Who is Mark Rober? Internet curious as NASA engineer, Apple executive turned YouTuber trends for no reason
On Monday, September 7, a question (or variations of the same question) was making the rounds on Twitter: “Who the f*** is Mark Rober?” But why was this question being asked? A little digging on Twitter reveals that beauty vlogger James Charles wrote on Twitter, “I haven’t had a day where I sat down & played with makeup in sooo long... tweet me your creative makeup looks you’ve done, I need inspiration.”
To this, the gamer called Dream -- they have more than nine million subscribers on YouTube -- responded with “Mark Rober,” along with a photo of Rober from ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’. But why did Dream say that? It started with Carson King, better known online as CallMeCarson, an American YouTuber and gamer. King was hosting a pool competition, and other YouTubers waiting for their turn decided to all tweet “Mark Rober” at the same time, reportedly because they wanted Rober to join them. Quackity, a Mexican YouTuber who is known for hosting competitions on his Discord server, was supposedly the one who had the idea to start this.
Mark Rober pic.twitter.com/M9cBQS4QRH— Dream (@DreamWasTaken) September 7, 2020
This exchange has since turned into a meme, with people responding to tweets with either photos of Mark Rober, his name, or a combination of the two. Of course, the sheer absurdity of the meme has left many wondering what’s happening. A Twitter user asked, for example, “Why is everyone saying mark rober?”
why is everyone saying mark rober— Locus (@LocusSK) September 7, 2020
Another Twitter user, sharing a screenshot of multiple Twitter users repeating that name without any context, asked, “Can someone explain to me what the hell is going on and if you respond to this with mark rober I will murder you.”
can someone explain to me what the hell is going on and if you respond to this with mark rober i will murder you pic.twitter.com/1mg5X7U1eN— tsunami (@tsunami_fps) September 7, 2020
Others, however, seemed okay with letting Mark Rober take over their social media feed. One Twitter user wrote, “mark rober will take over. we will have mark rober world domination.”
mark rober will take over— riley|scared and AWAKE (@rileybearzz) September 7, 2020
we will have mark rober world domination pic.twitter.com/RmgtuUDNQ8
Consequently, one Twitter user noted, echoing what many seemed to express in different ways, “My entire trending page is just about the fires, and then in the number 1 spot with 30k tweets there is mark rober hahahahahaha.”
My entire trending page is just about the fires, and then in the number 1 spot with 30k tweets there is mark rober hahahahahaha pic.twitter.com/wXDzhcjS9y— Liam yates (@mrnuke000) September 7, 2020
So, it’s time to answer the most basic question that many people have been asking: Who the f*** is Mark Rober? Rober is an American YouTuber, engineer, and inventor. If that seems like a little bit of a letdown, it isn’t. With almost 14 million subscribers, Rober is one of the more popular science YouTubers there is.
His YouTube videos touch upon popular science, do-it-yourself gadgets, and creative ideas, and almost all of them have received viral status. One of his most popular videos, with more than 40 million views, is a 21-minute-long feature titled “Building the Perfect Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder”. In it, Rober makes a kind of outstanding obstacle course for squirrels in his backyard. It is a thing of beauty.
There’s a reason why Rober’s science videos are popular. They are quirky in the way making a squirrel obstacle course is quirky. But he also knows his stuff. Before YouTube, Rober was an engineer with NASA where he spent seven years working on the Curiosity rover at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He later worked for four years at Apple Inc. as a product designer in their Special Projects Group, where he authored patents involving virtual reality in self-driving cars. He left the cushy gig in 2013 to make wearable tech Halloween costumes.
“It's a little bit scary,” Rober said in an interview with Wired when asked about quitting his job at NASA. “But at the same time, it's such a cool opportunity. It's just one of those things in life you've just got to see what happens.”
He added, “One of the things that always appealed to me about NASA was we were always doing cool stuff that no one's done before. Granted nothing's as cool as building spaceships, but there is also something cool about getting an email from a [customer] that says: 'I've never given so many high-fives as I did last night.'”
So, for Mark Rober to trend without any reason or meaning seems like a good thing. So much so, that Rober himself went ahead and tweeted, “Mark Rober.”
Mark Rober— Mark Rober (@MarkRober) September 7, 2020