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We Shouldn't All Have to Be Salesfolk

July 20, 2018

Reading the comments of the Lonely Streamers article I saw a recurring sentiment that jumped out at me - the idea that, in addition to being techincally proficient and entertaining, in order to be a successful streamer, one should also be expected to be an expert at marketing and SEO, to essentially not only be the product but also the person selling the product.

This is a pretty cut-and-dry indictment of the capitalist system and a clear indicator of why the myth of the “self-made success story” is bullshit. Essentially, the popular opinion is that simply working hard and getting good at a skill isn’t enough - you could be the world’s leading expert in your field, more knowledgable and skilled than anyone, but without the ability to network, and market yourself, and build a brand, none of this hard work is worth anything.

I’m reminded of Steve Wozniak, a brilliant engineer and one of the inventors of the personal computer as we know it, one of the greatest techincal minds of our time - but it wasn’t until he teamed up with Steve Jobs, a sociopathic salesman, that his work earned him any recognition or success. Would he have been a success without Jobs? Maybe. But would it have been of his own initiative? Probably not. Wozniak was never intrested in the business or marketing aspect of Apple, and once the company became a great success, he quickly accepted a nominal position at the company where he could continue to tinker and do what he loved without being involved in the company’s business affairs.

Without Jobs, all of Wozniak’s work might have been for nothing. He very likely would have worked for someone else and only tinkered with computers in his spare time. He got extremely lucky.

Being brilliant and hard-working isn’t enough, you also have to be a full-time salesperson. If you’re not interested in marketing yourself, tough shit, you don’t get to do what you want. Is this justifiable? Is this the world we want to live in?

The capitalist myth says that hard work is rewarded, but that’s not true. Only hard work that fits into the narrow, amoral capitalist paradigm is rewarded. It doesn’t have to be like this. A better world is possible once we all recognize how absurd the system we have is. The people in power who telling us this is the only possible system are lying to us, because their power is only sustainable when they have a hopeless and demoralized populace unwittingly propping them up. Their power is illegitimate. Destroy it. Become the new ruling body.

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