"Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude."

If your photography doesn't provide people with an avenue to food, sex, or status then nobody will find you useful, and therefore never give you money.  It's as simple as that.
You need a solid business model that involves exploitation of an unfair advantage, getting people addicted, and making something easier for them.
Uber had the perfect business model.  They rolled out new technology that made it way easier and cheaper for people to get a taxi.  They were able to offer cheaper prices and kill off competitors because of extra money being pumped into the company from investors.
Now that people are addicted to using Uber and the competition is dead they can jack up the price and there's not a goddamn thing you're going to do about it (except maybe take Lyft which just mirrors Uber).
~Hard Truth
I've always had a sort of grandiose idea as long as I showed people something beautiful, funny, or interesting that things would sort of naturally fall into place.  But it's bullshit.
The truth is that art is even more cutthroat than business because millions of people are willing to do it for free and the pie is way smaller.
If you want to survive as any kind of artist you must be Machiavellian to the core and turn your fans into a drug-addicted cult for which you are the leader and dealer.
Most of us find people through other people. Startup douchebags constantly reference the network effect because it's real.  Get 10 people involved and those 10 will tell 100 people.
Then those 100 will tell the world.  Plus you need social proof from others to validate you.
If my friend Bob likes you then I'll like and trust you because I like and trust Bob.
The success of the Joe Rogan Podcast is the best example.
He started his podcast by just interviewing his close friends, then friends of those friends got interested, some who knew interesting experts on various topics.
Once he began to interview accomplished experts, those experts knew more people who knew more people and before long major celebrities were jockeying for position to be on the show.  It's the classic snowball effect.
~Hard Truth
I don't collaborate because I have a bit of a lone wolf mentality.  Plus street photography is sort of about shooting random people and getting out of the comfort zone of who you know.
It's not really conducive to creative collaboration, but I still could have been better at making and staying friends with other photographers.  But honestly it's quite difficult in Taiwan and with my personality type.
Whether you're an artist or a business you have to treat what you do like cooking a meal.  People expect their meals around the same time every day, and they expect it to taste like it did last time.
You might be able to get away with being 5 minutes late and a surprise dessert, but stray too far from what people are expecting and hungry for and they'll leave.
We are creatures of habit who crave mostly structure and consistency.
Look to Pewdiepie as a great example.  He got his YouTube start by just reacting to scary video games and slowly branched out into reacting to different types of content.
But he has always stayed true to his brand as a reaction YouTuber who puts out videos every single day.
Ten years and 100 million subscribers later he's still highly consistent and structured in his content.
~Hard Truth
As for me, sometimes I want to do street photography, other times I want to do portraits, and other times I just want to buy a toaster and jump into a bathtub with it.
Nobody knows what to expect and I don't deliver consistently.  This is why I desperately hoped to separate myself from the output part of my work via an assistnat or manager.
Because me manging my own social media is just career suicide at this point.
No matter who you are, there will always be people higher in the food chain.  Everyone has a boss.  We're all accountable or must submit to someone.
To refuse to enter the food chain is to bleed out alone.
Through a combination of hard work, collaboration, and devious plotting, Jakenbake quickly rose to be a top 'IRL' streamer on Twitch.
But when he tried to transition to a 'real' Twitch streamer among the ranks of Hasan and XQC, he started again at the bottom of the food chain, resorting to tactics like cooking for more successful streamers and allowing himself to be brutally roasted to get within their good graces.
It didn't really work out, but he did score some big partnerships and won $100,000 in a gaming tournament only for the well-connected —​​​​​​​and the top IRL spot on Twitch is always there for his taking if he wants it.
~Hard Truth
On the other hand I've always had distaste and contempt for authority.
My ego won't let me accept that there are people I could learn a thing or two from if I just submit to them a little bit.  I always want to believe that nobody is 'better' than me and any advantage they have over me is either due to dumb luck or systematic unfairness. 
Needless to say I don't have many mentors which makes things difficult.
Opportunities in life are like good waves.  You don't know how long they'll last or whether you'll come crashing down, but if you don't hop on you just float aimlessly and get roasted by the sun.
You can sit around and try to wait for the right one, but you're never going to have certainty and no wave will be perfect.
With the rise of satellite radio and increasing amounts of censorship coming from the FCC, Howard Stern made the bold move of moving his morning radio show away from terrestrial radio where he had been broadcasting for years.
Asking viewers to sign up where before they could just listen for free was risky, but it came with the added benefit of being able to create freely without government censorship.
Most of his fans followed and the show thrived until the rise of YouTube and podcasting.  But Howard Still earns a healthy salary of about $100 million per year.
~Hard Truth
After college I had the chance to work for a TV station doing sports broadcasting.  I turned it down to go to Taiwan.
Once in Taiwan I started travel blogging while it was still cool, but then shifted to Instagram when it rose to power.  Unhappy with Instagram after the algorithm shift in 2018, I moved over to Twitch.
Once Twitch became saturated I left that too and now bounce back between blogging, Instagram, Twitch, and YouTube —fragmenting myself and my audience.
It's the small decisions you make everyday that shape your destiny.
While there are major moves or major mistakes that can alter the course of your life, who you become as a person will be determined by all the tiny steps adding up over time.
In 2012 President Obama raised over $700,000,000 in campaign funds to defeat his opponent Mitt Romney (who raised around $500,000,000).  But what was stunning was that Obama raised over $200 million of his funds from donations of $200 or less, while Romney raised a puny $25 million from ordinary folks.
Now this is not to say that both candidates didn't court the 'golden egg' clients to fund their campaigns, but Obama's years of legwork appealing to small individual donors clearly paid major dividends.
~Hard Truth
Meanwhlie idiots like myself always brush off the small clients and little opportunities in search of that one that will solve everything.
I have stupidly gone through life as a photographer not taking gigs because either the pay was bad or I 'can't see where it leads.'
This is not to say anybody should work for free, but value any and all business that comes your way.  The golden egg is built, not found.
People buy from people they like.
What kind of people do people like?  People they aspire to be, people who remind them of themselves, and people who like them back.
If you're not somebody who brings a surplus of emotion, nobody is going to get behind you.
And if people aren't behind you, they sure as hell are not going to support or buy from you.
Anybody reading this probably knows who Kevin Hart is, but few of you probably know the name Patrice O'Neal.  Yet ask any comic and they'll instantly tell you that Patrice was one of the funniest comedians that ever lived.  He was loved among comics but hated by studio exectives and other folks within the business.
He was famously fired by Chris Rock for being difficult on the set of Everybody Hates Chris.  Even doing standup sometimes he'd just simply look like he didn't want to be there.
He didn't even really become famous until 2011 after he died.
~Hard Truth
My life is basically a coin with intense (but short-lived) creative inspiration on one side —and exestential angst and anger on the other.
If you look at guys like Kevin Hart and Joe Rogan, they are continual sources of positiivty that even outshines their actual work (which if you ask me isn't that great).
The fact is that I'm more of a Patrice O'Neal type and not a Kevin Hart type.  This comes with both benefits and drawbacks that I have to accept.
​​​​​​​If you find yourself in a similar situation as me, don't expect that you can just reverse all of your bad traits and patterns of behavior.  But awareness helps.
You can take small steps towards change and try to catch yourself falling into bad patterns.
However, I think there's also value in accepting your nature and temperment.  If photography is more geared to business-minded extroverts, then perhaps it's not the space I want to compete in.
But I can also use the lessons I've learned to compete better in another space.  You can do the same!​​​​​​​
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