3 Essential Skills to Practice as an Aspiring Entrepreneur in the Creator Economy
How the Great Unbundling and the Great Resignation triggered the creator economy and why it matters for entrepreneurs shipping their products in the internet.
Even before the Internet was what it is today, there was a saying that resonated within the walls of NASA way back in 1998. “If it’s not on the Web, it doesn’t exist at all.”
This quotation might seem extreme for our ears, as we know there are still brick-and-mortar businesses thriving in the high streets of cities. Still, when we look at how the pandemic has changed the economy, two significant fundamental shifts are changing how businesses operate. One is The Great Unbundling, coined by Ben Thompson and popularized by Benedict Evans and the second one is more widely known as The Great Resignation — and both can be a very effective leverage for any entrepreneur.
When these two paradigm shifts are combined, we are seeing recent phenomena called the creator economy, and that’s where your business must be on to exist even if you are not primarily creating content for your pipeline.
There are three must-haves to practice as a solopreneur or even as CEO of Tesla to thrive your business in the creator economy. Before jumping into these three tips, let’s explore two fundamental changes simultaneously.
Two Synchronous Paradigm Shifts that Triggered Creator Economy
The Great Unbundling of Content Creation
Nearly all media in the pre-Internet era functioned under the same general bundled model:
Newspapers and magazines primarily made money by integrating editorial and advertisements into a single publication
Record labels mainly made money by integrating back catalogs with new acts (which over time became part of the back catalogs in their own right)
Broadcast TV functioned similarly to print; control of distribution (via broadcast licenses) made it possible to integrate programming and advertising
Dixon’s on how bundling benefits sellers and buyers article is worth reading in full.
When we pick TV, the traditional TVs had 5 specific jobs to be done. To entertain, to educate, to inform, to tell stories and help us to wander.
- Now the information is done by YouTube
- The greatest stories are told by Netflix
- Google is organising the world’s information
- Tik Tok is entertaining billions of people each day and
- Metaverse enables us to escape the harsh struggles of our daily life
Just to see things in scale, Beast’s Squid Game recreation pulled over 139 million views in a single week with 11 million likes, while Netflix bragged about their original Squid Game show pulling 111 Million viewers in its first month.
The term is simplified and recently used by Ben Evans. He basically defines The Great Unbundling as “break[ing] up the packages they once offered, providing particular parts of them at a scale and cost unmatchable by the old order”.
In a simpler wording, everybody creates for everybody. So where does this pool of creators come from? The answer is coming from the other paradigm shit:
Rise of Content Creators by The Great Resignation
This is a well-framed phenomenon that describes record numbers of people is leaving their jobs that are triggered by the pandemic.
Coined by Professor Anthony Klotz this massive wave of resignation has a pattern affecting mostly the mid-career employees and the talent in tech and service industry. Where does the talent go, in fact no where. They start their own entrepreneurial journeys.
According to Stripe’s Edwin Lee, the number of creators is up 48% year-over-year and the number of creators earning a living wage has increased 41% year-over-year. In other words, the creator economy is emerging as a potential disruptor to the $2 trillion entertainment and media industry.
When these two factors are combined, it is not surprising to see that creators are the fastest-growing small businesses.
So what does two paradigm shift matters of entrepreneurs. Let me explain:
By looking back to basic economics principles each supply creates its own demand. There is a demand for the products written, published and streamed by these creators. While most of these products are a major noise, ultimately it is a longtail market.
In a bundled marketplace, a publisher decides what it wants to ship and the reader has no choice to consume it elsewhere. However you can find the most interesting niches on the planet. For instance, to learn more about ancient Chinese philosophy, a YouTuber named George Thompson created content to teach about Daoism and launched his own cohort-based course. How niche that can be, in fact, many fang smithers, bonsai-artists and even sourdough makers are creating content to create a pipeline for their fan base.
It is the ultimate chance to meet the demands of longtail. The Long Tail theory suggests that the Internet makes distribution more straightforward and makes it possible for fan users to find their niche demands. In other words, if there is a product, there will be a user. The product needs an effective distribution to reach these users. This is where you, as a creator come into the picture. The Creator economy is the ultimate leverage for any entrepreneur and business owner to reach the masses in the never-ending long tail of users. Here are the 3 skills to use as a leverage in the creator economy.
1. Build-in public
One of the main assumptions in any entrepreneurial ecosystem is that sharing your business idea might be harmful. By telling what you are cooking, there is a chance to be stolen. This fear is useless. If anyone can ship better than you, maybe that is the right person. Ideas don’t matter, but the action does.
Before being a creator, 99% of work was in private. However, building in public enables a different mindset. It replaces scarcity with abundance.
How to increase your luck on the internet is simple. Just show up consistently, share your progress, and connect with people. Let people know what you are building and share small wins.
Luck Surface Area is a formulation by Jason Roberts. He formulates it as the action you take around your passion x the number of people you communicate your passion to:
luck = f(doing x telling)
You have no idea who will read your mission, story and product. Just build it — in public.
Last but not least, building in public, as Naval Ravikant says enables an individual to take full responsibility for their failure and success. It automatically triggers a strong accountability that builds credibility.
2. Clear beats smart
Writing is a fundamental skill that we learn most ineffectively at schools. Too bad that I’ve learned this in 2022 when I’ve enrolled in Ship30for30 — I highly recommend the course for any entrepreneur and creator who are writing anything daily — and we all do.
The success metric of any written material for the education system is word count. No matter how well-written your piece is, there will always be a word limit no matter what level of education you are. This leads to the utilization of unnecessary words and creates fatigue.
Recent research shows that our attention span is ever decreasing. We have the world’s information but a clock and mind of a hunter-and-gatherer. We have developed our brains to separate signals from noise as a human species. This is only possible by looking for clear signs. Complex jargon and long paragraphs are clear signs that this piece is not for the reader.
Our attempts to be clever lead to confusion. Just use simple formatting and common words.
3. Connect to give
The internet is a vast place. There is a desire for connection at its heart — to the people, to ideas, and to things. If people want to learn about you, be open and approachable. Create a space for dialogue. Adam Grant has wonderfully explained how givers and takers differ but what really resonates well with his research in the creator economy is how the success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others.
We are experiencing the initial waves of creator economy. As things get unbundled by the creators that quit during the pandemic, the volume of noise will increase.
By building in public, being clear and connecting you will meet with the silent mass waiting to greet you in the long tail of the creator economy.