The creator economy is the path to a world where everybody can start working for themselves instead of working for somebody else. Or, as Naval put it in this Podcast Episode: "The long-term goal is that we are all wealthy and working for ourselves. The people working for us are essentially robots. Today that's software robots executing code in data centers. Tomorrow it could be delivery bots, flying bots and mechanical bots—and drones—that are carrying things around."
What is a creator?
In our current understanding, creators are people who produce digital goods (videos, pictures, music etc.). Therefore, making a living out of creating digital goods becomes a form of self-employment. The goal lies in the creative act of creating while making money is a necessity to develop a sustainable way of making a living.
Why do many people want to be creators?
Being a creator and therefore self-employed is an act of risk-taking and increased accountability, but what is the benefit? The benefit is to control your own time and the ability to decide what you want to spend your time on. In addition, the long tail of the internet allows individuals to focus on topics they are passionate about that might be small niches and create formats that do not have to make sense for a mass audience - like TV Shows. This comes down to the current state of technology, where a single person can leverage technology to create valuable goods for others without the need to join a company.
The perfect storm
As mentioned, technological advantages make content creation and distribution more accessible and more manageable. All you need is a smartphone, a few free apps and access to the internet. At the same time, it's accepted by society. We reached the tipping point where almost everybody who ever used social apps created some sort of content. Countless proof of concepts demonstrated that content creation can be a viable and lucrative business. At the same time, economic pressure increases due to rising inflation numbers in many parts of the world. Becoming a creator and making money as a side job is already a desired option for many, which will not stop in times of economic pressure.
The ecosystem is changing
Big Tech is betting on the metaverse, which describes a way of spending time than a place. The metaverse is the point in time where most people on earth spend more time in the digital world than in the physical world. To make this happen, there are many immersive experiences to be created, and big tech is betting big money on creating those - with the help of creators. Facebook even changed their entire corporate brand, and Twitter is building a decentralised way of connecting individuals under the Bluesky label. At the same time, the die duopolistic structure of Meta and Google is at risk. The thesis - In a maturing landscape of creators and online communities, ads and search becomes less relevant, and creators' influence rises.
The creator economy is building momentum
Being a creator and monetising your content is easier than ever. The big platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Medium and others already have their creator programs, which incentives creators and is often a revenue share model. Their build is distribution system makes them so appealing, but creators have to accept a cut of their potential earnings. On the sideline, projects like Ghost, Substack, Patreon allow you to build your own community and monetise on them, putting pressure on the big platforms. It's also getting easier to connect brands and creators because of software like Modash. The key takeaway is that competition is increasing, and this is good for the creator economy.
Another important observation is the rise of the web3. Web3 brings ownership to the internet and allows creators to sell their digital goods and participate the value creation over time. Just take some time to explore what is happening on platforms like OpenSea.
The creator economy is in its infancy, but all the current observations hint at a rapid growth of the entire industry. Big tech is moving forced to become more creator-friendly due to competition. Web3 is creating new ways of ownership and monetisation. The current economic landscape puts pressure on individuals to make money.