Many have said that I ought to have done this a long time ago, including my best ex-wife. Maybe getting to 5,000 total posts in 18 years of toil over this thing gives me more justification that most—those who want to razzle, dazzle, and lie to get to Six Figures in 3 Months!!! Only $499 for the How-To!!!
The thing is, nothing is really free, that’s just a useful illusion. There are always two minimal costs associated with anything you do: the first is that it requires your time and attention and the second, it trades away the opportunity to do something else with that space of time.
In this recent blog post, DOING EVERYTHING MY WAY BECAUSE SOCIAL MEDIA IS BECOME SOCIAL CANCER, I briefed how social media failed. We all got suckered. The promise was: ‘hey, stop working so hard, we have all the tools you could want, maintained, and you are free to just create your content. In turn, we’ll help grow your audience and in some cases, pay you.’ But, no real disclaimer: ‘understand we own all the content created and can limit, restrict, curtail, ban, or shadow ban as we see fit; or, that our Big Corp advertisers or political and wokeness pressures compel us to.’
For the content consumers like most of you, a similar thing. Sure, perhaps in certain cases you might have cheered, but the power to “burn books” you don’t like is the same power to burn your preferred “Bible,” too.
So after more than 30, 30-day bans on Facebook—and Twitter just outright deleting my account of 7,000 legitimate followers without warning—I decided that it’s time to take my toys and go home. I’m bringing everything under my own umbrella, with tech that can’t be stopped by High Tech. You can’t ultimately control what you don’t own.
I have redeveloped FreeTheAnimal as a membership site where everything is owned and served up with my own tech integrations and installations—where there exists myriad providers, and switching from one to another takes a matter of hours from a local backup of everything. And even failing that, I could set up my own server(s) and bandwidth. That’s what I did in my own company way back. A rack with four physical servers, everything in-house, including our own send-mail service. Zero software as service providers.
How do I envision that, now? Well, create blog posts, emails, videos, and all three. To have access, you have to sign up, just as you have to do for Facebook, Twitter, and many others. Of course, there are different levels, both free and premium. It will be pop-up and ad-free, with the exception of the free content; but then, the only ads will be the occasional enticing offer to bump membership up a notch or two because FOMO.
I think this is a reasonable approach. This kind of service is management intensive behind the scenes and costs money. Plus, those working on it need income. And the problem with sponsorships is that you can only get sponsorships where they agree with and like your content—it’s a fit for them. Which means: nearly nobody; or, they can’t pay you much. If you are controversial, no Big Corp ad revenue, because they will become an editor of your content.
Big Corp doesn’t pay other Big Corp for just their direct and explicit advertising message. What they really pay for is the implicit message narrative over the long term and they ensure it. So, for example, a specific drug advertisement is of some value. The far bigger value is how ‘pharmaceuticals are highly tested, totally safe, all doctors know everything about them, and even if you suspect you might have an issue, check with approved and credentialed authorities to get on board with one to many prescriptions.’
Watch both Fox News and CNN for a while to see how they are far more similar in that regard than they are different.
I have been railing against over-specialization since about 1991. Perhaps it’s because of my Navy Officer training where, as “line officers,” we are consummate generalists. The enlisted-man ratings are the specializations. A surface line officer must be fully competent in ship handling from the bridge, weapons systems in the combat center, and propulsion in the engineering plant—to name just three of myriad competencies.
When someone says to me, “I specialize in…,” I have an urge to reply that I’m so sorry to hear about that. There’s a book: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World.
This is why if you’re still reading this, you’re just as likely to be here only because of my social and political posts as you are my Paleo diet posts, my potato hack posts, my gut biome posts, my whole grains posts, my cooking and recipe posts, my crypto posts, my entrepreneurial business posts, my flying posts, my travel posts, my relationship posts, my expat in Thailand posts…the list goes on.
How to herd all these cats?
Well, this is now a membership site where you can truly get everything you want and nothing you don’t.
And here is where I think I’m being a bit innovative and I hope for its success, because if it is, then others will copy the model and it will alleviate some of the social antagonism, to strike a modest cord—if that’s possible, anymore. Think about that. Facebook touts “Community Standards.” Which one? I have eight categories of post content and even then, I would be loath to necessarily call the members a “community,” and how in the name of God have “standards” been established?
So, it’s rather a la carte here.
You love my cooking and recipes, but hate my politics? Costs you nothing to exclude the later and anything else. Conversely, you’re just not a foodie and plus, never had a health or weight problem? Something else, then. Maybe you like flying. Or, you want to “retire” to Thailand too. There are far more single-interest folks on my blog than fans of everything.
So, what now?
FIRST, WATCH THE VIDEO ADDENDUM
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THEN, BECOME A MEMBER, FREE OR PAID
There are six levels of membership, two of them free, four of them paid. Of the paid, two levels are $1 per month each, and two are $2 per month each. So, as a member, you can be from free to $1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or $6 per month for the whole enchilada. I think one value feature for many is the ability to exclude what they hate about some of my content. Not only do they not have to pay for it even minimally with time and opportunity cost, they don’t even have to see it.
Here’s the details.
1. Health Bundle: Diet, Science, Weight Loss, Recipes, and Food Pics – $2 per month
Access to two categories of posts: Health – Diet and Weight Loss; and, Recipes and Food Pics.
This is the long development of my Paleo past which is how most readers are familiar with me. It’s always evolving, just like humans have been, just in a far shorter frame of time since, knowledge and experience can be gained rapidly. We’re still probably playing catch up. Much draws on my own experience and experimenting over time: what works, what doesn’t; and importantly as well, what probably doesn’t matter much.
2. Earth Bundle: Travel, Living Abroad, and Active Lifestyle – $2 per month
This provides access to two categories of posts: Travel and Living Abroad; and, Active Lifestyle.
It draws from my previous experiences of living in Japan for five years in the 1980s where I also travelled extensively all over Asia by US Navy ship. Also, living two years in France in the early 1990’s as an exchange officer with the French Navy where we travelled extensively all over the Med. Finally, living as an expat in Thailand since January, 2020…in the North, the Northeast Isaan area where I built a house using village labor, and finally, on the island of Phuket down the peninsula on the Andaman Sea.
3. Politics and Social Relationships
This is where all the triggering, controversial stuff goes. Well, perhaps except for the Health Bundle. People can get pretty attached to their health imperatives and poisons. Politically and socially, the whole world has never existed in such a state of antagonism where any sense of basic humanity towards others can be cancelled in an instant if they don’t think and act in lockstep with the prevailing narrative.
Rather that fuel the flames on either side, as a basic, bread & butter small-c conservative, perhaps a core value of that is we ought to ask questions and explore what affords us the best sorts of lives. What values are we acting for?
I know I will falter in that ideal and the emotions will get the best of me sometimes. But, if there’s anything I wish to do in this, especially now, it is to have a cooler head prevailing.
Business Finance and Economics
This content draws from two basic areas where I gained expertise.
In 1993, I started my 3rd business in a bedroom after the 1st two were failures and the $50k lost is chalked up to postgraduate tuition, since I already paid for an undergrad business admin degree. Third time’s the charm, they say and it was true for me. Had a good 20+ year run, maintained a client base of about 2,000 consumers in financial services, about 30 employees, and $3-3.5 million annual revenue. I also traded options full time for a while, and also cryptocurrency. I’m a Bitcoin maximalist Hodler, now.
All published content that’s free to all members, paid or unpaid.
Sh*ts and Rants
My ranty posts or videos. Free, because who wants to pay for that shit? Importantly, you can easily exclude it.