The web3 creator economy
A long journey starting NOW!
Last week I attended the Creator Economy Expo organized in Phoenix (AZ) by Joe Pulizzi. I had the opportunity to meet many creators during these three days and engage in fascinating conversations with a lot of them.
This conference wasn't supposed to be a blockchain event, but the theme of web3 was pervasive in the agenda and our poolside chit-chat. It was quite interesting to observe the reaction of some creators to this new paradigm that was imposed on them sometimes against their will. I'm sure most of them came to hear how to maximize their business on existing feudal platforms but they found themselves facing a small horde of barbarians (including me) who implored them to reconsider their Web 2.0 beliefs and start looking at the pagan web3 model.
I wanted to take the time to analyze what I sensed during these conversations with creators. An opportunity to get out of my Silicon Valley bubble which obviously decided to put everything and anyone on the Blockchain including the infamous McDonald McRib…
Web3 is new for creators and it’s ok
It is very interesting to see that for a majority of creators web3 is a concept they are just starting to understand. As web3 infrastructure providers, this reality forces us to design products that take into account the fact that for most creators the concepts of crypto, web3, NFTs, DAOs are very new.
Most of them won't dive from Web 2.0 to Web 3 in one go and this is even more true for their audience. We have to accept this reality, swallow our eagerness and make the effort to get out of our bubble to conform to it. This starts by adapting our language, our vocabulary and taking the time to reveal step by step what took us months or even years to understand and build.
I must say that the majority of the speakers present at this conference made a remarkable effort of evangelization far from the arrogance or even contempt that unfortunately characterizes some of us when it comes to promoting web3 philosophy or to condemning it. A special mention to Jeremiah Owyang, Kathleen Gladstone and G.I. Zaratsian who gave very didactic presentations where the idea was really to demonstrate that despite the abstruseness of web3, it was possible to start doing things right away.
But beyond the novelty, we must also accept the natural doubts that accompany it.
Proponents of web3 systematically make the parallel with the beginning of the Internet invoking the skepticism that the traditional media had for the Web. One remembers the famous quote from Stephen Weiswasserm a senior VP at ABC, who said: ‘The internet will be the CB radio of the ’90s, You aren’t going to turn passive consumers into active trollers on the internet.”
20 years later, the amount of content uploaded daily via videos, audios, photos, text, etc. is staggering. People have built their virtual identities, some have become brands and have reached a celebrity status that would make yesterday's media pale. From bloggers to YouTubers to micro-content creators, to podcasters, the social media era of the internet has laid the foundation for an online creator economy.
Web 2.0 Stockholm Syndrome
What is very interesting to observe is the love-hate relationship that creators have developed with traditional platforms. A conservative estimate of 50 million content creators are seeking viewer attention, shares and "likes" on traditional platforms even though these creators know they have no way to build meaningful personal relationships with their audiences on them.
Despite the growth of the platforms - and we know it's growing fast, creators are making less money. Moreover, one could argue that the platforms are growing, in part, because creators are posting good content on them. And those creators are obviously not properly compensated for the value they bring to these big tech companies.
Even worse, they are played for suckers and told that if they are not successful on these platforms, it is because they are not consistent enough - basically make more content and stop whining. Even if you've spent a few months posting regularly, if you don't keep feeding the greedy algorithm, you may disappear. Want to earn money? Create, create, create…. and stfu. But vowing to be consistent and create more content can quickly put you in a dangerous content creation treadmill that ends in creators giving up at best and burning out at worst.
Every creator I've talked told me they feel enslaved.
Which seems rather strange when you consider that most of them have in common a burning desire for freedom. Many of the people I talked to left 9 to 5 jobs to turn their passion into a business (many in their 40s and 50s by the way, no doubt worn out by years of hard or boring work). They want to be in control of their schedule, in control of their days. They want to choose when, how and with whom they work - freedom.
But listening to them, I have the impression that they have substituted their former master with another one even more perverse and with whom dialogue is impossible.
On the consumer side, the same is true. Since the emergence of Web2, fans have become accustomed to following and consuming in a one-way fashion, rarely feeling fulfilled by their interactions with top creators.
Web3 is already impacting the Creator Economy
After this conference, I don't think anyone will say they weren't warned that a new digital revolution is about to explode. I think everyone will agree that all creators will be rapidly impacted by web3 no matter you are an influencer, artist, writer, podcaster, gamer, YouTuber… Anyone making content and connecting with fans needs therefore to pay attention to web3.
It's not easy to understand the underlying opportunity and many creators have asked me what the real value for them is. Of course, it's hard to explain everything that web3 changes in a few words but this is how I tried to summarize it:
It's about creating for the first time a direct creator-to-fan network that breaks free from traditional gatekeepers while opening the doors to new types of content creation and monetization.
As Brian Fanzo summed it up very well during his keynote on NFTs, it's important for creators to understand that fans want to feel like they own something unique from them. Something that brings them closer to their favorite creators and shows they belong to a community and embrace the values associated with it. Something rare made especially for them. Consuming content is no longer enough, fans want to claim ownership.
NFTs play this exact role. What may seem like stupid JPGs are in fact powerful community-vectors that act as membership cards giving their hodlers access to unique experiences that can turn out to be tremendous opportunities capable of changing the course of their lives.
NFTs are revolutionizing the way you monetize your community. You can use them to reward your audience or give your fans access to unique content, benefits and experiences. NFTs are the gateway to a new economy of ownership where you can create value WITH your community instead of making money from it like you do on traditional platforms.
But, there is a BIG problem…
Navigating NFTs as a creator is complicated and a lot of the creators I have engaged with didn’t know how to start or don’t have the money to contract expensive developers. For creators, there is no standard solution to create a NFT community space, mint rich-content in one-click with your own smart contract. And when it comes to buy NFTs, most of their audience can’t participate. They need a crypto-wallet and the right crypto currency to access this complex technology.
That's exactly why we created Uncut.fm. We are on a mission to help creators monetize their community through NFTs and provide the blockchain infrastructure they need.
No complicated signup. No web3 experiences required.
For the first time, individuals without wallets can participate in the web3 revolution. Creating value for everyone. We want your fans to enjoy seamless NFT checkouts and help you organize your community into NFT-gated DAOs all in a white label experience that you finally own as a creator.
We are still in private BETA but always happy to hear about your project!