Prolific is the world's first PCM (Personal Creativity Management) software platform. Founded by writer, artist and entrepreneur Scott Ginsberg, this slide deck takes you through the origin story of this revolutionary new business discipline. Try any of the 300+ tools for free at getprolific.io
The ﬁrst era of creativity was industrial (1900)
Rapid scientiﬁc progress brought us an unprecedented invention boom. Everything from light bulbs to
transportation to radio to telephones to physics were all inseparable from our modern world, ampliﬁed by the
invention of public relations, all of which had a crucial role in the ﬁrst two world wars. The creative process was
now oﬃcially celebrated and commercialized like never before.
The second era of creativity was cultural (1950)
Postwar socioeconomic issues took center stage as baby boom and middle class developed, the women's
movement blossomed, and counterculture blew up. Mass media gave people a platform to express their ideas
and talents in innovative ways. That's why the ﬁfties, sixties and seventies saw popular music, literature,
cinema, art and culture ﬂourishing like never before.
The third era of creativity was digital (1980)
People and organizations began making gargantuan strides in every area of modern life, underscored by these
revolutionary technological advances, most notably, the internet. People now had the permission and the
platforms to be creative, but also had something new that multiplied their reach. Connection. Creators related
to other creators on this global scale, both before, during and after the creative process, free of charge, and
free of barriers. That's why change has occurred at a blinding rate since then, multiplying technological
progress to the power of eleven, generating another extraordinary period of creative ﬂourishing.
So what's next?
A brief history of modern creativity.
+ The commercial utility from the industrial period
+ The sociocultural ﬁrepower of the postwar time
+ The digital connection of the recent era
= The fourth era of creativity is entrepreneurial (2010)
We now have the biggest creative workforce in history. Over one third of our economy is freelancing. Nearly
sixty million people for whom creativity is essential to their livelihood. Upwork, the online marketplace for
freelancers, did research to show that for these people, there’s not just one way of working.
• While skilled services are the most popular type of independent contract work, this creative workforce
ranges from highly skilled workers freelancing full time to those occasionally selling goods online.
• Digital natives have grown into legitimate artists, business owners and entrepreneurs, or have at least
learned to think and act like them.
• Modern professionals have multifaceted careers with several sources of income. Large companies are being
disrupted by entrepreneurs, and challenging employees to think that way so they can innovative to survive.
This is a beautiful thing.
There's no telling what kind of impact this next era of creativity will have on our world.
We’ve entered the fourth era of creativity.
Creativity is essential for all career success. Particularly as automation eats the world of work more and more,
it is the innate, human capacity for creativity that will make professionals more employable.
Two pieces of research prove this hypothesis.
1. Mckinsey's Study on Automation and the Future of the Workforce. They reported that the demand for
higher cognitive skills, including creativity, will rise close to ten percent in the next decade. Their data showed
that there is a degree of innovative thinking that's essential in every position, regardless of a core professional
focus. Creative problem solving and coming up with ideas is a highly interpersonal and emotional skill that
transcends role, learning style, personality type and disposition.
2. The Journal of Organizational Creativity. Their recent studies found that the creative skillset is needed in
all types of organizations and industries today. And these jobs go far beyond the artistic endeavor or scientiﬁc
discovery that has been traditionally labeled as creative work. Business as diverse as journalism, ﬁnance,
manufacturing, health care, government and professional services today all require deep expertise and
original ideas in order to be successful. As such, these organizations need to consider how their management
processes support their ability to attract, motivate, and retain creative individuals. And those who work for
them need to accept, embrace and capitalize on the unique brand of innovative thinking they bring to their
job, regardless of what story they've been telling themselves about how creative they are.
In short: Creativity has proven to be at a premium, and is only growing in importance.
Creating is something we make part of our normal life, rather than something special and separate
Because now everyone's job is creative.*
How can we create value
for this growing market
while also capturing
value for ourselves?
There are a host of personal, social, and economic anxieties that come with this kind of work, whether you’re
an entrepreneur or an employee.
There's the fear of team members rejecting your work.
The longing to be noticed for your innovative ideas.
The dread of having to start projects from scratch.
The pressure of ﬁnishing tasks on time.
The exhaustion of having to prove yourself to customers and coworkers.
The disappointment of your career not following the path you imagined.
Not to mention:
The apathy of not wanting to do the work on certain days.
The frustration of collaborating with unproductive people.
The paranoia of sharing your ideas before they're ready.
The diﬃculty of staying focused amidst distraction.
The isolation of slaving away alone in your home all day.
If creative professionals are going to ﬂourish, they need to change their relationship with this unique
category of problems.
Creative professionals have a unique
category of challenges to contend with.
Making things is not always easy. Earning a living from your wits is not for the faint of heart. Innovating can be
downright stressful and sometimes overwhelming. And if you’re not equipped to handle the inevitable and
resistance that accompanies creative work, then you can end up bitter, burned out and broke.
Meanwhile, every other element of modern business seems to have its own management system:
Task management systems
Project management systems
Financial management systems
Communication management systems
Customer relationship management systems
Even oﬃce snack management systems.
But none of those tools are purpose built to directly support creative professionals in their work.
If it’s the day before a big meeting, and you’re struggling to generate, organize or execute your ideas, there
isn’t one trusted system for you to turn to. Or when you’ve just started a new job and want to add value to
your team, there isn’t a universal framework for how to do so.
Sadly, most creatives don't have rules for
what happens when this happens.
There are as many tools as there are people to use them.
But people seldom address their deeper issues with creativity, which are almost certainly more psychological
than tactical. Their prop may oﬀer them a quick ﬁx, but the individual's real problems never subside enough
for them to take full action consistently. They just put a band aid on their inattention for an hour or two.
Imagine how much time people spend managing those idiotic notiﬁcations, updates and notes on their apps,
calendars or project management software applications.
10 minutes a day = 1 hour a week = 1 week a year
Multiply that by the number of people on your team, and we're talking about a signiﬁcant labor expense.
Just to preserve the illusion of productivity.
In short, people are treating the
symptom, not the source.
What current solutions are people trying to
use to solve this problem right now?
Brainstorming games, social media,
virtual cards, bookmarking programs and
project and task management software.
Research methodologies, thought
leadership empires, artist communities,
trade associations, freelancer platforms.
Creativity mentors, business consultants,
productivity gurus, life coaches and paid
+ Strong in novelty and digital experience
+ Low priced or even free
+ High structure and robust in resource oﬀering
+ Ability connect with other creators
+ Strong accountability
+ High eﬃcacy in enabling habit change
- Number of features & notiﬁcations overwhelming
- Consumes more time than they save.
- Inspiration hoarding, but no action
- Cumbersome, complicated & controlling
- Too clinical or too artsy
- Propaganda for selling other products
- Expensive and labor intensive
- One size ﬁts all solutions
- Create an external dependency
TOOLS SYSTEMS SERVICES
"Most tools designed to enhance your personal
productivity exacerbate the very anxieties they were
meant to allay. The better you get at managing
time, the less of it you feel that you have."
"There is an explosion in technology aimed at
helping people manage their time and tasks may
actually be making it harder. Your browser window
now has twenty tabs ﬁghting for your attention."
--Wall Street Journal (2013)
"My biggest issue with most coaching programs is
they try to make you something you’re not. And you
spend a lot of your time trying to put into practice
what the coach makes you aware of."
--New York Times (2014)
We need a new alternative to solve this
widespread problem that's a mashup:
The novelty and
aﬀordability of digital tool.
With the structure and
robustness of system.
And the personalization
and transformation of a
one to one service
A one stop shop for
managing your creativity
that's there when you
need it, and gone when
Do people need to get
better at handling
emergencies, or better
at solving their
People are doing projects by the seat of their pants. They're constantly making things up as they go. Which has
its merits, no doubt.
But the long term danger of solely taking an extemporaneous path to creativity is, it makes it hard to replicate
great work consistently.
If every day you and your team sit down to work, and you do so without preparation, making things oﬀhand,
fabricating work out of what is conveniently around you, then there will always be a ceiling on what you can
It's foolhardy to assume people can sustain innovation without some kind of methodology to increase
cognitive ease and free up their minds to do their ﬁnest work.
Eventually the time comes to stop improvising and start investing in system. One that's designed to
provide a repeatable and innovative experience in which your creativity can thrive.
It’s time for a repeatable and innovative
experience in which creativity can thrive.
If we want to achieve breakthrough results in our creative work, then it will be helpful to learn and employ a
robust vocabulary for that experience.
Because once we have a language that permits us to communicate with ourselves and others about our
creativity, then we can start to make sense of this otherwise ambiguous process.
Once we start thinking and speaking the words that support our artistic intentions, then we can conceptualize
and describe the experience of bringing our ideas to form. That’s just as much of a superpower as the act of
Language gives you leverage as a creative professional. It expands your repertoire of mindful awareness,
allowing you to notice the opportunities to increase your return on experience everywhere you go.
By building an evolving glossary of what it means to be creative, you can signiﬁcantly increase your
chances of eﬀectively managing the process.
It’s time for a way to raise the chances of
effectively managing the process.
It’s time to teach the creative workforce
how to troubleshoot the real issues.
Imagine if you could learn how to solve your creative problems eﬃciently, so you can get back to the real work
of making things.
Imagine if you had a real time toolkit to help you think about your problems in a diﬀerent way.
Imagine if you could understand the context behind the problem, see the experiences of others who have had
the same problem, and visualize potential tools to prevent that problem from reoccurring in the future.
You would become unstoppable. You would free up your mental capacity to allocate attention to more
meaningful tasks. Like actually doing your work.
This metacognitive skill, aka, thinking about thinking, aka, becoming aware of your awareness, changes
Why should creativity
and innovation be any
different than any other
element of modern
1) We’ve deﬁned the problem.
2) We’ve named the category.
More and more professionals need creativity for their job,
but the tools to manage it efficiently it don’t exist.
Personal Creativity Management (PCM)
Now we establish the brand.
And sell the solution!
And we’re not going to just
ask people what they want.
We’ve observed how they
behave, and have imagined
what will change their lives.
There are hundreds of apps, games and tools for creative professionals. They promise to get
you organized and spark inspiration so you can achieve more.
But mostly, they’re distractions. They consume more time than they save. When in reality, you
should be out there executing your ideas.
Introducing Proliﬁc, the world’s ﬁrst personal creativity management system. It’s designed to
help you troubleshoot your own issues in a fast, personalized way.
Our knowledge base teaches you how to identify and solve your speciﬁc problems in every
step of the creative process.
Here’s how it works. Next time you get stuck doing your work, come to our knowledge base.
Name your problem, learn why you might be having it, and pick the best tool to overcome it.
And then, please, for the love of god, get oﬀ our app and get back to work.
:90 Explainer Video
You can try Proliﬁc up to ﬁve times per month. And then, if you want unlimited access to our
private library of more than three hundred personal creativity management tools, it's only eight
bucks a month to subscribe.
That's less than a slice of avocado toast.
Look, our software isn’t another time sucking website where you pretend to do your work. It’s the
place you come for answers about why you can’t.
We understand. Making things for a living is downright stressful and sometimes overwhelming.
But whatever problem you have, with whatever step of the creative process you're at, we've been
there too. Because our app was built by creators, for creators.
Whether you're an entrepreneur, employee, or some mashup between the two, it's time to get
Cultivate your intellectual capital today, and grow greater proﬁts from your creativty tomorrow.
:90 Explainer Video
Total Addressable Market
•America's economy is approximately
one third freelancing.
•There are 60m people for whom
creativity is essential to their
•And more than half of the creatives
in the United States (58%) are
employed in the private, for proﬁt
Product Market Fit
In 2018, the average spend per
employee of SaaS subscriptions
($2,884) was higher than the cost
of a new laptop ($1,299) for an
Apple Macbook Pro.
That’s where Proliﬁc ﬁts into the market.
And at $8/month, they can’t say no!
—Blissfully’s 2019 SaaS Trends Report
Organizations with 800 employees
are now spending $15M on SaaS,
up 28% in comparison to 2018,
using 141 apps across the
—Cleanshelf State of Business SaaS Spend
One in ten millennials spend
$200 or more every month on
various subscription services.
—Watersone 2019 Subscription Spend
Three distinct groups based on the
subscription cost per month: Low:
$6.99 and below, Medium: $7-$20,
High: $20-$50. *Medium group has
highest conversion rate
—2017 Subscription Mobile Apps Report
who works for
who works full
time for a larger
has a day job but
also runs their own
“I run a one man
show. I need tools to
avoid burnout and
not becoming a
workaholic, or my
wife will leave me.”
“People on my team
shoot down my creative
conﬁdence. I need ways
to deliver innovative
ideas to earn respect
and get a raise.”
"I just took a day job
to support myself,
but I’m afraid I won’t
have time or energy
left to do my art on
"I have to create
a culture of
innovation at this
company so we can
recruit and retain top
STRUGGLE IN A SENTENCE
How it is structured?
•Once you've named your problem,
you're halfway there.
•The search bar is an open door to a
•Naming the problem drives a wedge
in the crack so you can get your
ﬁngers into it and inch your way out
How it is structured?
•Most companies give knowledge
bases away for free as an added value
to support a product or service users
are already paying for, we inverted
•Our PCM knowledge base itself is the
product. And the program that users
learn to use more eﬀectively is their
Why 300+ tools?
The more tools you have to work on a problem, the less likely you are to get stuck
Now creative professionals can take some of the risk out of the equation.
They already have the natural talent, Proliﬁc tools give them more leverage
•Whatever unwelcome situation needs to
be dealt with and overcome, they are
•They’ll never consume them all the tools,
but the breadth and depth of content
oﬀered promises to always have their
•Creators who go to work visualizing
themselves as always carrying a tool kit
stocked with powerful and useful tools
Why 300+ tools?
What does a tool look like?
Each tool will be assigned its own hand drawn illustration, which is taking an abstract idea and translating it
into an understanding as a visual.
These images become part of our brand as well, showing up in our marketing materials as well.
Based on research in subjects like visual learning, information architecture and user experience,
there are ﬁve reasons for using this kind of visual language:
What does a tool look like?
1) User Experience — Abstract graphics are often superior to verbal descriptions because of their eﬀect
on cognition. Users can process them more quickly and easily.
Proliﬁc is text heavy, since I'm a writer, so these images break them up
What does a tool look like?
2) Credibility — Abstract graphics represent facts and data, concepts and systems. People expect them to
reﬂect accuracy and precision, believing they are the ﬁnal word.
Not only do abstract graphics enhance communication, they also enhance the credibility of a message. There
is a sense of objectivity to the nonrepresentational graphic. It helps justify the price of Proliﬁc and make it
more professional and powerful
What does a tool look like?
3) Learning — The visualization of abstract concepts helps our users understand the creative process and
communicate about it. A failure to remember something is often the result of a poor retrieval cue
rather than a lack of stored knowledge.
Proliﬁc images make sure users increase their ability to automatically extract information during their software
What does a tool look like?
4) Impact — Visuals reduce the time it takes for a viewer to understand and respond to info. Proliﬁc tools
create a visual portrayal that extends the viewer's ability to see, think and know, beyond just works.
Using and informative approach to visual language allows the audience to perceive concepts & connections that
they did not previously realize
What does a tool look like?
5) Marketing — Proliﬁc visuals will be striking, memorable and artistic, which means users will want to take
screenshots, save images, share them with their friends, etc.
Adding visuals to our software makes our product more remarkable, harder to steal and easier to spend
Product Feature: Tools
•300+ tools for every stage of the
•Easily searchable by keyword,
•Fast, visual and clean browsing
Product Feature: Saving
•Save your favorite PCM
tools and blog posts to
•Access them with a
single click for later use
Product Features: Resources
•Every subscriber gets a free download
of both books, Proliﬁc (2015) and
•Inside readers ﬁnd case studies on
the tools, expanded methodology on
PCM, deep dives into best practices
Product Features: Blog
•Premium daily blog posts
delivered right to your
•Each article gives you
inspiring meditation on
PCM delivered in a short,
•Stay current on new tools
added to the library and
the latest PCM research
Proliﬁc is a software as a service (SaaS) product. Here’s the logic of how it sustains itself ﬁnancially.
Users will pay an annual fee for unlimited access to our private library of 300+ personal creativity
management tools. Their subscription also gives them hundreds of behind the scenes articles and outlining
best practices in applied PCM.
Using the freemium model, we oﬀer all users access to up to 5 pieces of content per month (tools/articles).
When they hit the limit, a metered paywall asks users to join the platform for our single subscription option
of $8/month (billed annually at $96/year).
These free tastes encourage users to try our product with no risk. Then, the metered paywall blocks access to
the content our site oﬀers until the reader pays. In this model, people either have access to the content or
they don’t. No degrees of access as there are with membership models.
Stratetically, our paywall is an implied statement that we're oﬀering premium content. Our depth and
breadth of 300+ tools (and articles about them) becomes an exclusive warehouse of value that's large enough
to impress subscribers and oﬀset the nominal monthly fee. Our users rent access to this wide selection of
assets that help them solve their creative problems.
This model sets our platform up for enterprise level subscriptions and other services down the road at a
higher price point, oﬀering organizationally driven oﬀerings to increase ARR and CLTV. More on that later in
the section about future optimizations.
We will evangelize the
and our product second
We will show what’s
missing, not what
can be improved
We will make PCM
seem like it was
inevitable all along
•Book 1: Proliﬁc (free w/sub)
•Book 2: PCM (free w/sub)
•Daily blog posts (515+)
•Social object tools (315+)
•Fake Ad Campaigns
•Gifting Options for Creators
•Pay With Social Sharing
•User Data Journalism
•Manifesto Art Pieces
•Past Interview Reach Out
•User Recruitment Email
•General Email Outreach
•Newsletter For Non Users
•Corporate Innovation Labs
•User Case Studies
•Send a Tool to a Friend
•Data Collection & Sales
•Consulting & Training
•Education, Government, Org
•Powered By Proliﬁc Badge
•User Notiﬁcation System
•Account Reporting Analytics
•Enterprise Level Oﬀering
•White Labeling Oﬀer
•Alexa Skills & AI Opps
Best Case Scenario
*Category of PCM established
*Gets 5000 users in 2 years
*Generates $475k ARR
Realistic Success Scenario
*Gets 250 users in 2 years
*Generates $25k ARR
*Reinvest into growth marketing
Worst Case Scenario
*Proliﬁc gains 50 in 2 years
*Recoup costs and break even
*We built software a small group of people use
Showing Early Proof of
“Proliﬁc is fantastic, and
exactly the kind of open
curriculum that the world
needs more of!”
—Kelly, Director of L & D,
Creative professionals hate getting stuck and starting from scratch.
We think we can develop the ﬁrst personal creativity management system to solve that problem in a diﬀerent way.
It will oﬀer hundreds of tools to support people in every step of their creative process, from ideation to organization to execution.
Users will subscribe to our warehouse of solutions, learn to properly name their problems,
and adapt their favorite tools to ﬁt their creative needs.
Millions of people will start using our software to become proliﬁc in a way they thought only geniuses could be.
Creative professionals will now have a secret weapon to grow their intellectual capital,
drive innovation, grow their personal brands and feel more fulﬁlled in their work.
After we succeed in trailblazing the ﬁeld of personal creativity management,
we will expand our brand to oﬀer a universe of products and services to scale our impact.
Proliﬁc will expand into enterprise solutions, educational partnerships, licensing deals,
academic research, virtual communities, app marketplaces and live events.
Organizations small and large worldwide will start using our software to become
proliﬁc in a way they thought only geniuses could be.
They will embrace PCM as the leading strategic diﬀerentiator of the next phase of the economy.
Ultimately, our methodology will revolutionize the way the human
race thinks about the creative process.
Proliﬁc Company Vision
The founder of PCM is Scott Ginsberg, a TEDx speaker, internationally
acclaimed author of 50 books, 10 albums, 3 music ﬁlms, and numerous other
creative works. He's been featured on CNN, MSNBC, The Today Show, NPR,
FastCompany, COSMO, 20/20, WSJ and Entrepreneur and USA Today.
Scott has spent 20+ years executing award winning sticky ideas for himself,
his clients and his employers. Scott is also the world record holder of wearing
nametags. You learn more about his other work here.
Scott believes unequivocally that the methodology of personal creativity
management will convincingly add new and important results to the ﬁeld.
Proliﬁc will demonstrate that trying to innovate by the seat of your pants,
constantly making things up as you go, isn't sustainable or scalable, for
individuals or organizations.
A comprehensive overview of PCM can be found Scott's two popular books,
Proliﬁc (2015), and Personal Creativity Management (2020).
This is the part where you
write me a check for
millions of dollars.
Take your time.
I can wait.