It should come as no surprise that creators care about talent.
Specifically, they care about the talent needed to support their business. Just like companies, creators must find, recruit, and hire the right team to execute on a shared vision. Though a number of hiring-related resources are available to creators as they think about bringing on team members, such as editors, producers, designers, and scriptwriters (check out YT Jobs), there is an apparent opportunity to help fill the significant “operator void.”
Many creators are looking for an experienced operator who can help them grow from what is effectively a one-person company to a substantial business with multiple income streams or verticals. This hire could be a Chief Operating Officer (COO), President, or Manager that wants to immerse themself more deeply in the day-to-day business operations. They help the creator prioritize their time, make resource allocation decisions, execute on ideas, and stand up the business infrastructure required to scale. Usually, they have a mix of finance, management, and business operations experience, and have assumed the CEO or COO role before at a media or consumer business.
Take Marc Hustvedt, Brian Flanagan, and Matt Kendrick as examples. Marc, the President at MrBeast, is a longtime executive in the digital entertainment industry; he has served as CEO at multiple companies and co-founded Tubefilter, a leading creator-focused media business. Brian, the COO at Mythical Entertainment, was a former digital media COO with finance experience across private equity and investment banking. And Matt, CEO and Founder of Good Good Golf, is a multi-time CEO across creator, media, and consumer businesses and helps run a venture fund.
These operators are the creators’ strategic partners that bring the requisite expertise to grow creator ventures into scaled, multi-pronged businesses. While the value of their role is clear, the question remains: where might creators find them? Perhaps they are a would-be founder, or an MBA graduate looking to run a search fund or become a GM of a start-up’s business unit.
But there are two, key hurdles to attracting talent: awareness and compensation.
Most of these potential operators are not aware that partnering with a creator is a viable career opportunity. And even if they were educated about and interested in working with a creator, a platform does not exist to link supply and demand. With enough visibility, however, we are confident a marketplace will emerge, just as YT Jobs did for other types of talent needs.
For many of these operators, a key piece of the compensation equation is their ability to influence business outcomes and participate in the upside. This is where creator holding companies can be particularly helpful – they provide the structure required to issue employee equity that most effectively aligns incentives for system-wide growth. Additionally, raising capital at the holding company level provides a market price that supports a more comprehensive compensation calculus (cash + equity + risk adjusted equity appreciation). Finally, just like investors, operators will need to understand potential liquidity outcomes in order to value their compensation. Fortunately, we believe more exit examples will emerge in the near-to-medium term. Whether in the form of public offerings, secondaries, or even crypto, we don’t think this future state is far off.
Though significant today, we believe these challenges will naturally be lessened over time. Creator-led businesses have only emerged in the last several years, and the standard for their organizational structure is early and experimental. As they continue to be trialed and gain mainstream acceptance, however, these companies will earn the attention and credibility required to attract great talent. And just as becoming a creator is now one of the most sought-after career paths, so too will working on their teams ultimately be recognized as a uniquely exciting and lucrative opportunity.
An exploration into individual- and creator-first companies: how they are built, underwritten, and financed. From the Slow Ventures Team, Sam Lessin, Megan Lightcap, and Caroline Cline.