Tl;dr: I figure that the price of a couple coffees or one alcoholic drink isn't a bad trade for 12 emails per month full of eclectic highlights and investing/technology analysis.
If you make just one good investment decision per year because of something you learn here (or avoid one bad decision — don’t forget preventing negatives!), it'll pay for multiple years of subscriptions (or multiple lifetimes).
As Bezos would say of Prime, you’d be downright irresponsible not to be a member, it takes 19 seconds (or 3 seconds on Apple or Google Pay):
Once in a while, you get to a fork in the road...
It's been 97 editions (+2 𝕊𝕡𝕖𝕔𝕚𝕒𝕝 𝔼𝕕𝕚𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟𝕤) since I began this thing on July 20, 2020 (why should I wait for a round numbers? Just because natural selection gave me 10 fingers?).
I've been having lots of fun and received lots of positive feedback. It's been gratifying to feel like I'm building something — just making it up as I go, without a clear blueprint, or anyone looking over my shoulder.
This thing now takes a lot more space in my brain, and occupies more of my waking hours than I ever expected.
So I've been thinking about the future a bit, about what I want from it, and what can be done to feel like everything is aligned.
My ranked priorities since early days:
1. Have fun 2. Inform and entertain readers 3. Learn from doing it, and from the conversations and relationships it sparks 4. Maybe someday have paid subscriptions, which would help align my interests a bit better, because it's easier to spend more time and energy on it if it helps pay some bills/has a lower opportunity cost
I've worked hard to maintain #1, because I know that if that goes, I'll just stop. #2 because without you, I'm just a crazy person talking to myself. #3 has been a great success, thanks to all those of you who reached out via email and Twitter!
So we're at the point where I feel like I should try to figure out #4.
So I've decided to put everything behind a paywall...
Oh, wait! It's not at all what I've decided.
I've decided to keep everything open and free.
I don't even want to put 𝕊𝕡𝕖𝕔𝕚𝕒𝕝 𝔼𝕕𝕚𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟𝕤 like that great interview with David Kim of Scuttleblurb or with Koyfin's co-founders behind a paywall, because I want as many people as possible to read my guests' words.
What I'm doing is turning on the ability in Substack to be a paying supporter (💚) through subscriptions at various levels: Deluxe and Extra-Deluxe (in honor of this NASA Mercury-program anecdote), but I'm not charging for access.
The amount should hopefully be invisible in your yearly budget, but if enough of you do it together, it will be visible in my yearly budget. (I haven’t gotten a paycheck in about 5 years, I live purely from investing my own private account)
To be honest, everybody in the biz that I asked about this said I should have a paywall, that there would be too many freeloaders. But *looks you in the eye* I believe in you.
I'm thinking of it kind of like we're sitting in a pub somewhere, and I'm talking about various things that interest me or that I've learned about recently. If you like it, once in a while, you send me a scotch to keep me talking and show appreciation (💚). All very casual & civilized. And a jolly g'day to you too, sir.
As I say on the About Page, I'm not looking to create a job for myself. I'm not promising to make you richer, healthier, or more attractive.
I'm doing my thing, and if you like it and want to kick in a few bucks, I'll appreciate it very much and it will make a difference in keeping it going, and spending more time on deeper-dives, special projects, and interviews (I've got long a list...).
If it becomes real work, it risks becoming a lot less fun, and if it's not fun, I'll just stop doing it (see priority #1).
If you put crumbled bills in the tip jar (not literally, please use electronic payment and support V/MA), I can see myself doing this indefinitely. I've written daily for many years, and know I can do it and won't run out of gas like most new writers when the honeymoon is over.
But if my scotch glass stays empty, I'll have to reconsider. Maybe a paywall, maybe stopping. I don't know. I'm just being straight with you. It's a fun project, but it has grown out of any of the bounds that I expected going in, and the opportunity cost of all the time and energy poured into it is high.
Wow, ending on a down note. That's definitely not good copywriting...
Puppies & kittens!
Thank you for your support. It means the world to me. 💚 🥃
Wow, you came all the way down here. 🍪