11 November 2021 |

Week of 11/11/2021: Perpetual’s Perspective

By Adam Ryan

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Dave Portnoy is on a rampage due to this “hit piece” on him.

If you don’t already know…

Dave is trying to take everyone down at Business Insider (including the Morning Brew guys) because of serious allegations they outline in an extensive piece that took almost a year to produce. Portnoy feels like he is fighting for his life and his company (and found some holes in the reporting). Business Insider has stood by the piece and other pubs, like Defector, have started to dig even deeper into Dave’s background. No one has evolved their stance – making it a public stalemate. This represents a larger trend of “cancel culture” for those who have built fans by being polarizing on the internet. 

Perpetual’s perspective…

Long-form pieces like this that paint a nasty picture of a public figure are a fast way to gain subscribers (I resubscribed to BI so I could read the article). Will the blowback of the Stoolies hating on BI have a material impact? Meh, my guess is they have their best quarter to date because of it. As for Dave? His fans are even deeper in the trenches with him. He is using this moment to shill his One Bite pizza to prove to advertisers the audience still loves him (it worked, sales went up 50%). Smart move, Erika — ugh, I mean, Dave.

The Atlantic launched a creator newsletter program. 

If you don’t already know…

The CEO stated that this should drive subscribers to *hopefully* reach profitability next year. The CEO claimed it won’t be a loss leader and TBD if there will be ads. All the creators have a small base pay and are incentivized based on growth, but they aren’t FT employees. The Atlantic maintains editorial control. All the subscribers to the 9 newsletters will get 1 free year of The Atlantic.

Perpetual’s perspective…

Why would a creator do this? Genuinely, I don’t understand. If you’re being told what you can or can’t write and you aren’t making enough to support yourself why wouldn’t you keep control and do it on your own?  Sure, in theory, they can help you grow and take some operations off your back – but that’s a steep price to pay with little insight into what outcomes will come with those benefits. I have a feeling quite a few of the leaders launching these creator programs have yet to talk to any actual creators. Instead, they are rebranding contributor models and the program is being used as a “creator” headline tactic. If you have an opinion, reply to this email and let me know.

DAOs for media? It’s time to learn.

If you don’t already know…

Twitter can’t stop talking about them. Boomers think they are an MLM scheme. Google search for “DAO” is up 100% the last 90 days. A company just sent a bunch of people ~$15K USD worth of tokens for being early users of the platform. 2021 is the year of web3 and media DAOs may be the next big wave. The infrastructure of DAOs puts an emphasis on the community of users rather than executives behind the business.  This model fits perfectly into viral-driven businesses like media companies. 

Perpetual’s perspective…

I’ve been in the Jump DAO for a while. Jump is a community of advertising agency professionals, marketers at Fortune 1,000 brands, and web3 startups.  Watching a media company operate with a bottoms-up decision-making infrastructure has been wild to watch. The newsletter is completely crowdsourced and all participants earn tokens. They aren’t worth anything (yet), but imagine getting equity in Axios in 2016 by helping them curate their first newsletters – that’s the comparison. The Jump community hosts events, has candid conversations in Discord, and is run really well by the Founder of the DAO (you should follow him). If you’re wondering where you should start to learn more about media companies and the intersection of web3 consider joining/participating in a DAO. Here are a few I’d recommend: JumpMad RealitiesDecrypt.