Online is Real, Real is Online

Alexis Ohanian

Lesson time 08:23 min

Online communities are as real as offline ones. Alexis introduces you to the new wave of online art and the value of NFTs with an anecdote about the theft of the Mona Lisa a century ago.

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Topics include: Online Creators are Real Entrepreneuers • Online Art is Real Art


[MUSIC PLAYING] - For almost two decades, I've been telling people that online communities are just as real as offline communities. So many of us are making relationships, sometimes with total strangers, online in communities where they're falling in love, sharing stock picks, building businesses together. That is the new normal. And what the internet has enabled is disparate people all over the world to come together in communities that cross all kinds of geographies and sort of traditional boundaries. And this is an exciting thing. If you're a creator, if you're an entrepreneur, if you're someone who has an idea, you are more likely than ever to find a community that actually already has this same problem or this same ambition or this same desire. And only in the modern era, thanks to the advent of online communities at scale, can we actually see the power of that and track that. So I think eight years ago, I was one of the first checks into Patreon. And at the time, Kickstarter was a pretty good way to raise money for a project. But what creators wanted was recurring revenue. And what I loved about this idea was friends of mine who were creators, who just wanted to know that their rent would get paid every month, didn't have a recurring source of revenue. But like a good history major, I realized, okay, the Medicis solved this problem during the Renaissance. They were just a ludicrously wealthy family that could make sure to pay Michelangelo's bills for a few years while he painted a ceiling. This can work on the internet. And you don't need one really wealthy family. You could have millions of regular folks, all chipping in a dollar a month, a few dollars a month, to this creator. And in many ways, Patreon kicked off this creator economy. And for almost the last decade now, it has thrived. And it means a new generation of entrepreneurs will be able to make a living on their terms, creating. It's amazing that you can have someone in Oklahoma who does a cappella renditions of video game theme songs who can make a living without ever having to go to LA, without ever having to get an agent, without ever having to sign a deal, just making content that they genuinely love for an audience that genuinely loves the content. And it's a perfect example of how entrepreneurship is not just I think what a lot of us thought 30 years ago, which was, oh, that's starting a company. Today, it's, oh, I want to be a creator. The starving artist cliche exists, because usually when people heard that you were into the arts or creative, they just sort of feel bad for you and be like, gosh, I hope that works out. Now we're seeing a new path. And it's one more example of just how broad the definition for entrepreneur has gotten. And it's a great thing. I made some headlines for wearing a CryptoPunk to the Met Gala. And it was a very particular one that I bought for my wife, because I saw it, and I was like, oh, this look...

About the Instructor

In 2005, UVA undergrad Alexis Ohanian envisioned a place online where users connect over subcultures—enter Reddit. That was only the start: From growing billion-dollar companies to championing female founders, Ohanian shaped culture. Now he wants to lead tomorrow’s innovators. Learn how to turn an idea into a startup with advice Alexis has shared with other entrepreneurs through his VC fund, Seven Seven Six.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Alexis Ohanian

Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian teaches you how to turn an idea into a startup. Get the advice he’s shared through his VC fund, Seven Seven Six.

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