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Interview with Jesse Hartnett, JRCuber

Posted by Phil Yu on

Interview with Jesse Hartnett, JRCuber 


Jesse Hartnett, JRCuber, is a speedcuber and content creator. Over the years, JRCuber has amassed an impressive 97 million views on his YouTube channel, where he posts unboxings, reviews, and solve challenges like his four hour 19x19 solve. You can check out his amazingly polished studio in this video

Q1: Hey, welcome to the interview. How are you doing? 

I’m great! Finally had a chance to get back in the studio a couple days ago and I’m feeling like a content creator again.

Q2: That’s really good to hear. You’ve been a big part of the YouTube community for such a long time. What is your favorite thing about being a content creator? 

I’d say my favorite part is just all the awesome people I get to meet. I feel very privileged to be in the position I’m in because it gives me a chance to meet so many cool people I likely wouldn’t have had a chance to meet otherwise. Perfect example, all of you guys at TheCubicle!

Q3: It was great hanging out with you as well. On the subject of content, can you tell us anything about your creative process? What’s it like? 

Well, for a long time, I had my videos down to a science where I knew what I needed to say and how they needed to be edited. But recently, I’ve been trying to mix things up in the edits and just add a little more to it. I’ve also been working on making my videos more concise by cutting out a lot of things I would have kept in a few years ago. I try to put myself in the shoes of someone who’s just stumbling across my channel for the first time. I try to think of all the things that would potentially make them disinterested in the content and click off, and minimize those elements. Also, when I record, I’ve been working on doing more takes of certain parts of the video, trying to give myself more to work with in the edit. A lot of it doesn’t work, but it’s nice to have those options. 

Q4: Sounds like a plan. I’m sure, as a content creator, you’ve probably seen hundreds of twisty puzzles. Do you have a favorite WCA puzzle? How about a favorite non-WCA puzzle? 

My favorite WCA is probably the Aolong V2 or Valk 3 M. Some of my favorite older 3x3s, although I am really loving the Gan 11 M Pro currently. As for non-WCA, this may seem like a somewhat basic answer, but probably the 3x3x5. It’s my favorite cuboid and my top pick for a new WCA puzzle, although it’s far from the most popular option.

Q5: The AoLong V2 and the Valk M are classic cubes. Even if there are many more new releases in the future, I will always remember them well. Your pick for the non-WCA puzzle is really interesting! If you had a chance to advocate for the 3x3x5 to be included in the WCA event roster, what would you say? 

I think 3x3x5 would be a cool choice since it’s visually similar to a 3x3 but has a completely different solving style that has a lot of room for improvement. High level methods would actually draw a lot from square-1 which I think is pretty cool. I think it’s the best option if you’re going to add a cuboid at all too, since it has shapeshifting. I know it’s not a very popular option -- it’s just a puzzle that I enjoy solving, so I think it would be a fun event to compete in.

Q6: Wow, super interesting. It doesn’t seem like a popular opinion, but your viewpoint is fascinating. What kind of times do you think really skilled solvers can get on the puzzle?

Well, I’m able to get to around a minute and a half with a terribly turning puzzle and a basic cuboid solving method, so I would imagine the lower bounds of the event are probably around 15-20 seconds.

Q7: Cool. A lot of people advocating for Face-turning Octahedron to make it to the WCA say that a 15-20 second solve time is really desirable for a new event because it doesn’t take super long but is also not over in an instant. It sounds like the 3x3x5 could also fill that role. Now for a question about YouTube. You’ve been in the game for so long. Are there any content creators you miss? On the flip side, are there any newer content creators you admire? 

The YouTube cubers I miss the most are probably the oldest ones like Thrawst, Lancetheblueknight, Monkeydude, etc. They were the ones that really got me into cubing and inspired me to make videos of my own. Recently, I’ve been really enjoying channels like J-Perm, Tingman, and Cube Head. cyoubx has also always been a favorite of mine that bridges the gap between older and newer creators. I watched his older videos religiously, and I still watch his stuff now. To be honest though, I don’t watch many cubing videos these days. I try to stay up to date with what everyone’s doing, but I don’t watch every upload like I used to from older creators. Not a fault of the new creators of course, just me getting older I guess.

Q8: I haven’t heard some of those classic names in such a long time. Brings back great memories. Outside of YouTube and cubing, do you have any other hobbies or favorite activities? 

Well, over the last year I’ve been stuck inside a lot, so I’ve mostly just been playing a lot of video games and watching a lot of anime. Recently, I’ve also been getting back into streaming on Twitch which I’d like to continue doing consistently.

Q9: For sure. We’d love to see more Twitch streams from you. I have to ask this now. What are your top 3 favorite video games and anime? 

Ok, these may seem like some pretty basic answers since I mostly play the same few games and watch long shows, but some of my favorite games are Minecraft, Valorant, and Geometry Dash. My top 3 anime for now are Attack on Titan, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and Naruto. I actually just started watching anime last year when quarantine started, so I’ve still only seen a few shows, most of which have been pretty long. I’ve seen all of Naruto, am currently watching all of Dragon Ball, then want to watch One Piece...that’ll take a while though.

Q10: Ah yes, lots of classics. I’m not sure if you’re watching the English dubs, but if you are, some of those shows share voice actors. Krillin from Dragon Ball is Usopp from One Piece. If you watch Dragon Ball first, you might recognize some voices. Now for a question I ask everyone. Can you tell us something about yourself that you think most people don’t know?

I’ve talked about this before over the years, but I still feel like most people don’t know that the R in JR is my middle initial, not my last initial. People are often confused when they find out my name, so just to clear everything up, my middle name is Ryan and JR was a nickname from when I was younger.

Q11: Well, you definitely started a movement of people using their initials and then “-cuber”. For the last question, can you describe your cubing style using three words? 

Slow to improve. 

Haha, very self-aware. As always, thanks so much for doing this interview with us. We hope to see more videos and livestreams soon!

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