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The rise of the "reality entrepreneur"
One of the co-founders of Yes Theory, Ammar, often reminds me of this quote from Aristotle:
"Those who tell the stories rule the world."
Emphasis mine. The word "the" is so weirdly placed there, isn't it? But when you really think about it... it makes sense. For a long time, there were stories that you told at dinners with family and there were THE stories that came through governments, news organizations, and all other centralized bodies.
But today... THE stories are now fragmented and spread all over the place. Reality, it would seem, is completely up for interpretation. There is no centralized source of perceived truth, which has created a great opportunity for responsive entrepreneurs...
I think it was Erik Torenberg who coined the term "reality entrepreneur." Around here and these days, we mostly call them "creators." Loosely defined as people that are "making content online." But it's more than that.
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Creators aren't selling content... they're selling a version of reality. Their chosen version of reality.
We tend to see this as different from the past, but it really isn't...
For generations, every religious leader, politician, Fortune 500 CEO, and Hollywood director has sold us some packaged version of the way they think reality works, and sold us a vision for hopefully how we might survive it. The difference is — we the consumers of reality — didn't have much choice in the matter.
Now, we have nearly unlimited options and maps, and we are even being called to co-create new versions. We have the tools at our finger tips — code and creativity — that allow us to put our mark in this one grand human story. We don't have to wait for someone else to tell us what this whole life thing is about.
Previous generations stopped trusting institutions, but failed to build better ones in their place... so naturally, we are unbundling and decentralizing.
All with the knowing that humanity just follows these cycles over and over: bundle and unbundle, centralize and decentralize, order and chaos.
Creators are a step towards unbundling, decentralization, and chaos, which will eventually swing back to something more collective. The system as a whole will grow stronger because of its diversity, redundancy, and fragile parts.
I tend to think that the rise of "reality entrepreneurs" is this one large hedge against the existential terror that one day everyone we know and love won't be here anymore. It's a key component in this generation's answer to the question: why are we here?
We follow creators not just to escape from, but escape to, a different, more hopeful reality. And... we seek to be creators because we want our personal stories to fit into some larger arc that makes more sense.
One where we can — at least for a bit of time — think to ourselves:
There has to be more than this.