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Signs of Creative Success

Have you heard of Rebecca Black?  If not, you may be living under a rock. Her (sickly-sweet-teeny-bopper) song recently got over 62 Million views on Youtube in less than 50 days. It’s also the most hated song on YouTube (or will be soon).

How do you think Rebecca Black feels being the most hated person on Youtube at only 13 years old?

She’s probably a little confused and hurt — but also very thankful and feeling pretty on top of the world that many people love something she created. She’s learning the key lesson for any creative: with success, comes hate.

Sign of Creative Success #1: Hate

There’s a key lesson to takeaway from this — when you are successful, some people will hate you. Here’s the rub, they may even have a good reason to. Bill Cosby said it best, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”

People strive to individualize themselves, to create a unique identity that they can own, and connect with others around. Taken to the extreme, this creates an “us vs. them” mentality that is very bad, but in moderation, it’s one of the key tools that helps serve as clue holding together human culture and co-operation.

This individualism means that creating something loved by some, will invariably be hated by others. Nothing gets a 100% approval rate.

So, realize that what the haters are saying is valid, but just very misguided. Then, be ok with them not liking you.

Bottom line, you’re not here to make everyone happy, you’re here to create something that your 1000 true fans will love.

Key Point: while hate is present in success, it’s not indicative of success.

I’m sure I don’t need to actually say this, but don’t “embrace the hate.” It is possible to follow this theory to a perverse conclusion. 

While you might be able to rely on hate coming in the wake of success, don’t assume that people hating you is indicative of success — and don’t go out of your way to acknowledge or encourage more hate. That is a bad way to generate attention for yourself.

Instead, expect that hatred will happen and block it out — track your success solely against positive growth metrics.

By the way, hate isn’t the only sign of success. Sign of Creative Success #2 is Derivative Works and Copycats, which Rebecca Black also has plenty of. I’ll dive into explaining that sign of success another time, but as a sneak peak, here’s my two favorite Rebecca Black Derivative Works:

1. Rebecca Black mixed with Ice Cube (put together by good friends of mine Badra and Bring Ruckus as a marketing experiment):

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2. Matt Mulholland’s “Dark Side of Friday” cover:


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