In recent years, we at TechNexus have been actively investing in the rise of what we call the “Professionalizing” Creator Class, a segment that has truly exploded during that time — the growth of the podcasting ecosystem, the fragmentation of the online writing market, and the emergence of the "self actualization economy", among other trends have created significant opportunities for companies building support infrastructure and distribution models to help emerging creators turn their passions into careers.
As Andreessen Horowitz's Li Jin points out in this great analysis of the space, the individuals participating in this trend as solo creators are building an entirely new category of work from the ground up.
Working within the four walls of a company — especially on the creative side of a company — tends to obscure many of the realities of how a business is run and supported and the reason we refer to this segment of the market as “Professionalizing” serves to remind us of this fact.
One of the main promises of the internet has always been the zero marginal cost distribution of ideas but until recently, zero marginal cost also often meant next to zero marginal benefit to the creators.
The lack of professional infrastructure available to support creator led, solo media companies either pushed people back inside the four walls of a company, capping both their creative flexibility and upside, or forced them to try to build their businesses on top of platforms far more incentivized to deliver a network (which, of course, has value) than the tools to help creators capture value from that network.
In both cases, creators were forced into economic structures that handicapped their ability to do their best work and deliver the most value to the people who care about what they have to say, show, and write.
This is changing rapidly across categories. As demand from creators has grown, companies have stepped in to provide solutions that help individuals go from potential to professional, often starting with a toolset before leveling up to provide a more aligned network through which creators can gain targeted distribution and develop real, lasting relationships with their followers.
In a twist on the popular phrase, creators are now seeking out the tools that help them build their own networks and the impact of this transformation remains in its early days.
If you are building a company adding value to the Professionalizing Creator Class, I'd love to hear from you! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Twitter @brettbivens.