John Shahidi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

John Shahidi
John Shahidi.jpg
Born (1979-12-30) December 30, 1979 (age 41)
Los Angeles, California
Years active2009–present
Known forShots Studios

John Shahidi is an American businessman, software developer, manager and producer. Shahidi started Shots Studios, a YouTube network for top internet talent including Jake Paul, Lele Pons, Hannah Stocking and Anwar Jibawi.

In 2009, Shahidi and his brother Sam Shahidi started the video game studio company RockLive, where they created mobile games. In 2013, RockLive became Shots Studios began producing content for YouTube.

Early life[edit]

John Shahidi was born to an Iranian Kurdish family in Los Angeles, California.[1]

He and his younger brother Sam Shahidi grew up in Southern California. They were raised by their mother and grandmother.[2][3]



John and Sam Shahidi started developing iOS apps in 2009[4] and started out as a video game development company called Rock Software, later renamed RockLive.[5] Their first commercial app was RunPee. Their childhood friend Jordan Palmer introduced the Shahidi brothers to former Cincinnati Bengals team member Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson. RockLive developed two apps for Ochocinco, Chad Ochocinco Experience,[6] and its follow-up, MadChad.[3]

This exposure led to more apps being developed between 2009 and 2012, for Usain Bolt, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mike Tyson.[3][7][8][9][10]

Shots App[edit]

RockLive released Shots,[10] a selfie photo sharing app, in November 2013. It was intended as an anti-bullying social media network and counted Justin Bieber & Floyd Mayweather as investors.[2]

The inspiration for the app came after Facebook was forced to take down a page that attracted cyberbullying.[11] Shahidi, who had been bullied as an overweight child, said "I don't want any kid or adult to have to feel inadequate like I did".[4] Photos had to be taken real-time, without the use of filters or other editing material, and users could not comment on pictures or see how many "likes" other people received.[4]

Shots grew to a user base of 7 million users in March 2016, but dropped to 2.5 million in October 2016.[12] At one point, Twitter was in talks to buy Shots for US$150 million.[13][14]

Notable users of the app included Snoop Dogg, Shaquille O'Neal,[10] and future Shots Studios artists Rudy Mancuso and Lele Pons.[5]

Shots Studios[edit]

After raising $12.1 million in funding in 2015 and with the number of the Shots app users dropping, Shahidi changed focus from software to content. RockLive rebranded to Shots Studios, a talent agency and production studio for social media personalities, predominantly on YouTube.[12][14][15] Investors included boxer Floyd Mayweather[10] and singer Justin Bieber.[3][8]

In February 2018, Shahidi was a featured panelist alongside creators Rudy Mancuso, Hannah Stocking, and King Bach at Upfront Summit where they spoke about topics impacting digital creation and social media.[16]

Both Shahidi brothers were honored by Billboard as Latin Power Players for their success in developing the Latin American music careers of Brazilian singer Anitta and Venezuelan-Italian artist Lele Pons.[17]

Shahidi executive produced Vai Anitta, a Shots Studios-produced Netflix original docu-series centered around the Brazilian superstar.

Shahidi joined Kurt Wagner on his Recode podcast to speak about the way Shots Studios connects with platforms like Netflix and YouTube, creating content that is catered to a specific audience, all the way down to the type of devices that they use.[18]

Shahidi also executive produced The Secret Life of Lele Pons, a Shots Studios-produced YouTube Originals docuseries focused on Pons' private struggles with mental health and fame.

In August 2020, Shahidi and Shots Studios released "Best Kept Secrets with Lele Pons," a Spotify-exclusive podcast hosted by Pons.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Wagner, Kurt (April 13, 2014). "A-List Investors, 1 Million Downloads: Is Selfie App 'Shots' For Real?". Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Laird, Sam (February 24, 2015). "How Floyd Mayweather and Justin Bieber bonded over an app". Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Parker, Ryan (November 17, 2014). "Shots celebrates 1-year anniversary; photo app has millions of users". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Armstrong, Megan (November 1, 2017). "How Shots Studios Plans to Take Over the Music Industry". Billboard. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  6. ^ Parr, Ben (October 13, 2009). "Ochocinco on iPhone: Twitter's Loudest NFL Star Launches App". Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  7. ^ "Meet the Makers: Q&A with John Shahidi of Rock Software". August 11, 2010. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  8. ^ a b Kantrowitz, Alex (October 5, 2016). "Justin Bieber-Backed Shots Prioritizes Making Video For Other Platforms". Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  9. ^ Walker, James (November 6, 2009). "Fitzgerald, T.O. following Ocho". Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  10. ^ a b c d Roberts, Daniel (June 17, 2014). "Money Mayweather's $1 million tech punch". Fortune. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  11. ^ Revensencio, Jonha (August 16, 2015). "John Shahidi: The King of Twitter and CEO of Shots". Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  12. ^ a b Wagner, Kurt (October 30, 2016). "Justin Bieber-backed photo app Shots gave up on selfies and now manages internet stars". Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  13. ^ Trotman, Andrew; Davidson, Lauren (November 26, 2014). "Twitter 'held talks' with Justin Bieber-backed app Shots". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Constine, John; Roof, Katie (October 5, 2016). "Shots Studios rebrands from selfie app to social star video factory". Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  15. ^ Constine, John; Roof, Katie (March 3, 2016). "Bieber-backed Shots goes beyond selfies with links and comedy". Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  16. ^ "Upfront Summit 2018". Upfront Summit 2018. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  17. ^ "2018 Latin Power Players List Revealed". Billboard. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  18. ^ Johnson, Eric (December 13, 2018). "The big business of being a social media star". Recode. Retrieved December 27, 2018.

External links[edit]