The rise of the creator class

Unbundling of people or ‘rise of the creator class’

If you work in Tech you end up exposed to trends, and if you’re a product-focused engineer you think a lot about ‘product’, product strategy and what’s ‘coming next’.

One question in our current ecosystem is ‘what’s next after marketplaces’ we’ve already seen very successful companies emerge in that space – Uber, Lyft, Instacart, Deliveroo.

In this article by Starting Line VC they talk a lot about ‘unbundling of people’ if the gig economy led to a huge increase in contractors, and Shopify one of the most celebrated tech companies of our age is predicated on allowing small merchants to reduce their reliance on Amazon and Wallmart.com. What is next for the future of work?

One effect I think is important is the rise of the ‘creator class’. Fundamentally, one of the key selling points of the internet is that it makes ‘the cost of distribution zero’ this has been one of the biggest economic shifts of our time and has led to companies such as Uber, Lyft, Facebook, Amazon, etc.

Brett calls this the `​professionalizing of the creator class` and my own experience with podia (a great product) showed this. I built a side hustle based on my workshops on Bayesian Stats and turned that into a profitable side business. Podia provided a turnkey solution that allowed me to not write code, and get to market faster with videos/ downloadable content.

This may well be tied into the ‘self-actualization economy’, or maybe because the internet allows niche creators greater access to markets that they couldn’t have had before. It also may be a function of the rise of the freelancer economy too.

We’re seeing example of this from the wellness space and another topical company is Substack which enables writers and journalists to own their own direct to consumer newsletter experience.

So what do Podia, Substack, and Playbook have in common? What is the thread that links these together? Simply it is that individuals can transform into small businesses, empowered by software. Or as Li Jin of A16Z calls it ‘the enterprization of the consumer

If you’re a creator with a potentially profitable niche there’s numerous tools out there, whether you’re a gym instructor, an influencer, a podcast host or writer or whatever. A few years ago you wouldn’t have had the ability to reach mass amounts of people, but the unbundling of marketplaces allows you to pay merely a monthly fee and reap the rewards. Now there are still risks involved, but there’s risks involved with Shopify too. The best e-commerce sites on Shopify are often run by people who are great at building a brand or already have a brand in the first place.

I think it’s incredibly interesting to look at tools like this, and we’re still in the early days of that. For lots of these tools – you come for the tool and you stay for the network, I expect to see a lot more tools for enabling the ‘creator class’ going forward. We’re just beginning to see the start of the ‘passion economy’, as a16z calls it.

What an incredibly exciting time to be a creator on the internet. I’m very excited to see what happens and what new companies are invented, as the ‘GDP of the internet’ gets increased.

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