Avoid the sharks! Leave the Red Ocean and Dive into the Blue!

Philipp Stelzel - Digital Creator
3 min readFeb 24, 2022

How to survive distribution inequality as a digital creator!

The top 5% of online creators capture 95% of the value.

A real-life example of this is Medium.com:

1% of writers earn more than $ 3000 per month, and just some 0,1% of them earn several 10K per month. You see, incomes in the creator economy are so unequally distributed that it would drive Bernie Sanders insane.

But does this mean that is it impossible to succeed as a new digital creator?

Not with the right strategy! If you are just starting out, it seems that every existing niche is already occupied by tons of creators, and hence, highly competitive.

The rules of the red oceans

The authors Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne call those competitive niches red oceans.

In red oceans, the only chance of outperforming rivals is by grabbing existing demand.

Creators act like a pack of sharks that try to hunt down ever-decreasing numbers of fish. Competition in those waters is bloody, hence the poignant name red ocean.

Your only chance as a new creator is to leave those waters behind and find a path to the blue ocean. This term stands for the unknown market space. Here, demand is created rather than fought over. It is part of the ocean with all of the unrealized potential.

Blue Ocean Example: The Notion Template Market

Take the Notion template market as an example.

At the beginning of 2021, this market was almost untouched. Innovative templates for most use-cases simply didn’t exist.

By producing templates or other services for Notion, creators created more and more demand for their creations:

With their work, they made existing Notion users aware of all the possible use-cases for Notion. At the same time, they helped Notion to increase their user-base with millions of new customers.

Sure, Notion will not grow forever and increased competition will eventually turn the Notion template market into a red ocean sooner or later. Maybe this development…

Philipp Stelzel - Digital Creator

Certified Notion Ambassador | Midjourney AI Nerd | Stoic Enthusiast. Check out my new Midjourney course on Skillshare: https://skl.sh/3MLLGda