A friend of mine shared a talk by Jack Conte, of Pomplamoose at XOXO with me (thanks, Harrison!) and I was struck by how much of his talk about being a content creator/entrepreneur is applicable to entrepreneurship more broadly.
Jack talks about the challenge of putting out content, and how when you wait longer, you feel the need to put out better content to justify the wait. The self-editor prevents us from putting out work that might not be perfect, and it becomes a vicious cycle.
Many product startups have the same problem. We don’t want to launch until it’s ready, but we can always come up with a reason that it’s not ready yet.
The Money Function
Jack also talked about what comes after creating good work. In order to be able to keep making music (and music videos), you have to solve for the function f:
In other words, what function or system takes music as an input and returns money. It used to be CDs, then it was YouTube, now maybe it’s touring. But the interesting part for non-musician entrepreneurs comes when we look at it more broadly:
And yes, that includes:
In the lean startup community, we talk a lot about market risk – the risk of building something that no one wants – but Jack Conte’s distillation of that concept to a simple formula is an elegant framing of the problem.
Solving this formula is half the job. Creating great works of art – or building great products – is the other half, not the whole job. Without both halves, you don’t get to keep doing the work.
It’s not a problem if you want to do something once, but if you want to keep doing it, you have to figure out how to make enough money to keep it (and you) going.