Issue #26: questions for an extraordinary life, spatial software, opinionated design, and staying put

 
 
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Startupy is your refuge from the noisy Internet. We're building a human-curated search and discovery engine for people in love with interesting ideas.
 

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Cool things curated in our universe
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Essential Questions
  • Will this choice propel me toward an inspiring future or will it keep me stuck in the past?
  • Will this choice bring me long-term fulfillment or will it bring me short-term gratification?
  • Am I standing in my power or am I trying to please another?
  • Am I looking for what's right or am I looking for what's wrong?
  • Will this choice add to my life force or will it rob me of my energy?
  • Will I use this situation as a catalyst to grow and evolve or will I use it to beat myself up?
  • Does this choice empower me or does it disempower me?
  • Is this an act of self-love or is it an act of self-sabotage?
  • Is this an act of faith or is it an act of fear?
  • Am I choosing from my divinity or am I choosing from my humanity?
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On Spatial Software
Lots of cool products added to the Spatial Software topic on startupy, including Soft Space (a new tool for thought using AR), Kinopio (spatial thinking for new ideas), Ultra (a multi-media smart canvas for your mind), and mmm (a simple drag & drop website builder).
 
Pair with this essay by John Palmer on Spatial Software, which he defines as interfaces where there is free movement of objects within space.
 
All of this is a good reminder, on the heels of the Figma acquisition, that software is art.
 
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A fantastic interview
 
TL;DR:
Audio is unbelievably easier to create, and drastically easier to consume. An episode takes one and a half hours to record. If it were translated into text, it would be the length of a short book. And if I wanted to create a book of similar quality, it would take a year.
 
More insights on the future of podcasting and audio topic pages.
 
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On opinionated software design 
 
As technology advances, software will increasingly be chosen not just for how well it addresses its use case, but how it conveys its personality, similar to how we choose our clothes. 
 
Which reminds me of this essay by andy.works:
I want us to collectively raise the bar for what we expect from our digital experiences. Life isn't just a series of problems to be solved but moments to be lived. As we find ourselves spending more and more of our time in the digital world—especially now—we should expect that world to inspire, surprise, and dare I say, even challenge us. We are lucky to be versed in a creative field where we can dream up magical things that can touch the lives of billons. Like other design fields, we should see the work of product design as more than a business optimizer but as a powerful vehicle for expressing ideas that can push culture forward.
 
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On staying put
ThisDon’t switch fields, don’t look for a new job, don’t move on. Even when it’s tempting. Especially when it’s tempting. There’s a decent chance your motivations are driven by two things: the grass-is-greener fallacy of wrongly assuming the alternative is better, or denying the fact that great opportunities occasionally require annoyance and sacrifice.
 
 
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Community health
This week on startupy:
  • 550 contributions
  • 1,780 connections
  • 779 highlights
Virtual high-fives to Stew Fortier, Johanna, Juan Orbea, Ilana Ettinger, and Jay Matthews for their contributions.
 

Curator spotlight
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Why is the Creator Economy an interesting topic?
 
The word “creator” is flexible – too flexible. As a result, it’s being coopted as an aspirational identifier for anyone that moves their fingers, opens their mouth, or has a thought.
 
In its broadest sense, the “creator economy” is about how the Internet has impacted the development, production, distribution, and monetization of everything, with an emphasis on increasing empowerment of the individual. That framing allows everyone to be a creator, which is very convenient for business owners or investors who are looking to serve the broadest addressable market.
 
The problem with that definition is it smooths out nuances specific to those aiming to make & sustain a living from the production of original creative work –filmmakers, musicians, journalists, photographers, designers, and artists – and the structures that support (or impede) those efforts.
 
Whether we interpret it through the widest or narrowest lens, it’s a frame that captures the evolution of how we tell stories, and therefore ultimately how we find meaning & purpose in the world. Hard to think of many things more interesting than that.
 
Podcasts worth listening to?
 
Just one?
The first is a bullseye: Interdependence, Holly Herndon and Mat Dryhurst’s podcast exploring the future of creative work through interviews with artists, technologists, and other brilliant thinkers (also check out Verité’s Anatomy of an Artist). 

The second is less obvious, and a new obsession: Founders, David Senra’s podcast on history’s greatest entrepreneurs. It’s essentially a series of stories about grit and ingenuity, two attributes essential for anyone navigating the business of creativity. Third is Creator Upload, Tubefilter’s podcast that will keep you up to speed with the near-daily evolution of the industry.
 
Things worth reading and watching?
 
There are a bunch of books that have nothing and everything to do with the creator economy: Small is Beautiful and Emergent Strategy speak to a lot of the values underlying the broader shift happening.
 
Here are a few books about the creator economy: The Death of the Artist, The Passion EconomyBlockbusters. Each of these speaks to ways that the internet has liberated and destroyed the status quo.
 
Projects worth following?
 
Why?
Artists (and everyone else working in music) deserve to have access to a single source of truth when it comes to the biggest question of all: where’s the money? HIFI is a membership organization that is pulling together all of the key market participants to (a) organize disparate and inconsistent financial information; then (b) make it accessible and useful. This is the type of heavy-lift effort that really highlights the type of transformation needed to build a creator-friendly future. You could argue Startupy is on a similar track with knowledge :)
 
Why? 
A veteran Hollywood journalist starts publishing on Substack, then ends up going through Y Combinator, then recruits major talent into a new publishing org with no legacy cost structure. That’s the creator economy in action.
 
All three of these business are (in my view) working to streamline creator operations so they can (a) get paid and (b) spend more time doing what they do best. I see this is the next iteration of the MCN model – Breakr is fully non-exclusive and competes on providing value & community, Jellysmack focuses on helping creators scale across platforms, and Made In Network just raised a bunch of money to invest alongside their creator partners.
 
*Disclosure, investor and/or advisor.
 
 

 
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