The Grid

Who's a Creator and Who's a Founder?

Hey y’all,

Huge news this week. After 36 issues, my mom has joined all of you as a reader.

Here’s mom. I had to celebrate the big news with this picture (she’s not happy I’m sharing so I may lose her very quickly).

If you want to share it with your friends or family members go ahead and click that share button.


But I also want to say welcome to all of the other new readers this week. 50 new readers and The Grid now reaches 543 people.

Thanks for reading and let’s get into it.

This week will feature my thoughts on creator versus founder, some discussion about storytelling, personal updates, and of course a video that I think you will find interesting.

Over the past year I’ve lived in two different but similar worlds. Creators and Founders. It’s interesting to think through what each term means.

The core fundamentals seem to be the same. Come up with a new idea and execute on it. This is a broad generalization but that’s okay because it helps us start somewhere and trace the divergence.

It’s possible for a person to be a creator and founder at the same time. It’s possible for a person to only be a creator. It’s possible for a person to only be a founder.

Let’s break each one down.

Creator and Founder

This feels like the one we run into the most on Twitter. Many creators are testing ideas through writing, videos, or other mediums to see what the audience responds to. Once they get the feedback needed, they jump into creating an actual business around the idea.

Take my story. I started writing on Performative Speaking during Write of Passage. It resonated. I wrote a manifesto on it, I connected with people I admired who wanted to talk or even help. I created teaser videos and received interest around the idea.

Then I launched. I turned my creator side into the founder side when I built out Performative Speaking Cohort Based Course as an MVP.

The beautiful blend between the two personas helps test and retest ideas. But it only works if the creator side is doing it for more than just artistic purposes. A creator-founder understands both the artistic and business side. They want to blend the two and take advantage of the creator economy. They work to build connection with their community. Providing free value and insight on a daily basis because they know it’s a long game.

This persona uses build in public strategically. It holds them accountable, attracts fans, and helps them refine without investors or mentors. The Creator-Founder blends passion with ambition.


This group does thing for the artistic pleasure or solely to satisfy their creative curiosity. They have no interest in finding ways to monetize. They do it “for the love of the game.”

It might be a side project, a passion project, or just a way to decompress for them. The Creator-Founder might wonder why the creator doesn’t utilize the platform for business but that’s not the purpose for the 100% creator.

Even if a creator does build out a business around the idea, they will likely be looking for a smaller business. One that allows them to pursue their passions rather than ambition. Arbitrarily my guess is somewhere up to $10 million dollars a year with a very small team to help run it.

In a lot of ways I think David Perell embodies this avatar. He’s always struck me as an artist and true creative. Write of Passage (his business) allows him to pursue his passions. It’s quite beautiful to watch.


It’s mind-blowing to work with many in this group. The problems they’ve identified and the solutions they build are world-changing. This group though focuses on building a business around the solution to the problem. It could be a service or a product but it’s not about creativity because it’s about impact.

That’s not to say they aren’t creating, because many of them are but that’s not the core function of who they are. They are problem-solvers. They see how they can create the next billion dollar company because they are addressing a huge issue.

Lots of questions about why things work they way they do. How they can improve them. What are people missing. How does society move forward. How can they make life better for people.

When talking to pure Founders, you can see the wheels spinning in their head as they talk. Often times it can be a challenge to articulate it clearly to an audience because they see it so clearly inside of their head but the words and language escape them. They see the world differently. They have a unique perspective and lens that allows it to all make sense.

In some ways they are Neo. Seeing the Matrix for what it is and knowing how to solve the puzzle.

It’s beautiful.

Is one better?

Not at all.

We need all 3 groups. There will be a lot of overlap between them. People can even move between the groups at different times in their journey.

That’s the power of having core similarities. It’s not a rebirth but instead just a re-imagining of who they are at that time.

Right now, I’d call myself a Creator-Founder. Could it change?

Of course.

Labels are meant to help, not hold back.

Have thoughts? I would love to hear them as I flesh this out more in the coming months.

I wrote this tweet on Storytelling. Let me tell you more.

You see, I know the power of storytelling. It’s how I became a great trial lawyer because it’s a game of competitive storytelling. I broke down the OJ Simpson case recently in this newsletter and I want to give you more around this idea.

The last year of my career as an Assistant District Attorney for Dallas County, I handled 150 child abuse cases.

  • Sexual Abuse

  • Human Trafficking

  • Physical Abuse

  • Starvation leading to death

  • And darker things than most people can imagine

During that time I tried around 15 of those cases to a jury. I was the most prolific trial lawyer in the crimes against children unit.

I was also the one who dismissed the most cases.

These two things are related. Because these cases rely solely on the story of the alleged victim (unless it was a case involving death in which things were very different). Think about that. One person says something happened. One person says it didn’t.

My job meant I had to decide if the story of the child was true or made up. If I get it wrong, a child abuser could go free. If I get it wrong the other way, an innocent person could go to prison and in these cases most sentences were at least 20 years.

This responsibility led me to dive deep into the world of how our memories work, how to identify lies, how to test a story, what to look for, and all sorts of brain science and psychology.

The two biggest pieces I had to look for:

  1. Sensory Details

  2. Non-Chronological Storytelling

Sensory Details

These are exactly what they sound like. Details from our senses. Taste, smell, sight, noise, etc. If you have ever gone skydiving, you can explain all of those sensations. The weight of the parachute. How it feels diving tandem. The sound when you jump. The changes you feel. How time moves. The impact on landing. And so much more.

If you haven’t, you will speak in general terms or try to guess. Guessing lets me as a trial lawyer catch lies and see it’s not real. People think they can get away with it. With enough questions, they can’t.

A great storyteller knows how to make it come to life by utilizing these details. They leave an audience feeling like they just experienced it. Many of them will relate with different details because they have felt them before. It’s how you leave people saying “it felt so real”.

Non-Chronological Storytelling

A made up story needs to be told from beginning to end.

If you try to jump in at different points and start, it fails. Because the person memorized the story from beginning to end. Since it’s not a real experience but instead a memorization, the only way to keep the details straight is to recite it word for word each time in order.

Otherwise the bed moves slightly. The color of the car changes. The people in the room differs.

A true story can be told from any point. The person lived it so they can go to the brain and recall it. This doesn’t mean minor things won’t change because they will. Our memories fade over time. But the person will be able to jump in at any point without any difficulty.

A person telling that fake story struggles and shows signs of stress when asked to start at random points. Ask them to tell it by starting at the end and working towards the beginning and they will freeze. Often times those micro-expressions, the signs of stress, and the fumbling to try to start at the beginning would tell me all I needed to know.

It’s why starting a story at a high tension moment and then going back to the beginning is so powerful. It tells the audience it’s real. You lived it. It’s why I rarely advocate for telling a story purely beginning to end. Sometimes it’s the right move but I love playing with time as a storyteller.

Think Hermoine in Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s why I love doing things like fast forward or I need to rewind before we get there. The audience knows it’s real because I can pull out any part of the story at any time.

A Great Example

I’m going to link the opening statement of the Timothy McVeigh (Oklahoma City Bomber) from the prosecutor. Listen to the story and see how powerful this is to convince the jury before they even hear any evidence.

Take a read here if you want but be warned, it’s a tough but powerful read.

I wrote an article this week building on this quote from Walter White in Breaking Bad.

“Jesse, you asked me if I was in the meth business or the money business. Neither. I'm in the empire business.”

The Right Mindset to Build An Empire

Funny enough as I went back over some of my other writing it became clear to me that this built on top of an article I wrote almost exactly 6 months ago. I posted it on Twitter yesterday and received a ton of positive feedback so posting it here again if you want to read.

An Addictive Personality Can Pay Off

I’ve learned a ton from the inaugural On Deck Performative Speaking program. With over 100 amazing people in this community here are a few quick points and things to look forward to with the future of Performative Speaking.

  1. Set class times are tough for people to make

  2. More time to prep for in session exercises

  3. More direct feedback on exercises and homework from myself or assistant coaches

  4. Things come up and the cohort model makes it tough timing wise

  5. More access to resources I use or how I think about things with speaking

That’s not to say it hasn’t been wildly successful because our NPS (Net Promoter Score) is in the high Great range.

But I always want to make it better for people.

I know what this should look like moving forward and I’m excited for this evolution to help more people get their desired outcome and transformation. And transformation is the word I have heard most these past 2 weeks from a large number of people in ODPS.

Like I wrote above…

“I’m in the empire business”

If you’re interested in Performative Speaking and want to make sure you stop missing out on sales, raises, and promotions or you want to make sure you raise a successful round or even just want to be a more confident speaker to network better as the world opens up…

Email me:

You can learn delivery and persuasion in this one clip from Don Draper.

Thanks for reading everyone. If you enjoyed The Grid would you be opposed to sharing?


See you all next week!


P.S. Follow on IG @therobbiecrab, on LinkedIn @therobbiecrab, & on Twitter @robbiecrab