A 7-year-old taught himself to play the bagpipes. Here's what 4 other people learned from YouTube.

YouTube is more than just cat videos and makeup tutorials. Way more.

Meet the 2015 javelin world champion, Julius Yego.

Image via EMEASports/YouTube.


His win in Beijing isn't just incredible for the regular reason (you know ... being the world's greatest javelin thrower). The amazing part is that Yego made it this far without a coach (if we don't count Coach YouTube). That's right — this world champion taught himself how to throw javelin from watching YouTube videos.

What's super cool is that his story is far from unique. Here's a list of some seriously talented folks who owe what they know to Professor YouTube.

(Turns out YouTube is for way more than just watching cute cat and bunny videos. I so need to re-evaluate my online video consumption.)

This adorable and talented 7-year-old who secretly taught himself bagpipes so he could surprise his dad.

Photo from USA Today/YouTube.

First-grader Luke Stewart wants to be just like his dad. So when he saw his dad playing the bagpipes, he did what any normal 7-year-old would do: watch YouTube for a year and become this amazing player. You have to see this kid in action.

A teenage pole vault champion.

This isn't her, but we can pretend. Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for IAAF.

High schooler Reannah Martin got interested in pole vault through her brother's participation in the sport. With no coach available at her school to help, she watched video after video of champion vaulters. During her first competition, she placed first in her region. Impressive.

A woman who learned embroidery from YouTube and now makes clothing for Drake.

REAL TALK with bellelunavie.com @angel_jhang check out the Interviews 🍄
A photo posted by MARIE SOPHIE LOCKHART (@goodfornothingembroidery) on

Marie Sophie Lockhart of Good for Nothing Embroidery once embroidered a tattoo of Drake and posted it on Instagram. He saw it, reposted it ... and was impressed so much by her work that he asked if she would do work for him. Now she makes clothing for a celebrity musician. Since then, she's also partnered with luxury brands. NBD.

This unemployed Brit who used his sudden chunk of free time to become a weapons-trafficking expert through YouTube videos.

Image via The Guardian/YouTube.

When Eliot Higgins became unemployed, he found himself watching a lot of leaked videos from Syria. He soon put the pieces together about arms trafficking in the area and started keeping a blog under the alias Brown Moses. His content proved to be so valuable that reporters and human rights activists used the blog as a go-to resource. Learn more about his journey on The Guardian.

A MasterChef UK winner!

2015 MasterChef UK winner Simon Wood never took a cooking class in his life! He told MailOnline that got his skills from observing cooks — at restaurants, on shows, and on YouTube. He then would practice his culinary masterpieces for his kids. Lucky.

These YouTube-taught masters show the power of sharing knowledge.

YouTube has millions of videos and contains a WEALTH of information that anyone with an Internet connection can access and learn from. It isn't just a tool for fame and mindless chatter. It's clear that the site has become a way for humans to share information with one another — for free.

These success stories don't just show how great YouTube is. They also show how valuable access to broadband Internet can be.

This summer, President Obama committed to expanding high-speed Internet access in low-income areas to fill the “digital divide." Because everyone should have the chance to become the next great athlete/cook/musician/expert if they want — regardless of how much they make or where they live. Now go spread the word and learn something.

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Dr. Leslie on TikTok www.tiktok.com


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