So, hey, Patreon is a pretty popular site for funding the creative people you follow. A lot of people rely on Patreon as their primary source of income. More power to them if they do; it's where everyone goes to do that sort of thing and it's really enabled a lot of people to do what they love for a living.
Here is my shameless shameful plug. More than two years ago a colleague I respect emailed and started a back and forth exchange. He strongly urged me to set up a donation campaign so I could be supported to do more tool and resource building. I gave it some thought, but then landed a good long term contract, so shelved it. Recently a few others have asked me why I am not patreon-ing, and my answer was more or less a shrug.
Here’s someone with a track record of creating some cool things that actually got delivered. If you’re looking to support helping to get interesting things made and put into the education space, here’s your chance.
We’ve heard you loud and clear. We’re not going to rollout the changes to our payments system that we announced last week. We still have to fix the problems that those changes addressed, but we’re going to fix them in a different way, and we’re going to work with you to come up with the specifics, as we should have done the first time around. Many of you lost patrons, and you lost income. No apology will make up for that, but nevertheless, I’m sorry.
It is our core belief that you should own the relationships with your fans. These are your businesses, and they are your fans.
I almost want to continue reading this as: “Yet, you’re all still stuck on our silo and we intend to keep taking a percentage for keeping you in business…”
If they were really all-in on helping the way they’re signaling here, they would be building it in a decentralized way that allows creators to take their patrons with them to another platform. They would also be expanding on features, which they don’t seem to be doing much of. I get the need to watch the bottom line and work on scaling, but they should also continue innovating and experimenting, particularly for the smaller fish who could become bigger fish.
Perhaps coincidentally, there was a session at IndieWebCamp Austin yesterday (12/09/17) entitled Payments, Pledges, and Donations, Oh My!. The link includes the video of the session via YouTube as well as notes.
The premise is that many creators already have their own websites/platforms for promoting or featuring their work. In some sense Patreon is only bringing a payment gateway (and apparently not a great one) as their sole feature. The conversation within the session was geared toward attempting to make it easier and simpler for creators to not only host their own work, but to accept payments and recurring payments directly. Some of the discussion was geared at making the payments systems seamless so that one could move them from one platform to another without losing hard won supporters and needing to start over again.
While we’re still in the very early days for improving the technology for this, hopefully some of the demos coming out of the camp later today will move the ball forward. Those should be posted on the IndieWeb YouTube channel later today as well.
For those looking for alternates (and particularly when they’ve already got their own websites), I suspect it’ll definitely be worth a look. Alternate platforms and methods were certainly discussed. The means of control for creators to inexpensively keep all of their workflow in-house is very near.
I’m now so many wonderful episodes in, that it was far past time to give something back to Jeremy for the hours of work he’s put in to give me so much entertainment, enjoyment, and even knowledge. So I just made a pledge to support him on Patreon.
If you haven’t been paying attention, Eat This Podcast is a fantastic series on food, but it it uses the “foods we eat to examine and shed light on the lives we lead, from authenticity to zoology”. Food becomes his “vehicle to explore the byways of taste, economics and trade, culture, science, history, archaeology, geography and just about anything else.”
It’s unlike much of anything I’ve seen or followed in the food space for some time. As someone who is a fan of the science of food and fantastic writers like Harold McGee, Herve This, Alton Brown, Tom Standage, Michael Pollan, Nathan Myhrvold, Maxime Bilet, Matt Gross, and Michael Ruhlman (to name only a few), Eat This Podcast is now a must listen for me.
Not only are the episodes always interesting and unique, they’re phenomenally well researched and produced. You’d think he had a massive staff and production support at the level of a news organization like NPR. By way of mentioning NPR, I wanted to highlight the thought, care, and skill he puts into not only the stunning audio quality, but into the selection of underlying photos, musical bumpers, and the links to additional resources he finds along the way.
And if my recommendation isn’t enough, then perhaps knowing that this one person effort has been nominated for the James Beard Award in both 2015 and 2016 may tip the scales?
If you haven’t listened to any of them yet, I highly recommend you take a peek at what he has to offer. You can subscribe, download, and listen to them all for free. If you’re so inclined, I hope you’ll follow my lead and make a pledge to support his work on Patreon as well.