The biggest difference between what I read and what my parents read is that my parents subscribe to newspapers, while I subscribe to individual people. This simply wasn’t possible before the internet, but it also took easy online payments (like stripe) to be fully realized.
I get my tech strategy from one person, China-US news from another, California city planning from yet another. My architecture, design, venture capital, bitcoin, autonomous cars, bay area wind forecasts, and startups readings all come from individuals.
This is interesting, but how do these people get paid? Blogs break the typical payment model of buying the daily newspaper or subscribing monthly. Instead, I’ve found that I start by reading one or two free posts a week from a person. Once I’m hooked, I’m much more likely to purchase an annual subscription for around $100.
If each person I read can be the best at what they do and get 10,000 people paying $100 a year, that’s $1 million in annual revenue. If 10% of weekly readers convert to paid, that means this individual might only need 100,000 people reading their content. Granted, that’s a lot of people, but it’s not anywhere near the order of magnitude needed for an advertising-supported newspaper.
However, not everything is perfect. There’s still an issue with discovery. None of these blogs are on facebook or medium or twitter. I’ve generally found each because another one of my blogs (or friends) will recommend them. I wish there were a better way to find these people.