A looming recession did little to damper the buoyant mood at VidCon, the annual conference for creators, their fans and industry professionals, which wrapped up on Saturday in Anaheim, Calif.. Attendees schmoozed at cocktail parties and stood in hours-long lines to be lowered via a harness into a giant pool full of soft plush toys called Squishmallows. Others headed to a pop-up put on by YouTube Shorts and MrBeast that included a 40-foot gumball machine that spit out prizes ranging from candy to Nintendo Switches. Plenty of people showed off choreographed dance moves outside the convention center and went to late-night parties, including an event hosted by Amazon Prime Video featuring an hour-long private concert from The Chainsmokers.
While VidCon provided a brief escape from the real world, it wasn’t totally immune from talk about the worsening economy. The topic came up on a panel I moderated with Amron Lopez, senior talent manager at creator commerce and talent firm Whalar, Megan Frantz, talent manager at Whalar, and Eric Wei, co-founder of Karat Financial, a financial startup offering corporate credit cards for creators.