From living in a trailer park to selling his startup for millions, video entrepreneur Casey Neistat shares how he got started

Two of most motivating words to entrepreneur Casey Neistat are these: You can’t.

Neistat had heard those words repeatedly by age 17, when the high-school dropout found himself living in a trailer park, washing dishes for a living and raising his infant son. Fast forward 19 years and Neistat, 36, took the keynote stage on Monday to kick off the sixth Denver Startup Week.

Obviously, he could.

“Now, as an old man looking back at when I was younger, what I went through that led me to success every single time was the passion, the unrelenting passion inside of me that no matter what, I would succeed,” said Neistat, who sold Beme, his social-app startup, last year for a reported $25 million and makes nearly daily videos for 7.8 million subscribers to his YouTube channel.

The standing-room-only crowd stood and applauded after Neistat wrapped up following playing his video “Do What You Can’t,” which he called the title of autobiography (“When I first said I want to make movies — ‘You can’t. You didn’t go to film school,’ ” he narrated in the short film).