Sterling Proffer

Sterling Proffer

In the creative industries, clarity + leverage = freedom.

3,128 creators, executives, and entrepreneurs are learning to navigate their careers with confidence. Join them.


About me

I am a business strategist and entrepreneur focused on designing & building sustainable systems to support creative work.

My business is CEOS. We do two things:

  1. We work with ambitious people at growing companies who want to win the hearts & minds of creators. If that sounds like you, reach out at partners [at] ceos [dot] co.
  2. We’re building the missing manual for navigating the business of creativity – The Creative Industry Database. It’s the guide I wish I had. I’ve designed it for creators, executives, and entrepreneurs looking to make business decisions with greater speed & confidence. Sign up above for early access.

I’ve made time for extra-special deviations, though with a bootstrapped business and a family, it’s harder than before. My favorites are values-aligned nonprofits; educational initiatives; DAOs for builders, thinkers, & creators; tectonic tech.

My story, working backwards

  • My 20s: I spent a decade at VICE. With a group of insanely talented people, I helped (a) launch several media properties and (b) build depts (Growth, Business Strategy, Strategic Partnerships, Data & Analytics). I wrote decks. Lots of decks.
  • Takeaway: willing something from nothing is an incredible feat; sustaining it is another.

  • Before that: I studied film & entrepreneurship, booked concerts, and played in a band. During the summers, I interned at Viacom (TV sales), CAA (mailroom) & the MPAA (Glickman’s office).
  • Takeaway: the media industry was changing, and it was better to be on the side driving the change vs. reacting to it.

  • And all the way back: I grew up in a recording studio. I started playing music when I was 5, then writing when I was 12. Thought about pursuing music professionally, but decided the business side was right for me.
  • Takeaway: it takes deep conviction to pursue a career as a creator.


Photo credit: Kevin Abosch

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