TikTok Fights Back

HEADLINE: TikTok Fights Back

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Happy Monday ICErs, this week we’ve got TikTok Fallout, DumDum Companies and I’m headed to Singapore Friday for Creator World (meetup details below). Finally, I’m curating Open Sauce’s Industry Day in June.  Sorry this is late here – WP site problems!

TikTok Plays Hardball: TikTok’s going to court. Lots of pundits seem to think Double-T will have a strong free speech case in the US, but I think not. The Biden administration and Congress worked hard to craft a bill that would stand up in court – as it’s focused on national security. US History is full of examples where media and telecom companies (which TikTok is arguably both) have been curtailed during wartime, including the “Espionage Act” in 1917, which gave the Postmaster rights to revoke mailing privileges for suspected publications (mail being the internet of its era) and Huawei and ZTE being banned by the US more recently. Also hearing rumors that top US staff will either quit or be terminated RSN.

Stupid Company Tells Employee-Creator to Stop Promoting Them: When will employers wake up to the power of creator/employees? With 1 in 12 Americans identifying as a creator, every business likely has at least one. Chik-Fil-A had a gem inside one of their stores – and muzzled her. Shake Shack jumped in and took advantage. So now a Chick-Fil-A workers makes branded videos for Shake Shack – garnering millions of views. Wake Up Corporate America. (H/T @jessica Atkinson).

How Not to Build a Paid Community: Watcher made a bombshell announcement 9 days ago: they were abandoning YouTube and moving everything to their $6 a month paid site. Predictably fans revolted. Shortly afterwards they relented – new content would debut on their paid service and would arrive on YouTube 30 days later. While I am sympathetic to the Watcher team, this was a boneheaded move. And a 30 day delay won’t fix it. Remember Vessel? They initially windowed top YouTubers for 30 days, but a similar fan revolt led them to change that to just 3 days. But the damage was already done – as it may well be for Watcher. You just don’t cut your community off at the knees. We clearly need more case studies detailing best practices to convert your best fans to paid – while keeping your casual fans happy too. I hope they can mend fences, but it won’t be easy. Lesson: Better understand your fanbase and figure out which “super-fans” can be enticed to pay, and how to convert casual fans into paying customers before slamming the door. Quick plug for Super.Fans, who could have helped. (Disclosure, I am on their advisory board). Passionfruit explores why this is part of a trend and how it’s all YouTube’s fault.

Does This Look Infected to You? Dear Meta, what if you stopped wasting money on things like, er, the Metaverse and just decided to share revenue with creators instead. Maybe you wouldn’t have lost $200B in marketcap last week. Oh, and here’s a free tip – a Threads raffle is NOT how you pay creators. So Mark, stop trying to thirst-up, and instead focus on building a healthy ecosystem where everyone profits. It’s not that hard. Look up 101 a bit, just past SFO, over on Cherry Ave in San Bruno. If they can do it, you can too.

  • Related: Stratechery on why “Open” is important to Meta and indirectly suggests a path towards better creator payouts. Meta is about time spent and attention. Creators can meaningfully dent that – but only if they act together.








  • CREATOR LABS is in the books – an amazing show-within-NAB that I wrapped up last week. So fun – our post-show meetup had over 80 creator economy leaders hanging out and plotting the future over cocktails and snacks.
  • CREATOR WORLD! I’m headed to Singapore this week to help host Creator World with @Jasper Donat. Excited to welcome @anthony brown, @ricky ray butler, @dylan Harari, @mohamad fatal @esther nguyen @sherry wong and many more top execs to our stage. I’ll be doing an informal meetup Wednesday after the show (around 6:30) at Senor Taco at Clarke Quay, where the free Music Matters Live music festival kicks off at 8p! Come join me at Creator World – here’s an awesome discount.
  • OPEN SAUCE: No rest for me! I’m also curating and programming the industry day at Open Sauce in San Francisco June 14th. Open Sauce is an amazing “Vidcon meet Maker Faire” style event, with over 150 top STEM creators and much more. I’ve already lined up @Andrew Mason of Descript, @Paul Bakaus of Spotter and @Sean Kim of Kajabi to talk about how they’re using AI to deliver outsized benefits for creators – and much more on the way! Want to speak at Open Sauce? Drop me a line!
  • And then it’s off to VIDCON two weeks later!

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I’ve built and sold multiple creator economy startups to top media companies – including Discovery and Paramount. Subscribe here on LinkedIn to get this newsletter every Monday.

Have a great week out there ICErs and hopefully we’ll cross paths at an event soon! If you’re in SE Asia, drop me a line, I’m hitting up Penang, Singapore, Yogyakarta, Surabaya and west Bali over the next two weeks.

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