The Rise of the Planet of the Creatives
In 2005, Etsy made a splash, allowing anyone with knitting needles to reach an audience, and MySpace helped musicians like Adele get their big breaks. While the internet has long aided creators trying to get the word out, things have come further in recent years. Targeted platforms like Kickstarter, hitRECord, 20x200, and Of a Kind have emerged, catering to full-time creative professionals looking to market, distribute, and find funding to fuel their careers. At the same time, creative-leaning social media channels like Tumblr and Behance have flourished, allowing makers to build followings. Providing access to marketing and distribution channels, these sites are helping more and more creatives make a living. This panel brings together founders of e-commerce platforms, a social-media director of product, and a photographer who has utilized these tools to discuss and debate this class of independent creative professionals, what’s working now, what’s missing, and where to go from here.
Jen Bekman is a gallerist, entrepreneur, and writer. After building a successful internet career at companies including New York Online, Electric Minds, Disney/GO Networks, Netscape, and Meetup, Jen opened her eponymous gallery in downtown New York in 2003. She created the photo competition Hey, Hot Shot! in 2005, and, in 2007, founded 20x200, an ecommerce site, selling limited-edition fine-art prints at affordable prices. Jen has been named one of Forbes.com’s Top Ten Female Entrepreneurs to Watch and one of Fast Company’s Most Influential Women in Technology, and has been profiled by The New York Times and American Express’s OPEN Forum, among other publications. She speaks at numerous industry events each year, including SXSW Interactive, the XOXO Festival, the Web 2.0 Expo, and the Women Entrepreneurs Festival. A builder and denizen of online communities since before the advent of the web and the founding editor of the design blog Unbeige, Jen is currently most active on Twitter (@jenbee) and Tumblr (at jenbee.tumblr.com).