I personally assign very great value to “job satisfaction.” I mean, I’m a space nerd — I grew up watching the astronauts skipping on the moon — and managed to get onto the engineering staff of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, working 10 years there before I quit to devote full time to This is True.
On Friday, we finally caught up with the pre-orders for the reprints of Volume 1 of the True book collection. One recipient complained: “I was bummed that my books came packaged with Styrofoam ‘peanuts’. I can’t believe that any world-conscious business would buy those dang things and pollute our planet! Can’t you use something else? There is a new product out that uses recycled newspapers, for instance.”
(Updated: See below.)
There has been a disturbing increase in theft online lately, of True and other material.
For awhile, I ran contests among the readership, with various little “games” to play.
Every once in a while I get a note asking why I use the credit “(Reuter)” instead of “(Reuters)”.
One of the most irritating things about publishing online is people who think that if it’s online, it’s free — and they can copy it. Wrong! Copyright infringement is stealing.
The daunting task of using poor-quality email software finally make it too hard to publish True by email every week, so I came up with an idea: publish it every other week.
My business plan for True predicted I’d be able to quit my Day Job two years after launch and work online full time.
This week Jordan becomes the 100th country (that I know of) on my distribution list, less than two years after the publication’s launch.
It’s been nearly a year since the first ad ran — it took me this long before I got another one! Clearly, the “commercial activity online” taboo is a bit slow to die off, but luckily I wasn’t depending on ad income to survive …which is an awfully good thing! That’s what enabled True to survive in the long run.
Nearly a year old, This is True didn’t even have a web site until this week.
Around the first of the month I asked my lawyer to trademark “This Just In” — the title of the column and newsletter that is coming up on a year old. The request results in the first “uh oh” of the publication’s short life.
The second income stream called out in my business plan gels with my first newspaper client carrying TJI as a newspaper column.
This Just In carries its first paid ad — for long distance phone service. The revenue begins.
This Just In continues to grow: I had three more countries joining this week: Malaysia, Korea and Finland.
Once I had the business plan set, I looked at the pile of upcoming bulletin board items and decided how I would format them — and started writing. Over the weekend, I designed what I thought a “plain text” email newsletter should look like, including how long I thought it should be, and finished the first issue.
I “invented” for-profit email publishing on Wednesday, June 22, 1994. I’m not aware of any others who claim to have invented it before that time [but see the update below]. This is a brief description of what I came up with, and how.
This obviously wasn’t written in 1994 (the date showing on this posting, and the date This is True was born, albeit under a maiden name) — blogs didn’t exist in 1994. When “web logs” — blogs — started showing up years later, readers kept asking when I was going to get one.