We are living in a digital gold rush.
With so much opportunity to capitalize on new online trends, it's no surprise that the young people who grew up surrounded by technology and the internet are at the forefront of these emerging economies. With the internet has come a plethora of platforms and digital marketplaces, all competing for the interest of these creative minds, and from that stemmed the creator economy.
The creator economy refers to a wide array of independent creators who are building businesses independently to monetize a skill, an idea, or even their personality. Alongside these independent creators, there are digital platforms out there to serve many different categories of the creator economy: from platforms for video creation, to platforms for selling homemade products, to platforms for independent video game creation.
Where traditional employment is often stressfully competitive and increasingly undesirable to Gen Z, the creator economy has risen at just the right time to provide an alternative way of going about life. An opportunity to build something, from scratch, for yourself, on your own terms.
While in previous generations the most common entrepreneurial opportunities for younger people were in manual labor such as cutting lawns, power washing driveways, delivering newspapers, and so on, Gen-Zers have found their own way of harnessing the internet to take control of their future.
Countless influencers on platforms like YouTube, Twitch, and TikTok have grown communities of thousands, and in many cases, millions, of people who consume their content as entertainment; and they're generating large amounts of money from these communities through advertising, merchandise sales, sponsorships, and so on.
Young game developers are generating six-, seven-, and eight-figure incomes on platforms like Roblox by creating virtual experiences for their own player communities.
People are creating Etsy shops to start businesses around numerous crafts and projects, whether that's T-shirts, candles, soaps, decor, or something else.
This is leading to a high level of independence, entrepreneurial skills, and spirit developing at a younger age, and key life lessons being learned earlier on in Gen Z. I'm of the firm belief that the next generation of unicorns will most likely be founded by people from this cohort of creator economy participants.
The creator economy works particularly well in markets where content is king: entertainment, namely.
In video game creation, for example, AAA studios may take two to three years to create and release a title. On Roblox, a user-generated game often takes less than a year, and with thousands of independent developers, this leads to a very high volume content flow. In a world where people are constantly looking for new entertainment, this constant flow of content can be very appealing and draws a high demand, which only feeds back into the loop of attracting more creators, and so it continues.
Likewise, in video creation, the time it takes to create a movie or a TV series is much, much longer than what it takes for a creator to film a TikTok or a YouTube video, and again, there are millions of people doing it, meaning the content flow is rapidly refreshing and providing new entertainment for viewers.
This isn't to say that this form of entertainment will take the place of traditional TV shows or movies, but it's certainly a form of entertainment that is differentiated and that many people enjoy in addition, and, at least partially, in replacement.
As the workforce continues to grow toward a trend of automation, the creator economy will continue to grow alongside it. People who would otherwise have been fulfilling tasks that will in the future be fulfilled by machines will have the opportunity to focus on a passion, and this automation will lead to more purposeful work for more people, which the creator economy will help to usher in. I think that's the best way to think about it: the creator economy is built for now and the future. It is creating more purposeful work, and it's opening up opportunities for people everywhere from all walks of life.
I can't wait to see what new industries we'll see open up to the creator economy as time goes on, and what impact that will have on our culture and our satisfaction.