Creating in a shitstorm kind of sums up what it’s been like to be a content creator during the COVID-19 pandemic times.
No matter how much work creators put in they are never creating enough content to feed the beastly appetite of the Internet, according to Conte.
Connectivity has replaced connection, Conte said. People feel lonely and creators are feeling burned out, he said.
So, his hour-long talk focused on how to re-ignite that creativity and find inspiration and meaning. He also told the audience that he hates advice and that every time he yelled out advice they were supposed to respond with “Fuck you, Jack,” which they did.
Conte began the talk recounting his experience co-founding in 2013 Patreon, a subscription platform that allows musicians, artists, writers, filmmakers and other creators to get paid by people supporting their work.
At the time of launch, Conte was philosophically opposed to a monthly subscription business model. He believed that creators should be paid per creation, and they should be paid when they publish. He admits he was wrong. He said humility is a trait in business that needs to be emphasized more.
In 2014, Patreon reluctantly agreed to a monthly subscription model, Conte said.
“If we hadn’t added monthly, Patreon would have been put out of business by another subscription model,” he said.
Today, more than 90 percent of people on Patreon use the monthly feature, he said.
“My original idea for Patreon wasn’t a good idea,” he said.
The key in business is to admit when you’re wrong, and adjust your course, he said.
It’s a compelling piece of advice about humility, he said.
Also, when Patreon launched, Conte created a list of 40 creators he wanted on the platform, and they all turned him down. He paid $10.17 for the domain name, hired a designer on 99Designs.com to create Patreon’s logo and launched with just three creators including himself, his girlfriend and his roommate.
“I almost gave up,” Conte said.
But he didn’t. And today, Patreon has distributed more than $3.5 billion to creators worldwide since its founding, he said. Patreon makes money by taking a 5 percent to 12 percent fee from creators on its platform. To date, Patreon has raised $413.3 million in 10 rounds of funding from 37 investors, according to Crunchbase.
“Sometimes when you think you have a good idea you’ve just got to stick to your guns,” Conte said.
“A piece of advice about advice fuck advice.,” Conte said. “Advice doesn’t work.”
Every individual is different and the only one who can figure out what’s right for you right now is you, he said.
Conte spent the rest of his talk giving advice about customized design, inspiration, doing less and focusing on quality, being true to yourself.