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Exclusive Interview With Jack Settleman Snapback Sports And Snapback Agency Founder Talks VidCon Anaheim 2023 And The Creator Economy


Jack Settleman: Net Influencer Interviews Jack Settleman

Jack advises creators to think of themselves as businesses and plan accordingly. By understanding their audience and adapting to industry changes, creators can stay relevant in the ever-evolving digital landscape. At VidCon, Jack hopes to showcase the value of creators and envisions future events as opportunities for industry growth and increased resources.

Jack Settleman is the founder of Snapback Sports and Snapback Agency. He attended the University of Texas and started his company a few years ago when he was still a senior at the university. He and his team are building a digital media brand in sports, and from there, he has become the front-facing personality and talent for the brand. This led him to his creator journey. 

The belief that sports fans want to interact with individuals who have sports media but don’t have the opportunity to do that in social media inspired him to start his company. He believes that if someone leaves commentaries about their favorite team on TV, they’d want to interact with that person. 

In summary, Snapback Sports gives sports fans a platform to talk to other fans daily. It serves as an avenue that allows one-on-one communication between sports fans.  

Exclusive Interview With Jack Settleman: Snapback Sports And Snapback Agency Founder Talks VidCon Anaheim 2023 And The Creator Economy

VidCon is a significant event for content creators and fans. What does it mean to you personally to be speaking at VidCon Anaheim?

“It’s an awesome opportunity. I’m just proud to be doing it with our favorite partner, Underdog Fantasy,” Jack says. He will talk about the ins and outs of being a creator.

As someone who’s very passionate about the creator space, Jack still has family members frequently asking him how he makes money and pays his rent. The world still doesn’t fully embrace content creation as a career and the industry yet, but it now has a better understanding of the value of creators and their impact on the industry. 

Five years ago, Snapback Sports’ partnership with Underdog Fantasy might have been pennies on the dollar to what they’re being paid. Now, he’s being offered an equity position within the company, which just goes to show how far creators have come. 

Could you give us a sneak peek into what you’ll be discussing during your session at VidCon Anaheim this year?

Snapback Sports partners with Underdog Fantasy to discuss how they’ve leveled up their relationship. They’ll tackle how creators can take their relationships with the brand and make them deeper than the norm. 

As someone deeply involved in the creator economy, how do you think VidCon has influenced the growth and development of online content creators?

“VidCon is an industry event where Meta, YouTube, and other platforms come together and think about press releases of new features and announce their earnings. There are now journalists who cover events taking place in the creator economy and social media.” For Jack, VidCon has been instrumental in that advancement. 

The creator economy has experienced remarkable growth in recent years. What do you believe are the driving factors behind this trend?

“I think it’s the recognition of value. I don’t think that the everyday person or even everyday business person could truly recognize how much value a creator could bring to the company a few years ago and how powerful the creator’s audience is,” Jack says. 

For instance, Starbucks. Twenty years ago, they must develop a great product and then find an audience to sell that product. But today, once a company has a coffee-loving audience, it’s easier to develop a product and share that product with the audience. He believes the entire business model has finally flipped on its head, thanks to changes taking place in the creator economy. 

In your opinion, what are the key challenges that content creators face in today’s highly competitive digital landscape?

“I think it’s going to be the lasting game,” Jack says. “They always say in the NFL, your average career is three years. I would imagine in the creator world, we will see similar numbers, and it’s going to be, ‘How do I extend my career?’ or ‘How can I create [content] for a long period of time?’ Money could be great in one, two, or three years but algorithms change, and content consumption changes. And it’s really about building a long-lasting business.” 

Traditionally, creators are not armed with capital or an entire team; it’s usually a one-man or one-woman show. And this is where Jack’s companies come in. He tells us, “That’s what we’re trying to do with our agency: getting from level zero — which is a brand-new creator — to level one, where they have brand deals and audiences.”

Getting from level one to level two is all about creating businesses that can live without a creator’s face. Logan Paul and KSI have done it with Prime, and it changed the world of sports drinks. Their faces can go away one day, but Prime can still be successful. This is the kind of direction Jack wants creators to go to. 

VidCon brings together creators, fans, and industry professionals. How important is it for these groups to connect and collaborate?

“I think it’s tremendously important. And the one big thing that I would beg industry people and the big brands is not only to connect with creators and create relationships but to be on the floor and talk to fans because I think there’s a major gap between people saying they know what their fans want and actually speaking to them,” Jack states. 

Jack also takes pride in connecting and listening to their fans by actually speaking to them. They know how they feel about economic pressures and where they’re consuming their content.

Unlike bigger agencies relying on data, Jack talks to and learns about these people. He recognizes the importance of leveraging the opportunity to connect with the fans and the audience and listen to what they want to see. 

With the rise of platforms like TikTok, do you think the landscape of content creation has fundamentally changed? If so, how?

Jack doesn’t see the rise of TikTok changing the landscape holistically. In content creation, everyone’s goal is to gain viewership because viewership leads to an audience. The question is how creators can achieve that goal now that the industry has shifted to short-form content as opposed to long-form content. 

Creators are chasing different things now, and TikTok allows them to have fun and unleash their creativity. “Creators are going to jump over to TikTok and create videos that are a minute long and make some money, but what will that do in the long term?” Jack says. Creators might just be chasing from place to place as opposed to thinking about the most optimal content creation they can do at the moment. 

For some creators, that will be long-form content, while for others, it will be short-form content like Twitter threads. Creators often choose to make short-form content because they want to dance with the stars and think that this type of content is the best avenue for them to do so.

Jack thinks the general themes of content creation — to get viewership and monetize that viewership  — have remained consistent, but how creators are doing it has definitely changed. 

What role do you think influencers and creators play in shaping societal trends and conversations, particularly among younger generations?

“I think there’s a large responsibility,” Jack says. But he also believes that everyone has the option of whether they want to engage in that responsibility or not. 

He shared his experience of sharing tons of content, but his audience didn’t believe him politically and religiously. During this time, he understood that he lost followers and viewership because of his actions. He thinks one of the reasons why this occurred is because he wanted his content to reflect his beliefs and disregarded the responsibility to educate his audience. 

For Jack, it’s important to at least be conscious of whether creators want to shape their content however they want it, but they shouldn’t forget that their responsibility already exists regardless. Creators must consider that they’re now responsible for molding the feature, and what they say can significantly impact younger kids and future generations. 

The creator economy has led to new career opportunities for many individuals. What advice would you give to aspiring creators looking to succeed in this industry?

Jack’s biggest advice to aspiring creators is to remain consistent. A lot of creators nowadays aren’t willing to wait to see the results they should be reaping. 

For instance, people are expected to attend college for at least four years to get their degrees. However, when they’re told to get a degree in content creation for four years, they’ll be less excited because they expect to experience overnight success. These people often think one viral video could change their career. “That’s not realistic,” Jack says. 

He advises all aspiring creators to commit long-term, say a five- or ten-year plan of creating content as this guarantees success. Committing this long to content creation enables creators to learn so much, including the best platform to use and iterate their content better. 

Do you believe there will be further innovation and disruption in the creator economy in the coming years? If yes, what areas do you think will see the most significant changes?

“It’s going to be creators who are disrupting economies and businesses because they’re going to finally have the tools to do so,” Jack says. In the future, Jack sees creators will significantly impact the industry, whether that’s capital, sports betting applications, or artificial intelligence. There will be so many opportunities in the future that enable creators to disrupt pre-existing worlds. 

What are your thoughts on the current state of monetization options available to creators? Are there any areas where you see potential for improvement?

Jack doesn’t believe that platforms should be paying more to creators. He doesn’t think there’s a major issue with content monetization; it just relies on the creators to figure out how they can monetize their content better outside of a specific platform. Should they consider brand deals? Build their own products and sell memberships? Creators must have answers to these questions. 

For Jack, there are a million different ways to monetize, so there’s no major issue surrounding content monetization. If anything, he decides it stinks for the industry that Snapchat is going out, and all these creators are making a lot of money. When in reality, only a handful of creators are making a ton of money, but all the other creators — the bottom 99% and even those in the mid-tier — they’re chaining something that might not have existed in six months. 

“So it’s kind of dangerous when we teach creators to be reliant on content monetization,” Jack states.

As we approach the second half of the year, what trends or developments do you predict will have a significant impact on the creator economy?

Jack predicts that more of the same will happen, and he’ll probably see a trend of creators as the need for creators and personalities increases. “People already understand that actors and actresses are creators. What people don’t understand is CEOs are creators as their faces have been used forever within the business,” he adds.

According to Jack, what will happen in the future is that there’s going to be a little bit of wiping away of that mid- and lower-tier creators, but they’ll be picked up by companies that can utilize talents because they already have those systems in place. 

What a creator needs to exit their day-to-day job and become a full-time creator is a flywheel, so their content leads to brand deals, which leads to products, which leads to content monetization. This creates a full-time role for creators. 

How do you think creators can adapt and stay relevant in an ever-evolving digital landscape? Are there any strategies or best practices you would recommend?

Jack advises creators to think of themselves not just as creators but as businesses. For example, back when the pandemic hit, instead of businesses closing, when creators understood that they were a business, they could plan accordingly. 

As long as creators know who their audience is, what their audience does, understand the reason why their audience watches them, and what content they like, they can adapt to whatever changes in the industry and still continue to thrive. 

What do you hope attendees will take away from your session at VidCon, and how do you envision the future of events like VidCon in the context of the creator economy?

Jack hopes that people will understand that if they build up enough leverage, they can become valuable in the industry and become valuable partners. He also hopes to showcase how valuable creators are. 

“I hope VidCon keeps putting on panels to give creators and business people the opportunity to speak so the industry continues to grow and becomes more normalized with more resources available. I hope more disruption comes into the space because it’s the future to me,” Jack says. 

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David Adler is an entrepreneur and freelance blog post writer who enjoys writing about business, entrepreneurship, travel and the influencer marketing space.

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