Issue #[[item.issue__number]] published [[timeFormat(item.date)]]


The vulnerability of the creator economy is laid bare in this post on US TikTokers who have made a living on the soon-to-be-banned short video platform. Migration to other platforms is what most will do, but attrition from the move will be high. A warning sign for anyone hoping for the life of an influencer - you could be cancelled at the account or platform level, at any time.
Issue #395 published 5 May 2024
Brainfooder Steph Smith should be on TV more - super smart, able to talk on any topic, great communication style and some lived experience as a creator and distributor of products and ideas. This is a great interviewer folks - have a watch / listen.
Issue #392 published 14 Apr 2024
..and apparently making $$$ for whoever is ‘her’ controller. AI coming for the creator economy, because creators are not immune to AI. In fact, the creator economy window might already be closing with the advent of ever more compelling AI competitors. btw: follow Aitana here if you want to see when she upgrades from photo to video.
Issue #373 published 3 Dec 2023
Rare sympathetic post to the career path of the influencer from BBC Worklife. Pre-AI the creator economy was going gangbusters, but I wonder whether how new entrants will compete with AI competitors who can outproduce any human and still seemingly generate substantial followings. Authenticity is key I suspect. As well as perhaps, irrationality. Easy read, lots to think about (especially on how influencer marketing can be used for TA)
Issue #363 published 24 Sep 2023
Andrew Chen is an infrequent writer, but when he puts something together, it is always a must read. This high level review of the creator economy from the platform perspective gives us new language and concepts to think about should we attempt a similar play, or become a player within such a platform ourselves. Power law we knew about, but ‘graduation rate’ was a new idea for me. Kind of annoying wants to you sign up (which you should) but you can avoid by browser refresh
Issue #359 published 27 Aug 2023
…well it is kind of doing ok, at least for prominent creators on platforms like Substack and OF. But the ‘creator economy’ has certainly peaked as it suffers like every other segment from the inflationary policies of the US Federal Reserve, which sucks money out of global circulation and into illiquid assets in gods knows where. It’s a still a living to be had, but for a smaller number of people, making less than they thought they might.
Issue #352 published 9 Jul 2023
Was personal branding the precursor of the influencer industry? Very interesting history on the origins of what may be the most resilient economic category against GAI. The role of women as amongst the first, in stereotypically feminine topics - fashion, make-up, parenting, cooking - is fascinating and, I think, accurate. PS: glad Kimmy K got a mention, she was probably the first big one to make it.
Issue #336 published 19 Mar 2023
This maybe one of the most comprehensive overviews of the creator economy I’ve yet seen. It’s a synthesis of publicly available data and paints a vivid picture of where we are at in an economic category few of us were aware of until a few years ago, and yet is a space where the youth of today aspire to operate in above all others. Must read for anyone who is thinking of ‘earning from creating’ and perhaps also of Gen Z recruiters who might be thinking how to blend elements of the creator economy into job design.
Issue #334 published 5 Mar 2023
Hard Times for e-Thots
It’s should be clear by now that competition in the creator economy isn’t going to be fair - if you’re young, pretty and can entertain onscreen, there’s a career for you as a live streamer on some channel or other. Fascinating thread on Chinese ‘e-Thots’ livestreaming from wealthier locations in order to get higher donation rate from their fans / followers / simps. Shared by thot supreme herself, Naomi Wu who isn’t an easy follow on Twitter - controversial and ferocious in equal measure - but I think one of the most fascinating documentarians of worlds we often don’t get to see.
Issue #332 published 19 Feb 2023
My Youtube Earnings
Will the creator economy be a legitimate way out of the AI disintermediated future? It will be for a few, such as Bricks Experiment, whose passion for Lego is aligned with a global movement of fans of the timeless toy. Incredibly detailed breakdown of the earnings made from a channel of 2.9 million subscribers (it’s $664,000 total earnings). It’s fascinating post. Btw: I’ll be running a workshop on revenue as a solopreneur for anyone who is interested, going to do these on Discord (yes there is a brainfood discord channel, now activated!) - invite link here
Issue #331 published 12 Feb 2023
A community member asked me about how it felt working as creator (more of curator, but you know what I mean..), and thought that perhaps more people might like to know how the economics of this type of work style works. Very decent twitter thread on this, which might dispel some myths as who makes money and what your chances are of being one of those people.
Issue #312 published 2 Oct 2022
Being a content creator is super hard, and following a very aggressive power law distribution, few ever make a living doing it. However, documentarians who simply capture and stream their day-to-day activities can sometimes find themselves with enormous followings, from which revenue generating opportunities then emerge. I’ve mentioned ‘the pool guy’ before. This article covers a few more examples, calling them ‘career-adjacent’ creators. Some recruiters are starting to do this too, I notice.
Issue #311 published 25 Sep 2022
Future of Creativity
Adobe was once synonymous with creative work, but missed at least two revolutions in the world of work. Found it curious they would produce a report one of those revolutions - on the creator economy. Like this report, especially in that expands the notion of what a creator is (hint: it’s all of us) but disappointing in that it doesn’t separate those who actually do it a living full time. Worth a read though, especially for extra intelligence on Gen Z
Issue #309 published 11 Sep 2022
The more you think about it, the more obvious the creator economy is the worker response to the prospect of dehumanising gig working - it’s the hyper humanising opposite. Going to do more on creator economy as it’s obviously and ironically an increasingly valued skill for employers, as this post from LinkedIn shows. Make sure to bookmark the creator economy page on the larder also, lot more will be going in on that.
Issue #308 published 4 Sep 2022
Speak to any author in our community and all of them will tell you that it is a labour of love - no money to be had in writing books(!). Well OP thinks that there is a formula and he shares it with us here. Actually his entire Medium is about his book writing-passive-income journey so you might as well follow that also.
Issue #295 published 5 Jun 2022
It’s basically about the training demands required to stay on top of your game - especially as the competition are other young adults who may be able to play 12+ hours per day. Add in some life changes, and capacity is going to go down. Fascinating story on one of the first creator economy careers which achieved mainstream consciousness.
Issue #290 published 1 May 2022
Wonderfully executed interactive report on the creator economy in 2022. Apparently, there are 41 million people who have a trackable following of 10,000 or more, enough to turn it into some sort of full time business. Kind of a must read - creator economy is one of the many futures of work that lay ahead of us. Also downloadable PDF here
Issue #290 published 1 May 2022
Curators All the Way Down
Been meaning to feature this post for a long time, as I think it describes a great deal of what brainfood does - essentially parsing a lot of noise into some bits of interesting signal. More or less agree with everyone OP says in this piece. Interesting read for anyone interested in the creator economy.
Issue #289 published 24 Apr 2022
Even though this newsletter is curated, rather than created content, in many ways the concerns outlined in this post reflect the challenges of running Recruiting Brainfood as a ‘sponsor paid, subscriber free’ business. Competition for attention is steep, so greater incentive for content to clickbait. I hope I am avoiding this, but please do let me know how I am doing keeping this ‘brainfood’
Issue #287 published 10 Apr 2022
It was a wonderful feeling, like a burst of energy pushing you onstage. Everyone was watching you, talking with you, seeing every move you make.
There is a huge demand for livestreamers and as we’ve seen with the success of OnlyFans, an increasing supply of workers to meet that demand. Fascinating insight on how one livestream got into the work, how easy it was (click a button, start livestream..) and how that made her feel. Lots to ponder, have as read.
Issue #286 published 3 Apr 2022
The problem isn’t that writing generates status, but rather that this status is grossly out of proportion to the wages they are earning in the market. 
The stereotype that all US writers ‘live in Brooklyn’ is explained in this insightful and unusual post, which separates two variables - status and income - which are often correlated but not contingent. Lots of truth here about the creator economy, must read for anyone thinking of pursuing this path.
Issue #283 published 13 Mar 2022
OP lambasts the advocates of the creator economy by breaking down the public data on how much Twitch Creators actually earn, and in particular, where the vast majority of earnings are distributed. No surprises that extreme power laws apply, with the less than 1% accruing more than 80% of the pie. Unclear what else we can do though, popularity is down to the consumers as much as anything else.
Issue #280 published 20 Feb 2022
The creator economy is one of the most exciting avenues for people who have a passion and some method of converting that into revenue. But what happens to the passion when you succeed? Fascinating reflections on a future a few of us are likely to pursue.
Issue #267 published 21 Nov 2021
Eze Vidra is doing some interesting work tracking the growth of the ‘creator economy’, particularly given his work as an investor in startup. This post, where he attempts to identify potential opportunities for new startups in this new space, ends up being a pretty comprehensive overview of the whole creator economy.
Issue #264 published 31 Oct 2021
Using this post to create a new category here; it’s pretty clear that creators require a different classification to that of freelancer or entrepreneur or gig worker and - as this index from Stripe shows, they are increasing part of the new economy. Total number of creators on Stripe? 668,000 and counting….
Issue #263 published 24 Oct 2021