I Got Paid: The Yin and The Yang of EV Williams

If you do not know who he is, I would be surprised if this read interests you.

Image for post
Image for post
By Ian Linkletter [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

I was nodding my head in vigorous agreement. I am blogging for 4 years now. I believe in the long tail. A small return everyday for ever-green content. I was happy that some one with impact saw what I felt.

When I saw the small dollar change roll in yesterday night for blogs written long ago, the tail I believed in was finally wagging and I had to pen this blog.

1) Charm outweighs economics

I am a daytime data geek. And a night time creative blogger. In blogger speak, the economics are not comparable. In math speak, the comparison on return for time is like a bimodal distribution with huge spread between the means.

Not everything that can be counted counts.
Not everything that counts can be counted.

(Some say it is Einstein’s words, I don’t know who to attribute.)

The qualitative side is seared in my memory. The kicker of a charm for member only blog reminded me of the joy of the very first pay check that I shared with my family. My first mustache was still at play. Yes, once upon a time, you could feel the paper and smell the ink that filled a leaf of a cheque (india spelling) book.

2) Zero to 0.001 — the human visceral experiment

In life, everything is relative. Advice is free relative to zero. At infinitesimally small positive fraction — slightly greater than zero, the human visceral pain of parting with chump change to a roadside vagabond is a fascinating study. At the other extreme, a sale at Macys gives the tremendous joy of a bargain buy. Never mind the bargain is relative to an inflated price to begin with. Relative to the inflated markup price, I have fallen prey to bargain sale prices.

Relative to the zero, I was tempted to experiment with something I love — sharing ideas. The member only was a bargain experiment.

3) Insurance : Doctors :: Ev Williams’s Platform: Bloggers

Doctors complain about insurance companies. Heart of heart, they are happy. They dedicated their lives to learn how to save lives. Few spent time fine tuning the uncomfortable art of asking for payment by looking someone directly in the eye. The insurance companies became their personal backoffice bonanza.

EV Williams, through his daringness to buck the trend, volunteered to take care of the uncomfortable part for bloggers.

When Facebook, Google and the million other content websites have a proven formula to ask advertisers for money, EV Williams wanted to be like the minority — pay bloggers.

I like daring people with guts to be a contrarian. So, I am in a mood to write about the yin and the yang of EV Williams.

The Yin

1.Jeff Bezos makes one consistent bet in all his endeavors — convenience. From one click pay on Amazon to 2 day delivery and one subscription pay for multiple services — the list goes on.

As I write here, extra space between words auto-corrects — when I sense that, I chuckle. Convenience shines in the small details on EV’s platform.

His product is like iPhone in the age of Blackberry. It is an engineering sleek. Content is bonus.

The Strategic Yang

1.Reid Hoffman — boardmember of Microsoft and founder of LinkedIn comes across as a professor. The businessman in him shines through when he speaks about scaling a business. Do google for his videos at Stanford, they are gold. One point he made — always stood out to me. Linkedin was not the first or the best, what he focused at LinkedIn was to grow faster and better than any of the others. His analogy of growing from a village to a city has stood the test of time in my memory. EV can scale a business. He has raised multiple rounds of funding. This is not his first rodeo.

The question is — can he scale fast enough?

He showed a graph of membership scaling in his last blog. I was praying the y-axis is a huge chunk of the 15.7 Million who follow Medium staff. Why? I have vested my time here and interested in being part of a success story. His graph had no numbers on the y axis. Possibly suppressed with intention. Jeff Bezos was like that. His second coming was because of a constraint. A few years ago, he was forced to show his hand on how profitable AWS business was. And the market grasped the idea of a highly profitable tech company in the wafer thin retail business. And now, he is the richest man in the world who also shows up during Super Bowl half time along with Alexa.

The Tactical Yang

1. Segment & scale — the audience why matters.

Great content is the draw. Traffic for scale is hardwork.

Bringing it together — somewhere in between Yin and Yang.

One can pound the table in subtle and not so subtle ways with member content. The first open wall is not a feature, asking for business is one way to do it — Wall Street Journal does it, Bloomberg is going to do it. You are different — make it the natural consequence.

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Stories to fuel your mind. Theme: life’s hidden treasures in plain sight. Goal: Warm tone, solid content, crisp stories. About me: one google search away.

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