Reddit is a goldmine of information and entertainment, where memes are born, celebrities make fun of themselves, and videos go viral. But sometimes the best submissions come from the everyday man (or woman) — one who isn’t a movie star or world renowned athlete. Often it just takes a passionate employee who cares enough to give detailed information about their profession or hobbies.
Meet Jack: a vacuum repair technician who now has the seventeenth highest upvoted AMA of all time, thousands of YouTube subscribers, a podcast feature, and a custom branded vacuum named after him. Jack can tell you the best vacuum to buy based on your floor types, budget, and variables like what kind of pets you own or how long your girlfriend’s hair is.
It started on October 27th, 2013 when Jack fatefully answered a simple question: What is a commonly believed “fact” related to your line of work that simply is not true?
Jack’s response was brief, but controversial: the belief that “Dysons are good vacuums.” This triggered some follow up questions from dismayed Redditors who thought Dyson was the be all end all of suction technology. We’ve all seen the fancy ads and used those amazing hand dryers, so it’s no surprise that commoners think they’re hot stuff. Jack elaborated:
Think of any appliance purchase as you would a car; Pay attention to the warranty, pay attention to repair/parts costs, and ask someone who repairs them about the appliance’s quality. A Dyson is like a Kia, as compared to a Miele or Riccar or Sebo, which are like a Mercedes Benz. All are covered by good warranties, which the manufactures honour, well.
But, where you don’t expect to have your Mercedes in the shop often, you will have your Dyson (Kia) in the shop, frequently. The latest models are plagued with problems, and many of the repair shops do not yet keep a large enough supply of parts on hand. That, combined with the 2 week wait for parts from Dyson, do not make it a wise purchase.
Is this enough, or shall I actually go into the performance of Dysons?
Don’t worry, he did continue on to explain the performance issues with Dysons. You can read it here. Users immediately began clamoring for an AMA, where they would have the chance to go into more vacuum-centric minutia than they ever thought was possible. Just a couple days later, he launched his first AMA, in disbelief that anyone would actually care.
But care they did. Part of the success is attributed to the penultimate episode of Breaking Bad that aired the night before. In that episode, Saul Goodman arrives at a vacuum repair shop, in search of a new identity and Walter White. The top comment on Jack’s AMA was about the secret code Saul used: “Are you often asked if you have a dust filter for a Hoover Max Extract® 60 Pressure Pro?” Jokes aside, the AMA revealed his preferred brands, Miele and Riccar, and how he is actually a licensed hair stylist with a background in auto mechanics.
Just one month later, Jack was back with a follow up, and an amazing catch-phrase. “Hi, Reddit! I’m here to make your day suck better. The Vacuum Guy is back with an updated AMA!“
Reddit user mar10wright fired off a great response, saying “I loved your last AMA, I took your advice and bought a Miele and it really sucks! Thanks for the AMA man.”
A vacuum review might be the only place where the phrase “really sucks” is a compliment.
It is this kind of banter that has made Jack’s internet fame skyrocket so quickly. You pair a friendly, informative user with an equally witty and encouraging audience, and magic happens.
It wasn’t long before Jack, under the username “Don’t Touch My Coffee” started a YouTube channel so he could put all his recommendations and tips into a DIY video format. So far he’s covered the basics of maintenance and care for your vacuums. As one commentator aptly pointed out that he “just watched a guy showing me how to maintain a vacuum for eight minutes at 5am. I don’t even own a vacuum.”
For Jack, it just keeps getting better. He was featured on the Reddit focused podcast, Upvoted, two weeks ago in an episode titled “The Surprisingly Complex Life of A Vacuum Repairman”. There he spoke about how the beloved comic, Cyanide and Happiness, led to his discovery of Reddit in 2012 through a link on the site.
Upvoted host Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, interviewed Joy Petty, the director of marketing for Riccar – one of Jack’s favourite brands.
Petty explained how the traffic from all of his referrals actually made their site crash the day of the first AMA, and they saw a huge spike in sales. When they finally traced the server overload back to Reddit, she was impressed with Jack’s marketing abilities.
Petty told Ohanian: “I’m a big believer in authenticity, and he’s dripping with it.” From there, it was actually Ohanian’s idea to bring Jack and Riccar into business together. He asked Petty whether she would consider having a “Don’t Touch My Coffee” branded vacuum. The response was immediate: “[Jack] can design his own Riccar if he tells us what model he wants, and what colour he wants…He deserves it.”
When Jack heard the news, he was floored but prepared: “I already have an existing machine in mind. I’m shocked, flattered, and flabbergasted. I never knew that vacuums were going to be this significant in my life.”
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