The captain of the cube

Simon shows off the original Rubik’s Cube. Photo by Erika Kovach


With a camera set up, David Simon is spinning a cube of colors between his hands, frantically rearranging the colors back where they belong. Saving the video to his phone, he posts it to TikTok. Overnight, the video gains 12 million views. It was almost seven years ago when Simon was inspired to post after his dad had seen a video of someone solving a Rubik’s Cube. Thinking he could do the same thing, he and his two sisters uploaded a video. Overnight, the video gained 12 million views. 

Today, Simon is known as “Captain Cuber” online, with over 5 million followers across his TikTok, YouTube and Instagram accounts. 

Simon, a junior creative media and entertainment major, said after his initial success, he was not quite sure where to go. 

“Three months after [the first video] I was kind of questioning like, ‘Oh, what am I gonna do on other platforms?’” Simon said. “I thought I had to make different content, but people kept telling me [to] just post the same stuff on [other platforms].” 

Across his three platforms, Simon makes content all things Rubik’s Cubes — discussing different kinds of cubes, how to solve them, reviews and challenges. While his YouTube features some longer-form content, he tends to use more attention-grabbing, shorter videos across TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. 

Davis Barringer, a sophomore motorsports engineering major, is one of Simon’s fraternity brothers in Phi Kappa Psi and has witnessed his dedication to his craft firsthand. 

“[David’s] very passionate about what he does,” Barringer said. “He’s very good at it and … he doesn’t always need to tell everyone about it. I think that’s really cool.” 

Simon said that a normal video on his “Captain Cuber” accounts can get anywhere from 30,000 to 40,000 views, but a viral video can make a huge difference in the money he’s making. 

“On YouTube, I can make like $2,000 to $3,000 a month,” Simon said. “[But] I don’t really do [as] much. On TikTok, it can totally vary. It hasn’t been much recently because [I] haven’t had a viral video, but usually I get $1 for every 1000 views.” 

On YouTube, Simon describes a lot of his audience as “7- to 9-year-old boys who play Fortnite.” However, Simon said his viewership tends to be wider with the different algorithms on TikTok, especially for videos without dialogue which don’t present a language barrier. 

Because of the wider viewership, Simon spends a lot of time looking for video ideas on TikTok. 

“Now, I [usually] have to make videos that are 60 seconds or longer because that’s how you make more money,” Simon said. “But I can’t just force it. [The videos] have to be a cool story. I get really into it. I use some trends that have been popular for a few years, and I just find a video that’s like a minute long, and I’m like, ‘Oh, how can I put a Rubik’s Cube in this?’” 

Although Simon has been posting videos for many years, some of his major accomplishments were those first big milestones. 

“One thing that comes to mind is hitting a million [subscribers] on YouTube,” Simon said. “I think I have the most viral Rubik’s Cube video on the internet. It has about 50 million views or something. It was also really big when another Rubik’s Cube YouTuber shouted me out when I was not [as] big. We met in person and roomed together on a trip. And just when I started to make money, my first cent, it was, like, huge.” 

Right now, Simon is moving towards creating more content featuring others, such as his girlfriend and his friends in his fraternity, and including more raw reactions to his skills. While his priorities can change week-to-week, he’s hoping to be more focused on school and keep social media as a side hustle. 

“I want to ride the social media wave as long as possible,” Simon said. “I mean, if that could be my full-time thing, I would definitely do that. But right now, the goal is to get some job in LA. I think my TikTok could be a foot in the door to that.” 

While Simon’s success online is undeniable, he said getting that success is not certain, especially in the TikTok algorithm. However, having an eye and an ear for certain viral trends is a start. 

“I’m not sure I have any advice because I haven’t quite figured it all out myself,” Simon said. Simon is active on TikTok as @captaincuber, YouTube as @captain-cuber and Instagram as @Captain.Cuber.


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