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Solutions for Creative Entrepreneurs


There are two types of people with meaningful social media followings. An influencer or a creative entrepreneur. An influencer counts likes and comments and thinks of the people that give them attention as their followers. A creative entrepreneur is building an engaged customer base and actively figuring out how to make the most scaleable profit from their customers. This post is written for creative entrepreneurs that I'd like to partner with and for the software entrepreneurs that I'm looking to invest in.


You live inside the algorithm. What they give to you, is theirs to take.



Quite possibly outside of our own children, there are only so many photos anyone can see of any single person before they get fatigued. You are simply generating content in an algorithmic feed that that every day is investing more and more money to get better and better at holding people’s attention. Your audience isn’t yours. It’s theirs. And with advances in technology making synthetic characters like Shudu (pictured above) more realistic by the day, this will pose a real threat to the sustainability of many influencers over time.


Start thinking of your followers, as your customers. If you’re not listening to your customers, you’re doing a terrible job as a creative entrepreneur. But worse yet, if you’re not selling them something beyond a like, you’re failing at business.


Your fifteen minutes is ticking every single minute you pass 10,000 followers. I don’t say this callously but to make you aware of the need to maximize your personal Return on Attention. If you have grown your following from just your friends to 10,000 strangers, and your daily engagement ratio is healthy (measured by dividing the engagements per post divide by your total audience size), you are well on your way to being at least financially independent for a few years entirely from maximizing your Return on Attention.


But like any business, you need to minimize costs whilst increasing revenue, all the while knowing that your primary asset - your ability to hold people’s attention - is a depreciating asset.


Who am I? I am an investor in a number of consumer commerce and media companies and have been helping my portfolio companies understand the true power of influencers for the past number of years. I am actively looking to invest in companies like the ones I describe below. I was an early investor in Wave, which is now the 5th largest publisher on Instagram.


So this is written with two goals in-mind: If you’re an influencer and want to work with the types of companies that I want to invest in that I think can make you a lot more money, then please get in-touch. And if you’re an entrepreneur that has built any of these businesses, then I want to explore invest in your business. I’m even willing to fund the very early incubation of some of these ideas with the right people.


You don’t need an agent any more.

If you’re putting your email address in your Instagram bio, you’re doing it wrong. The first company I’d like to fund is a company that seeks to automate the booker. Airbnb is just one example of being able to use software to automate a complex transaction whilst mostly ensuring trust and safety at scale. The more attention you are creating for yourself, the more money you should keep for yourself. Imagine an interface where all inquiries were screened for the creep email and only qualified opportunities presented to you. Opportunities that didn’t work for your schedule could be referred to your friends and you could actually make a cut of transactions. The more influencers that use this platform, the more a reputation profile builds on both sides of the marketplace. If you’re interested to learn about the companies that reach out to me, please get in-touch.


“Pay Per Post” is not here to stay

Today, you earn the majority of influencer income from “pay to post” agreements. This is inefficient for everyone involved. Your creativity is limited by constraints on how you create this sponsored content, and there is constant pressure to sacrifice your authenticity to a brand. “By sacrificing your authenticity, you are diminishing the worth of your own brand.” Today, handing over your bio link or using discount codes are the only way to get paid for performance but both these models are horribly inefficient. What does this look like? It’s companies like six.travel (I’m not an investor) that are providing a better partnership model for travel influencers and hotels. I think there is a marketplace for emerging DTC fashion and cosmetic brands to more effectively partner with influencers. In particular, I think you should be able to leverage your attention to better inform new product launches, and be paid for the insights you and your audience generates.


Finally, I think that you should stop thinking of yourself as an influencer and more as a creative entrepreneur. If you haven’t read the Kylie Jenner Forbes story, it should be your daily source of inspiration. Because, despite the fact that Kylie had a massive head-start over you, and a very savvy manager (and while your Mom or Dad might think they are as smart as Kris Jenner, they aren’t nearly as experienced and plugged-in at building personal brands as she is). If you haven’t seen the account Insta_repeat, it’s worth a look.



Quite possibly outside of our own children, there are only so many photos anyone can see of any single person before they get fatigued. You are simply generating content in an algorithmic feed that optimizes that is investing more and more money to get better and better at holding people’s attention. Your audience isn’t yours. It’s theirs.

Start thinking of your followers, as your customers. If you’re not listening to your customers, you’re doing a terrible job as a creative entrepreneur. But worse yet, if you’re not selling them something beyond a like, you’re failing at business.

And here is what I believe the biggest opportunity is for any influencer who on a monthly basis is successfully growing and engaging their audience: Become your own brand. I believe there is a massive marketplace of top makers, marketers and influencers where influencers can come up with product ideas and find the designers, manufacturers and marketers capable of bringing these products to market. I think that this business, if executed properly, would be worth more than Shopify, currently trading at above $15 billion dollars, at the time I wrote this.


So whether you’re a creative entrepreneur or a software entrepreneur or ideally both, and you’re interested in working on any of these ventures or getting funded, please get in-touch or comment below

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