May 13, 2020
“I don’t think that we’re born individualists or we’re
born a member of a community, but I think all these spaces are
real. They all exist for all of us.” –Yancey Strickler
Welcome to the Conscious Creators Show; where through intimate and insightful
interviews with authors, actors, musicians, entrepreneurs and other
podcasters, you'll learn tools and tactics to 10x your creativity
and strategies to grow and monetize your audience.
Strickler is a writer and entrepreneur. He is the
cofounder and former CEO of Kickstarter, author of This Could Be
Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World (Viking), and the
creator of Bentoism. Yancey has been recognized as a Young Global
Leader by the World Economic Forum and one of Fast Company’s Most
Creative People. He’s spoken at the Museum of Modern Art, Sundance
and Tribeca Film Festivals, Web Summit, MIT, and events around the
globe. He co-founded the artist resource The Creative Independent
and the record label eMusic Selects. Yancey grew up in Clover
Hollow, Virginia, and began his career as a music critic in New
On today’s episode of the
Conscious Creator podcast, host Sachit Gupta speaks with
Kickstarter co-founder and author Yancey Strickler. They discuss
how Yancey’s background as a music critic and creator influenced
his work on Kickstarter, how he and his co-founders infused
Kickstarter with very intentional values, why he loves sci-fi, and
more. Yancey also shares information about his decision making
framework, Bentoism, and how he found and developed the
- Yancey grew up on a farm in
rural Virginia with no neighbors for miles around.
- Up until now, if you want to raise VC, you have to be
in NYC or San Francisco just for the necessary relationship
- Yancey thinks with the recent increased interest in less urban
areas, there may be a development of “flyover tech” or rural/red
state tech, particularly with the increase in working
- He moved to New York on a whim,
with 2 days’ notice, and got a job writing the news blurbs for
- Yancey eventually became a
music critic for The Village Voice and eventually
- During this time, a friend
approached him with the idea for crowdfunding and the idea for
- He and his co-founder struggled
for several years as non-technical people trying to build a tech
- Yancey didn’t quit his job at a
record label until Kickstarter had been live for several months,
because he found it difficult to take the risk to abandon his job
stability having come from a family with little money.
- It’s hard to know where you
want to go as an organization, but it’s even harder to consistently
make choices that push you closer to where you want to
- Yancey found himself thinking about his future and
where he wants to go, and realized he could divide it into Now Me,
Future Me, Now Us, and Future Us.
- He called this “Beyond Near-Term Orientation,” or BENTO, like
the Japanese Bento box and the “hara hachi bu” dieting
- Now, Yancey asks himself a few
questions in each of these quadrants in order to guide his
- Yancey does a weekly Bento
check-in and uses it to schedule his week in a balanced,
- During lockdown, he has used
Bento check-ins to shift his mindset from a self-focus to a group
focus, thinking about the new responsibility of homeschooling his 4
year old as an additive experience instead of something that takes
him away from his work.
- We all have passive awareness
and active awareness, and the Bento framework helps you cultivate
more active awareness.
- The collectivism of the East is likely why lockdown and
COVID-19 response has been more effective in those countries, and
their long-termism will similarly likely lead to more effective
response to climate change.
- Yancey predicts multiple false endings to this crisis.
- They never announced Kickstarter funding because it would have
been discussed exclusively in the technology press, and that
attention would only create competition in the space.
- Kickstarter was built for creatives, not for tech
- Yancey started The Creative
Independent, which is an online magazine that features a different
creative professional daily.
- Yancey found a study that
applied the idea of the Golden Ratio to business growth, which
posited that the ideal size for a company is 50 people, and beyond
that, you have to hire people to facilitate the administration of
the company and the work slows down.
- After 10 years working
full-time on Kickstarter as co-founder and then CEO, overseeing a
massive period of growth and reorganization into a public benefit
corporation, Yancey left to work on his Bentoism book.
- Yancey decided to write a book
because as soon as he left Kickstarter he realized he was free to
have thoughts that he didn’t have to filter through the
- Yancey tried out many
hypothetical careers or things to do, like teaching, writing a
book, etc., and would spend the day imagining himself in that role
and paying attention to his physical responses to that imagined
- Covering rock music influenced
his work at Kickstarter by giving him an understanding of what’s
- Yancey loves sci-fi because it
always reflects back and teaches him something about the
- Being a conscious creator to Yancey means having
intentionality, working through your vague idea and finding its
3 Key Takeaways:
all need to balance our focus on ourselves, others, the present,
and the future to lead a fulfilling life.
- Having a framework and value system to make
decisions helps you to always make progress in a consistent
ideas will help you to be a better and more conscious creator by
giving your work an intentionality.
“There’s so many assumptions
built into the language of our cultural products that presume a
shared belief system that is way more excluding than people might
realize.” –Yancey Strickler
“I don’t think that we’re born
individualists or we’re born a member of a community, but I think
all these spaces are real. They all exist for all of us.” –Yancey
“With climate change, what we’re
going to see is that the Chinese and the Eastern perspective of
long-termism and collectivism is going to be far more adept at
creating scalable solutions to climate change than the West.”
“In every world, I think it’s
can you create value for people? Can you reach out to people with
gives instead of with asks? Those are things that go a long way.
Traits that go a long way are communication and critical thinking.”
“What I love about sci-fi is
that sci-fi is always about the present. It’s just creating a
different reality to reveal the truth of the present. And I learn a
lot from that, and it engages my mind.” –Yancey
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