One major misconception about why we exist is that many never realize that we exist essentially to be creators.
The world is inhabited by creators and consumers and it is to creators that we, the consumers, owe our existence.
Creators are the ones who are able to spot gaps in our knowledge and come up with a plan to bridge that gap. They are the ones who are quick to know that a lack exists. They are able to spot opportunities and take advantage of them. They are the risk-takers, they are the early adopters. They are the entrepreneurs and those we call disruptors.
They aren’t like many of us. They don’t think like the majority. They belong in that class of 1%.
What the Internet and Social Media Made Possible
Today, we speak glowingly of the Creator Economy. It wasn’t always the case. The Internet and Social Media are the harbingers of the Creator Economy. There was a time when there were powerful gatekeepers and without their approval, it was almost impossible to be heard. You had them in Big Media, the major publishers in print media and Cable TV. The barriers to entry were huge. When your desire was to be heard, you needed to spend a huge amount of money to use their platforms.
With the internet and social media, the rules have been altered. Today, the barrier to entry has been lowered. All you need today is a smart phone, or a laptop and an internet connection and you can be heard all over the world.
Content is still king just as Bill Gates predicted over two decades ago. And with the multiplicity of platforms have come a multitude of creators whether the platform is simply to create a two minutes video, or it is to showcase a gif image. Memes are a now things and 140 characters of Twitter are making people write their thoughts on issues that looked arcane in the past and may have been considered esoteric, or impossible.
What has changed? People have found their creative directions and juices and tech platforms are available to showcase those talents through addictive apps.
What’s the Creator Economy
In the Creator Economy, what’s really happening? Time is frozen and exchanged for attention. With the addition of interactive designs and reactive features to apps in order to measure likes and track users, we are at once able to follow up on issues and ideas that are trending in real time and embrace those ones which are worthy of our attention.
To better understand the Creator Economy, we have to go back in time. The modern world as we know it started with the Industrial Economy as mechanization. Concern on the assembly line was with substitution how the Ford model T can be a better substitute to the driven horse.
Gradually, we moved over to the Consumer Economy, the age of mass production, where people began to earn income by exchanging their products and services for cash and trade became globalized after the 2nd World War and the Great Depression with business being driven largely through mass advertising on radio and television. Concerns on the factory line was with Economies of Scale.
Gradually, we transited into the Automation Economy. Here, the global economy witnessed the production of electronics and information systems. Concerns on the factory line was with input cost.
Today, we live in the Knowledge Economy, with people earning an income through showcasing their innate skills, knowledge, businesses and abilities through the internet and social media platforms. In the Creator Economy, influencers, content creators and thought leaders rule and have monetized time spent by others engaged with content. Those who generate the most Attention have the largest following. There are no boundaries for entry and exit and the Gatekeepers are few and Big Tech like Google, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and others.
Concern in the Knowledge Economy is with content and added value.
According to Kevin Kelly in an article he wrote on 2008 in The Technium, it takes 1,000 “super fans” to make a living online. These super fans are those fans who are willing to spend $100.00 a year to buy anything you’re selling.
I would like to bring in a spiritual dimension to this discussion on Create, Or Die Trying, which I think fits quite well into the Bible. Let’s attempt an analysis.
You Are gods
In John 10:34, Jesus said, “Is it not written in your Law: ‘I have said you are gods’? Jesus was referring apparently to Psalm 82:6. A lot happened before Jesus said, “You are gods,” and it was a little while after he told the Jews he was the Son of God, a claim he defended both biblically and semantically. However, Jesus also created an impression that influential men can also be thought of as gods because they rule as men of authority and prestige, or like Judges who are considered gods because they hold a divinely appointed office.
Today’s creators aren’t viewed differently. They command a lot of audience and not by any force, but by simply through their creation.
However, some precepts have emerged as guide post to becoming the leader of the pack online and the most important of them in my opinion is being Authentic. Those who buy into the present day culture of the Creator Economy want to see how real their “gods” are and how empathetic they can be. The reward for being successful online is for your followers to see how genuine you are as a creator. This cuts across Individuals and brands.
We have come a long way and it’s important that we move with the times. Today, emphasis has shifted from the days of substitution thinking to content and added value. To function in the Creator Economy, we first have to embrace lifelong learning – to learn and unlearn what we know. We have to become aware of change in ways never envisaged before now. How effectively we can work with machines and robots. How to show empathy and develop a growth mindset.
We aren’t going to change the world in remarkable ways if we aren’t willing to hold two, or more contradictory thoughts at the same time. We must create like gods who hold divinely appointed offices, or die trying.