In today's digital age, the concept of the Creator Economy has gained significant traction. Content creators are flourishing, building their own platforms and engaging with their audience on various channels. But who was the first member of the Creator Economy? Could it be Randy Cassingham, the mastermind behind the popular newsletter "This is True"?

Esteban Tala

Esteban Tala

Feb 10, 20243 min read

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In today's digital age, the concept of the Creator Economy has gained significant traction. Content creators are flourishing, building their own platforms and engaging with their audience on various channels. But who was the first member of the Creator Economy? Could it be Randy Cassingham, the mastermind behind the popular newsletter "This is True"?

Cassingham's inspiration for This is True didn't come from reading other email newsletters. In fact, he claims he wasn't subscribed to any at the time. Instead, his ideas were sparked by a simple corkboard outside his office. He would clip out news articles, highlight interesting parts, add his own handwritten comments, and stick them on the bulletin board. To his surprise, colleagues would gather around the board, captivated by the curated content. This got Cassingham thinking: "This could be a good growth strategy for my own newsletter. I can post the content I curate, add my own commentary, and share it on online boards."

However, Cassingham faced a copyright issue. The articles he clipped were protected, and he couldn't simply reprint them in his newsletter. So, he came up with a brilliant solution. He would rewrite the stories in his own words, allowing him to quickly get to the point and set up a punchline. Each item in his newsletter ended with his pithy commentary, often involving pun-based jokes. The result was a couple hundred words of carefully crafted content that entertained and engaged his readers.

But what set Cassingham apart from other content creators of his time was his innovative approach to distribution. In the first issue of This is True, he encouraged his readers to forward the newsletter to anyone they thought would enjoy it. While it had a copyright notice, Cassingham welcomed the idea of sharing as long as it was done in its entirety. This simple act of allowing his audience to become ambassadors for his content played a crucial role in the growth and success of This is True.

Reflecting on Cassingham's journey, we can uncover some valuable insights that can be applied to our own pursuits in the Creator Economy. Firstly, finding a unique and engaging way to curate content can be a powerful strategy. Cassingham's bulletin board approach allowed him to stand out and capture the attention of his audience. By adding your own commentary and personal touch, you can create a distinct voice that resonates with your readers.

Secondly, overcoming copyright challenges requires creativity. Cassingham couldn't simply copy and paste articles, so he took the time to rewrite them in his own words. This not only allowed him to avoid legal issues but also gave him the freedom to deliver the content in a concise and punchy manner. When faced with obstacles, think outside the box and find innovative solutions that align with your values and goals.

Lastly, empowering your audience to become advocates for your content can be a game-changer. Cassingham's decision to encourage his readers to forward the newsletter was a powerful growth strategy. By leveraging the network effect, he was able to reach new audiences and expand his reach organically. Consider ways in which you can foster a sense of community and encourage your audience to share your content with others who may find value in it.

In conclusion, Randy Cassingham may very well be considered one of the pioneers of the Creator Economy. His approach to curating and distributing content paved the way for countless creators who followed in his footsteps. By finding your unique voice, overcoming challenges with creativity, and empowering your audience, you too can thrive in the Creator Economy. So, take inspiration from Cassingham's journey and embark on your own path to success.

Resource:

  1. "Was Randy Cassingham the first member of the Creator Economy?", https://simonowens.substack.com/p/was-randy-cassingham-the-first-member (Glasp)
  2. "3-2-1: Busyness, what makes us happy, and going a little overboard", https://jamesclear.com/3-2-1/october-27-2022 (Glasp)

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