"Ryan was watching a lot of toy review channels — some of his favorites are EvanTubeHD and Hulyan Maya — because they used to make a lot of videos about Thomas The Tank Engine, and Ryan was super into Thomas," his mother, who chooses remains anonymous, said in an interview with TubeFilter. "One day, he asked me, 'How come I'm not on YouTube when all the other kids are?' So we just decided — yeah, we can do that. Then, we took him to the store to get his very first toy — I think it was a Lego train set — and it all started from there."
A 2016 profile of Ryan in The Verge says Ryan's mother started the channel at 3 years old. In under two years time, he surpassed the number of subscribers of the two channels that inspired him. His mother has been able to quit her job as a high school chemistry teacher to devote herself to Ryan's channel full time. The Washington Post reported that Ryan's last name and location is kept private.
Today, he has over 10 million subscribers with more than 16.8 billion views on his videos.