Last Friday, I made my way down to the UBC Robson Square campus with Stephen Fung to attend an invite-only workshop being put on by Google. At the YouTube Content Lab, we learned about how to create an effective content strategy for our respective YouTube channels. We tackled concepts like the “Hero-Hub-Help” approach to content programming. But as useful as those principles may be, they were not the most important thing I learned that morning.

My understanding is that this workshop was only being opened up to local YouTubers whose channels had at least 10,000 subscribers. Following up afterwards, I found that at least a few of the attendees fell short of that mark, but they all had at least four-figure subscriber counts. I think a few had six-figure subscriber counts.

The point is that everyone there was pretty serious about their YouTube efforts and they were anxious to learn how they could continue to grow their channels and achieve greater success. The actual content varied widely — cooking, makeup, yoga, music, technology — but the core objective was similar: Be more successful on YouTube.

For my part, the most important thing I learned from attending the YouTube Content Lab had less to do with the exercises we were given, per se, and more to do with the interactions we had with our fellow content creators. The most important thing I learned is that it doesn’t matter how successful or how humble your efforts may be, you can learn from nearly everyone else.

I was able to help someone whose channel was far larger than mine, because I told him about an online service that was perfect for what he was trying to do. I was able to help someone else whose channel was also far larger than mine, because I was able to analysis the view count statistics of the sample channel we were working on together. I provided insight, illuminating something that she would have missed otherwise.

Of course, I was able to learn a lot from them too.

And that’s the thing. Success on YouTube, or anywhere else on the Internet for that matter, is not a zero sum game. When I look at the fellow YouTubers I met at the event, I don’t see them as my competition. I see them as potential collaboration partners. I see them as colleagues. Something about rising tides and lifting all ships.

It makes perfect sense that you want to learn from the Casey Neistats of the world, but you also shouldn’t take on an elitist attitude toward your humbler compatriots either. You shouldn’t look down your nose at them. They might be able to help you. They might be able to provide a perspective you never even considered.

I want to do more with YouTube, but I’m not there yet. Part of my excuse, and it is quite plainly an excuse, is that I want to do all the things. As a result, my personal YouTube channel isn’t as big or as popular as it probably could be. I think about a lot of things in theory, but I have yet to implement many of them in practice. And going to this YouTube Content Lab may have been just the right kick in the pants that I needed.

For a glimpse into what our morning was like, check out Stephen’s vlog which I’ve embedded below. It’s about the spandiest and sassiest thing on his channel. At least for now.