I saw a video on Youtube of him curing 1000 people of blindness. The video got a lot of attention (more than normal) because he’s trying a new style. The best creators in the world constantly experiment with new stuff.
The creators whose careers fizzle out and end up back in cubicles forget this important lesson (hat-tilt to Jason Levin for the headline quote).
Feeling like a failure is part of the process
I’ve never shared this before.
Most days I wake up and feel like I’m failing at this circus I call an online career. I have no idea what I’m doing.
I don’t know what people want me to write about. I follow the data but often it leads me into a dark corner with a murderer named Freddy.
I don’t think you can be a creator online and not feel like a failure.
It’s baked into the gig. All the analytics dashboards are poison. It reminds me of the chemo my dad’s going through. On the one hand, what he gets injected with is poison. But on the other hand, if he doesn’t take the poison he will die from the blood cancer.
The same with analytics. You have to look at them or your income goes to zero and you have no clue what to write next. But if you look at them too long your self-worth falls off a cliff.
All you can do is live with the crazy uncertainty.
Anyone who says they know what they’re doing is lying
I’m tired of these creators who pretend like they’ve got it all figured out.
The online games we play are forever changing. One day your stuff is flying high, the next day you think the algorithm has shadowbanned you again and you have no idea why.
Is it because of what I said?
I woke up today to a nasty email from a platform. Apparently I accidentally offended someone over a single word. In America this word is derogatory, but in Australia it means an entirely different thing.
Forget about trying to explain it. Or trying to persuade the gatekeepers that you didn’t mean to upset adult babies who need trigger warnings and can’t get to the office with their diaper intact because their mind has been coddled to death by safetyism.
I got off a coaching call today with a new friend. He told me “dude, you’ve gotta lose the Aussie thing. Take the flag away. Stop leading with ‘I’m Aussie.’ You’re losing people.”
I realized he was right. I became one of those weird Americans that has a flag on their front lawn and a flag across the backseat of their F150 pickup truck. I didn’t mean to, sir. I just like my country … maybe a little too much.
That’s the thing about the creator economy — we’re all just making sh*t up as we go. There are no rules. Flag or no flag? Off the cuff swear words or not?
It’s all part of your brand, apparently
But what is a brand?
It doesn’t feel human to me. I don’t want to be a brand like a McDonald’s hamburger. I want to be Tim, father of one to a cute, snot-faced baby girl.
I tried to have a brand. I found myself taking selfies on planes and photographing every coffee meeting I had, as if anybody gave a damn. I nearly got one of those stupid logos of my name.
Then I went “ummm … nah brah.”
Cool sh*t online is when you don’t become a Hollywood actor. Cool sh*t is when you’re yourself.
When you wake up and have fun. When you feel the combination of enormous fear and happiness at the same time.
Cancel culture is so popular these days that everyone who shoots their shot online risks losing everything. You live with that fear but you don’t let it stop you.
It does pay to be a kind person behind the scenes, though, so at least if someone dares cancel you, there’ll be behind the scenes sources who’ll come out from the digital bushes, reveal their face, and back you.
Cool sh*t online comes with risk. Risk equals personal growth.
The experimental mindset is key
In a Mr Beast interview with AI cool guy Lex Fridman, he reveals that he does 1000s of iterations of every Youtube video thumbnail.
This is only one small part of the process and it gets so much attention. To be this experimental requires a sort of alien person.
Mr Beast will only hire someone who is obsessed like he is. It’s not a healthy obsession either. He wants people who think day and night about their work. Making videos should cause them to barely sleep.
To keep the obsession going he must ensure creativity is never lost.
He finds putting constraints and rules in place for his team is the death of innovation. When he’s failed and done that the videos have got boring.
The only way cool sh*t thrives online is when creativity is allowed to come from anywhere. This is counter-intuitive because jobs teach us the opposite. To do interesting stuff online you really do need to make creativity a god you worship. You need to study it too.
- How does creativity thrive?
- How is creativity linked with flow states?
- What routines help creativity last long term?
Succeeding online means being obsessed with these creativity questions.
The path to online success is BS
Gurus promote the idea of online success.
I don’t believe in the idea. Anyone can achieve it but there’s no guaranteed path to get there. Anyone promising that is a snake oil salesman.
I failed for more than 5 years.
I worked for free and banged my head against the wall when my startup press releases about lame companies flopped and got read by no one.
The funniest was when I tried to run a podcast.
The interviews were so bad. My face went red and I asked the most generic questions. The most common question I asked: how do you become successful?
What a snoozefest. Is it any wonder I failed online? I didn’t try cool sh*t. No. I did what most people do and tried generic sh*t.
If you want to see what that looks like then head to Elon’s birdy social media app. It’s everywhere. Dumb tweet threads about Chrome extensions, free universities, and ChatGTP.
The ideas are painful. The strategies are copy and paste. Worst of all, there’s zero creativity or humanity behind the content. Ironically, it all could have easily been written by ChatGTP.
When all you do is accidentally create inhuman content for inhumane likes, everyone switches off — and they don’t know why.
It’s the same reason my podcast failed. I just went through the motions and had a shallow vision of success.
I wanted to be liked which means I didn’t get liked.
It’s funny how the online world works. The harder you try to manifest some weird goal, the more people sense it and run for the hills.
All I’ve ever learned to do online is try new experiments, knowing many of them will fail. I’m not afraid of failing because I’ve failed my entire life.
What’s one more failure?
What this means for you
Whether you like it or not, more and more of your life exists online.
As the years roll on, your ability to do cool sh*t online will play a bigger part in your life. Just submitting a resume to a job portal won’t be enough anymore. Just selling a product won’t cut it either.
You’ll be forced to be creative. Because machines and AI will likely replace everyone and everything that isn’t creative. That’s not a doomsday scenario, that’s an opportunity.
Artistry online is getting its moment in the spotlight. Take advantage of it.
Do cool sh*t online and expect to fail and be rejected. This is the way. It’s where the kickass opportunities lie.