been praised as experiencing foreign cultures in ‘a fresh and authentic way’; and ‘consistently radiating positivity and promote living life with an open mind, exactly what YouTube and the world needs.’”
There are lots of faces that come and go on the channel, but let’s take a look at the Yes Theory members behind it.
There are three Yes Theory members, but there used to be four.
Currently, the faces behind Yes Theory are Ammar Kandil from Egypt, Matt Dajer from the U.S., and Thomas Brag from France. As Matt explains on their website, the group met in Montreal, Canada “through a series of serendipitous encounters.”
But they were a foursome and not a trio when they came together. Derin Emre from Turkey was part of the group from the start. But when his Turkish visa was suspended in 2017, he had to move back to Canada and leave the group.
They’re united by their desire to shake things up.
As the story goes, they were all inspired to shake things up via a video series featuring 30 things they’d never done — from ear piercing to creating a secret handshake with a mayor — filmed over 30 days, called Project 30.
Then the group changed their name at Generation Y Not, which they felt better captured their vibe, and kept creating videos in their spare time. Their big break happened when Snapchat enticed the group to leave Montreal for Venice, California, and make videos for pay.
“We changed our name again to... Yes Theory. We finally started to hit our stride together...It was crazy and wild and chaotic and the very reason we started this project together in the first place,” their website explains.
“Yes Theory is far more than just a YouTube channel to us. It’s a philosophy, a way of life, and a community. We call it our 1,000 Year Project because we hope to keep creating content, tools, and spaces for people to come to connect and seek discomfort together.”
But mental health issues almost cost the group another member.
During his time with Yes Theory, Ammar has faced some serious challenges of his own: depression and pressure from his family to return to Egypt.
“In addition to dealing with immigration issues and leaving school, he had to contend with his parents’ disapproval of Yes Theory activities,” Forbes reports.
"I do things that can be perceived as culturally inappropriate," he said. For example, when they got waxed (in painful but good fun), his traditional dad viewed it as "not a manly thing to do," Forbes says. Threatened to be cut off if he didn’t return home and find a culturally appropriate job, Ammar fell into depression. He prioritized self-care, and ultimately, was able to return to work again.
Keep inspiring, Yes Theory — we’ll be watching!