The backbone of the creator economy

Let’s hear it for the operators

Hi, everyone! In the spirit of #buildinginpublic, here’s an excerpt from Smooth Media’s company handbook:

Holiday Schedule Addendum 1A: Delayed opening all work days after a Taylor Swift album release (inclusive of re-releases) to ensure proper consumption and emotional recovery.

…As such, don’t expect to hear from Ali, Jenny, or yours truly before about 11 am tomorrow morning. Please save all urgent matters for after we’ve each listened to Track 5 an appropriate seven full times. Thank you in advance.

—Kinsey, cofounder & head of editorial at Smooth Media

The Knowledge Creator Support System

The knowledge creator industry abides by the same unspoken truth as Hollywood: A work of art is only as good as its supporting cast.

Like Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls or Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables, the key players in supporting roles for knowledge creators are the very foundation of those creators’ successes. Simply put, creators need backup.

That’s for a few reasons:

  1. Creator burnout is like mono your freshman year of college: unavoidable. It’s one of the biggest challenges creators face—it’s incomprehensibly hard to be “on” every day, coming up with creative ideas, solving thorny problems in uncharted territories, and doing it all for an audience. With the right support systems, creators can slow the onset of burnout by delegating and offloading tasks and projects.

  2. Scaling a creator business requires more than just one brain. It’s tough to see the big picture (or what that big picture could become) when you’re in the weeds solo. With a partner, editor, or sparring partner, knowledge creators can think bigger.

  3. Playing to your strengths is a common strategy deployed by most successful people you know (probably). Why bang your head against the wall trying to learn Adobe Premiere when your real superpower is scriptwriting? By pairing a creator's unique talent with an operator’s unique talent, be that writing or producing or growing a concept, creators can focus on doing their thing while their team handles everything else.

So that’s the theory. What about the practice

Over at The Publish Press, our editorial team recently launched a series profiling the operators who power creator businesses behind the scenes. A few highlights:

  • How David Gorman became the chief operating officer of Ludwig’s creator events studio, Offbrand

  • How Sam Bowers handles scheduling, hiring, strategy, and more for Doctor Mike (and his nearly 12 million subscribers) using an improv background

  • How Brandon Kaplan, lead editor for food creator Nick DiGiovanni, uses audio to tell a story

  • How Nicole Menkart, science producer at Cleo Abram’s Huge If True, went from getting a PhD in electrical engineering with a focus in quantum optics…to the creator space

The response was overwhelmingly positive, and I think that’s because people now recognize that there’s room for more than just recovering theater kids in the creator world as it expands and scales. We need writers and editors and researchers, producers and bookers and growth experts. They’re not sidekicks—they’re structurally integral parts of a solid creator business.

The future of media lies with knowledge creators, as far as we’re concerned. And establishing a scalable, sustainable future requires more hands on deck—that’s why creator support experts are really, truly invaluable…even if they aren’t a household name.

  • Former Spotify exec Max Cutler is launching a creator-focused media brand called Pave Studios. 

  • Ex-MSNBC journalist Mehdi Hasan debuted a new media company called Zeteo News, and it’s taking off big time.

  • Kevin Espiritu of Epic Gardening is a blueprint knowledge creator. Love these wins for him.

  • Colin & Samir (with some Publish Press cameos) talk to MKBHD about the impact of his bad reviews.

Thanks for reading! Wishing our fellow Swifties a powerful release day tomorrow—headphones fully charged, tissues at the ready, thesaurus handy. And wishing our non-Swifties an above average Friday. See you next week!