The Creator’s Dilemma

Jerry —  December 15, 2010 — 6 Comments

Creative people (and I mean all sorts of creative people, from sculptors and choreographers to inventors and mathematicians) are stuck in a dilemma: they would like to share their creations openly, and they need to make a living.

No wonder many of them freak out at peer-to-peer file sharing systems and other technologies and movements that are about open sharing. They see these movements as existential threats.

Imagine an infrastructure that makes it easier for them to make a living, so they might contemplate releasing their works more openly. This post builds toward that goal.

The links I mention in the video:



6 responses to The Creator’s Dilemma

  1. I have been doing something similar in Western Europe – looking at the business side of storytelling and the future of public media. I believe that, for certain subjects, there is indeed a business model based on sharing rather than shouting. It’s usually things like fashion, art works, special designs, where social media has usually helped get attention and then build a trusted relationship between that person and their audience/fans. I think it’s going to be more difficult for those creating in areas that are perceived as “free” by the public – like European public radio and -to a lesser extent – TV. I used to be involved in Tv documentary making and remember that there were subsidies available to do in-depth research and take time to craft the work into a 50 minute piece. In Cannes, you could sell your documentary to four stations (One of the German networks, a UK network, Japan and perhaps Time-Life or Discovery) all the rest was profit. Now, with huge fragmentation in the market, you need to sell the work to 40 networks to hope to gain anything like the same funding. And has audiences per channel have dropped, so have the matching funds. I have seen some recent examples of crowd funding in communities (see but until these ideas mature in the minds of the public, its not a recommended career move. So even though the cost of making spectacular video and audio is a fraction of what it was 5 years ago, the obsession of traditional media and funders with numbers rather than the quality of viewers/consumers. As a writer and broadcaster I have always been interested in what my work could do to influence the thinking and actions of others. I love collaborating. I thrive from sharing brilliant ideas. But I haven’t found the business model in Europe to make this happen full time. Happy to share my REX-type experiences with anyone who’s interested. In the meantime, I wish those on the journey full speed ahead in 2011.

  2. This is a terrific setup for some very big answers to come… but I can’t find them. Jerry, in addition to noticing that you were ‘putting food on your family,’ I heard that we were going to be talking about how to escape the dilemma of the commons. Did I miss a link / tag / feed? This is the gozillion dollar idea! I’ll pay for the next post! (or is that the idea, you clever man?)

  3. You are correct, dear Sir. This is the start of multiple REXcasts and a bit more media glue (no horses harmed) to explain the bigger picture.

    All here for free, I’ll add :)

  4. Hey Jerry;
    I also have an interest in this area from an education perspective. To explain myself, let’s begin with John Hagel’s idea (From the Power of Pull) that to function in the present and future, one will need to be connected to the ongoing flow of information. Flow is not yet well defined, but I think creative types are a part of the equation as carriers of cultural memes or the current zeitgeist. Also, the value of artists is not only in their products, but this zeitgeist is also expresses to us in their lives as we come into contact with them.
    Secondly, learning in the “flow” is not linear or subject to rationally planned futures. Therefore, J.H. also values serendipity, the fact that you never know from whence in the flow the next learning will come. This is why to be in this “flow”, I think we need to be immersed in a creative culture with access to the creative commons; and “business or economic development interests” (what ever that is) have a reason to provide the economic space for this commons to flourish and to tap into this creative commons spirit.
    Anyway, I’m still working on this. I appreciate your work and I’m looking forward to more of your ideas.

  5. Thanks, Howard. I’m extremely interested in what this all means to education, a topic about which I’ll be posting about soon.

    On pull and flow, I’m completely onboard with the notion that we need to learn to be in the flow, which is unpredictable. But I’m not crazy about the deprecation of stocks, which I see as the complement to flow. I tend to think our info-world is flow-heavy and context-light, a lesson driven home to me through 14 years of using TheBrain.

    More soon, as the conversation unfolds. Thanks for jumping in.

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