Investing in the Future of the Creator Economy -- Rex Woodbury (Principal, Index Ventures)

Rex Woodbury is a Principal at Index Ventures, focusing primarily on the creator economy. Rex started his career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs, during which he time he also co-founded Worthy, an LGBTQ+ mentorship organization. Prior to Index, he worked in impact investing at the Rise Fund, growth investing at TPG, and growth strategy at Airtable. He publishes a weekly newsletter called Digital Native to share his thoughts about the intersection of people and technology.


In this episode, Rex and I explore the forces shaping the future of the creator economy. We discuss the generational shift from Millennials, who grew up believing content should be free (that is, ad supported), to Gen Z, which is embracing subscriptions and online commerce. This coincides with the move from a centralized Web 2.0 era to a more decentralized Web 3.0 future.


We’ve also witnessed the loss of public trust in institutions, from government to corporations. This has led to a surge of populism in everything from politics (see Trump, Bernie, AOC) to finance (GameStop, Dogecoin, AMC). As Rex quips during our conversation, “What is Tesla [stock] other than a social token for Elon Musk?”


As the Elon example illustrates, power is shifting to individuals. It’s easier than ever to be an independent creator, freelancer, or entrepreneur. Artists like Dave Chapelle and Taylor Swift are challenging powerful institutions like cable networks and record labels (and winning!).


All of this is playing out on social media in real time. If the 2010s were the decade of online status, the 2020s are about belonging. Today’s fans relate more to the authenticity of Charlie D’Amelio than the idealized perfection of Chloe Kardashian. Upstarts like Poparazzi, Dispo, and BeReal are challenging the Instagram status quo as we rethink social norms about what we share online and with whom.


So what does the future hold? Rex and I debate how Facebook should respond to its innovator’s dilemma, and we predict continued business model innovation as the Internet shifts from an advertising to commerce-driven model. Finally, we analyze three of the most hotly contested battlegrounds in social media: (1) live audio, (2) short-form video, and (3) AR/VR.


Host: James Creech


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ABOUT THE SHOW


All Things Video is a podcast dedicated to uncovering the past and charting the future of the online video ecosystem. Listen to interviews with founders, executives, and thought leaders from the world’s leading media companies and engage in thought-provoking debates about the issues shaping the next generation of entertainment. From the short-form content revolution to the fragmentation of video viewership in an always-on world, All Things Video reveals the key trends and insights from the world of digital media.


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ABOUT THE HOST


James Creech is an entrepreneur focused on technology, online video, and digital media. He is the Co-Founder & CEO of Measure Studio (next-gen social media analytics) and Paladin (the essential influencer marketing platform).