What a crazy year it has been.
Crazy, yet extremely insightful. I’m working on things today that I never would have imagined doing just a few months ago. How about you?
Last year at this time, I wrote down something my son said in my 2020 review, “2021 is going to be as awesome as 2020 was terrible.” I don’t know if I agree, but I think most people would say that 2021 was at least an improvement.
For me, by improvement I mean crazy different (here’s a quick personal update).
In March I launched my own social token, $TILT coin. $TILT is the #2 performing coin on the entire Rally.io network, launching at 34 cents on March 4th and now clocking in at $34 per coin. That’s 100x growth if you’re counting. Many of you have been so supportive of $TILT coin and I am eternally grateful for all your help.
In April, we launched our new company, The Tilt, a newsletter dedicated to helping content creators become content entrepreneurs. We’ve gone from zero to over 12,000 email subscribers in less than nine months.
In May we launched our Discord discussion group, which now has almost 1,000 people who help and support each other with their content creation tips and examples. Later that month I launched the new version of my book Content Inc. (McGraw-Hill), which spent quite a few weeks as the #1 marketing book on Amazon.
In June we introduced our original research on the State of the Content Entrepreneur (it’s free, get it here). The report was based on the findings from over 1,400 content creators who are trying to build full-time businesses from content and audience building.
In October we launched our merch store (if you love Ted Lasso you’ll love this “Create” shirt) and in early December we launched our training program, Content Entrepreneurship 101. We’ve already had dozens of students pass through the course and the feedback has been tremendous.
And, last but not least, a few weeks ago we announced CEX – Creator Economy Expo, an in-person event for content creators, by content creators that will take place May 2-4, 2022 at the Arizona Grand Resort. To be honest, the event was not on the 2022 roadmap, but we believe there is a big need here and we wanted to be the ones that filled it.
Oh, and on a personal note, my wife and I sent two off to college this year. We are now also experts in the benefits and expenses of assisted living complexes (all good now though).
I’d love to hear how your 2021 was and what you plan to accomplish in 2022.
14 Must-Read Stories from 2021
For this issue of The Random, I decided to go back through all the articles we featured over the past 12 months and pull out the most impactful. So, let’s do this.
Social Media Warnings
The social media news in January set the tone for the year. By mid-January, Facebook kicked former President Trump off its platform, while Amazon kicked off social app Parler.
We learned two things. First, the big tech platforms like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft are now more powerful than literally all other entities on the planet. They can, and will, do whatever they want. Second, we (as users of social media) have no rights.
This is especially true for content creators. While we can and probably should leverage social platforms, we must always have a strategy to build direct relationships with our audience (through email and now crypto).
In February Facebook dropped all news media providers from their platform in Australia. By August, creator platform OnlyFans banned NSFW content from their platform (that’s a huge part of their model) and then reversed the decision shortly after. Just last week Amazon’s Twitch banned Hasan Piker, one of their top streamers, for saying the word “cracker.”
I’m not saying these decisions are right or wrong. I’m saying that we ALL see the writing on the wall when it comes to users’ rights on these platforms. If you get banned or the rules change or they take away access to your followers and fans, you know the risks.
Where do we start?
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies continued their rise at the start of the year due to, in large part, governments around the world, including the US, printing unlimited amounts of money. The US money supply grew by over 35 percent, an increase of over $5 trillion dollars between December 2019 and August 2021.
Inflation is now tracking at over five percent on the year, with some projections actually much higher. This seems like it will be an ongoing problem as more dollars continue to be created (out of thin air), which brings down the value of every dollar we have in our pockets.
Since every dollar we don’t spend is worth significantly less in a year, investors are looking for new types of assets. One of those asset types, the NFT or non-fungible token, hit the mainstream in March when Beeple sold a collection of NFTs for $69 million at a Christie’s auction. By late March, things got crazy, with some Cryptopunks, Bored Ape Yacht Club and NBA Tops Shots selling for hundreds of thousands (even into the millions).
In May, Gary Vaynerchuck sold 10,000 VeeFriends NFTs, which gave access to his new conference VeeCon, in 12 days. By summer, Opensea, the largest NFT-trading platform, was doing $1 billion in total volume. In November, that number was $10 billion. By the end of the year we saw the rise of DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) and the amazing ConstitutionDao example.
Could we be in an NFT/token bubble? Perhaps…but NFTs, social tokens and crypto are here to stay, and they provide a real way for creators to build a business and provide a piece of ownership to fans at the same time. For more on using tokens as a business model, be sure to check out Random #71.
For more on Bitcoin, here’s an amazing article on why Bitcoin is an answer.
For more on social tokens (fungible tokens or FTs), check out issue number 59.
Looking Back at What It Means
It’s difficult to say at this point, but I believe that 2021 will go down as the year the content creator business model changed forever. Since the dawn of the internet, creators have been looking for something to truly harness the power of connecting with fans anywhere at anytime. That power may finally be in the form of the token (NFTs, social tokens, DAOs, etc.).
The token is the thing that can be developed by the creator and owned by the audience. As my friend and co-host on the This Old Marketing podcast Robert Rose says, Web 3 is about co-creation. Creators and fans can build and grow something of value together, where both sides retain value and grow a piece of the business.
This hasn’t been possible, until now.
It will be interesting to see what 2022 will bring.
Get IN on This!
A few weeks ago I launched my first NFT program, CEX Never-Ending Tickets (NETs) – see image above for sample. They are limited to 100 and will help us fund the in-person event (Creator Economy Expo) in May, 2022 in Phoenix.
As of me writing this, there are 82 NETs remaining. I would like any member of this community who wants one to get one. If you are interested, you can mint your NFT here or email me (just reply to this email) and I can walk you through it.
The minting price is .75 ETH (that’s currently about $2,800). When you buy one, you get:
– A ticket to every CEX event for life (as long as we produce the event) – $995 per year value
– VIP access at CEX (including exclusive parties and seating at events) – $1,000 per year value
– Private Discord group with myself and Brian Clark – priceless 😉
– Special opportunity (depending on which NET you get) to introduce a keynote from the main stage, meet a keynote backstage, have lunch with Joe and Brian or receive exclusive event swag.
To purchase a NET, you need to have a digital wallet (i.e., Metamask) and fund it with $ETH. If you don’t have a digital wallet and would still like to purchase one, we can get you one the old fashioned way and invoice you. Just let me know.
Remember, if for any reason you don’t want your NET anymore (gasp), you can always re-sell it on Opensea.