10 Reasons To Be Bullish On The Creator Economy In 2021
All the craziness of the past weeks made me stop and zoom out.
Reddit bringing down financial markets with Gamestop
Elon pumping Bitcoin to all time highs on Twitter
Clubhouse having a breakout month
Multiple high street retailers collapsing while digital rivals soared here in the UK
Yes, you could put this down to a global pandemic that has most of us locked up inside spending the majority of our days online.
But I think it’s more than that.
When you zoom out you realise how early we still are in the internet age and what’s becoming known as the ‘Creator Economy’.
They say with change, ‘things go slowly and then suddenly’.
It holds true because one day you wake up and…
1/ The gatekeepers have gone
You’ve heard it for so long but now you have the proof points:
Mr Beast never had to pitch a Television Executive for his 52 million subscribers
WallStreetBets didn’t need to write for the Financial Times to move the markets
Gymshark could do $500 million in revenue without ever signing up to a high street landlord
Today, the internet decides.
2/ The world is finally online
It's easy to forget how new being connected is to large swathes of the global population.
In the last decade:
People with internet access: 2.2 billion > 4.9 billion
People with a social media account: 1 billion > 3.9 billion
People with a smartphone: 708 million > 3.8 billion
If you’re here already, you are still early.
We’re just getting started.
3/ There is a platform and audience for everyone
Platform growth from 2011 to 2021:
Facebook 750 million > 2.7 Billion
Youtube 800 million > 2 Billion
Instagram 15 million > 1.1 Billion
Spotify 7 million > 345 million
Twitter 117 million > 330 million
Snap 0 > 265 Million
Medium 0 > 60 Million
Twitch 0 > 9 Million
And new spots keep emerging:
TikTok 0 > 689 Million in 5 years
Only fans 0 > 85 million in 4 years
Substack 0 > 500k in 3 years
Clubhouse 0 > 6 million in 1 year
The places to hangout only get bigger and more varied.
4/ The time has come for internet authenticity
Traditional media, business and society had to maintain broad appeal by design:
The internet was meant to change this. Remove the elitist editors, miserable PR departments and tired old formats.
Yet for some time it felt like nothing had changed. If anything, some platforms propagated more fakery and filtered bullshit.
Finally, it’s the internet’s authentic wierdos that are dominating:
Think Elon in business (Twitter)
Think Lil Nas X in music (TikTok)
Think Conor McGregor in sport (Instagram)
They all broadcast direct and unadulterated.
Put your true self out there and you will be rewarded.
5/ People buy people (and you’ve never needed fewer)
It’s true, top creators still dominate the earnings. Give the illusion that anyone can make it big, when few actually do.
But a creator middle class is emerging.
In 12 years the requirements have changed from 1,000 to 100 true fans:
2008 Kevin Kelly 1000 true fans
2020 Li Jin 100 True Fans
Small creators with niche audiences are finally uncovering their value.
What’s behind that?
6/ The art of leverage has gone open source
Naval handed out the cheat codes.
And technology companies have unlocked the infrastructure:
Abundant cloud compute
In 2021, anyone can make a product or service:
Hire as you please (Fiverr)
Open a store as you wish (Shopify)
Find customers for the smallest of crafts (Etsy)
Setup a global ad campaign from your kitchen table (FB)
Not only do we have the most powerful tools in the history of humankind available, but they are open to the masses in 30 day free trials or for 5% transaction fees.
Creators are armed and dangerous.
7/ The libraries of the internet publish in real time
Your ability to make an informed decision or calculated risk has never been greater.
This is no longer a leap of faith:
Study the trends (Dru Riley)
Look at the numbers (Starter Story)
Answer any question (Google)
Knowledge is available free or for a minimal monthly subscription.
8/ Communities fill in the gaps
Need added encouragement?
Talk is cheap today (and damn right effective):
Get in a room and ask Mark Zuckerburg what’s next (Clubhouse)
Find friends in Slack channels and discord chats (Visualise Value, Weekend Club)
Join Circle communities for accountability (Dffrnt, Jetpack)
Share in the highs and lows (Indiehackers)
Get instant feedback (Product Hunt)
Speak with Masterminds groups
Creators are finding comrades in arms.
9/ Nothing has changed.
Despite all this technological change humans remain the same:
People ask questions, want answers
Have problems that need solving
Want information, education, inspiration, entertainment
Seek sex, money, fame, food, shelter
The difference is that today, anyone can join the party and solve for the above.
10/ To the value creators go the spoils
And when you solve something for someone, it’s now the norm for them to part with their money online, in seconds:
Smartphones with payment enabled 1 Billion (Apply Pay, Google Pay)
One Click Purchase (Amazon)
Instant Payment Processing (Stripe)
0% Transaction Fees
Transact with anyone, anywhere in the world.
It’s never been easier to create value and capture it instantly.
So f*** yeah! I’m bullish on the creator economy in 2021 and for this next decade.
I’m grateful to be living in these unprecendent times and to have a front row seat to watch these opportunities play out.
If the start of 2021 is anything to go by, it’s going to be a big year!
I hope you enjoyed that and made it this far.
If you did, I appreciate you!
Let me know your thoughts? And what I should be looking at next?
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