Sustainable independent content creation & the unlocked commons

I’m trying to figure out if and how it might make sense for me to focus on creating content independently sustainably.

In other words, would it make sense to start a premium content format to support my independent work?

I tend to think things are essentially over before they really gain any traction anywhere near the mainstream. For example In 2010, I was convinced my company at the time shouldn’t even mention social media anymore. In 2012, I was very hesitant to still focus my work on IoT, when we founded ThingsCon in 2014 we very nearly didn’t even use the term IoT anymore. In 2009 or so I briefly recorded a few pilot podcasts with friends but we decided we were way too late to the game. For the last two years, I’ve been convinced to be way too late to paid content creation. (Even though I did experiment a little with ways to financially support my newsletter — my gratitude to the kind souls who indulged me with their kind words and hard-earned money.)


It’s not that I’m prescient, just that I work in a field where by definition my work interests place me way ahead of the curve and sometimes I need to remember to slow down. The world doesn’t move at that speed. (And that’s good —  it really shouldn’t!) So sometimes, my timing is off, and I have to remember to slow down a little. Give things time to unfold in their own time.

So. Back to today. A little marker on our home office window counts the day since we went into corona lockdown(ish) mode. Today, it says 182 days.

For 5 out of those last 6 months of corona-related lockdown I’ve been thinking I kinda missed the boat to use the slower pandemic times to focus on developing a premium content format, something that would allow me not just to write or focus on relevant research or content when I could find the time between client work and caring for our kid, but in a much more sustainable way: Something that wouldn’t require me to justify taking the time out of a busy day to read and write, but that would be justified in and of itself — not just on a moral or sanity level but also financially.

And something tells me that this is — against all my internal impulses — not something that’s too late to get started on.

The few and, so far, barely shaped thoughts coalesce around the following:

  • I’d prefer a collaborative, networked format because I think there’s beauty in collaboration and the types of dynamic collaborations tend to foster. Also I get to learn more, so this might a bit selfish as well.
  • It needs to be relevant not just for me, but add real value to readers (or if it shouldn’t be text based, then listeners obviously).
  • It should, preferably, be part of the unlocked commons, meaning there are no paywalls and no (or barely any) exclusives: This serves to make sure everything stays part of the commons and keeps contributing to the commons.

I’m putting this out here because I truly believe in thinking out in the open. If this triggers any thoughts, please get in touch — I’d love to bounce ideas!

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