Where Attention Goes, Money Flows

Each of us has the ability to "lobby" the world with our ideas; becoming both a producer and consumer in the world we would like to see.

In this new world, the battleground of the present and future is for our attention. The tech companies get it, the influencers and ad agencies get it, and the people now do, too. Attention is the scarce resource that is at the center of government and business.

Online, truth is subjective.

Everyone lives in their own bubble of what reality means to them. When we spread our attention across very specific niche channels, in feedback loops driven by algorithms, we embrace a subjective reality that we shape and create ourselves, and that is shaped by the cultural narratives that are being spun up around this.

As governments and large corporations grasp this, the battle for “truth” and the search for our“attention” intensifies. We see clickbait news, “Fake news” and stories that push our buttons, new notifications and features that beg us to participate.

Powerful entities co-opt and manipulate us not by sheer force, but instead by subtle, hidden psychological pressure that comes from narratives by which we buy into and believe in.

A Patreon For All of Us

Knowledge work is about producing and scaling ideas that shape our culture. The rise of the artist and influencer has been supported by patronage – the model that allows us to vote with our dollars for which ideas, and what artists we’d like to see in the world.

Collectively, where we put our attention is generally where the money flows. But today, thanks to the business model of the social media giants, our free content IS the product. This means that while we produce the energy and value for the network, we capture none-of the upside.

Patreon is an “exit” for artists and creators to capture the value that they put into the world by their subscribers and fans donating and becoming patrons of their work.

At a higher level, this means that there is a bottom-up movement by citizens to vote on which ideas we would like to see dominate the culture.

If you love Joe Rogan, or if you love Ben Shapiro, you can vote for them and their ideas, increasing their spread and weight in the culture.

This gives the citizen an opportunity to fight back, and to respond to the global corporation and government which is looking to co-opt their attention.

These entities seek to control – via censorship. And the citizen fights back in two ways: First by funding the ideas that they would like to see proliferate by the patronage of those whom they believe in.

Second, by exiting the system and becoming their own channel by which others can tip, fund, and influence.

In the future because of crypto wallets, each one of us will have a “Patreon” account simply by having a public wallet address like a cashtag.

This means that bottoms-up, we will have the ability to tip whomever we’d like with a micro-payment as easy as clicking the “like” or “Retweet” button.

The 3 Armies at War: Citizen/Populace, Corporation, Politician.

This gives the citizen a fundamental power shift.

Each of us has the ability to "lobby" the world with our ideas; becoming both a producer and consumer in the world we would like to see.

This “network power” of citizens is a third entity – an emergent phenomenon. As the masses fund their influencers (promotion), and the influencers contend with the social media corporations (censorship) and the social media corporations contend with governments (Regulation) we see now that there is a 3-party battle happening for our attention.

What does this mean for you and me?

What we pay attention to matters more than ever.

Understand that there is a narrative battle happening for your attention, for what you call “truth and understand their incentives are coercion, power, and profit. This is not bad or good but it just is.

The people, companies, and politicians we fund use their capital to spread ideas and memes which shape how we collectively think, act, and relate to one another.

As we are all now producers and consumers, paid to share ideas, paying for ideas to spread by giving our attention, we can choose to use this power wisely.

The world became very different when instant transmission of ideas, translated into new languages and propagated exponentially (memes etc.) became the new normal.

It makes sense that this new battleground is for the hearts and minds. That each one of us plays a role in transmission and sharing. That we would be co-opted for the use of others to promote their messages.

Attention is the new oil.

And each of us has 18 hours of it available per day to utilize and spend, on our behalf or for someone elses.

xx David

Hey, what’s up it’s David. I love brand communication and helping founders grow. I founded Death to Stock and help organize Jacuzzi Club. etc. etc.