If anyone can make it go, it ought to be Andrew. He’s erudite, passionate, articulate, and has managed, at one time or another, to piss off just about every demographic and politicocultural faction there is.
He’s also, although British, a US resident, and member of a faction that’s terribly important for America’s future: a conservative who’s neither anti-sex nor anti-science.
Disclosure · I like my job at Google, but at some point I’d like to support myself by blogging. If I ever see a plausible strategy for doing it, I’m there. So I’m highly biased. I really hope Andrew makes a go of it, and it’s cool that he’s cooked up a reasonably innovative business model.
But... · I’m not sure that I’d pay the $20 a year. Here’s why: Like everyone else, I used to subscribe to Andrew, but I stopped a few years ago because there was just too much stuff. I’m busy, my time is valuable (to me anyhow) and I gotta filter my input; when Andrew says anything that I really care about, it’ll find me.
Let me excerpt some things from Andrew’s declaration of independence that concern me: “Some people I bump into ask me how we produce 240 posts a week (13,000 separate posts last year alone)”... “the more you give us, the more we will be able to do. It's really as simple as that.”
But I don’t want more. I want less; just the good stuff.
Another Solution · One of the few other bloggers whose stature is up there with Andrew’s is Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo (TPM). He’s taken the indie route for years, ad-supported, and is experimenting with a subscription model.
But they’ve been clever. The whole thing started as Josh’s personal blog, to which I subscribed way back when; as TPM grew, that blog morphed smoothly into what’s now called the TPM Editors’ blog; the volume remains modest. While TPM is now a huge operation and pumps out more than anyone with a life has time to read, I’ve been able to stay subscribed without feeling stressed out.
Maybe Andrew needs a low-volume “Editor’s blog” or some such? For that, I might pay.
Me Too · I blog less these days; partly I’m busy, partly I have short-form outlets like G+ and Twitter, and partly because there’s lots of stuff at work I can’t yet write about. But also in part because my readers are busy too, and I want to respect their time.
A Related Problem · I need to stay on top of what’s up in the technosphere; traditionally, the only good way was good tech blogs. Back in the day that was Slashdot; today, it’s, uh... AllThingsVergeGadgBits for one flavor, MemeCrunch for another, and HNddit for a third. I subscribe to too many, and most days just hit “Mark All as Read” after a quick glance; mostly they’re all reporting the same stories. So a few are gonna go.
It’s Like Miles Davis Said · Less is more.