How to succeed in the Passion Economy with Adam Davidson
What is the Passion Economy?
Many people are labeling it the future of work?
But what does that mean?
The Passion Economy got its name in 2018 and it’s a new economic framework that lets people live their passions and break free from the 9 to 5. Anyone can participate in the Passion Economy and it’s creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs everywhere.
Dan will be talking to our guest, Adam Davidson, about the rules of the Passion Economy, how a person can participate in it, and what does it take to be successful in this new economic framework.
Adam Davidson is the CEO of Three Uncanny Four, a podcast production company where Adam hosts his own Passion Economy podcast. He’s also co-founder of NPR’s Planet Money podcast.
When he’s not in the podcast booth, Adam is an accomplished journalist, writing for The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, and This American Life.
Adam is also the author of The Passion Economy. A groundbreaking book that lays out the new rules for thriving in the 21st century.
You can purchase a copy of Adam’s book here:
Transcribed highlights from the show
Adam: I was born in the 70’s and I think I was raised to have a choice. You can either have a financially secure life or you can have a passionate life and you couldn’t do both.
Obviously the entire point of my book and my podcast is that you can do both! That’s no longer the choice, not only can you do both but you sort of have to do both. And that’s a wonderful, wonderful thing.
When I try to explain this I just think about how the 20th century was such a weird time in human history. It’s unlike anything else that came before and it’s a terrible to what’s happening now. My upbringing with my family is a great case study that highlights this problem.
My grandfather, Stanley Jack Davidson Snr, was about as American and an American man could be in the American century. Big, tall, strapping, really good looking guy, he had a full head of hair, right up until he died at 99.
He really looked like Superman, and that’s not just me saying that, if you look at a picture you’ll see the resemblance. In 1936, as a kid, he was only 18, he had a child, a wife he went to work at a factory, a miserable factory and he just worked and worked and worked his entire life.
And it wouldn’t even occur to him to think:
“Do I like my job?”,
“Do I love my job?”,
“Does my job represent who I am as a person?”.
They would be ridiculous, ridiculous questions for him. He worked in the machine tool business where giant machines grind metal and you can imagine the blue overcoat, oil everywhere, fine metal particles in the air. It’s just brutal work and my Dad grew up not knowing what his father did.
All my Dad knew is, whatever my Grandad did made him miserable. He came home angry and unhappy, but he did his job.
So my father, also named Stanley Jack Davidson Jr, from his birth was a passionate kid. He was a passionate guy, and he eventually realized he wanted to be an actor. Growing up in blue-collar Massachusetts, the son of a factory worker, was a crazy idea.
It’s like all the movies you see about a kid in an English mining village who wants to break out and make it in the big city. For a lot of people that vision just didn’t seem real.
In fact, my Dad went to theatre school without ever seeing a play or meeting an actor. He just knew he wanted to be one. And his father had such contempt for my Dads choices, and it really caused him an enormous amount of pain and a lot of pain in my family.
And when my Dad decided to be an actor he knew that would not lead to financial security, and, in fact, I think he took great pride in that fact and in making that choice.
He would always tell me as a kid that I shouldn’t choose money I should choose passion, I should choose to do the things I love to do.
It took me a very long time, and the complete transformation of how the global economy works, for me to realize the choices my Grandfather faced in the 1930’s and the choices my father faced in the 1960’s are not the choices I face or the choices you face.
In the 20th-century, the central economic engine of growth was mass production. It was small companies getting big, making the same thing over and over again. That model requires everyone in an organization, except a tiny minority at the top, to just turn up and do work.
This ethos filtered down into the whole of the 20th-century workforce. Nobody was asking what is a job? Identity, fun, who you are. These are things for the weekend. Not for work.
But today, all the automatable things, all the repetition, all the repeatable things are done by machines. Which means everyone can go from idea to product very easily. This now exists in so many industries and it empowers society to live their passions.