Adam Stoner

Changing my mind in public

I’ve always reserved the right to change my mind and do so publicly. It’s just easier.

When quizzed on their opinions, I’ve seen friends make split-second decisions that, when given longer to think about, they plainly disagree with. For fear of being seen as a hypocrite, they continue down the path of their original argument and make a mountain fit to die on.

One of the most painful examples of this happening in my own life occurred many years ago when I was invited to publicly defend Starbucks in an argument on big versus small business. My only qualification was that I liked Starbucks at the time and my argument was that if independent coffee shops were failing it was because the product they offered simply wasn’t good enough. This is obviously nonsense, something I realised two minutes into the debate but stuck with for another 43 minutes for fear of not only letting down the organiser but also appearing to be wholly unprepared and poorly educated.

In fact, by not changing my stance, exactly that occurred.

I’m changing my mind today.

I’m usually very good at spotting early trends – I began writing my newsletter in 2017 (before your uncle had one) – and for the past few years, I’ve been sending that newsletter to friends, family, colleagues and internet strangers. Every time I have, a version of it has existed on behind a free-to-enter paywall.

As of today, every one of those is public.

One week ago, I said that I was launching a weekly paid-for version of that same newsletter and that for £2 a month (£18 a year) you could subscribe to it.

I’m changing my mind today.

After lots of thought and despite an uptake that was more than I could have wished for, I’ve realised that paywalling content is against my values. In the same way I believe all businesses – Starbucks and independents – should have equal and fair access to a competative market, I believe my content is better free because I have more to gain from that personally than your money.

As well as that, it would also have made many elements of my podcast paywalled, something I’ve been staunchly against when others have done the same thing, especially when the content was once-upon-a-time free.

In short, it wasn’t a fair exchange. If you took out a subscription, you have been refunded, your subscription cancelled, and your payment details removed. Thank you nonetheless.

You should know that this change forms part of wider thinking about what I want my internet presence (website and podcast) to be. For the longest time, my thinking was that you should be able to consume my content wherever you like, from YouTube to podcasting apps to my very own website.

I’m changing my mind today.

My podcast is no longer on YouTube because I feel YouTube is not a good platform for consuming content that is primarily audio and text based. You’re welcome to subscribe to my podcast wherever else you listen.

It’s worth emphasising that all of my other core values are much more longstanding and remain the same: Your details are not for sale, you are not tracked by social media or analytics companies here, and I never advertise anything for cash or clout or accept things for free in return for a mention. Those are mountains I am willing to die on.

Over the coming weeks, I will likely be changing or updating my website frequently as I try to decide what works.

04 Apr 2021

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