If you’re any kind of a creative, you have to face the facts. Sooner or later, you have to face the truth. People don’t give a shit anymore, not the way they used to. People don’t give a shit about the work we do, and why. They don’t give a shit about the effort that we put into our creativity, and they don’t give a shit about the products we make, the books we write, the songs we record, the companies we start or the stories we tell.
But why not? Why doesn’t the world give a shit about the things we’ve made? Why doesn’t the world give a shit about the things that we do? Where did the shift happen, that turned creative people, and entrepreneurs into just a whole lot of noise that the rest of the world wants to tune the fuck out?
It happened as soon as soon as the first website went online. That’s the fact of the matter. It happened as soon as the internet exploded and people realised that they could find a way to access every product and every piece of work ever made for free. In an instant. Without having to search too hard or look too far.
Suddenly, creative work became the opposite of scarce. When you can download an Mp3 over and over again, when you can access an infinite number of ebooks, when you can get more immediate satisfaction from a bunch of blog posts that you can from a hardcover, where do you value the stuff that you consume?
Think about the shift that happened 10, 15 years ago with Napster and Limewire and other peer to peer sharing platforms that let us suddenly open up the whole world of creative shit to eachother and bypass the gatekeeper without paying a cent.
Now think about how difficult that could be at times. Waiting for things to download, trying to find legitimate files, avoiding porn and computer viruses.
And we began to devalue the work we consumed. We did, way back then.
Well, look at where we’re at now. We don’t even have to download anything. We can pay $10 a month for Netflix, $10 a month for Spotify and get YouTube and Medium for free. Let me tell you something, when I was making a few hundred bucks a month working the counter at McDonald’s, I used to spend $10-30 a pop to buy a single CD or DVD. I can remember buying my first album once took me half of a week’s pay. Now a third of that cash would get me access to almost every album ever recorded. And when I pay my Spotify subscription, it’s not one tenth of my income.
So how much more have we devalued creative work now?
This is why people don’t give a shit. They don’t give a shit because we have totally devalued the work and the products and the software and the talent that we used to invest in all the time. We’ve turned it into the equivalent of having a free beer tap in our kitchen, and it’s no wonder we don’t value a half decent pint on the weekend anymore.
That’s the state of affairs right now. That’s where we’ve come. That’s what every creative is facing right now when they ask that question, how can I make a career out of my passion ?
We have the challenge of making people give a shit, when they have very little reason to. We have the challenge of standing out enough to make them give a shit about us specifically when we’re competing with this never ending stream of stuff. Low value, free stuff, stuff that we can pay a miniscule amount for.
And that’s incredibly tough.