Art vs. Fame

Imagine a deal with the devil where you could be the greatest musician of all time, but no one would ever know but you. Would you take that deal?

That’s Art without Fame. Some people romanticize this as ‘true’ art, but it can be a path to madness.

Right now there are thousands of people around the world who are stuck in this very spot. I call them ‘Stellar’ — they have all the ingredients to be a Star, but they haven’t blown up yet.

How can we help Stellar people share their Art with the world?

I use art in the broadest possible sense. Writers are artists. Musicians are artists. Directors are artists. Producers are artists. Founders are artists.

This doesn’t mean that everyone has to be famous. That’s not the point. But fame does massively increase your audience, which maximizes your art’s impact. There is value to both art and fame, and to ignore fame is to hide your art.

I’m driven to build communities and institutions that help Stellar people reach their highest potential. We can apply the pressure that turns stellar material into stars.

The greatest embodiment of this vision to-date is Y Combinator, the star factory for startups.

I’m excited about the idea of starting earlier than YC, investing in stellar people instead of stellar startups.

I loved my experience at Y Combinator, but I was already five years into my startup career by the time I got into their W15 class. YC is truly an accelerator, not an incubator.

I want to provide Life Capital to stellar people at the beginning of their careers and coach them to their greatest potential, whether that’s building a startup or anything else. Like the Thiel Fellowship, but without the age limit.

And we’ll need skin in the game. The investment could pay off like an ISA or a VC investment or anything else as long as our incentives are aligned.

This idea is a work-in-progress. If you’d like to riff on it, hit me up @neilthanedar on Twitter.

Published by Neil Thanedar

Neil Thanedar is a scientist, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and activist. He is the founder & CEO of Air to All, a 501(c)3 nonprofit medical device startup designing low-cost respirators and ventilators for COVID-19 and beyond. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Labdoor, a consumer watchdog that independently tests and ranks supplements and other health products for its 20M+ users. He previously co-founded Avomeen Analytical Services, a product development and testing lab acquired for $30M+ in 2016. He has worked with community organizations since 2007 and political campaigns since 2016 to fight for better education and economic opportunities in Michigan.

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