Stop Wallowing And Start Doing Cool Stuff With Business Models, The Wil Wheaton Edition

from the excellent dept

We gently knocked Wil Wheaton recently for saying some things that we thought were a bit wrongheaded in terms of dealing with people copying his work — while noting that for the most part he absolutely seemed to “get” where things were heading and had a long history of embracing that. Whatever you think of that minor blip, it looks like he’s definitely got the right idea when it comes to new business models. Reader Avengingwatcher alerts us to a recent blog post by Wheaton where he’s inspired by the fact that people can just “get excited and make things” if they have an idea, rather than having to go through the old gatekeeper model that so many were stuck in for so long. Specifically, he talks about print-on-demand solutions that take much of the upfront risk out of creating just about anything — since you no longer need to pay for massive production at the beginning, and can just see what people want and order:

This is incredibly inspiring to me, and I hope that it’s just as inspiring to indie artists everywhere. Why not take a creative risk and see if it works out? Unlike the old days, when we had to purchase a lot of stock ahead of time and hope we could sell it, we can just Get Excited and Make Things, knowing that the very worst that can happen is that nobody likes that thing we made as much as we thought they would.

Much of this is inspired by some experiments some friends are doing and discussing — and one of the links he puts forth tries to tackle the “but this only works if you’re big and famous” fallacy that we’ve debunked in the past.

I have to admit that 2009 has really become the year of creators embracing cool, working business models. These days, we get probably five to ten submissions per day of more artists embracing these sorts of business models that we talk about. We used to write about many of these, but it’s reached the stage where we really only pick and choose to write about really interesting or unique ones, even as we see that many of these are working wonders. But the key point is the one that Wheaton hinges his post on, which is that more and more people aren’t worrying any more, but they’ve decided to

Get Excited and Make Things
Is there any better motto for what’s happening these days?

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Comments on “Stop Wallowing And Start Doing Cool Stuff With Business Models, The Wil Wheaton Edition”

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Anonymous Coward says:

The interesting thing is, the reason the various incumbent industries hate so much new technology is precisely because they no longer have the exclusive in publishing stuff, now anyone can self publish with relatively no fixed costs, only costs per unit (and in plenty of cases, even that is negligible, such as the case of digital). Hwil Hweaton has it right.

Chris Maresca (profile) says:

Distributed light manufacturing...

… it’s one of my pet theories that the cost of producing sophisticated stuff has gone through the floor in the past 5 years and a lot more technology to ‘make stuff’ is available to average people.

Everything from on-demand parts manufacture (eMachineShop & Shapeways) to sophisticated electronics and communications hardware (SparkFun) to low cost microcontroller platforms (Arduino). All this has lead to some crazy attempts at creating insanely complicated things like UAVs and cars through variants of crowdsourcing (DIY Drones and Local-Motors).

And I think we ain’t seen nothing yet. Talk about an industrial revolution…


chris (profile) says:

Re: Distributed light manufacturing...

And I think we ain’t seen nothing yet. Talk about an industrial revolution…

it gets better:
rapid prototyping –
(3d printing for $750)

workshop collectives –
(find one in your home town) – i helped start one in cincinnati.

laser cutting market place –
(buy laser cut stuff on demand, sell stuff you can laser cut)

some of us are calling it IR2: the second industrial revolution:

there will always be a market for big factories that can make millions of widgets for 10 cents each, but they are all in china and you need to order at least a million units to get them to take your calls. this fills the gap between the factory and the garage inventor.

another way to look at it is a rebirth of cottage industry:

Anonymous Coward says:

“If older folk still buy music and younger people steal it, why did John Mayer sell almost twice as many albums the first week out as Bon Jovi?

Yes, according to, John Mayer sold 301,204 copies of his new album, “Battle Studies”, this week. Whereas last week, Bon Jovi moved 165,871 copies of “The Circle”.

Ready for some truly horrifying news? This week “The Circle” fell all the way to number 19, selling 50,153 copies, a whopping drop of 70%. Whew!

What’s the difference between John and Jon?

One is living in 2009 and the other is living in the last century.”

BobinBaltimore (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I get your point, but the comparison is fallacious. John Mayer is a current artist. Bon Jovi saw their best years literally 20 years ago. And they are in different genres. Comparing their sales numbers is problematic. That aside, your point *might* still stand, if you can find a contemporary to make it valid.

Anonymous Coward says:

If you listen to lawyers litigations is what you get.

Here is an idea.

Go to Second Life and create a virtual bar, studio or anything really and sell virtual merchandise to your fans, you can even get them to your virtual store that will sell everything including real merch with virtual performances LoL

Go to any social network and create a game, I hear its getting big the social game thingy lately and with in game accessories so people want to by for pennies accessories for they characters or give your songs as gifts(oops somebody patented that didn’t they?)

This days you can even use your own face to make a virtual doll(thatsmyface) of yourself of course they will call it avatar.

People are not exploring the possibilities with the eyes of real entrepreneurs they got stuck with the lenses of lawyers and that can kill you financially.

If you want to make it in the digital age you have to understand the digital world first to see where it is going, where people are and what they are doing.

People that don’t use the digital means should never be in a decision making position they don’t experience it, they don’t know anything about it, they probably don’t even use a social network and can’t see the opportunities and so they are irrelevant in this age because they can’t see what is happening while being run down by new behaviours that they missed while saying how they are proud to be Luddites.

If any one wants to make some money you don’t listen to people who don’t understand the market is that simple.

Would you trust lawyers and managers to fix your car?

So if you want a part of the digital age you listen to people who are immersed on it.

Eric Stein (profile) says:

Print on demand

I’d like to tell you about a guy who’s been a print on demand guru since the ’80s when he had a section on GEnie. Don Lancaster, who also has a lot of useful things to say about patents.

About book on demand

I think he’d agree that you can’t let the preconceptions of publishing (or any) industry keep you from getting your stuff out there.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Oddly, the internet doesn’t shut down. I am surprised you don’t have the technology to stock a few posts and let them loose over the weekends, rather than piling in a bunch of posts late friday and then ignoring the site until monday morning.

But hey, it’s your site. congrats to the winners.

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