The Linus Media Group with the main channel Linus Tech Tips (LTT) is unintentionally at the center of the Youtube tech world. What began with many careless mistakes is currently degenerating into a media storm. The eponymous owner Linus Sebastian himself contributes to the escalation with statements that are perceived as questionable. The management team under the new CEO Terren Tong has stopped video production for the time being and wants to produce fewer videos in the medium term in order to clean up internally.
It started with an LTT employee who proudly reported on the company’s morale in front of the camera: With more than 100 employees and expensive equipment, their own benchmarks are more reliable than those of the competition. For each test, all benchmarks are re-run and thoroughly checked.
The YouTube channel Gamers Nexus took this as an opportunity to draw attention to some test results that he said were nonsensical and sometimes contradictory. However, the dispute became serious due to a collaboration with the start-up Billet Labs in July.
Unauthorized Prototype Auction
Two hobbyists founded Billet Labs to manufacture high-end water coolers for graphics cards and processors. LTT received a one-off prototype along with a GeForce RTX 3090 Ti for testing. However, the Nvidia graphics card was lost internally. At Linus’ direction, the cooler was tested with an incompatible GeForce RTX 4090. The test result was disastrous due to a 1 mm gap between the graphics chip and the cooler.
In a podcast, Linus said he didn’t want to invest another $100 to $500 in labor time to have an employee properly retest the cooler. Even at 20 °C better temperatures, his judgment would have remained the same due to the high price of the cooler. A copy costs the equivalent of 772 euros when pre-ordered – Billet Labs wants to manufacture the water cooler itself in small series for enthusiasts in the future.
Subsequently, LTT is said not to have returned the prototype despite repeated inquiries and assurances to the contrary. Instead, it was auctioned off among the subscribers. For Billet Labs, that meant losing a unique prototype that a competitor could potentially get their hands on. After the Gamers Nexus video appeared, LTT offered monetary compensation.
In the course of this controversy has meanwhile Madison Reeve, LTT’s former social media manager, spoke up. In numerous tweets (X-Posts), she accuses the LTT management and many ex-colleagues of misogynist treatment, sexual assault and bullying. It’s all part of the company culture.
In a first statement on the Gamers Nexus video, Linus mainly blamed the channel for publishing it. The own cooler test did not have “a problem with the ‘accuracy'”, Linus “only got the mood in the room wrong”. “We didn’t want anyone to buy (the cooler) (because it’s an egregious waste of money no matter what temps it’s running in) and we wanted Billet to make something marketable (so they, you know, can eat).” A day later, LTT’s management team published a more reflective statement on YouTube and promised improvements in their own processes.
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The LTT main channel currently has around 15.5 million subscriptions on YouTube – around 100,000 fewer than a week ago. In the summer, Linus turned down a $100 million bid to buy parent company Linus Media Group. In order to retire himself from the business, Linus has handed over the CEO post to Terren Tong.
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