Allen Lau, Co-founder & CEO of Wattpad, on creative communities and new business models for creativity

Full transcript of our conversation with Allen


Below is a transcript of our conversation with Allen Lau, the co-founder and CEO of Wattpad. You can also listen to the podcast version, or watch the conversation on YouTube!


Li: 

  • Welcome to Means of Creation, a weekly show where we discuss the passion economy, the creator economy, and the future of work. I'm your host Li along with my co-host Nathan, and today we're joined by Allen Lau, who is the cofounder and CEO of Wattpad, which is a social storytelling platform that enables writers to publish original stories spanning genres like romance, fantasy, young adult, mystery, historical fiction, fanfiction, poetry, and more. Wattpad also leverages the data from its community of 90 million users to turn those stories into books, films and TV shows through Wattpad Studios and Wattpad books. The company was founded in 2006, and was just acquired for $600 million by Naver, which is a South Korean internet conglomerate that owns the UGC publishing platform Webtoon. I'm sure we'll talk about that later in this conversation. And prior to being acquired Wattpad had raised a total of about $117 million in VC funding. And today, Wattpad is based in Toronto, and Allen is a vocal advocate of Canada's tech scene. Thanks so much Allen, for being here today. 
  • I want to start off with your sort of origin story and founding story behind Wattpad. So you started the company in 2006. The Internet looked really different back then. It was pre-mobil, pre-smartphones, we still had dial-up internet. So tell us about the inspiration and the founding story behind why you started this company. 

Allen:    

  • At that time, maybe half the world, maybe not even half, but broadband internet was becoming a thing. I got my first broadband in 2003 and it was all quite new. With mobile internet, I was able to download 1 megabyte costing $10. Anyway, back to the founding story. The original idea actually started in 2002. I was the CTO and cofounder of my first company called Tira Wireless—a mobile gaming publisher, which means a very different thing today compared to almost 20 years ago.
  • I was very passionate about the mobile side, I love gadgets, I still love gaming on occasion, but it's not truly my passion. In my spare time, I love to read. And that's why I had this idea. Perhaps I could combine my profession and my passion, turn that into a mobile reading app. And I did. 

Li: 

  • This is like the Kindle before the Kindle existed.

Allen: 

  • Yeah, it was way before. I didn't pursue the idea. And then fast forward to 2006 the most popular phone at that time was the flip phone. Now, instead of two lines of text, I could read multiple lines at a time. 

Nathan:

  • Luxurious! 

Allen:

  • Exactly. A luxurious version, the market is ready for me! So I stuck to that idea. And while I was busy coding in the basement, now on one hand, cofounder, Ivan, he, instant messaged me, and sent me a link. And that's what he said, Hey, I'm working on a new product idea. Here's the link, can you check it out and give me some feedback? I clicked on that thing, and guess what I saw, he was also working on a mobile reading app. He still is a very good friend of mine, and we’ve known each other for many years. And I could not believe we were both independently working on the same thing at the same time.
  • Ivan is one of the smartest people I have ever met. So if he thinks it's a good idea,  I should pursue this idea. I would love to say the rest is history. But of course, it’s been a very interesting rollercoaster ride. It’s not always smooth sailing. 

Nathan: 

  • Totally. I'm curious: in those early days, what kind of writing did you envision people would use your platform to publish? Were you thinking about kind of storytelling and creativity? Were you thinking about nonfiction or blogging or personal updates? I'm just curious, what was the intended use? 

Allen:

  • I was a writer. I am a writer. even though I write a lot more these days. The reason I started the company was because I love to read. And I can speak for Ivan as well. We both love to read. Look at my media consumption. video is a very small part. Audio is a very small part. And same for  So that's why we started the company. And I have to say writing was almost an afterthought, at least initially. So we were not too prescriptive in terms of the kinds of writing. We were just trying to focus on the written word, test what we chose, and I would have to say, we think more about content than the writers or creators in the beginning.

Nathan:

  • Truly horizontal.

Allen:  

  • Totally horizontal. Over time, we realized that we will get more traction on fictional, creative writing. And that’s what we focussed on. 

Li:  

  • Right. Yeah. It's interesting, because when you started the company, I think that at the time, there was not really that much of a precedent for what you were supposed to write online. People were using blogging platforms for all sorts of things, putting their personal diaries on the internet, just being really creative. I think of that period of the internet as being probably some of the most creative times because there was no precedent for what you were supposed to do with all of these platforms. And over time, things became a bit more templatized and standardised, and there was more guidance on exactly the type of content that you were supposed to produce. But it must have been pretty interesting to see. With this platform in the early days, what types of stories people wanted to create, as well as to consume. 

Allen:

  • Initially, just like any other double-sided marketplace or community, we realized that without writers and content, readers won’t have any incentive to use the platform. 
  • We had a pretty interesting way to bootstrap one side of the marketplace, we used classic books. Why? Because we were two engineers who had started a company, and we had no idea how to do business development, sign deals, and so on. 
  • After 14 years, I think we know a little bit about business development. But at that time, it was a very foreign concept to us. So the easy way was to just input Pride and Prejudice and all those classics onto our platform. Afterwards, as I mentioned, we were more reader focused. We knew that we had to bootstrap the supply side first. 

Li: 

  • Right. So it started with written work that was in the public domain that you could acquire without having to actually find writers to combat the cold start problem. 
  • I've also read stats recently about how reading for leisure is on the decline, at least in the U.S., and how the percentage of teens who are reading regularly for pleasure has decreased. And I think that's not surprising, given the whole slew of entertainment options available now. But I'm curious how you think about that trend. In light of working in this market, and whether as a result of that, you are thinking about different formats of content beyond just reading?

Allen:  

  • Certainly these researchers did not talk to us. I think this trend is quite opposite to what we see. This year, even last year, we’ve been seeing record traffic. We signed up more people than ever before, we have more MAUs than ever before. I would dispute this notion that people don't read anymore, by saying they just read very differently. What we see on our platform, the type of content may not be one that could easily be bought in the bookstore. (like fan fiction). This is something that people can’t easily buy. Because today's teenagers are mobile native, they don't even have the concept of what pre-mobile internet was like. This Snapchat generation, they love that interaction. That’s who they are. And on Wattpad. Not only do we have the kind of content that people upvote, but one thing that we did right was people can comment on a per chapter or paragraph basis. Through this type of contextual interaction and feedback, we drive that flywheel pretty fast. So I would say that people don’t read more, but they do read differently. I would also agree given the variety of entertainment that people have, text-based fiction is probably at a disadvantage. It’s less shareable, less viral, far less visually attractive perhaps, and this generation is visually driven. That's one of the reasons why we expanded ourselves from a publishing startup to transform ourselves to a multiplatform entertainment company. 

Li:  

  • I was poking around on Wattpad recently. It's really striking just the array of creativity and formats that users are playing with. It's a huge contrast with the type of user generated storytelling platforms that I grew up with in the late 90s and early 2000s. Back in those days, there weren't as many images or videos inside of these UGC platforms, because they would have taken an hour to download probably. And instead, it was like complete sentences, all prose, large blocks of text. On Wattpad recently from clicking around and checking it out, it looks like there's some stories that are entirely text based, like text chat, like people texting each other. There's stories where it's folks who are just sharing a cast of characters that they would cast into the story, and which actors they would cast into the roles of different stories. It's like much more multimedia, which is really fascinating.

Allen:  

  • Yeah, in a way, because the two founders are not writers or aspiring writers, it works to our advantage. Because we were not as bound by the traditional writing, for lack of a better term, we don't have that constraint, because we don't have a preconception of what a piece of writing software or user interface would be like. So very early on, we decided let’s not build a very comprehensive or sophisticated writing or compose screen, let’s keep that very simple. Except that, of course, you can add different fonts, but very basic. And then over time, we added the capability of inserting animated GIFs, because we just thought it would fit more with this generation and eventually YouTube videos, where you can add YouTube to video as well. But we stayed true to our original objective: keep the compose screen that simple, and in a way that allows us to have much more flexibility than anything else. That's why you see some of the stories that are actually quite creative, some people actually writing comics, using animated GIFs. And the comics on Wattpad are actually animated. So the product design actually enabled that kind of creativity.

Li:  

  • That's really cool! I want to switch gears a little bit and talk about creator monetization. So creator, monetization is having its moment and  different UGC platforms are really paying attention now more so than ever before, to how to enable its creators to actually monetize all of their content. And so my question for you is: How does Wattpad think about creator monetization for this particular content format? Do you think monetization is a key priority or value driver for the writers on the Wattpad community? And yeah, maybe we'll just start there and ask follow -up questions later. 

Allen:

  • Yes, absolutely. It’s very important to us. That being said, I think it is a journey. Earlier, when we built the product, I would say even up until 2013, 2014, we put more focus on the reader side, because we realized that for most aspiring writers, it's not about money. It's about their fanbase. Because when your fanbase is only five people, the monetization opportunity is so tiny. But those five readers coming back to the platform every day to wait for your next chapter will drive the flywheel, and drive the motivation that will encourage people to stay on the platform. So only when we reached maybe 30-40 million monthly users, that's when we started to think about monetization. Because what we realised at that time was: passion, while it’s great, it’s not enough anymore. All the top writers on our platform, they started to realise: “Okay, now I have the recognition, I've been validated. I can turn this into a career. What's next? How can I monetize?” and for us, we have to provide that opportunity for them to monetize. Otherwise, they could go on to other platforms to monetize or find other ways to monetize. And that's probably not the most effective, because the passionate fan base may not move with you to another platform. That's why the monetization and fan base have to be very tightly coupled. So that's when we started to introduce what we call paid stories—chapter by chapter monetization, maybe the first 10 chapters or 20 chapters are free. But after that, you pay a very nominal fee, maybe a few coins, through our virtual currency. Users essentially use dollars to purchase 100 coins or something. And each chapter is like 5 to 10 coins, or something like that, a very nominal fee, so that you can have a very low barrier for people to pay. And if they continue to like the story behind the paywall, they continue to pay as you go. That worked quite well for us. And then we kind of combined that with our subscription service. So now we have an array of business models on our platform. You can pay a la carte but you can also subscribe. Through subscription we give you free access to two full stories per month. And that's probably good enough for you to consume for a month, if you want one more, you can always purchase more coins. That became a very effective way for writers to make money, we share the majority of the revenue back to the writers. And then as we started to expand into movies, TV shows and print books, the off-platform monetization, that opened up many doors for the creators to make money. Now they can make money not only on our platform but through people going to Barnes and Noble buying their physical books. When we worked with Sony Pictures for example, to turn a story into a TV show, they would get compensated as well. So the point I want to make is it's not necessarily a single business model, especially when we are talking about entertainment, there are multiple ways to adapt IP and being able to have a multimodal business model is actually very important in this context.

Nathan:  

  • Totally. I'm curious to hear: Is there a kind of content that maybe works better under one business model than another? Is there some content that they really want to keep it all free so that they can maximise the audience because they're pretty sure they want to like sell the IP later? Or is there another kind of content that it makes more sense to put behind a paywall? I'm curious if you've seen any kind of specialisation occur on the platform.

Allen: 

  • Yes, a little bit, Maybe I'll give a couple of examples. But I would not use these two examples to broadly generalise. So the popular stories, that one I think it works better for subscription because it's broad base. I think monetization opportunities are high. This one is easy to understand. But what we've seen, at least in a few cases, for a story whose fan base is actually smaller but the story is longer, let's say a few 100 chapters, the pay-per-chapter model actually works better. Because we rely on the 100 true fans. And for the 100 fans to pay for that, If the story is very short, you miss out on an opportunity. If you have a sequel or a new story, you have to start selling again, when you have a much longer story, the monetization opportunity will continue. It's almost like Grey's Anatomy. It never ends. So it works well for a smaller fan base, but a much more passionate fan base aligned to the 100 true fans model. Yeah, I think I would use these two examples to describe it. But I would also say the business models might be different in different geographies. For example, in Southeast Asia, in many countries, subscription is such a foreign concept. People just don't subscribe to things. People pay a la carte, people even buy shampoo, they buy a small packet and not a bottle. So in that type of economy, pay-per-chapter works way better than subscription. Over time, they may converge.

Li:

  • I was gonna ask you: so now your new parent company, Naver has this really interesting property called Webtoon, which is basically this UGC platform for creating online comics, manga, anime, those kinds of graphic stories. I was wondering if you could share with us how Webtoon makes money? What is their predominant revenue model? And how does it differ versus Wattpad? 

Allen:  

  • Webtoon has a stronger presence in Asia to the best of my knowledge. I'm new to the companies, so I have very limited knowledge. But based on what I know, the monetization is less about subscription, but in-app purchases. That reflects in the product itself, if you try out the product. And for us, I guess it's a bit different because the geographic distribution is a little bit different. They're mostly in Asia, and also have quite a strong presence in the US, whereas Wattpad has more in Southeast Asia, Latin America, US and Europe. So we have half our users In Asia and Latin America and half in the US and Europe. So we have a pretty global view, and we can see the difference between these two geographies. Webtoon is more Asia. So I think naturally, more in-app purchases would work.

Li: 

  • That makes sense. In-app purchases almost feel like the modern day equivalent of the Victorian serialised novel. In the Victorian era, serialised fiction was really popular, where one chapter essentially at a time would get published in a weekly or monthly magazine. And over time, the entire novel would come together that way. But people would purchase per issue. And so the incentive on the author's part was to really hook them and keep them engaged and keep them reading so that they would continue purchasing some really well known novels that were written this way, like Vanity Fair. From the Victorian era.

Allen:

  • Yeah, Dickens was the poster child for that. I think there’s something interesting about business models. I guess a lot of the old business models would become feasible again because of the advancement or improvements in technologies like in-app purchase. 
  • My point is that serialisation and monetization from serialisation was not possible until the internet until the mobile internet into Apple reinvented the micro payment. Because just economically, it wouldn't make sense. Without that,

Li:   

  • Yeah, I think you made a really insightful point earlier too, which was that: in the early days of Wattpad, and also in the early stages of a creator's life-cycle, they're not actually thinking about monetization. Their compensation is really in the feeling of affirmation that they get from the audience and the love that they get from their readership. And I think, today with all of the hype around creator monetization, I don't want companies to lose sight of the fact that actually, there's a whole range of non monetary incentives that you can offer to creators that are just as meaningful and incentivizing to creators as the financial component. I think a lot of creators are doing it as a passion as like a labour of love. And just reaching an audience, building an audience, getting positive feedback, and feeling affirmed is enough compensation for a lot of folks, especially earlier on. 

Nathan:

  • Totally, one form of compensation we all just got is, Paul just joined, the founder of clubhouse, and it makes me feel special. And we don't get that when we're publishing a podcast, we have no clue who's listening. Shout out to Paul. But it's so funny, just like a subtle example of how these things work in networked systems where in Wattpad, there's all sorts of mechanisms for feedback. Like you were talking about the paragraph or sentence level feedback you can get from readers. It's meaningfully different from publishing some text on paper, and then you get a number which is how many copies you sold. And that's it, you know, other than, if you go out and talk to people in the world. 

Allen:  

  • Yeah, there's a reason why we call it the passion economy, in that sequence. Build a passion first, and then the economy will come. But without passion without a fanbase, it is very hard to generate the economics. 

Li: 

  • 100%. There's a lot of passion out there without much economy yet. And I'm excited about new forms to help that passionate base of creators monetize. But I think in general, the passion is really widespread, and not everyone is solely motivated about the economic piece. 

Allen:  

  • I will also add a passion, even though the business model may not be obvious. But if you can garner a lot of people's time, eventually there will be some interesting business models that may not be obvious in the beginning. In the case of Wattpad, who would have thought turning fanfiction into a movie would become the business model? It only becomes obvious after the fact.

Nathan:

  • Totally. Yeah, I think that's one of the most fascinating things about starting as horizontally as you did. It kind of reminds me of YouTube in some ways, where literally: there wasn't a good way to read text on a phone. You were like: “How do I create a publishing system for text?” And so from that, there's very specific new genres and creative forms that can emerge. And similarly on YouTube, like vlogging is obviously extremely different from movies, and like these long serial novels that go on for 1000 chapters,  the deep fan base that wants to follow along, like you said, like Grey's Anatomy that's like its own form. That's kind of like, unique to the form. But it's so cool to see. I think a lot of advice that founders often get is like, Oh, you have to pick a very specific, like, okay, who is writing who's who's reading like, what kind of stories you therefore need to like, really integrate around like a hyper niche community or whatever. And like, I don't know, it seems like you don't necessarily like a lot of the most powerful companies to come out of solving almost basic, distribution challenges, right? And kind of creating these networks. And then they're surprised by what ends up flowering on top of that.

Allen:

  • Totally, you can’t be too prescriptive in the beginning, because you may be one of the 1 million users but the collective minds of the other 999,000 people probably will outsmart you. So it’s always good to crowdsource that innovation, whatever that is, to the crowd.

Li: 

  • Yeah. It's also really exciting. Interesting to consider that I think Wattpad has had a really different path towards building its business versus most other UGC platforms out there. Most other UGC platforms took the advertising supported approach, which, you know, after a decade, we've all seen the incentives that that creates, like business models determine the incentives and incentives are everything. And so if you are monetizing through an advertising based model that incentivizes for reach and scale, that ultimately engenders very different content that people are going to create on the platform than if you monetize through coins or in-app purchases, so it's it's interesting to consider, like Wattpad as almost this alternative universe of what type of content gets created and supported when the business model changes.

Allen:

  • Yeah, we, in terms of business model I mentioned earlier, We in fact, stayed away from making money for so long. I guess we went six years without any meaningful monetization. And I think it turned out to be a genius move, because if we were too prescriptive, early on, we would have taken a very different path. And by the time we were seriously thinking about monetization, six, seven years ago, Netflix started to take off. Movies, visual content or video content became very, very important. In-app purchases, subscriptions started to become popular that time, or at least feasible, maybe popular  now. If we would’ve started off with, “Okay, we have to sell content” 10 years ago, we probably would have been a big failure at that time. 

Nathan: 

  • It's fascinating how it takes a certain amount of time for almost the community to mature in a way and you have to wait till it hits a certain point to kind of get there. I'm curious, almost like a counterfactual, what do you think would have happened if in year two or three, you had tried to do monetization? What path would that have taken you down?

Allen:

  • Yeah, I think that we probably would have attracted very different types of writers. An example and analogy, you know, unfortunately, we cannot A/B test and go back in time and test it out. I would say the riders on Kindle self-publishing, they are quite different from what you can see on Wattpad. You know, our writers, they are much more they write because they love to write, and people publish on Kindle publishing, self publishing is because they want to make money. So these two very different reasons, in a way, kind of forced the company into a very different path. And I think that I'm so glad that we've made that choice at that time, perhaps intentionally or unintentionally. But it was such a good decision when we look back, because there’s maybe 4 or 5 billion people who can read and write, I would say maybe 1% of them, they want to monetize 99% of them, they read and write because they're passionate about reading and writing. Not everyone wants to be Tiger Woods. But millions of people love to play golf. I think that's the best analogy. So I think by picking the choice that we chose at the time, we actually captured the largest possible market that we could possibly capture.

Li: 

  • Yeah, that's such an interesting insight in terms of how those incentives and business models attract a different profile of creator than what you would have otherwise had. I get this question a lot around like, “Is the passion economy even a good thing?” Should our passions just remain pure and unmonetized? maybe we love them because they don't make us any money. So the people who pursue them are genuinely in it because they enjoy doing whatever it is. I don't really know what to say to that. And I do think that a lot of people dream of making money from what they're passionate about. But when the path to monetization becomes clearer, there certainly is a broader base of users who enter, who are perhaps not motivated by the love of whatever craft they're doing.

Allen:

  • Yeah, I think I perhaps I'm speaking for my own experience but the way we also observe the same thing on Instagram and YouTube. These are not binary choices. I don't, I don't believe they aren’t. It's not like you are passionate about x, then you cannot make money on x, and vice versa. I think it could be, in most cases, it could be both sides, two sides of the same coin. It's just that they happen in sequence. And I would also say the modern day business models. That's broadband internet or mobile internet has enabled in the past decade, and a bit as the word that we're all familiar with is freemium. If you're really passionate if you don't want to monetize, that's okay. Stay at the free side of the premium but if you want to monetize, or if you are spending enough time in a passion you have a fan base, or for whatever reason you can move yourself as a creator from the free of the freemium, to the premium of the freemium, that's okay too but that's really your choice. I think in the past 10 years, this world has democratized. This is no longer a binary choice, the creator whether you're passionate, you one of monetize choices available to you simultaneously, and you can go from one to the other, or to both at the same time.

Nathan:

  • Yeah, I think that fluidity especially of the way that platforms are seeming to evolve, is, is very interesting on Twitch, you could like to stream and then maybe someone tips you and you didn't even really Oh hey, all you have to do is connect a bank account and you can enable tips it's like very easy and it's just a tip it's okay that's fine and the same thing on Wattpad you may just experiment with putting one chapter behind the thing, it's different from launching a subscription business where it's okay, now you're making a promise that on ongoing basis, you're going to deliver a lot of value all the time. There's other ways to monetize the making that kind of a commitment and I think it's such a good foot in the door for people to figure out if it's for them or not because I think getting into the psychology almost of what it's like to become a professional at something versus to just do it for fun, it does change it, like for sure, just speaking for myself. It's, it's harder in a lot of ways to be a professional but also so you get paid so that's the trick. That's the trade off and it's it's different for different people what they want,

Allen:

  • That’s right, you get paid but you cannot take a vacation you can’t skip a week! That’s your choice. 

Li:

  • Totally. And, and I very much agree with that sentiment that I think more consumer choice is always better than less choices available. And so, I'm firmly of the belief that a world in which more creators have the option to monetize they don't all have to take it. Some of them can purely approach it still as a hobby, whereas others might choose to try and make a living from it. I think a world in which that is possible and the full range of choices available to them is better than a world in which there is no choice to go professional.

Nathan:

  • Yeah, it's interesting. It's interesting to plot the options almost on a spectrum from like, how much you're promising like tipping is, there's no promise it's just I'm already delivering stuff and if you like it you can pay but it's the value has already been delivered on my end as the creator, and then there's like one offs where it's okay I made a thing and I'm gonna put it for sale. There's no future commitment. I already created the value. Now I'm just gonna see if people want it and they can pay. And then there's subscriptions where I'm committing indefinitely into providing value and that's like the most stressful version of it, or even like scheduling something right if you announce if you pre announce something before you make it that's similar although it's like a one off versus an ongoing commitment, but I think that's an interesting like way to almost plot out the levels and it's cool that at Wattpad, it seems like you've covered all the different bases on that front for creators.

Allen:

  • Yeah, we have a lot of different options. And I would also say we’re in the second episode of season one. I think the, this passion economy or helping writers to make a living is still very early, I think, all the options that you just mentioned Nathan we have, We’re a strong believer and that's for monetization we cannot draw a box and ask everyone to jump into that box, and there are so many different boxes, depends on your choice tipping would work for example for more casual creators but for creators who are on a schedule, they are going to produce x every two days subscription may be the metamodel and it's not a one size fits all.

Li:

  • Totally, yeah. And I think there's constantly new business model innovation happening too. I see one of the attendees here, John Palmer. He just ran this really interesting experiment where he used crypto to crowdfund an essay that he wrote. And so instead of just publishing the word for free or putting it behind a paywall he did something in between which is like actually raising funds to create the essay, in exchange for ownership of the actual work itself, which I thought was really fascinating and I think that experiment netted him like $13,000 and the work is still available and accessible and viewable by all people, even though there's a few folks who now actually like technically own the essay itself. 

Nathan:

  • This would be fascinating on Wattpad. If people could buy essentially like equity in stories where if I'm an author, that has like a series that is really good and I'm doing the next in the series now, and I could crowdfund for my fans equity ownership in that series, so that when more people buy, they could they could potentially sell later for a higher price if it becomes a classic. The cool thing that I love about that experiment is it orients you towards the long term, because equity ownership is about what is this asset going to be worth maybe in years or decades even not just like I'll pay to check it out. So it's an interesting different model, it's also like a digital souvenir. In a way it's like a, it's cool, I don't know, it's interesting.

Allen:

  • Yeah, I think this is a very good example of a business model that would not be possible 10 years ago and now because of all the new technologies and infrastructure that is becoming possible and that works really well for the passion economy because in the past, pre-Netflix, before subscriptions, content was very transactional. Remember buying songs on iTunes. There's only one way to do it: a transaction where I pay you x and I get back a piece of content that I can own perpetually, and that's was the only model. The passion economy doesn't work this way, because when we talk about passion, we talk about the long term fan base. Fan base exists over a longer duration. If I was a Star Wars fan 10 years ago I probably still am today so that monetization opportunity is, in a way, recurring and perpetual. Yeah, that's why this type of business model would work much better. In this new passion economy and that's why I'm so excited about this space because this space is so new and so many things have not been invented yet. It's not just the technology it’s also the business model and human psychology. 

Li:

  • 100%. Yes, and I just have to call out my gratitude to Alan for starting this company and being such a huge source of inspiration for me in thinking about the passion economy and writing about it. I think back to all of the activities that I used to do as a child for fun, that I didn't use to be able to monetize, and I think Wattpad has paved the way for a large swath of people to be able to do what they love and earn either a side income or a full income from that and I think that’s so tremendously exciting. 





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