The Hustle

Culture Genesis’ Cedric Rogers on reviving All Def: “We’re bringing culture to technology”

The former Apple vet and Y Combinator alum tells us growth plans for All Def, the largest Black-owned digital platform on YouTube and Facebook.


August 17, 2021

If you’re a fan of hip-hop or comedy, it’s highly probable you’ve seen content from All Def. 

With 15m+ fans across its platforms and 500m+ monthly views, All Def is part of the Culture Genesis Network and is the largest Black-owned digital platform on YouTube and Facebook. 

Culture Genesis itself is a medi-tech company co-founded by tech veteran Cedric Rogers. 

“Our core opportunity is to help Black and brown creators grow their businesses and get connected to large brands deals,” Rogers tells The Hustle in an interview. 

Rogers background is particularly useful in achieving these goals: he spent more than a decade launching products at Motorola, HP and Apple before founding a startup (Looklive) that was part of the Y Combinator incubator.

After a #MeToo scandal sent All Def into bankruptcy in 2019, Culture Genesis took over and set the company back on the right path. 

“All Def is a great brand and asset,” Rogers says. “And we want to use the platform not only to create great content but to launch digital creators.” 

Helping in the mission is an investment group that includes high-profile figures from music (TI, Killer Mike, Jason Geter) and sports (Baron Davis). 

Today, All Def is a tech-savvy media company with numerous business arms: 

The latest move: a partnership with Instagram’s largest hip-hop account RapTV (@Rap), owned by Trends member Daniel Snow. 

The Hustle spoke with Rogers to find out what’s next for Culture Genesis and lessons from his days at Apple and YCombinator.

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What’s behind the name Culture Genesis? 

I think it’s important when building products or creating content to begin with culture in mind first. 

If there is a subset of society that is really into a certain culture, you can hyper-serve that segment, find traction and scale up from there. 

Think about how streetwear has affected the fashion industry. Culture really does dictate consumerization and, consequently, technology too. If people don’t understand this, their project will likely fail. 

At Culture Genesis, we’re bringing culture to technology. 

How specifically does Culture Genesis bring “culture into technology”?

Take the All Def YouTube channel. It has 4.5m subscribers and is on pace to do $15m in revenue over the next year.

To get to this point, we’ve: 

Taken together, All Def provides all the tech and business tools needed for a creator to succeed. A Black or brown creator — the “culture” — can plug into our system and very quickly churn out great content and get into All Def’s existing brand deal flow. 

What are the main goals for All Def over the next 12-18 months? 

We want to keep growing our audience. Two recent initiatives:

What are the biggest lessons you learned while working at Apple? 

I worked at Apple from 2004-2013. 

This is during the time that Steve Jobs launched the iPhone [in 2007; Jobs passed away in 2011]. 

There are so many lessons, but 3 that stand out are: 

What are key lessons from Y Combinator? 

I did the Summer 2016 batch at Y Combinator. My startup — Looklive — was an ecommerce brand focused on men’s fashion. 

3 lessons from that experience were: 

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