The Creator Culture

April 27th, 2016

My Work is My Passion

Written by Co-Founder of CoCreators and Founder of Mindjumpers, Jonas Klit Nielsen. 

We were wandering around a rainy East Village, as we went through a door and up the stairs of what looked a lot like a residential building. The hallway had a tainted pinkish color and the sign on the door said “God Bless Women”. Not 100% sure of what to expect, we entered.  

When looking back at the last 20 years of my life it becomes clear to me that I have met a lot of awesome people dedicated to living out their passion, and that’s probably what led me to that door in the East Village.

Passionate people have always fascinated me, whether they call themselves artists, craftsmen, hobbyists, entrepreneurs or something else entirely.

The common belief always seems to be the same: for passionate creators, it’s very seldom about chasing fame and fortune. What matters is that they get to work with their passion every day - making their passion their ‘work’ and vice versa - while at the same time, upholding a lifestyle that suits them and their family.

Eight years ago, I started an agency focused on helping brands engaging with their audience through social media. Over the years that developed into the idea of building a network of people around the world, who want to work within this field for the brands we work with.

It´s been amazing and truly inspiring to witness the rise of the global digital collaboration culture up close; witnessing how technology has been a real game changer for people who want to connect and collaborate with others on a global scale.

In the fall of 2015, I bumped into a former colleague. We started collaborating on a few new projects and during that period we spent a lot of time discussing our mutual fascination with how the world increasingly seems to be enabling a ‘passion/work – work/passion culture’. It dawned on me how passionate I had become about creativity and helping people build something from their passion. I decided to embark on a new adventure, with a clear purpose of inspiring and empowering as many as possible to get to a place where work and passion intertwine and they could earn a living doing what they love.

That was the spark that lit the flame of CoCreators – a company with a vision to become a global platform for creators to connect, collaborate and create business value through their passion, whatever it may be.

I am not one hundred percent certain who coined the term “The Creator Culture”, but last year I read a brilliant essay called “Sparks Will Fly” by Damien Walter, a writer and, among other things, a columnist for The Guardian.

The sub-headline reads “Infatuated by celebrity, stuck in dreary work, addicted to consumerism. Only a creator culture can save us”. In the essay Walter touches upon a lot of key reasons as to why the world must change/is changing from a consumer culture to a creator culture – a culture where creativity, imagination, and emotions are what make us stand out in a world where the development of technology, robots and AI become more advanced every day.

Without going totally ‘Skynet’ on you, it actually made a lot of sense to me. In my work with technology over the years, I’ve basically learned that anything is possible. Machine learning will improve, AI will develop and affect everyday life and in the future a lot of functions will be handled by technology – it just makes sense even though it may sound scary.

It is not necessarily the old and traditional jobs or platforms that will be disrupted. I don’t think it will make a lot of sense for people to use Uber, one of the largest online transportation platforms, when Google and Elon Musk will likely succeed in the future in making their self-driving cars a commodity.

But all hope is not lost. As Damien writes, we stand out because of our imagination, our creativity, our emotions and a healthy portion of free will. Which brings us to our challenge: for the last hundred years or more we humans have been good at limiting these traits, reducing them to something very special only a few people possess, but as Albert Einstein once said “every child is born a genius” and “Genius is 1% talent and 99% hard work”.

So what does the future look like? Damien Walter´s take on the future is this: “Most workers will be freelancers, and to earn a living wage, they will have to work an average of two days a week. Nevertheless, many people will work tirelessly on projects and jobs that relate to their creative interests. Networks will subsume hierarchical organisational structures. As has already happened with open-source software development, many business models will be challenged by networks of knowledge workers providing better products and services at better prices.”     

Reading this and looking around, it becomes pretty clear that the era of The Creator Culture has already begun. 

I am not a rich man. I have not made millions of dollars and probably never will. However, I have created and now run a financially stable platform while, at the same time, kick-starting new projects, new small ventures and making collaborations with very inspiring people - my work has become my passion and vice versa.

And this brings us back to that rainy day in East Village. I am about to meet Philippe and Rich, two guys from two very different generations and backgrounds. Much like me, they have found a way to live their life powered and funded by their passion.

My hope is that you will be inspired by their story and I promise that soon many more inspiring stories will be brought to you by us at CoCreators – enjoy! 

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