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Sam Harris (prominent Atheist author)’s Business Model is brilliant, in my opinion.

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ChrisV

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Sam Harris is a a pretty prominent Thought Leader. These are his thoughts on why he doesnt run ads. He relies completely on donations. Which doesn’t seem like a very revolutionary strategy, but it’s his explanation of it which I think make it great. You pay for whatever value you feel you got from it.

I don’t feel I can credibly run ads on my podcast, even for products and services I love and use myself. The one ad I read for a while was for Audible, which I do use, but even in that case, I don’t feel entirely comfortable telling you that you should subscribe to Audible. I mean, should you? Perhaps you shouldn’t. I have no idea. And that would go down as the worst Audible ad ever.

“In any case, I’ve discovered that I don’t feel comfortable selling ads, which is fine because I hate what ads have done to digital media. The advertising model is responsible for almost everything that is wrong online. But not running ads puts me in a position of asking my audience for support. This is something I approached with real trepidation in the beginning. However, having done it, I’ve discovered it’s actually the most straightforward relationship I can have with my audience.”

View: https://youtu.be/b5An_vnSxTQ?t=23



Many prominent academics are taking the same model and relying completely on donations, making millions in the process.
 

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Walterbl

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So whats exactly brilliant about asking for donations? Any producer with a Patreon page is basically asking for donations. A lot of people do it. When you are as big as Harris, you can probably afford to do it. The hard part is becoming so well known in the first place.
 
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ChrisV

ChrisV

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I said that’s not the brilliant part. Of course donations isn’t revolutionary. The brilliant part is how he knows that it has the potential to bias his work, and refuses to do so on that basis. Therefore you pay what you feel you’ve gained from it. And if you’re not in a financial position to pay for it, that’s okay too.

The outcome is brilliant. You don’t get value from it? You pay nothing.

I’m really considering using this model for a few books I’m working on.
 

Fotis

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I’m really considering using this model for a few books I’m working on.
You mean something like "read it and pay whatever you want later"? If yes, I highly doubt people will finish a free book (they barely finish paid ones) so you might end up with nothing.
 
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ChrisV

ChrisV

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You mean something like "read it and pay whatever you want later"? If yes, I highly doubt people will finish a free book (they barely finish paid ones) so you might end up with nothing.
Maybe. But it may be a cool social experiment. It would have to be an ebook so there’s no risk (production prices)

But this is a good point... the part in which I talk about donations would have to be toward the beginning or middle of the book, not the end.
 

TFM-PVB

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You mean something like "read it and pay whatever you want later"? If yes, I highly doubt people will finish a free book (they barely finish paid ones) so you might end up with nothing.
Agreed. Asking for donations on a recurring basis in a recurring delivery medium like podcasts seems very different from asking for a one time donation for a book.

Maybe post series of articles instead? If you ask for donations after delivering each one, those who regularly find value in them might be inclined to donate after frequent 'nudges'.


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