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paul wheaton
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Today Jocelyn told me that one of her heroes is stepping back a bit from hero-ing.  When she told me details, I felt a powerful "whoa!  I was just, this very moment, thinking about those exact things, but, well, you know, about me...." It turns out to be one of those "exactly the same and completely different" things. 

I was thinking about how the latest DVD project turned into a poison for me.   Nothing new, I've had to find ways to live my life with this known problem that happens within myself.   I think it is a common problem with most creative folks - I've just managed to beat it most of the time by following some personal rules.  ...   I was thinking about how I have about two dozen poison sources at the moment.  I was thinking about the biggest one is almost resolved, so it is time to look to the rest.   Maybe I should make a list and start tackling these ....   maybe add another list of things that might be a bit of a general antidote to any poisons ...  re-prioritize my stuff for a month or two to get back to my old self.

Jocelyn has many heroes, but the hero we are talking about today is "the gluten free girl".  I think Jocelyn has talked to me about the gluten free girl about 200 times.   There was a time about five years ago that tgfg had to deal with some especially awful haters.  It sounded like she was going to a lot less hero-ing for a while.  And then she came back and did more hero-ing.  And now it sounds like another large shift.   She has started a part-time job at a local grocery store.  She cites a list of reasons.  At the top of the list is trying to make a living being creative.  To create for coin rather than create because you are following your muse.

For tgfg there might be more than a hundred different factors that make her want to back off on hero-ing.  Each factor has a different weight.  Each factor has a different flavor in directing her choices.   Based on what I have learned from Jocelyn over the years, I'm going to mash, stir and summarize a lot and state that the top 2 are:

1) coin

2) icky stuff from icky people


coin

It is 2016 and we have the internet.  How is that heroes and generally awesome people are struggling for coin?  The people that create the most amazing things end up broke, miserable and despondent?  While people that steal their works end up with oodles of coin.  

What if there was a website where you could say "I hereby put in ten bucks a month to the awesome peeps on the internet."  And then for every website you vist, it records 1 point per page and at the end of the month the ten bucks is divided by the points and set aside for the owner of each site.   But wait!  There's more!   You can configure it to say that no points ever go to some sites.   And further, you can configure it so that you can send double points to other sites.  Further, you can manually send points to users of sites.  You can fiddle with the number more later.  You can define how much time you want to sit on points before they are paid out - just in case three cents might go to somebody that turns out to be a douchebag!

Unlike patreon, money would accumulate for cool people that are on the internet being awesome.  Those people don't ask for money - it just sorta shows up. 

I suspect that tgfg website gets about 50 million pageviews per month.  With this system ... if one person out of ten actually put in ten bucks a month ... and each of those people looks at 1000 pages per month ... that means that a website will get about a tenth of a cent per pageview ... tgfg would then get about $50,000 per month.   Money is no longer a problem.



icky

What if there is a website that carefully tracks reputation. A person could opt in.  A person could use a pseudonym to opt in.  A person could build reputation (or notoriety) on a variety of topics.  It is free to give people good reputation on a topic.  If a person has a great reputation on rocket science, their praise for somebody else would have a lot more impact than somebody else.  And while somebody might have a great reputation on a high fat diet, they would have a terrible reputation on a low fat diet.  

So if tgfg shares something and an anonymous person wants to post a nasty comment - maybe her stuff is set up so that the only people that can post are people that are registered with the reputation site and have some minimal amount of reputation. 

This might eliminate 90% of the ick that is currently discouraging creativity all over the internet.




alot

allie brosh is  former Missoulian who wrote the blog hyperbole and a a half.   A wonderful blog.  You get the impression that there is a rich story there also about why the blog has not moved for three years.  I wonder if the coin solution I listed above would make any difference. 

I wish for there to be a space where I could put $20 and know that the money will wait for her until she chooses to accept it.  Maybe the money fondling site would be so good that I could even state that it sits and waits for her next blog entry.  If there were such a thing, I think that within 24 hours there would be more than a million dollars waiting for allie brosh. 



joy

A few months ago i wrote asking for something that smelled like the twisted child of kickstarter and patreon.  Something where people can pledge stuff for a particular author even if the author was not there.  Something that embraced the idea that creative folks are delicate creatures and that their creativity can easily be poisoned.   Something where the creator can be involved, optionally.   Just wishing for another web site:  https://permies.com/t/52199/tnk/bounty-based-kickstarter




me

I think I've always been pretty open when writing that I'm a rather broken person.  By the standards of most people, I do not meet the minimum requirements for "decent" or even "acceptable."  At the same time, this broken-ness gives me superpowers of-a-sort.   I live my life trying to mitigate some of my shortcomings and to follow a path that wanders past a few others.  In the end there are a handful of people whose opinion of me matters, and I hope that, when judged, my upsides outweigh my downsides.   One of those judgy fuckers is my own self:  I hope that I live up to being who I wish for me to be.  Even more than that, I hope I judge me to be fucking awesome. 

When the first editor quit from the recent DVD project, I was already in a stew of poison.  But this particular poison was bigger than all the others combined.  I am sick of re-living this toxic story - but I do want to emphasize that I believe it is the true root of the cervical radiculopathy that forced me into a bed for so many months.   Now that the DVDs are sitting in boxes and about to be mailed out, I feel close that this poison is about to be mitigated.   I will probably still suffer from this for years to come, but the suffering will be an old, disfiguring scar rather than a wound left open for more than a year.

If I do nothing, I will get no poison.  If I do things by myself, there will be accomplishment, but there is no poison.  If I do things with people or share what I do, there is poison.  The moral of the story is: work with people, share with people and find ways to mitigate the poison that comes from people.

When Jocelyn told me earlier about tgfg I was cataloging the poisons within me, and preparing how I was going to mitigate it and get back to living my life. 

Is it possible that every teeny tiny spec of poison is about a shortfall of integrity in others?  The editor that flaked out - what would happen if he didn't flake out?  The money paid for bulldozer rental and the bulldozer never showed.  The bermshed not being built in 4 days and it is still not complete.  $38,000 piece of equipment that turns out to be a lemon.  Somebody makes a mistake and I pay $20,000 because they cannot.  Projects not completed.  Projects never started.   Each person seemed plenty trustworthy, but when it came right down to it, they did not do what they said they would do. 

Everybody has integrity and decency when it is convenient.  It is only when the shit hits the fan that you find out who the truly good people are.


More than a dozen people did not do what they said they would do.  And these were not trivial things.  And they all added up and put me into a giant vat of poison soup.  The poison sucks the creativity out of me.  I cannot think of doing the things I have done before until I resolve these poisons. 


The DVD project is about 60% of it.

Three other things add up to about 32%.   Debts.  Actually, now that I think about it, all three are related to the DVD project being late.  If the DVD project were not late, then I would not have these three debts.

So, now I must obsess about paying these debts.

I suspect that most human beings function fine with debts.  I feel a bit like my life is not my own until the debts are cleared.



So, much like tgfg:  My master is now coin instead of my muse.


I wish for tgfg to get get epic coin for hero-ing.  I wish for allie brosh to epic coin for blogging.  And I wish for more wishes.

 
Jocelyn Campbell
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I think the Glutenfreegirl has a huge following, though it might not be as huge as Paul indicated above. Though she is one of my heroes - finding love and joy in food, family and life.

For the curious, Shauna Ahern's post about why she is shifting to part-time paid work is in this glutenfreegirl instagram post; and her website is glutenfreegirl.com. There are lessons here for those of us who are self-employed, working on residual income streams, and attempting to live a creative life.

Today I wrote on Facebook that Paul and I are moving in to a new phase - where the world is our oyster - and ALL that that implies. Oysters take an irritating grit, and cover it up to make a shimmering jewel.

I also posted this photo from the Young Elephants (? dunno who they are) Facebooks page:



I think the point is, moving past the poison, to the grace of forgiveness. Not only forgiving others, but forgiving ourselves for the poor choices and mistakes we've made. Because it is, of course, a poor choice to choose to work with an unreliable person. (We should've known, right?!) I think a healthy dose of self-blame underlies every betrayal - at least it does for me. So I think there is something healthy about moving into the grace of forgiveness.

It might not be really possible, IMHO to "arrive" at a state or place or grace of being where there is no blame. It's a noble goal, to be sure, but our humanity keeps us in just ever shy of that. I think striving for it becomes a meditative practice almost akin to studying a zen koan.

(I've been inserting "we" above and in the following about the projects, both here at wheaton labs, and online or with the Kickstarter, when they are really Paul's projects, though I have helped, or made my own decisions, too, for smaller or related parts of things.)

On one hand, some could say we have been in such a hurry to DO all the things, that we have not taken the step back, the extra breath, the extra research to evaluate whether to work with certain people, or if this was the right way to proceed. We've worked without filters in some ways, just letting natural consequences fall as they may in the aftermath. Though on the other hand, and it was our conscious thought in most circumstances, some times even the best research or checking references doesn't help prevent bad things or bad people or bad situations. Shit still happens.

Where I'm at with all of this, is what I've told Paul many times already: it's okay.

It sucks to have things that lost money, or didn't work out, or caused a health crisis(!) but it's okay now. We have been trying many things, observing, accepting feedback, and changing how we do things.

What happened sucks, but you/we made the best decisions with the knowledge you at the time. Each time. You did your best. We did our best. We know now how we could have done better, though that's often how it goes. I think what you/we are trying to do is awesome. Loads of people think it is awesome, too. At the risk of sounding simple, or patronizing, I'm here for you (and the empire) and I support you all the way, Paul.

And...I think it's excellent that we are forced to slow down a bit, regroup, and have the opportunity to do things differently. For all the reasons. There are debts, yes, which are a limit for the short term, though I know we will surmount them quickly. I also think the poison that is hiding your muse will be expunged or transformed. You know, it could be the grit in your craw that will be turned into a shiny jewel. You've done that before!

To me, this time is so, so ripe with change that it's as palpable as a ripe peach you can smell from across the room. Sweetness in the middle of it all.


 
paul wheaton
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I suppose if I were wired in a normal normal way .... maybe some would call it a "better way" then I can follow the path you suggest. 

As is, I need to embrace what has passed, deal with the aftermath and find my own path to get back to where I want to be. 

I am not a "forgive and forget" person.  I am a grudger.   I am going to try to remember all that has passed and work to move forward despite these types of problems in the future.  

As for this:



I am going to lay blame squarely where it belongs.  Forever.  So according to ... old chinese people, I will never arrive to where these old chinese people are going. 

If we choose to "forgive and forget" how can we possibly grow?  By definition, doesn't that mean that we will make the same mistakes over and over?  Is it not wiser to figure out a new path?

I do think there is a great deal of peace one can have on the "forgive and forget" path.  Especially when combined with something where you give away all of your possessions and live a simple, peaceful life.   But I have other plans.  I have experiments to try, books to write, videos to edit, things to build, business to conduct. 

I will clear the debts and get back to my projects.  I will blame and remember so that my next ventures will be more likely to be poison free - thus allowing me to accomplish ten times more stuff in the time it took to complete this dvd set.



 
Ron Helwig
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paul wheaton wrote:
It is 2016 and we have the internet.  How is that heroes and generally awesome people are struggling for coin?

Because we have the Internet. The supply of creative has grown so much and is so easily available that the price has gone down a lot. Supply and demand. To me it looks like the only way to get decent pay for being creative is to also be so good at marketing that you can rise above the tidal wave of free content.

paul wheaton wrote:
I wish for there to be a space where I could put $20 and know that the money will wait for her until she chooses to accept it.  Maybe the money fondling site would be so good that I could even state that it sits and waits for her next blog entry.  If there were such a thing, I think that within 24 hours there would be more than a million dollars waiting for allie brosh.


One new site that is trying the "give authors a tip" idea is Steemit. Not quite what you're looking for, but still interesting. They have their own crypto-currency (steem). I noticed it when one person I follow got $15,000 in one day for a single blog post. steemit.com I do like that it shows you on each article how much it has earned for the author, although there are some questions as to whether the currency itself is a scam. But then you can quickly and easily withdraw something like half of what you earn and convert it into dollars. They also give you a small amount when you sign up, so you can try it out.
 
Rus Williams
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It is 2016 and we have the internet.  How is that heroes and generally awesome people are struggling for coin?  The people that create the most amazing things end up broke, miserable and despondent?  While people that steal their works end up with oodles of coin.  


One of the problems that occur is that of the expert. Permaculture suffers from this problem.

Most people want bad things to stop happening. (BTTSH)
This means that they don't really care how they got to where they are, or where they go from here, they just want BTTSH.

When someone becomes an expert they understand how people get to where they are, and why wanting BTTSH is not going to leave them anywhere useful (unless by dumb luck) so the expert tries to recommend a course of action which is way too much  effort for most people.

Then they find the shiny site by clicking on an ad reading something like "Become awesomely awesome by following this weird old (insert ethnic group) tip!!"

Straightforward promise, no downside, no complex thinking required. Just do this/ buy this. And hey presto! The bad thing stops happening, or at least the focus on it changes. You get some shiny new crap through the post , or another blog promising, promising, promising...

My personal experience of this is when I realised that the product I was trying to sell was just too much, too quickly for most people. It meant that people had to sit in a room for 2 days and work really hard on their thinking. Those that did - and were willing to change- hand awesome results. The vast majority however just pulled back from the difficult stuff and cherry picked what they liked or didn't challenge them. So of course nothing really changed for those people in any meaningful sense.

There was nothing wrong with the product. It's excellent, people tell me they want it. But when it comes to it, people want it, but only in a form/ shape/ presentation that they agree with.

The people that make the money are (mostly) the ones that strip out all the challenging stuff and market a part solution to people who don't know any better.

So when you stand up as an expert on something the response is often 'Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man' while they run off and listen to the latest and greatest pitched in a way that is simple to understand  and that promises to simply make the bad things stop happening.

It really and truly sucks. The internet is so awesome, you can get (and give) exactly the piece of information you need for exactly your situation. But what do we do with it? Facebook.

 
Julia Winter
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paul wheaton wrote: 
So, now I must obsess about paying these debts.

I suspect that most human beings function fine with debts.  I feel a bit like my life is not my own until the debts are cleared.

[snip]

I wish for tgfg to get get epic coin for hero-ing.  I wish for allie brosh to epic coin for blogging.  And I wish for more wishes.



I always wish for more wishes as well!  

I am with you on debt.  I was lucky to get scholarships that paid for most of my med school (good thing, since pediatricians aren't known for their incomes). 

I've always been very debt averse and I'm not sure why.  I think I picked it up from my family.  My dad never bought a car until he'd saved up the money for it first. 

I forced my girls to share a tiny apartment and then move into a rather tiny house here in Portland secondary to that same debt aversion.  I still remember the shock of finding out (years ago) that we owed $70K in credit card debt - how can such a thing even happen?!?   

Now I have an account at Mint.com that at least lets me keep an eye on what's happening, finance wise.
 
Rufus Laggren
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Hey Paul

Know what you mean. Pretty frustrating sometimes. But you got some momentum, good solid thought and effort behind you - don't let the world distract or freak you out too much from your real concerns.

About forgiving: The Sunday School version looks to me kinda a straw man. That just doesn't cut it (practically an insult) for anybody who's lived past high school. I believe in forgiving but from my POV it doesn't have anything to do w/letting people get away w/stuff. Way more to it. Has to do w/not judging when you don't have to, seeing people more fully, allowing the potential of good if/when that is possible. I'm not saying it well but I guess the main thing is - there's MUCH more to it and it's not goodie goodie baby talk which most people seem to think of when they hear the word "forgiveness". Oh, and it has to do w/our view of ourself, too.

When I was a kid I just couldn't get interested in the Boy Scouts. Probably lots of reasons, but a big one was they just weren't cool. The scout masters were just dads like I saw all the time at my friends houses and they sure as heck didn't manage to make it through the day w/out messing up and clearly they were only one chapter ahead of the pack of monsters they were trying to civilize (often they seemed maybe one sentence ahead...). And lots of them really just wanted out of the house, too. But I now think the bumbling and fumbling that so put me off was really about some (not all) people trying to do something they believed in but really had not clue or backup. But they thought if it was worth doing it was worth doing badly. Which many times is the _only_ way something has a chance of getting done.

So what that story was about: "Forgiveness" is needed in suburban white boy scouting. The adults don't really know what to do, they don't know much about what they _do_ do ...  But they give it a try anyway because they believe there's something important there worth it. So looking at the action going down, it can look pretty dumb and weird in certain lights. But forgive their dumbass behavior and  you might start to see amazing stuff underneath it. Just one tiny particular example.

Best health and equanimity to you.

Rufus
 
Marco Banks
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I love what Bono (lead singer of U2) says about grace and forgiveness.  He speaks about a world that is governed by karma --- an eye for an eye, and you'll reap what you sew kinda thing.  But that just leaves everyone blind and barren.  Grace is something fundamentally different.  Yes, it's letting ourselves off the hook when we feel it's better to continue to beat ourselves up over past mistakes and poor choices.  As for letting others off the hook and forgiving them, we learn to say, "The bad is on you, and I refuse to cling to these places of unforgiveness anymore."  In a world governed by karma, grace is the only hope.

How will anything change?  Kindness and forgiveness are a far more powerful engine for change (change for ourselves, our children, and those we love) than anger, bitterness and resentment.  You can't even compare the two.  One leads to life, and the other to death.

They say resentment is the poison you drink in order to kill your enemy.  It just doesn't work.  Grace says, "Its on you now.  I will not carry this anger any more.  I will not drink this toxin any longer."

Grace to you for the journey, Paul.
 
David Livingston
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Paul , I have been reading this thread and your thread on professionalism . I can see you are an expert on many things  I claim no such status but I've been a manager and worked on projects doing stuff with folks- experts in their field I had no clue about . If I was having the staff issues that you have I would look at how you recruit . If you have problems with nearly everyone you hire maybe the solution is how you hire .....
Folks who are interested in Permaculture may not be the best group to ask and recruit about stuff like running a tourist operation or editing a video for instance, different skill sets apply

David
 
Rus Williams
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Machiavelli has interesting things to say on this subject:

  And it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.

  Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new.

  This coolness arises [...] partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them.


Also
Is it possible that every teeny tiny spec of poison is about a shortfall of integrity in others?


This is one of the things I struggle with. I'm getting sharp enough to mostly spot my own "you shouldn't do that" poison, which is self-generated and nobodies fault but mine.

The other one is where you get a promise, and it's not followed through.  As far as I'm concerned you have to make good on your promise, or offer an alternative at the earliest possible time. Always.

I've become so fucked off with people promising things and then not doing the doing stuff.  It is as though many people live in some sort of fantasy world where they really and truly mean to do something inside their heads, but when they come to actually doing the work, (which for some reason it doesn't suit them), then some sort of get-out-of-reality-card gets played, and the excuses start.
People lie to themselves to an outrageous amount, and are often shocked to discover that you expect them to keep to their agreement when it clearly doesn't suit them anymore. It's then amazing how I'm then supposed to empathise with their situation, while they are somehow excused from understanding my situation and their part in making my situation less good for me. I made choices, and did work, because you said you would do this, and now you are going to cut and run, AND get all offended if I'm less than happy with you. Seriously?

There are ways you can mitigate, and even solve this problem to a great extent, but it takes a lot of will and cognitive load to want to enter into this process, and many people, even though they say they want something are not willing to put in the effort required. I'll start a thread on it when I have a bit of time.

This has lead me to not believing the vast majority of what people say they will do. That way I can be pleasantly surprised when they do, and not consistently pissed off at the world.



 
Rufus Laggren
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I think few people intentionally lie - there are myriad other ways to mislead and/or fall short. With that in mind it helps to develop the habit of actually listening to _exactly_ what people say, the exact words. Eg. it helps if you went through the parish school and learned how to parse a sentence. A "sentence" w/out a verb might trigger assumptions for you but in fact says nothing. So... Listen exactly. I'm afraid that it won't make you any friends when you start the follow-up questions but at least it can help you maintain clear sight of what's going on.

In a somewhat similar vein, Paul's not the only one who has a lament. Seems Truth is under siege.

http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21706498-dishonesty-politics-nothing-new-manner-which-some-politicians-now-lie-and


Rufus
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