Artist as an entrepreneur: Jack Conte

Author s
Rahul Mathur
@ rahulmathur2501

Jack Conte, along with being the founder of Patreon, is one half of Pomplamoose, a musical duo he started with his wife in 2008. Frustrated after spending $10,000 and 3 months on making a song that only earned him $190 in ad-revenue from Youtube, Jack Conte started Patreon.

Patreon enables creators to accept payments directly from their patrons. Here are the lessons Jack Conte learned as an artist that helped him be a successful creator and entrepreneur:

Work to publish

Finishing a piece of art is not the same as finishing a sports match. The emotions you experience aren’t the same. You never finish art. You just publish it.

Publishing is a long game. Conte learns from Woody Allen here.

Allen’s made 49 movies and doesn’t place excessive weight on individual releases. Instead, he wants to work for as long as possible and make as much as he can. Some will be good, some won’t be. He works to publish.

Having struggled to publish in the past himself, Conte learnt that his heroes don’t finish their art. They publish it anyway.

Working to publish is difficult. It’s about deciding to stop when you want to keep working. It’s about battling your inner critic, going against perfectionism and contributing something to the world. It’s selfless and outward-focused. Why is it important?

Because the world is made up of funnels.


Irving Berlin, one of the greatest songwriters in history and Conte’s heroes, wrote 15,000 songs in his career. He won awards for 4 of them with a batting average of .026%. He had no idea which those 4 would be. Irving Berlin was, in Conte’s words, a “funnel master”.

You don’t know what you’ll be famous for. The only thing you can do is be prolific. Create more and expand the top of your funnel. The more you create, the greater the chances of creating something that stands the test of time.

Internalising these lessons, Conte built Patreon into the billion dollar company it is today and helped thousands of creators and artists get paid along the way.

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