Bold Business Logo

Riding the Creator Economy Wave

Over the course of the last few decades, there has been quite a shift in the marketplace. At first, the Information Age allowed us to readily communicate, share, and store data. But we soon learned that the Internet could be used for much more. Web 2.0 and the rise of social media ushered in a new era that can best be described as the creator economy. (Read more about how social media is driving the creator economy in this Bold story.) It is here where we now find ourselves. And everyone, including creators and influencers alike, are doing their best to figure out next steps.

The days of a few broadcast media reaching millions of people have passed. Today, the creator economy allows anyone with a passion to showcase their insights and skills. Creators and influencers now are being recognized as essential workers in this new space. as a result, a variety of platforms are introducing new ways to attract these individuals. The question, however, is just how long we will be in this new creator economy. If one thing is guaranteed, especially today, change is inevitable. The opportunity that presents itself today is not likely to be there tomorrow.

“Rather than ten TV shows consumed by billions of people, we now have hundreds of millions of shows that cater to billions of people…Additionally, the people who are creating content for that topic are truly and authentically passionate about it.” – Eric Freytag, Head of Growth and Marketing, Streamlabs

Defining the Creator Economy

In order to discuss the creator economy, it is first necessary to divine what that is. Over the course of the last several years, multiple Internet and social media platforms have become more sophisticated. However, these platforms rely upon creative content in order to excel. Initially, advertising and brand sponsorship help support such creative content. But overtime, it became increasingly evident that creators and influencers demanded more. As competition among these platforms has increased, so have the various strategies to attract creators and influencers.

Certainly, advertising and brand sponsorship remain important pieces of the income puzzle. Brand sponsorships were estimated to account for $8 billion of revenue in 2019 within the creator economy. In 2021, this is expected to rise to $15 billion. But in addition to these revenues, several sites are offering new revenue strategies to attract creators and influencers. These not only include new features to assist in creation of content. It also includes direct funding, subscription paradigms, and various ways to collect tips. For consumers, this may mean they will pay more for exclusive content. But for creators and influencers, the opportunity to earn revenues for their efforts will increase significantly.

“The power has shifted away from the platforms to the creators. The platforms all stepped up and realized that they were in grave danger of losing their labor force, if they didn’t add these features.” – Josh Constine, Principal, SignalFire

Modern Creator Economy Opportunities

Providing creative content on the Internet is not anything new. For several years, those who wish to explore their creative passions could do so through various sites. For example, Amazon publishing, Etsy, and eBay offered opportunities for some. For bloggers, Tumblr and WordPress did the same. For those who enjoy streaming content, twitch and mixer are routinely used. And of course, photographers and film makers flock to Pinterest and YouTube, respectively. Each of these remain great opportunities for creators and influencers to make a statement. But they are no longer the only ones.

A woman creating content for her cooking show
Influencer marketing is driving a major slice of the content creation industry.

The largest changes in terms of modern revenue platforms for creators and influencers are taking place in the social media space. (Dig deeper into the battle between Big Tech and content creators in this Bold story.) TikTok got the ball rolling with its initial $2 billion creative fund. Its success in attracting creative content has led multiple other social media giants to follow suit. YouTube now offers a total of $100 million in funding for content for its Shorts platform. Snapchat also has a short film feature called Spotlight, and it has spent $130 million for content since November. In the meantime, Facebook is paying video gamers to play games while streaming, an Instagram is exploring user subscriptions. And Twitter recently launched its Super Follow page where users can access exclusive content and live-audio chats for a fee. You might say creators and influencers have quite the menu of choices.

“Creators are taking their rightful place in the center of the creator economy universe. We need to be their home base.” – Jamie Byrne, Senior Director of Creator Partnerships, YouTube

The Difference Between Creators and Influencers

It is worth noting the difference between a creator and an influencer. A creator is anyone who chooses to create any type of content on an Internet or social media platform. This can involve a variety of contexts. For example, podcasts, blogs, gaming streams, music, and a variety of other content might belong to a specific creator. In contrast, an influencer is a creator who has the ability to influence consumer patterns. In general, influencer marketing has a much larger following in the creator economy. For this reason, they are much more highly sought after. In essence, they are becoming as popular as many television and film celebrities because of their influence.

Given these definitions, it is estimated there are some 50 million creators currently present on social media sites today. Based on statistics, the average person spends roughly 2.5 hours a day on social media. Thus, there is tremendous demand within the creator economy for ongoing content. But while creators and influencers have the opportunity to cash-in on the content they create, few are highly successful. For most, their earnings are only enough to support their passions for the content they create. It is the true influencers of the creator economy who are often publicized as the high-dollar earners.

A Highly Dynamic Environment

By all accounts, these social media and Internet marketplace is one that continues to be in flux. Their creator economy is a natural evolution of changes that had to occur. Those who create content provide the substance that drives audiences to a number of platforms. It only makes sense, therefore, that these creators and influencers should enjoy opportunities to earn from their efforts. But the mechanisms by which this will happen will continue to evolve in time. For those who will be the most successful, agility and the ability to adapt will be key.


Defining diversity, equity and inclusion for business can be difficult – get the free six-page handout that can help put you on the right track!

The Growth Potential of Mergers and Acquisitions

When it comes to mergers and acquisitions, many small and medium sized companies shy away. The financial risks associated with such a strategy can be intimidating. Likewise, it is not always clear how a company might enjoy growth through acquisition within a specific market. Without question, mergers and acquisitions are not always ideal for all businesses. Performing due diligence and having an understanding of the growth potential of these actions are important. But in the right situation, mergers and acquisitions offer excellent ways to increase value propositions. It is important for companies to appreciate this in order to succeed in the marketplace.

There are many examples of both successes and failures when it comes to mergers and acquisitions. Likewise, there are a number of advantages that such activities may offer as well as a few important risks. Certainly, financial growth through acquisitions can be tempting. But examining financial growth alone can often cause a short-sighted perspective that leads to undesirable outcomes. With this in mind, exploring the types of opportunities that are ideal for these pursuits can be helpful. Today, companies are even using AI to assist with these assessments. (Read more about leveraging artificial intelligence for mergers & acquisitions in this Bold story.) With such insights, companies can make better decisions regarding possible growth solutions.

Gus Rojo Bold Business Mergers and Acquisitions
Growth through acquisition can often be the smart strategy to explore.

Leveraging Mergers and Acquisitions for Sustained Growth

In 2005, there was a relatively unknown mobile startup company called Android. It is estimated that Google purchased the company for $50 million. Overall, this was a relatively small purchase price when comparing it to other companies Google acquired that year. However, the acquisition of Android enabled Google to compete with apple and Microsoft in the advancing mobile device market. Notably, Google’s growth through acquisition of Android in this area has been profound. Android now occupies the majority share of the smartphone platform market.

The purchase of Android is a great example of how mergers and acquisitions offer strategic growth opportunity. Certainly, financial growth opportunities can occur with these activities. Some acquisitions offer investment opportunities while others boost cash flows. But the real potential for growth through acquisition involves the enhanced offerings provided. Depending on a specific situation, mergers and acquisitions can increase a company’s competitive advantage within their marketplace. The following include some of the most important ways growth through acquisition can benefit a particular business.

  • Provide Opportunities to Gain Larger Market Share – mergers and acquisitions can often help businesses attain a larger portion of their market. With the proper due diligence, such opportunities can be explored to determine the impact this might have.
  • Provide Opportunities to Enter New Markets – In addition to expanding markets, growth through acquisition can also allow businesses to enter new markets. This was the case with Android and Google. This can be quite useful when businesses need to fill specific gaps in their product or service offerings.
  • Provide Opportunities for Horizontal Integration – Mergers and acquisitions also allow companies to participate in horizontal integrations and expansions. This often involves adding complementary products and services to existing offerings. If done well, such a strategy can also increase market presence and brand recognition.
  • Provide Opportunities for Diversification – For some companies, growth through acquisition might occur through greater product or service diversification. This may not always be ideal for all businesses. But if it aligns with a particular business strategy, mergers and acquisition may be a great way to achieve this.
  • Provide Opportunities for Economies and Efficiencies of Scale – Notably, companies are often looking for ways to reduce costs or to increase efficiencies. Strategic mergers and acquisitions can often help achieve these targets. As a result, companies can become more competitive within their marketplace while also enjoying growth through acquisition.
  • Reduce Time Required for Organic Growth – all companies should focus on organic growth strategies. But growth through acquisition can often compliment these strategies and help realize them more efficiently and faster. This is particularly true when learning curves are extended or complicated as companies grow in new directions. In such instances, mergers and acquisitions might offer better solutions.
  • Provide Opportunities to Secure Key Talent – In certain industries, finding expertise and talent can be difficult. In other sectors, regulatory barriers and access to intellectual properties may be challenging. In these types of circumstances, mergers and acquisitions can also provide effective solutions. This too offers significant potential for growth through acquisition and select situations.
James Sherman Bold Business Mergers and Acquisitions
Growth through acquisitions has long been an important facet of corporate expansion.

Understanding When Not to Pursue Mergers and Acquisitions

Of course, mergers and acquisitions are not always the right solution for every situation or every company. The potential for growth through acquisition must be weighed against the potential risks and setbacks. If a merger or acquisition causes destabilization of a company, this could be counterproductive to strategic goals. This most commonly occurs when there is a culture clash between the parent company and the acquisition. Other potential risks include the dilution of brand strength that might occur with a specific merger or acquisition. And of course, these types of activities can be distracting causing leadership to lose focus on key business goals.

Understanding this, it is important to explore mergers and acquisitions in detail before moving forward. In many instances, small and medium sized companies lack the experience and/or time to commit to these activities. In these circumstances, seeking professional guidance can be a great help in making sure the right choices are made. Not only can this help in avoiding unwise mergers and acquisitions. But it can also help businesses take full advantage of the opportunities presented. Without question, there is great potential for growth through acquisition. But it’s critical these pursuits be thoroughly assessed before committing valuable resources to the effort.


Explore your mergers and acquisitions options with the experts experienced in helping corporate buyers and middle-market private equity source and close acquisition opportunities.

For the Sake of Space Tourism, Bezos, Musk and Branson Are Going Forth Boldly

The space tourism race is moving ahead full force. Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson are all actively planning major launches into space in the near future. While each of these entrepreneurs has their own unique approach, their vision of space travel is quite similar—as is the boldness of their goals. (For more on the Bold Goals of Bezos, Musk and Branson, check out this Notes From Ed.) Each one aspires to make commercial space travel accessible to anyone, creating an entirely new definition of the modern astronaut. For them, the modern space traveler will involve a much more expansive definition. And it will likely completely change the way we envision space tourism of the future.

“[Space travel is] a thing I’ve wanted to do all my life. It’s an adventure. It’s a big deal for me.” – Jeff Bezos, CEO and Founder, Blue Origin

The Latest News in Space Tourism

In terms of space tourism, the three major companies involved include Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, and SpaceX. Each of these companies have big plans in the coming months. Making the news most recently is Bezos’ Blue Origin space rocket, the “New Shepard”. In early May, Bezos launched an online auction for one of the six seats available on the vessel. While the initial stages of the auction were shielded, subsequent rounds were not. Reportedly, bids have been as high as $3 million. The final determination of who gets to be an astronaut will occur via live auction in June. The lucky winner will not only enjoy traveling to the edge of space. They will also be seated next to Bezos and his brother on the trip.

Unlike Bezos, Branson has been accepting requests for space travel on his Virgin Galactic for some time. The going price to become a modern astronaut on Branson’s vessel ranges between $200,000 and $250,000. At the same time, Virgin Galactic has a waiting list of over 600 people currently. Both Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic plan to take space travelers on a weightless experience at the edge of space. In contrast, SpaceX has a more immersive vision of space tourism. (Read more about about the SpaceX plan to ferry tourists to the moon in this Bold story.) They plan to allow a modern astronaut to not only experience weightlessness. They also hope to provide them with an opportunity to orbit around the Earth. Thus, while trips to the edge of space only take minutes, such an orbit will likely take a few days.

“In the decades since, fewer than 600 astronauts have been to space above the Kármán Line to see the borderless Earth and the thin limb of our atmosphere. They all say this experience changes them.” – Blue Origin email communication

Modern Astronaut Training

In the 1960s, astronauts went through extensive training in order to be approved for space travel. It was not until the 1980s that mission specialists and payload specialists were included in space shuttle launches. However, even they had to go through fairly rigorous training before a launch. While the modern astronaut does not go through the same level of training, all space tourism companies do require some. However, training is now supervised privately rather than being overseen by NASA. For some, this raises questions about whether these space travelers should even be called astronauts at all.

A big Blue Origin building sitting in the sun
Bezos’ Blue Origin, as well as Virgin Galactic and SpaceX, are driving space tourism to new heights.

In terms of the space tourism companies, Bezos’ Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic have similar training requirements. Modern astronaut training for these companies involved three full days of assessment and the education. For Blue Origin specifically, all travelers must be 18 years of age and be between 5’0” and 6’4” in height. They must also be able to climb seven flights of stairs in 90 seconds and fasten/unfasten a harness in 15 seconds. Because SpaceX plans longer commercial space travel, their modern astronaut training is more rigorous. These include centrifuge tests for space travelers. Likewise, anyone traveling to the International Space Station must undergo research training by NASA. But even this level of training is substandard when compared to astronaut training of the past.

“I think that it’s a real vote of confidence that Jeff Bezos, one of the richest men in the world, and presumably his insurer have allowed him to be on this first flight.” – Laura Forczyk, Owner of Astralytical, a space consulting firm

So Now Everyone Can Be an Astronaut?

In reflecting on the rapid changes in the space tourism sector, it is clear that new terms need to be considered. The title of astronaut has always carried a significant degree of respect and admiration. This is because historically only the most qualified and exceptional individuals could make the cut. In many ways, this is quite similar to airplane travel today. Pilots who fly commercial planes continue to garner such respect while passengers do not. It therefore seems that the label of modern astronaut should be best applied to those actively navigating the vessel. For everyone else on board, they are simply space travelers along for the ride.

Regardless of nomenclature, it is evident that commercial space tourism will become a reality in the near future. With private industry and billionaire entrepreneurs involved, space travel has advanced at record pace. No longer will physical and mental abilities determine who can and cannot become a modern astronaut or space traveler. At least for the time being, the size of one’s bank account is the more relevant determinant. This combined with some basic abilities currently define the commercial space traveler. And while they too deserve respect, it’s not quite the same as astronauts of the past.


UPDATE – 6.25.21: Branson’s Virgin Galactic has received approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to take passengers, and as a result, saw their stock value surge 22%. Virgin Galactic takes the lead!


For more on the Bold Goals of Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Richard Branson, check out this week’s Notes From Ed!