It’s a strange feeling when something you wrote goes viral. Multiple people send you your own article, I kept getting texts and emails and calls from people wanting to know what was up with the big Vox layoff. I’m talking to newspapers one minute, and then the Vox corporate guy the next.
It kind of sucked, but it didn’t have to be handled like that.
Vox didn’t need to fire everyone in California because of the new gig economy law. As they stated in their initial announcement, they’ve been working on this new approach for “years”:
This shift is part of a business and staffing strategy that we have been exploring over the past two years, but one that is also necessary in light of California’s new independent contractor law, which goes into effect January 1, 2020.
All I want is a good place to talk about the Warriors. That means a solid stream of high quality content, and a cool knowledgeable group of fellow fans to talk. What I don’t want is corporate intrusion - which is shockingly hard to avoid these days.
So rather than try to carve out something cool with another corporate entity, chasing clicks and dealing with how many ads have to go on each page we have decided to start a totally new, independent home for Warriors fans. We are going with a voluntary subscription model (kind of like a Patreon) to avoid a lot of that, and we hope enough of you will opt to buy in both figuratively and literally to make this a viable community.
The initial days after the fall
Nate and I put out a lot of feelers and talked to a bunch of different people to explore all the models. It basically boiled down to these three options:
- Join an existing property as a writer;
- Start something like a Wordpress or Medium site;
- Partner up and do something else.
It was the “do something else” that most intrigued us. We had nearly the entire production arm of GSOM, the Editor in Chief, and our ideas quickly took off. The problem with modern media (click bait junk, intrusive ads, empty articles chasing traffic) all seemed directly related to money. They say the difference between a professional and an amateur is primarily about the relationship to income, so we wanted to build a place where financial support for the content creators would be strictly optional.
Most of the places that could accept our full cohort were just not a great fit. Especially coming from the Vox modification of GSOM over the years, we were all extremely resistant to going to a site with even more intrusive ads - which was all of those sites we were talking to.
A basic Wordpress or Medium blog was carefully considered, but the administrative burdens were extreme. Hosting and setup costs aside (which is actually kind of a big deal), we were wary of security and site integrity issues with all the plugins we would have needed to allow the level of commenting we were accustomed to.
Which brings us to our partners for this site. The GSOM crew teamed up early with Poor Man's Commish, founder of Let’s Go Warriors. He has published on GSOM but left with the Vox takeover in order to just focus on first hand video coverage - which he has since into grown a tremendously popular platform on social media. The idea of adding all of our writing and production talent to that information stream seemed almost too perfect.
Then we found Substack, a startup company out of San Francisco that wanted to help us. They could handle all the tricky platform stuff, the hosting, the servers, and were willing to work with us to get the community features and ability to handle multiple authors. We had all the content, and now we found a partner that was offering us a box to put it into.
So here we are. Us putting our best work into this box, and you, the reader/watcher/listener/community member helping determine what this place turns into. I’m excited for it!