Midam: crowd-sourcing gags

Kid PaddleI dropped by the Entreprendre fair yesterday for one thing, a talk by comic strip artist Midam. If you have kids, you might know him better as the author of the Kid Paddle character. He gave a fascinating look at how he runs his business – as a business it is. Despite claiming he couldn’t really draw (modesty, modesty), he is applying a model for anyone involved in the creative industries.

Speaking globally about his business, he said something which I have felt for a long time: “People sometimes say to me, ‘But you came across the right idea’. But what I actually came across was the right method. If I had started by drawing for the cookery rather than the video games section of Spirou, I’d still be selling lots of books.” It’s not just the actual content, it’s what you do with it that makes the significant difference.

I won’t go into the details here (ask him yourself, it’s fascinating). But I’d like to point out one idea that is very contemporary. Kid Paddle has led to a funny spin-off called Game Over. To avoid being overwhelmed by work, Midam recently decided to crowd-source his gags on a site called Game Over Forever. People can pitch ideas and perhaps get chosen (and paid). “95% of the material is not up to scratch, but the good ones are really good,” he said. His biggest investment was in lawyers, ensuring that they can use ideas from wherever they might arrive. It’s rare to see