For those who have been tuning in, watching & waiting, waiting to see what The Other Comedy Company is becoming — I appreciate your distant eyeballs and can give you a quick update about where we're at.
The main problem I have been trying to solve since I started building this company is: How can I create more work for comedians by helping others achieve their goals?
During the last 5 months of building the business; I've been reflecting on my pandemic years at Shopify and my 13+ years of stand up experience — trying to understand the very nature of work and play.
This is why I've come to the conclusion to make a hard left turn.
When I first started this whole thing. I was a comedy company offering workshops. I now understand I'm building the world's first comedy education company. Imagine a room full of teachers being taught by the class clown. That's what we're up to.
We're subverting expectations to unlock deeper learning and it's going to work.
Right now, I'm the only one who believes this. But I have dedicated myself to an unforgiving self-education routine so I can learn as much I can with the time I have. As we trek along, I will continue creating opportunities to communicate my vision and what I'm trying to build here.
I may be incorrect in my current thinking but would like to operate from a "strong opinions loosely held" position and allow myself to stand corrected if needed.
Here's a transparent breakdown of my present-day assumptions:
Knowledge-Sharing And Digital Tooling Are Accelerating Comedy Development
The rise of self-education has been amplified by nocode tools and knowledge-sharing communities.
Why is this is good for comedians?
The barrier to entry has been significantly decreased
The access to education has been significantly increased
Progress is equal to output of effort
This will allow comedians to captain their own ships without compromising the vision they have for their own careers.
Partner Ecosystems Will Change The Way We Work
Yes I'm talking about a more contractual future where workforces aren't anchored to salaries or political status games.
Why is this good for comedians?
Selectivity: Choose who you want to work with and how you want to work with them. Take back control of the partner process.
Autonomy: There's no point of sitting around waiting on someone else's permission to work. Work how you want to work.
Community: Independent education is happening in every industry opening up relationships with independent filmmakers over studios, managers over agencies, producers over production power.
Quick note: Careful who you trust.
In a lot of ways, a partner ecosystem could mean less accountability if you believe governing powers do a better job at protecting those interests.
Or it could mean more accountability if you develop a deep understanding of contracts and personal responsibility.
Traditional Institutions Are Being Challenged By Independent Markets
Gone are the days of "dead names on the marquee". An old adage used to let comedians know that there could be dead names on the marquee and a full crowd would still show up.
That was the era of traditional brand power.
That's gone now.
Simply because those brands can't answer the question: "How is your brand going to elevate mine?"
They can only tell you how their brand will expose your brand to their audience. But the modern day comedian cares about elevating their career, not being exposed to another crowd that won't remember their name.
Some advice for these traditional brands:
Stop underestimating the acts you work with and start fostering business partnerships with comedians the same way you would a beer brand or a TV network.
Independent markets are NOT the death of traditional comedy brands. They're just the next evolution. Keep a growth mentality and see that "fear of competition" is the road to dominance but embracing competition is the road to freedom. Creative partnerships await. If you're willing.
If you keep doing what you've been doing. You're done.
All this said out of love. My main priority in life, with this business, with whatever I do on this Earth, is to preserve comedy as an art form and make sure its existence is never threatened again (like the way it was during the pandemic).
Comedy Will Outlive All Technology
Technologists want us to believe in their products so much that we need to buy into the narrative that they're changing the fabric of our society. Okay but so did the lemon peeler and so did the shoelace if you really want to get into it.
How about we talk about the things that will never change.
Human connection. The importance of being, learning, playing, gathering and laughing with one another. More of that makes a lot of things on Earth better for our species. Less of that makes things significantly worse.
One way or another, comedy will never die.
We got to this point through the passing-down-of-stories and we'll get to the next point the same way.
Technologists create a lot of good in this world but they also invented planned obsolescence. If the bottom line is the bottom dollar, you're going to bottom out. We need to be better than this.
Like gambling, know your limit and play within.
Death to information hoarding
Accept a few Ls for the business if it means a W for the human tribe
Where Do We Go From Here?
I've had to make some decisions to better the company and ensure the build continues as planned. Here's what's next:
Pivoting from live events to private events only.
Prioritizing the workshop products over anything else.
Assembling a small team of co-founders to help me build forward.
As for these ideas, they're out there now, right or wrong. But please think of what I'm trying to say and feel free to challenge me on @cliffordmyers on Twitter. The better I can sharpen my own ideas, the better I can lead this build.
If you read this far and are interested in my ideas or my business; reach out directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.