Why Developers Will Win the Creator Economy
In 2021, Andreessen Horowitz has lead 12 rounds of funding in creator economy startups. Newsletters, NFTs, and online courses are letting hobbyists turn into full-time professionals. Many are reaching or surpassing their previous salaries at high-paying tech jobs (e.g. Lenny's Newsletter). But one creator is going unserved. The developer creator.
It's easier than ever to start a software company, especially a SaaS one. Many of these founders aren't even proper software engineers, using low-code or no-code tools instead to build $100k ARR businesses. Just look at how many "building in public" startups have MRR over $10,000 on Indie Hackers. These creators are making more than $120k per year. While newsletters, NFTs, and online courses can be lucrative, even the median developer creator is doing better than the top quartile of other creators.
While there hasn't been a platform for developer creators numerous roll-up companies like Tiny have emerged that acquire small SaaS companies, usually run by one or a few people. Marketplaces like MicroAcquire connect buyers and sellers of these small SaaS companies. There are even YouTube creators like Nathan Latka who run a Shark Tank-like show where these deals happen in real-time.
Developers will win the creator economy as it becomes easier to be a developer creator. The long tail of SaaS companies is valuable but untapped. But developer platforms are notoriously tough to build. Low-code and no-code applications face the cliff: the point where a program is no longer expressible in the low-code abstraction. They suffer from performance and complexity issues. They sometimes don't follow software engineering best practices, like versioning and testing. But software wants to be abstracted, and it will only continue to get easier for developer creators to create sizable SaaS businesses.