Rappers are very much analogous to bloggers in that both groups sort of do what they do because they want to do it, but they also know there’s not really any worth to what they’re doing – except sometimes one of their cohort gets scooped up by some faceless place with money, so there’s always a little halo of maybe-money attached to what they do. Maybe that halo’s worth more than actually making a piddly amount of money.
What people today are beginning to realize is what became obvious to us back then—the important correlation is the one between familiarity and value, not scarcity and value.
I see two paths towards a more earnest culture:
1) Glorify the revision process. The goal would be to illuminate the messy middle steps that underly successful endeavors. For example, in his interview with Ben Casnocha, Colin Marshall suggested a museum of rough drafts that would emphasize how most everyone’s first draft sucks. This applies particularly well to art but generalizes, as we could include first business plans, first lines of code, and first experimental designs. If these messy middle steps are glorified then people will be more willing to share them.
2) Shun those who act mysteriously. Mysteriousness is cool because it emphasizes the short run over the long run. In the short run your onlookers will think of your success as effortless, which will raise your status. But in the long run, nobody knows how to help you or whether they can offer you advice, because you haven’t made your plans transparent. So we should punish mysteriousness and unabashedly pressure people to open up.
I love the idea of a Museum of Rough Drafts.