Writing, like sleeping, is a means to an end.
When I launched ContextIsKing.com on WordPress, a few people asked “why not Substack?” That wasn’t surprising, since the people many of us read have all been on a one-way road to Substack.
Matthew Ball has built a great reputation with his writings. He’s written a lot of smart stuff; I’m too busy to read much of it but one thing he wrote that stuck with me was ironically in a rather short burst:
This is spot on for me: “I don’t write for readers (lol, obvi given word counts), but it’s so v nice to be read. I appreciate every message.”
I would answer that for me, my writings serve many purposes, mainly to process information and communicate more effectively and efficiently with the many stakeholders I interact with. But, from a very narrow sense, at most it’s WatchMojo’s trade marketing. For that reason, I found Hunter Walk to be more or less accurate:
Much of the discussion around the sustainability of this movement is focused on the math of converting readers (or followers) to paying subscribers. “If she can get just 10% of her 500,000 Twitter followers to pay $100/year…” is the type of simple analysis that accompanies both the glass half-full and glass half-empty outlooks, benchmarked against either their previous salary or some notion of what economic success looks like. And while this framing isn’t wrong, it’s very incomplete. It’s my belief that very few “Substack writers” will make 100% of their income from their newsletter and this won’t be a failure of the platforms but instead related to the nature of creation itself. Enter, the Multi-SKU Creator.
The biggest impact of someone like Casey unbundling himself from The Vox is that he is now an entrepreneur with a product called Casey.
One of the many trends that is accelerating now with Covid is the solopreneur, person-as-a-business. Writing and content creation/curation is a means to an end, for some that end means something like substack makes sense… for many, it doesn’t.