The Digital Creation Game: Exiting The Analog World Of Competition And Entering The Digital World Of Infinite Creation
How to ascend to new levels of agency, freedom, and financial abundance.
Ahoy Friend, Subscriber, and Category Pirate,
The Analog American Dream is a competition game.
Let’s look at professional cellists, for example.
It takes an incredible amount of work, dedication, and knowledge to become a professional cellist. Every professional cellist has gone to music school and practiced for 10,000+ hours, hoping to one day make it into a professional symphony orchestra or higher.
For context, there are over 1,200 symphony orchestras in the United States. If you assume 12 cellists per symphony, that means there are 14,400 professional cellists. These are jobs that are incredibly hard to get not just because of the number of talented musicians striving for them, but because there are so few openings.
This also means there are 1,200 “principal cellists.” These are often the most skilled musicians, with the most leadership skills to guide the section. They have the widest repertoire of music played. And they hold their job until they retire or die.
And then there is Yo-Yo Ma.
His cello is a $2.5 million dollar Montagnana Cello made in 1733.
He has recorded over 900 albums and won 19 Grammy awards.
He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2001, and The Presidential Medal of Freedom (The United States’ highest civilian honor) in 2011. He has performed for nine presidents.
Anyone in the classical music world would say Yo-Yo Ma represents the pinnacle of “success” in the Analog world. That is true, he is arguably the most recognized cellist of all time. And yet, no different than any of his counterparts, he must still show up to a physical place to perform and get paid—regardless of whether it’s in Carnegie Hall or Carson City. Despite reaching the top of the pyramid, he is still “bound” by the limitations of the Analog world.
[Analog Laborer] There are potentially over 14,000 professional cellists. They make mid-to-high 5-figures in income.
[Analog Knowledge Worker] There are an estimated 12,000 principal cellists. Those in top-tier symphonies can make low 6 figures in income.
[Analog Intellectual Capitalist] There is one Yo-Yo Ma. He makes 5 to 6 figures for a single performance.
In the Analog world, one person’s success oftentimes means fewer opportunities for others. If Carnegie Hall throws a big event, they don’t want “all” the most talented cellists. They only want one: Yo-Yo Ma. Which is what makes the Analog world a competition game. There is a limited number of opportunities, and everyone must “compete” (or, in extreme cases, “fight”) for a spot.
Net-net, this game is good for a select few, and frustrating for everyone else.
Exiting The Competition Game & Entering The Creation Game
Grab yourself a lantern and follow us into Treasure Cove for a moment.
Back in the early 2000s, there was a lot of talk about how the Internet was the democratization of “opportunity.” Sticking with our music example: if a musician wanted to share his or her work with the world, they were dependent upon multiple moving (Analog) parts in order to reach listeners & customers. These middlemen were referred to as “intermediaries,” who made money moving your physical goods.
Musician records an album.
[Intermediary #1] Record label records it (and takes their fee).
[Intermediary #2] CD manufacturer prints it (and takes their fee).
[Intermediary #3] Retailer distributes it (and takes their fee).
The opportunity the Internet presented was the removal of these intermediaries. If you wanted to share a video, you didn’t need a movie studio or a box office to give you their approval—you could just upload it to YouTube (or eBaum’s World). If you wanted to write short stories, you didn’t need a book publisher or distributor or Barnes & Noble to reach readers—you could just publish them to your online blog. And over the past 20 years, we have watched the world change in radical ways based on the “disintermediation” of products, services, and information.
This is what started to transform the Analog “competition” game into a Digital “creation” game.
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