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The age of the creator is upon us.

After years of gaining momentum, the creator economy has gone mainstream. Payment processing platform Stripe estimates the number of individuals who now see themselves as full-time “creators”—those who use online tools to sell digital content—grew 48% in 2021, while earnings across the industry are expected to soon eclipse $10 billion.

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Eat your hearts out, CEOs: TikTok stars like the D’Amelio sisters and Addison Rae are banking more money than many of the S&P 500’s chief executives.

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Biden Ends Ban on TikTok, WeChat

When Shawn Carbonell dove into Instagram in 2014, he was already nose-deep in test tubes and petri dishes. His young startup, OncoSynergy, was looking for a cure for brain cancer, and Carbonell would frequently post photos of cancer cells he would come across in his research . His goal was simple: to document any discoveries that could lead him closer to a treatment for brain cancer.

“I don't think I'm a great communicator in person,” Carbonell told dot.LA. “I really have to think about it and try to use words that only my grandma would understand.”

But Carbonell apparently had little trouble communicating online. To date, he has 13,000 followers on Instagram. Even more impressive, his TikTok account, which he created in 2020, has already amassed over 450,000 followers.

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