The Creator Economy

I've enjoyed digging into the seminars and thoughts from the Long Now Foundation. This video of Paul Saffo in particular, really hit home for me. He carefully traces the shift of focus in our economy — from the early days of industrialization and a producer economy, through the emergence of the consumer economy and into today's creator economy. And to be clear, Mr. Saffo expresses "creator" is not simply a manufacturer of physical items — in fact, he really focuses on the symbiotic relationship between the general population as creators of information, and corporations as the distributors/re-packagers — and therefore the financial beneficiaries of this information. His thoughts on this alone are really interesting to hear.

But as to the why this is happening, his thoughts really gave me pause. I'm paraphrasing a bit here as I quote him:  "When stuff was expensive, it had status. Now, stuff is cheap — we can even make it for ourselves with 3D printing — and we're seeing a moment were creation has status." It's a great economics-driven perspective on what I've always believed was more of a human longing. I've equated the rise of self-help content/wellness retreat culture, the maker/home-grown, "know your farmer" movement as a reaction to the disconnect felt in the face of so much digital intrusion into the most intimate moments of our lives; the fear of losing our individualism and personal liberty in the face of corporate and government ubiquity.

His reflections were perhaps also a bit of a divining rod. I felt that his remarks also helped to frame in the deeper story of why millennials are more spending-aware and less apt to get into credit cards than earlier generations, and why things like the triple bottom line are becoming so critical for businesses right now.