I hope you will forgive one more solipsistic post; I’m as eager as you to get back to the kind of writing that you are here for.
First off, thanks for your support. I’ve been pretty overwhelmed with the number of signups so far; it’s a great affirmation of what I’m doing here.
As expected, launching a membership program has not been without its hurdles; beyond the payment gate snafu, there has been lots of folks that have expressed concern about my erecting a “paywall,” cutting them off from content they had come to expect.
My sincere belief is that this is not a paywall, which I view as being punitive and arbitrary. Instead, I wanted memberships to be additive, giving my most loyal readers more and different premium content, while the long-form articles this site is known for remained free.
It was, however, around the 10th time I was explaining this that I realized I was making the most classic of mistakes: blaming the customer for my complexity.
The truth is while I perfectly understand the distinction between content types, I am also heavily invested in that understanding: after all, it’s my livelihood. My readers have busy lives with their own cares and worries particular to them, and to assume they would take the time to understand what I am selling was unfair to them, and ultimately, unfair to me as a proprietor.
To that end, I am making a change to the membership plans, specifically the additional content portion:
The Linked List Content Will Become the Daily Stratechery Email
The additional premium content that I plan on writing daily (~3-4 500 word items) will be moved to a daily email, fresh in your inbox every morning (an advantage of being 15 hours ahead).
This has lots of advantages:
- If something is on this site, it’s free to read and share. Period. (Update 4/30/14: At the request of members, I’ve archived the daily updates to the side. However, they will not appear in the main feed and will have no impact on the experience of non-members) No need to think twice or wonder if your friend or coworker will be able to read the link you share, which ultimately, helps me grow.
- What I am selling will be much clearer and easier to explain: a daily email, with my opinion on the most important stories and articles of the day. It’s something that doesn’t exist now, but will if you pay for it.
- Significantly reduced complexity in the design of the site, including a return to one full RSS feed.
There are disadvantages:
- I’m changing what I sold. If anyone strongly prefers the linked list and objects to receiving the same content in email, I will gladly refund your money.
- I’m removing the additional traffic on site that would have been generated by the daily content, which may affect sponsorships. To that end I’m also reducing the sponsorship price to $750.
- It will be much easier for people to share premium content. Once or twice would be ok, but I trust my readers would not do so systematically.
The price will remain $100 a year with gifts or $10 a month. The signup flow is the same – I automatically enroll you when you buy a membership.
The Conversation Plan
I’m changing this to the t-shirt plan and reducing the price: $30 for the year with a t-shirt, $3 a month without. I will issue refunds to those who have bought conversation plans (but there were many fewer than the other plans).
The Community Plan
No changes. I’m very happy with the response and can’t wait for our first meetup. Email and Glassboard access coming soon (it’s been one of those weeks).
I’ve received several request for a donation option, and will offer one soon.
Also, please note it will take a few days to incorporate these changes fully, but I wanted to make this announcement sooner rather than later.
It’s humbling to, on one hand, preach clarity in product offering and the importance of clear value propositions in my articles, and then stumble when it’s my turn. However, I think flexibility of mind and action are important as well, and I hope I’ve demonstrated that.
Above all, though, I want to express how grateful I am for the many who have already bought in. I aim to make it a bargain – and a less confusing one at that!
If you haven’t signed up, and don’t intend on it, I still welcome you as a reader and hope you will continue to share content you like. Again, everything on this site is free. If you’d like to come on board and get that daily email, or access to me, or just a t-shirt, the membership page is here.
Thanks so much for your support. I look forward to getting back into the tech next week.