Work is changing. The old structures that dominated the 20th century are gradually being replaced by platforms and cultures that have grown up on the internet that aim to help people do what they love for a living. Li and Nathan unpack this new passion economy in a weekly conversation with guests at the forefront of this change.
#24 — Evan Britton on creating a Wikipedia for a new generation and bootstrapping an ad-based business
Evan Britton is the founder of Famous Birthdays, the de facto celebrity wikipedia offering 200,000 biographies with a focus on Gen Z social media stars and creators.
Evan founded Famous Birthdays in 2012 and has profitably bootstrapped operations through ad revenue. Currently, the site registers 30 million unique monthly visitors, with versions in Spanish and Portuguese.
Famous Birthdays also creates original content with celebrity creators by hosting Q&As, games, and challenges. The site’s content on all four of its social channels (YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram) has been receiving more than a 100 million views every month.
In this interview, we talked to Evan about:
- The origin of Famous Birthdays
- Identifying the phenomenon of digital creator fame
- Why he chose not to compete with Cameo
- Which platforms and content drive Famous Birthdays searches
- Why user curiosity has migrated from traditional celebrities to digital creators
- What creators can learn from what’s popular on Famous Birthdays
- The risks posed by deplatforming
- Why he’s not interested in outside funding, and how he managed to bring an ad-based business model to a bootstrapped business
- His advice to founders who want to bootstrap a business
Brought to you by the Means of Creation newsletter: https://meansofcreation.substack.com/
#23 — Community Hangout with Li, Nathan, and Adam Keesling
In another special hangout episode, Li, Nathan and MoC producer Adam Keesling talk through the week's passion economy news and take live questions from the MOC community.
In this episode, we talk about:
- The intersection between Nathan and Li's recent writing on why content is king and building a creator middle class
- Why Li built Side Hustle Stack, and its surprise appeal to Gen Z
- How to mitigate risk in the Passion Economy
- Sahil Lavingia's new essay "No Meetings, No Deadlines, No Full-Time Employees," and whether we've been brainwashed by capitalism
Brought to you by the Means of Creation newsletter: meansofcreation.substack.com.
#22 — Chris Messina on why the passion economy needs a more stable foundation to keep expanding
This week on Means of Creation, we spoke with Chris Messina! Chris is best known for inventing the now ubiquitous hashtag, but his work over the last 15 years spans social technology, product design, synthetic media, founder culture and mental fitness. Currently, Chris helps founders and creators with their Product Hunt launches. His insight into social technology stems from his experience at big tech companies like Google and Uber, combined with his role in popularizing social innovations like coworking and unconferencing.
#21 — Nadia Eghbal on the parallels between open-source software development and online creators
This week on Means of Creation, we talked to Nadia Eghbal!
Nadia’s work has focused on the reputation-based economies that drive creator and open-source developer communities. She currently is the Head of Writer Experience at Substack and previously helped build open-source developer experiences (independently and at GitHub).
#20 — Eugene Wei on all things technology, film and media
Li and Nathan talk to Eugene Wei, a former product executive who is one of the best technology bloggers online today, about the impact of technology on modern film & television, the domains that could be "the next TikTok," and why he started writing.
#19 — Indie Hackers founder Courtland Allen on how to build a profitable online business
In this episode, Li & Nathan chat with Courtland Allen, founder of Indie Hackers. Indie Hackers is an online community that focuses on entrepreneurs who build profitable internet businesses. They describe themselves as individuals seeking financial independence, creative freedom, and the ability to work on their own schedule.