3.1
September 22, 2011

Free Media vs. We the People.

elephant is independent—and reader-supported, mostly. Ads do very little for us, and hopefully as we grow we’ll be able to work with only those advertisers who want what our readers want: a greener, fun, adventureful, ethical, uplifting, wakeful society.

But, for now, there’s some push and pull with advertisers. They want you. That’s right and fair. But we don’t want to use you. That’s not the way to have a long-term relationship. We’re fine to show you like-minded, useful offers from the kind of socially-responsible businesses we admire.

But it’s a point of pride, to me, that while we may be broke for now, we’re breaking even—and we’re doing so because of our astounding, voluntary reader subscriptions. Soon, that support might mean that we can pay some writers and (at least one or two) editors. We’re working it out, and having open-ended internal debates. But, for now, we are what we are: you. We’re not using you, we’re written by you, and volunteer edited by you, and shared by you.

And at the end of the day, and in 10 years’ time, our mission will be the same: to be of benefit. Yes, I and we want to make money, and be happily sustainable. “Abundance,” the yoga community calls it, is something to celebrate. “Poverty mentality,” as the Buddhists call it, isn’t a virtue. We can only change the world if we can show other businesses that ethics and be not only equally but more successful, because one’s customers or community will support your mission, and bottomline, both—avidly, actively, and longterm.

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Mostly fascinating discussion re: the above image on Reddit, here.

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