One of my favorite things to do post workout is to steam. The Y I work out at has a very good steam room that runs on a 3 minute 20 second cycle. I’ve regimented the process of the cycle so my thoughts focus on various topics. Work, family, tennis and more are run through three cycles of steam.
Internet Changes It All
The consumer internet has been around for a long time. Back in 1993 or so I was getting online using a SLIP driver and Windows for Workgroups and even then I saw the changes to the economy the internet would bring. Through each of the phases of the internet economy I participated:
Domain names – My first foray into the new economy was domain names. It was happenstance, but when I sold the first domain I was hooked. Back in the day there was only one registrar and they were a pain in the rear.
Mailing lists – I quickly saw how the free flow of information is something people craved. Email was new and exciting for everyone from university students to AOL users and I found myself in the middle of it. I wish I kept the records, but at one point the only listserv list that had more subscribers was The Wall Street Journal.
Hot topic sites – For a period of time, pre-Google, the thing to do was create a site based on a hot topic of the week and slam it full of banner ads and pop ups. I shudder to think how many pop ups my sites generated.
SEO based sites – Once Google hit the scene it was game on. You couldn’t rely on simple algorithms to beat. No, you had to go total war to stay ahead of Google. There was a good three-year run where I felt like I was the Google Whisperer. Alas, Google is a resource that keeps growing and the eyeball attraction became harder and harder.
Blog networks – Well, if I cannot get one set of specific eyeballs, why not try to grab all of them? In the early-2000s I started a sport blog network that covered all major teams and sports. Seriously. One domain for each site and off we went. What a glorious six months. lol
Each of these steps allowed information creators to reach an audience and make money. The problem is that each step brought a smaller and smaller amount of attention and money.
I’m Creative Enough
We have a saying around the house, “If the Egyptians could do it, we can do it.” We utter this when faced with what we think is a hard task is home improvement. Ok, who am I kidding? We lower the bar to say it for opening pickle jars, too. Still, the thought is if an ancient culture could build the pyramids think what we can do now with the tools and knowledge we have.
In my steam room thinking time I commonly tell myself I am smart enough to make a living on the internet. I wistfully think of the things I have done in the past, the reason they didn’t make the jump and how to avoid the pitfalls again. There are three things that convince me a creative person can make a living on the internet:
Quality – Looking back at what I did in the past, only a few of them were what I would consider quality work. Work that gave value to those consuming it. The other ones were just money grabs. Quality is a necessity in today’s internet economy.
Tools – The right tools are paramount. For instance, when I was involved in the mailing lists I had to create email programs to handle various tasks that software of the day couldn’t handle. The proper tools also make sure you are compensated for your work. Imagine trying to pay for something before PayPal or any other electronic payment service.
Simplicity – Your creative efforts have to be streamlined and simple. No unnecessary steps and nothing complex. You have to be able to show your value and your proposition quickly and easily to potential customers. Simplicity also plays a roll in your home life, too.
All this is moot if you don’t actually do something, anything to move forward. This is where I find myself at this time and am looking forward to the journey.
My goal is to transition my wage living from off the internet onto the internet. Let’s see what happens.