Means of Creation

Means of Creation

Work is changing. The old structures that dominated the 20th century are gradually being replaced by platforms and cultures that have grown up on the internet that aim to help people do what they love for a living. Li and Nathan unpack this new passion economy in a weekly conversation with guests at the forefront of this change.

Episodes

June 30, 2023 65 mins

Over the past year, several platforms have revised their agreements with creators. Twitch slashed its streamers’ revenue share from 70% to 50%. Substack canceled creator health-insurance stipends while lowering guaranteed payment amounts. Meta got rid of its creator bonus program for Reels altogether.

Chronicling it all is Avi Gandhi. A longtime digital media talent agent and former head of creator partnerships at Patreon, ...

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Last month, in April 2023, a song that used the AI-generated voices of Drake and The Weeknd went wildly viral across social media before being taken down from streaming services for breaching copyright. Shortly after, Grimes took a more permissive approach, launching a platform to help fans create derivative music using her AI voice model, called Elf.Tech. 

In the midst of these developments in AI music, Holly Herndon and M...

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Two years ago, it was predicted that every creator would have a social token, which would enable fans to bet on that creator and invest in their success. That clearly hasn’t panned out, and in their place, NFTs have become much more popular as a mechanism for creator monetization. We discuss why that is (psychological ownership!) with Matt Alston, the co-founder and CEO of Bonfire, a no-code website builder for web3 creato...

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TikTok has been in the news for a lot of reasons recently, but one thing that they’ve done well is pioneering various initiatives that moved the creator economy forward, like the TikTok Creator Fund, creation tools that dramatically lowered the barrier to making short videos, and a discovery feed that made it possible for anyone to be discovered.


Paul Marvucic is the Head of Product Marketing at TikTok focused on featur...

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March 22, 2022 54 mins

Historically, humans have organized themselves in a variety of ways: from tribes and councils, to LLCs, and C-Corps. But these forms of organization tend to be centralized in nature, and feel slightly out of place today. 

With so much of our personal and professional lives taking place online now, the real question is: what does an internet-native way of organizing ourselves and our resources look like? 

DAOs, or Dec...

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How we portray ourselves online has become almost as relevant as how we portray ourselves IRL: Bored Apes and CryptoPunks are the new tailored suits and designer handbags. 

In years past, digital status-signaling was largely restricted to gaming communities but the post-COVID world has created a vibrant digital fashion scene with major fashion houses like Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana getting involved. 

More recently, this d...

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In this episode of our web3 explainer series, we take on an ambitious task: explaining Ethereum from the ground up. We unpack what Ethereum is, how it works, and why it matters.

We spoke to Preethi Kasireddy, founder of DappCamp, which introduce students to the Ethereum ecosystem and helps them build their first web3 product in just three weeks.

Preethi is an entrepreneur, writer, engineer, and educator who started her crypt...

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In this second episode of our new web3 explainer series we ask an important, and hard to answer question: is crypto *actually* destroying the planet?

Over the last year, crypto has witnessed mainstream adoption, with billions of dollars of value exchanged across different blockchains. But this shift has created a pressing problem: the current process of mining blocks and validating decentralized networks is extremely energy...

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January 25, 2022 52 mins

For the next few episodes of Means of Creation, we are piloting a series of web3 explainers—unpacking some of the fundamental concepts of web3, from first principles. The goal is to explore various topics, trends, and projects that people want to learn more about but find confusing! Essentially, to ask the questions we’ve been too afraid to ask in public.

If you want your questions answered, or have topics and/or guests yo...

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Pinterest is often written off as a digital mood board used to inspire purchases and future plans—a place for its 444 million monthly users to share recipes, DIY craft projects, home décor ideas, beauty tutorials, fashion, or just about anything else.

But in reality, Pinterest is a dark horse in the creator economy. Many of those users have become influential visual curators, going on to build powerful personal brands as cr...

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A recurring theme on this show has been creator and user empowerment—more specifically, how founders can build scalable businesses that don’t just extract value from their users, but instead, allow them to directly benefit from the value they help create. 


In the past, web2 gig economy marketplaces have had to be extractive—imposing higher take-rates and lower payouts seemed to be the only way to stay in business. Many ...

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In this episode, we were joined by Erik Forman, the co-founder of The Drivers Cooperative, a driver-owned alternative to Uber and Lyft. 

Erik spoke about how he got interested in the labor movement, his experience organising workers, what it means to be a socialist entrepreneur, and what a modern labor movement could look like in today’s platform-dominated economy. 

Erik has a deep understanding of labor theory. Besides bein...

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Nathan interviewed Li in this special episode of Means of Creation, where she talks about the $110M fund she recently raised with Jesse Walden and Spencer Noon of Variant. 


If you’re an avid fan of the show, you may have noticed how the podcast’s focus has shifted from platforms in the passion economy to user-owned networks within web3. In this episode, Li talks about how her passion economy thesis converges with Varian...

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Packy McCormick, author of Not Boring, one of the most widely-read analysts in tech. His newsletter now has more than 75k subscribers and he's raised a fund to back startups he finds interesting. In this conversation, we focus on how Packy went from crypto-skeptic to writing a post almost every week about crypto. We also talk about where power will accrue in the web3 value chain, the tribal nature of many crypto projects, ...
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The hype around crypto-native communities such as Loot and Nouns DAO have taken over all our Twitter feeds. But how do these communities arise and gather momentum? 


Our guest this week, Patrick Rivera, gives us an inside look into the social and financial motivations driving some of crypto’s most prominent communities. Being a part of these communities is so compelling, because according to Patrick, they are “a combinat...

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The creator economy is in constant flux, with DAOs and NFTs currently having taken centre stage. Our guest this week, Kyle Chayka, is uniquely positioned to understand these shifts. As a writer covering technology and culture, he is simultaneously involved in three very different worlds: 

He is a contributing writer at The New Yorker, a legacy media organization, he writes his own newsletter Kyle Chayka Industries on Substa...

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In an increasingly platform-mediated world, platforms have outsized control over their participants—whether that’s app developers in the creator economy, or rideshare drivers in the gig economy. We’ve been trying to understand how this can be changed for the better—how platform participants can be made rightful stakeholders; bridging the gap between labor and capital. Our guest today, Jason Prado, is at the forefront of th...

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Within traditional games like RuneScape and World of Warcraft, there have always been vibrant economies where players buy, sell, and exchange in-game assets. But these traditional games are also closed ecosystems—none of them let players transfer assets across different games or exchange their in-game assets for money. Blockchain-based games totally disrupt this model. Not only do they make in-game assets transferable ...
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here’s a shift afoot at Twitter. The long-time microblogging platform has recently made a series of moves to position itself beyond just tweets, including acquiring the newsletter company Revue and introducing tools to help creators make money on the platform. When Twitter acquired Revue, the company declared that it was making a “better home for writers,” apparently doubling down on its mission to help people create a...
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You can watch this episode on YouTube or listen to Means of Creation on your podcast app of choice.

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