Funding Creative Ventures (Sword & Laser)

I’m torn on how we do funding these days for all the media I love to consume. I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy. The Sword & Laser show and podcast has been a true life saver. They’re always curating a list of awesome books. If you follow me on GoodReads you’ll see that I pretty much just pick anything they’ve mentioned and start reading that. They’ve never steered me wrong. The interviews with authors I’m interested in are also GREAT.

I think it’s worth some amount of money to be a part of this curation service. Whenever I want to read a book all the work of picking out a good one is already done for me. Just go to the S&L site and I have pretty good odds of finding a winner. How much is that worth? We’ll get to that.

NPR asks for donations infrequently and sticks non invasive ads into This American Life and Serial. Free for me and not that annoying. Google via YouTube funded a whole host of great content creation channels. Free for me, but those non skip-able YouTube ads are getting on my nerves. Penny Arcade and other sites have turned to KickStarter. I’ve donated to a few of these and even received some cool products.

Artist Perspective

I’m an artist making something and I’d like to eat and pay my rent. I’d also like as many people as possible to see what I make. Let’s give it away for free on the Internet and just figure some shit out later. If I don’t make some money I’m going to have to get a real job 🙁 Let’s ask people to just pay what they like.

Consumer Perspective

Cable is expensive as hell! I’d like to listen and watch all this great free stuff online. Oh, I can also pay a la carte for just the things I really enjoy? So cool!

The Hitch(es)

If an artist is giving stuff away for free are you really incentivized to send them money out of the kindness of your heart? Sometimes I certainly am, but I think that’s the exception and not the rule.

I fear that one day I’ll wake up and realize I’m spending more money (or as much) on my a la carte services than I was on a bundled service. Maybe I won’t even realize it because it’s death by a thousand cuts. A little money here and there until I can’t pay my mortgage.

Even worse, what if there is some great content being created but not enough people decide to pitch in and fund it. That’s a real bummer there because the artist might not have funding to keep creating. My podcast or RSS feed could go dead. Definitely worse than missing a mortgage payment!

What Is This Post About Anyway?

I’m going to fund Sword & Laser on Patreon. I love the content and I’m willing to pay a small amount for it. Each time they make an episode they’re going to get $1 from me (up to a monthly max that I didn’t bother setting). This seems like a fair trade. I might bump the amount up at some point. Right now they make about 1 show a week. That’s a grand total of $4 a month, I can swing it. They’ve directed me to so many good books and filled up my commute time with author interviews and sci-fi discussions. I’d like them to keep doing it.

If you follow my GoodReads or like sci-fi I think you should donate too. If they stop making the show I’ll be really sad! They’ve pitched a lot of different ways to raise money over the years and I hope this one sticks.

So far I think Patreon seems like the best option for me and the content creator, but I’m not too optimistic about everyone being so generous.

CYB3RCRIM3 Reading

Call me crazy, but I really love reading legal analysis at CYB3RCRIM3. I discovered the site via an OPML file passed to me by a friend in the security industry. Thanks Devon!

I can see how the walls of text might not be appealing, but the material is great. Legal writing is just so different; almost formulaic and with zero emotion. If you can get over the hump of reading court case opinions I think the subject matter is important to everyone. True human computer interaction… Here is where your technology comes into play to exonerate or incriminate you. In this particular instance we’ll say it’s where the rubber meets the road. (Sorry)

SDM_download_via_DLC

Here’s a great example using a car data recorder where the defendant is appealing on a technicality that I won’t pretend I’m fully behind. I LOVE reading between the lines though:

This driver was a huge dick and went out of their way to brake check someone. The data recorder in the car backs this up. This data is being used against the driver for a conviction (along with other testimony) and there is no way to contest these basic facts.

Are you aware that your car is spying on you? That your brake and throttle application along with your speed will be analyzed in full detail if you’re ever in an incident that goes to court? They don’t advertise that on the TV commercials for new cars. Do you know which car manufacturers record what data and for how long? Do you know how reliable that recorder is? Can it be hacked? Can I make it say I was going 1 mph with the gas and brake fully applied at all times (even when stopped)?

I’m not saying cars shouldn’t do this tracking after a crash. I’m also not saying the driver shouldn’t have been convicted. It seems like the justice system worked like it should have. I just like to know ahead of time how it is I’m being tracked and monitored. Personally, I think I’d opt out of this recording technology if it was possible to do so.

Thanks CYB3RCRIM3 for calling out the interesting cases!

I thought I was done writing – but just look at the next post involving a gang member and the forfeit of passwords. As a condition of probation this guy had to surrender all passwords to all social media sites. I didn’t know it was even possible for the state to make that demand. Now I know! How would you feel about that if it happened to you?