Over the last 24 hours, I’ve lived in a big old mountain house in Estes Park with 10 leaders at Elephant Journal. It’s our first Elephant Journal Leadership retreat (we’re too broke to afford a full staff retreat—our staff lives all over the world).
So we’re broke. But we’re also doing well in an apocalyptic media climate.
So we’re doing well…but we’re spending 108% of our revenues on staff and development, and that’s not great longterm.
So we’re struggling…but, still, we’re huge, with 49 million readers last year, and 8 million fans on 60 pages on Facebook.
So we’re huge…but we’re puny—we can’t hold a candle to Fox or CNN or any investor-addled web site we might be superficially similar too.
Here’s the difference between Elephant and Google/Instagram/Facebook/corporate-backed sites you might visit: we don’t view you as a demographic to make money off of.
We view you as a human. We want to be of real service to your daily life. Yes, we need to make money to fulfill that mission. But the reason we’re here—it’s to do something worthwhile with joy and heart while we’re able to.
Tonight, after 11 hours of good, hard, fun meetings, I took a bath and read The New Yorker. Two articles in a row inspired me about the dark state of this world, simply by telling hard stories truthfully. One about the rise of the far-right in Germany and how decent Germans are parrying that rise…and one about a young reporter exposing business executives in ’50s New York trying to bribe their way into building an airport where, otherwise, a public college might educate 10s of 1000s. I’m a lifetime subscriber to The New Yorker for that reason.
That’s what Elephant wants to do—to help save our world, with you, by inspiring and illuminating. If we’re mission-driven, not money-driven, then maybe you’ll be inspired to read, and become a lifetime subscriber, and then we’ll make enough money to hire staff (at 23 full-time folks, we’re 5 persons short of what we need desperately, right now).
The small, overwhelmed team at Elephant is incredible, fun, smart, caring. I’m amazed I get to work with them.
Please help me hire those 5 staff, and together—you and I and those 63 million readers—maybe we can be of benefit to this world.