The little c

Alex Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit recently held a Q&A with Smartplanet. I like Ohanian's take on creativity, especially as we find ourselves in a present day that is obsessed with self-publishing, creating, and Kickstarter-ing:

Q: You’ve just embarked on an ambitious five-month long tour of 65 colleges. What are you saying to these up-and-comers?
People are doing amazing things online that they wouldn’t have been able to do at that scale without the Internet. The reason we’re doing this bus tour is I wanted to offer them the class in entrepreneurship I never got when I was an undergrad — and not just if they want to start a company. If they want to start an Etsy store or a Kickstarter project or just a Tumblr blog as well. To encourage them to get into the process of creating — with a lower case “c.”

For every Mark Zuckerberg story there's another story out there about someone writing their first blog post or making their first craft. I think these are the stories we easily forget. And you can bet that it's the thousands of sellers on Etsy that make the site what it is today, not the stand out example that makes the highest fortune on Etsy.

 On one side of the coin, it's the fledgling start-up with zero venture capitalists knocking on doors that makes Kickstarter what it is, not Zach Braff reaching out for help funding his next film. 

Creating with a lower-case "c" removes the intimidation and pressure of trying to develop something to become the next billion dollar company. It places the emphasis back on creating for the sake of creating (that is, bringing something new into this world) instead of creating as a means to an end (read: big moolah).  

Creating with a lower-case "c" preserves the childhood arts + crafts kind of play I haven't remembered since my last paper mache sculpture ,while still empowering me to use all the incredible tools at my disposal today (Squarespace, Twitter, Photoshop, even whatever amateur programs I can write through R or Python). 

Creating with a lower-case "c" removes the prestige that is often so easily tied to the upper-case "C". And what that means, to put it in Paul Graham's words, is that creating fosters work absent from the "powerful magnet that warps beliefs about what you enjoy." If prestige and Creating cause "you to work not on what you like, but what you'd like to like," then the little c is everything opposite. 

 It means doing what you love because you love doing it. And all of these beautiful tools only help you love doing it more.