Mattias HolmbomTreeClimb

Over a year ago I embarked on a business journey to use Social Media in a meaningful way to help thousands of other businesses grow and succeed.

I named it The Social Experiment. It was rolled out as a raw, behind-the-scenes documentary-style reality web show, which has now been viewed by millions around the world. It’s been an incredible ride so far, one of which couldn’t have been made possible without my trusty cameraman and Swedish side-kick Mattias Holmbom.

As our online presence has grown, curious viewers have been asking more and more about the mysterious man behind the camera, so this week on the blog, I hand over to my editor Lou Parker to get inside the head of someone I not only consider a colleague, but also a dear friend.

What is a personal goal you have right now?

Is it bad that I don’t have many goals? It’s not often in my life that I set personal goals of where I want to be and what I want to achieve. There’s not a lot I really strive for because I feel that wherever I am is pretty good, and if everything fell down today I would be ok. I just try and be the best version of myself that I can be. But a recent goal I do actually have, is to be more disciplined and invest my time in things that give me better returns, like continuing to learn and finding new ways to grow.

Did you always know you wanted to be a filmmaker?

Well probably for the first 10 years of my life I wanted to be a cop or a fire fighter. My dad is a doctor so I thought I could even follow in his footsteps. I never thought I would do anything creative because no one in my family is creative, I’m an odd child like that. In school I did all the mathematics, and the physics. But I loved to draw and would draw a lot as a kid. My classmates would come up to me and ask me to draw stuff for them.

When did you decide you wanted to be a filmmaker?

It’s definitely something I stumbled into. My entire life I’ve loved to play video games and that’s how I got into making videos. I basically had a Mac laptop with a webcam and I used to film myself playing Xbox on the television, then I would put together the best moments of the game. That’s how I started my first YouTube channel and from there it pretty much took over my life.

Mattias Holmbom - Water

What inspired you to make videos?

I saw it as you have a window into someone else’s life, which is why I decided to create my own window so people could follow my journey. I would share with my audience what was going on in high school, people could relate because we were all teenagers and a community was built. I fell in love with the connection between the audience, the video and the creator.

How would you describe the creative process?

I think one of the greatest keys of me being good at what I do is that I’ve consumed so much video. I’ve watched thousands of hours of videos which has given me a personal preference of what I think is good or bad. I’ve become very quick at knowing if something is worth being part of what I’m creating so it’s about constantly cherry picking the pieces of the creation.

Mattias and Kerwin Rae

How did you end up working with Kerwin?

I moved to Australia from Sweden to be with my girlfriend who lived in Sydney. I thought I would probably get a job on a farm and basically do like a working holiday, but one day while I was looking for work I saw a tweet which said ‘Amazing filmmaker opportunity, Sydney’. I thought, ‘I’m in Sydney. I make films. This is something I could do’.

I basically created a resume on the spot because I didn’t really have one. I sent it in and a week later I had a skype interview organised with a guy called Kerwin Rae. I didn’t know who he was but he seemed like a smart guy. After the interview I was asked in to have a face to face and I really connected with him. We laughed throughout the interview and I got the job.

So now I film, edit, produce and publish videos with Kerwin. They are entertaining videos but also educational. My goal is to reach as many people as possible with them.

Describe your relationship with Kerwin

In my first month or two on the job I kept to myself, I was pretty quiet. I was just like a little fly on the wall with a camera.

But quickly we built a lot of trust together because Kerwin was always so open. He would talk about key things going on in his personal life or about the business, so from the beginning he made me feel very valuable and talented. There was a lot of trust. I felt like I have been given a lot by being here, but the cool thing is Kerwin has also said I’ve given him a lot in return so it’s a very healthy, mutual connection.

KerwinRaelookingatCameraMattias Holmbom

As someone who spends a lot of time with Kerwin, what are your best memories together?

Back in December I went to Kerwin’s son, Noah’s Montessori graduation. I was there to film because he was performing with all the other kids. It was so adorable and cute, and I just felt like part of the family. Kerwin really made me feel part of the family. I was invited into all of the group pictures and it was just nice.

He always makes me feel valuable. Like in front of clients and at events, he’ll shout me out and tell everyone how much I mean to him. Those are the moments I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.

Do you see your job as being unique?

As a job, what I do is so unique, but as a human it feels very normal. Because for decades people have been documenting their travel, their family time, their birthdays, and that’s basically what I’m doing but I’ve just been designated a role as the camera man. It feels very natural. I feel there’s nothing more powerful than video. Being able to watch the past exactly how it happened, I feel like that’s the closest thing humans have to time travel.  

What do you think makes a video successful?

I think it’s about respecting the audience’s attention. The fact that someone has clicked and has their eyeballs on your video is to me the most valuable thing. That makes me feel like it’s up to me to give them back more than they expected. It’s my job to make it worthwhile, so it has to be good. In a video sense that means cutting the right things out, choosing the right bits, and making the videos powerful in a short amount of time.

What skills do you attribute to your success?

I’m not that advanced when it comes to software and cameras but I think my best skills are my natural instincts to make content that people are going to enjoy. I think it’s my ability to understand how people perceive content while having a great eye for the story.

Mattias Holmbom_LA

What are the benefits for people in business to use video?

I think for people to put a face to their business, there’s nothing but upsides. There’s a lot of boundaries, and fears, and walls that need to be broken in order for people to stop putting up the facade and start being real about who they are. It’s ok to be happy, sad and angry, it’s ok to fail and succeed, and if you have that perspective and you document that, then that’s something unique.

Video externalises what you’re doing. You’re creating a legacy and I think video is the most powerful form of legacy because it’s not on paper or in people’s thoughts, it’s moving images. It’s an incredible tool and I think it’s a shame if you’re afraid of it.

What are some of the stand out things you have learnt from Kerwin?

The biggest thing that I connected with Kerwin on, was his ability to unconditionally love. I remember one of the first deep things he shared with me was that he had friends that had been in jail or had done bad things but he was still able to have love for them. I connected with that because no matter what someone has done, I have the ability to forgive and understand their struggle.  Aside from that, one of the major things I have learnt from Kerwin is controlling the ego and being aware of when it’s in play. Especially in a creative role because in the past I would always justify if something wasn’t good enough. When someone would give me feedback my go-to was to justify, or deflect, or defend my work which is natural for a lot of people but it’s been really powerful to put that aside. Now if I make a mistake I can be ok with it and not let my ego get in the way.


How do you define success?

Before working with Kerwin I had always connected success to a dollar figure, or money, or fame – all of those stereotypical things. Our company purpose has the word ‘succeed’ in it so when I started I remember looking at it a lot, and the longer I’ve worked here, the more I’ve fallen in love with it.

Success is about helping other humans live happier lives. It’s about feeling good. It’s about how you feel in the moment about all of the things you have in your life. So, success to me is about being happy.

Note from Kerwin:  Working with Mattias has been one of the highlights of my almost 20 years in business.  We connect at a level that is incredibly rare and remarkably genuine, there is zero front in our relationship and a complete acceptance for each other.  I thank my lucky stars everyday that I found him (bromance much?!).  Thank you for being on this journey with me little buddy and for capturing my legacy, and leaving an eternal footprint for my children’s children to be able to witness and share in. Thank you Matty.