Some Updates For My Readers Moving Forward in 2021

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First Update — Live Reading & Short Interview On A Podcast!

I was lucky enough to be featured on a podcast called “This Is A True Story”, where I read the story below and answered some questions about my creative process, future plans, etc:

If you were ever curious about what my voice sounds like or wanted to learn a bit more about me, take a listen to the podcast and let me know if you liked it or not!

This was my first interview so I was a bit nervous, but Scott Davidson, the interviewer and founder of the podcast, was extremely accommodating and friendly throughout the whole discussion.

He is the founder of Living Adaptive, which I will let him explain in his own words:

Living Adaptive is the podcasting home of the adaptive community. Keep current with adaptive happenings and listen to guests that include individuals that adapt to notable adversity and thrive, supporting organizations, and personalities that are making impacts within the adaptive world. You can adapt no matter the challenge.

I highly recommend you check out his podcasts on your mobile podcast apps.

He has numerous inspiring interviews with people who have overcome external and internal adversity, and I am grateful that I get to learn from the wisdom that these people have accrued through their experiences.

If you are someone who has an interesting and inspiring story to share where you overcame personal adversity, feel free to contact Scott at livingadaptive@gmail.com.

He is always looking forward to sharing stories of individuals who experienced suffering but found the courage to conquer their fears and insecurities.

Second Update — My Writing Will Now Be Accessible To All Readers

This was a decision that I had to wrestle with for a while, but the answer became more clear in recent days.

I believe information that is freely accessible to all people will always have more of a positive influence on the world than the alternative.

I understand Medium needs to have a monetization model and saw that it was necessary to create a membership system.

Most editorial sites are backed by advertisements, which disrupt and annoy the readers’ concentration and immersive experience.

Medium’s initial mission was to step away from all that, to create a place where people could share stories without an editorial team deciding if it was worthy of the public’s attention or not.

Ev Williams, the founder of Medium, sought to fight back against the growing trend of virality and decreasing attention to quality writing online.

The creation of Medium arose from developments and habits Williams observed in the world of social media. More and more focus was brought onto making the content as engaging and shareable as possible, which often went at the expense of quality journalism. This ultimately led to the destruction of blogging, a term Williams helped to coin.

Source: https://productmint.com/the-medium-business-model-how-does-medium-make-money/

As I understood it, it was a place where writers could write without having to care about the technical and bothersome details that took away from the art form.

It was created as a way to address the displeasure that the online community was experiencing with the then-perceived bloated, attention and money focused editorial landscape.

Medium’s message? Sign up and start writing. Who are you and what do you have to say? Simple as that.

It also separated itself from other blogging sites like Wordpress because you didn’t feel like you were a piece of log floating in the sea of the internet. You felt like you already had a community of readers and writers and could interact with them easily. Random people found your article and became your friends and followers.

As the platform grew and drew in more users, it had to increase its staff and expenses. In order to provide us users with the best experience, it had to enlist more support. However, the company would not be able to last for long with its current strategy.

No advertising on platform = no advertisers offering money = no money to support staff and infrastructure

It was like a ship attempting to serve the passengers at the expense of their crew.

Does Medium turn back on its mission to host an editorial experience without advertisements in order to survive? Or does it find a different strategy to monetize?

Medium released the Partner program which attempted to solve two financial problems:

  1. pay its employees and infrastructure costs
  2. create a revenue stream that could also pay the writers who bring users and attention to the site

The company saw that if users were willing to subsidize the costs by sacrificing a cup of coffee a month ($5), it wouldn’t have to abandon its initial goal and could even afford to pay its contributors. It would have enough money to support the servers and team members.

Everyone wins!

But only for those who buy in.

For those who did not want to buy in, they lost the ability to enjoy the unlimited content that Medium used to provide.

But who can blame Medium? This was the solution that made the most sense to the decision-makers at the time. This could possibly have been the only way to stay afloat with the absence of a monetization model that included advertising.

I certainly don’t have a better alternative, and I don’t want to be someone who declares that Medium should stay free because I feel that it should for the “good of the people” or whatever arbitrary reason I could think of to show my “moral righteousness”.

I have to be grounded in reality and acknowledge the fact that in order for us to have good things like Medium, it needs to be supported by brilliant minds handling the bureaucratic and financial drama behind the scenes. Usually involving money. Because no one wants to work for free!

And I didn’t join the Medium partnership program because I believed and truly wanted to support the mission. I joined it to see how much money I could make! And I have to say although the money that I make helps pay for a few meals, it does not make a dramatic difference to my bank account.

If I earned $10 but limited 1,000 people from reading my articles, was that necessarily a good tradeoff? Locking information away from people who are seeking from it behind a paywall made me feel weird. People from all over the world used to read my content, and in certain places they are not even allowed to become Medium members. So what was to become of those readers? Would they never be allowed to read the information I had to share, simply because they did not or could not pay money?

Was I not the beneficiary of free and valuable information, which formed me and allowed me to get to where I am today? Was I not a product of the free articles I was able to read without the worry of a paywall?

I forgot my initial mission as a writer because of the promise of a few more dollars in my pocket. The satisfaction I get from having readers enjoy my writing freely beats the direct deposit message I get far more. I believe sharing information is how we all collectively improve as individuals.

So from now on, while I will remain a member of Medium’s Partner program to support other writers and Medium as a company, my writing will always stay free for the people who wish to read it.

While I do wonder if this decision will affect the distribution of my stories (I don’t know how the algorithm works), I’ll keep to this decision and hope that I can at least help share the things I’ve learned with one more person than I previously was able to.

If you want to ask me a question or simply want to talk: @ohc.william@gmail.com. Check out my publication — https://medium.com/sapere-aude-incipe

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