I'm the maker of a site to find the best places to live for a digital nomad, a remote job board and a neighborhood map app. I travel to work from anywhere, bootstrap side projects into open startups and only own what fits in my backpack. I also made 12 startups in 12 months. Before that startups, I made a YouTube w/ 100+ mln views. Follow me on Twitter or read my blog. You can buy my book MAKE now.

What we can learn from Stormzy about transparency

This is Stormzy. A 23-year old grime MC from Croydon, London, UK.

This is his most famous track. It has over 50 million plays.

It doesn’t have high production values. It’s just him with his friends/crew/entourage. There’s no dubbing tape. There’s no recording studio. The track doesn’t even have an actual studio recording. Just this. But everybody (in grime) knows it. Stormzy presents us with just the bare core of what it’s about. No acting. No posing. No production. Just him performing.

That’s hard. Because without decoration, it becomes solely about skill.

And that’s how most of his videos are:

This is him with his mom. His mom! You can’t act tough with your mom next to you. But it works because it’s so real. He’s open, honest, transparent. This gets 15 million views. This gets Stormzy bookings all over the world.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an artist, creative, product maker or a startup: the concept of “image” is dead. It’s the age of honesty.

These days, people just want to see the true core of what you’re about. You don’t need to act in a way or present yourself as different than you truly are. Be yourself. Reality works. Show the struggles of your journey of making stuff. Admit that it’s hard. Say sorry when you fuck up. Share your successes when you achieve them. People want to ride along with you on your journey.

Because right now there’s nothing more people appreciate than honesty and vulnerability. And only a few people are brave enough to be. Stormzy is.

Be more like Stormzy 🙂

P.S. I just wrote a book on bootstrapping indie startups called MAKE. And I'm now on Twitter too if you'd like to follow more of my adventures. I don't use email so tweet me your questions.

My adventures