When Art DeVany's website started charging, I jumped ship (even though Art was one of my earliest influences). What do you think of paleo membership sites in general, with respect to benefit and cost, in comparison to the abundant free sites?
Now I see that Jack Kruse is charging, with a tiered plans ranging from "Kruse Karnivore" to "Kruse Kruisers", ranging up to $248 per month. Is anybody going to join from here? And no, I'm not making those names up. And yes, I'm aware that most neurosurgeons make close to a cool million a year already. Good old Quilt, where did his love for free information go?
What strikes me as interesting is this: Jack appeared to have used paleohacks to gain a foothold into the paleosphere, and after transferring his audience to MDA and his blog, now regularly ridicules paleohacks because people have been critical of his citations, logic, etc. He has also ridiculed almost all the moderators on this site at least once, along with anyone who questions his ideas.
Also, he has said about a hundred times that he doesn't charge or have ads, and has implied that this nobility was rare in the paleosphere. These aren't even the best quotes, but they'll do for now.
"See Patrik this is where you are wrong.......there is no duty i have to you or anyone else. That perception is yours and the other lackies you have here...Here on the net I am not your doctor or anyone elses. You are not paying me and I dont give you advice. I give ideas and thoughts without a doctor patient relationship. There is a big difference."
"Im not selling my cure for obesity.....im open sourcing it."
So let's talk costs and benefits of paying for paleo info in general. And this doesn't mean paying someone like Chris Kresser for a visit or consultation. This means membership sites. Personally, I don't get it. Is this like practicing medicine over the internet, which has been decried by Kurt Harris and Emily Deans?
Paleo is awesome because the information is free from hundreds of awesome researchers. I mean, you've got Guyenet, Harris, Masterjohn writing some damn clear information to get ideas flowing. Am I missing something? I'm actually afraid that someone first intro to paleo might be through Kruse and his ummm...unorthodox ideas and Kruse Klub Karnivores membership site.
4/9/12 EDIT: It appears that Quilt has quite the entrepreneurial spirit! As Paula mentions above, he's endorsing Bulletproof coffee. He also seems to have struck a deal with Nutiva coconut oil and manna. He's mentioned two books he has in the works, as well as a revised cookbook. He's developing his own compression shirts for people to wear when they're freezing their nuts off . . . err, practicing cold thermogenesis. And he's offering a new "Consultation Package" (Konsultation Package?) for $299 for the first month and $149 for each subsequent month. Oh, and I almost forgot that he's soliciting suggestions for t-shirt ideas (e.g., "If you don't know Optimal, you don't know Jack!") from members of his forum. It's been a busy few weeks for the irrepressible Dr. Kruse. Between his full-time neurosurgery practice, maintenance of his blog and Facebook pages, and daily ice baths, you'd think he wouldn't have time for much else. I'm interested to hear from anyone who has signed up as a paid subscriber on Quilt's site. Worth the money?
Obviously there are way more things I could do but these were kind of top of the list ::slowly sips coffee while pondering adventures::
Wait. What was the question?
Kruse has his Capitalist Kingdom of Cold! Good for him. I think you can get nipple stimulation elsewhere on the internet for less, however.
I don't have any money to spend, so it's a philosophical question for me.
1) Without pronouncing a verdict on the why's/merit, etc., I have to say if I were Dr Kruse I'd hate PH also. As we saw with Dr Harris this week, there is a subset here that behaves as if they are the Congressional Watergate Committee. Rather than exchanging ideas--in which case everyone should wind up with slightly altered opinions and information--many threads become "blood in the water" shark attacks looking for typos and negative interpretations rather than listening/thinking/questioning conversations. Just saying.
2) It's hard for me to know if Dr Kruse had a commercial agenda all along or whether he simply feels he's reached the point that he has learned so much that he has value to offer that's worth paying for. For example, I reacted positively this morning to David Czonka's offer of an Affordable Ancestral Eating Guide. Should I be assassinating his character just because I'd have to choose between doing laundry or paying $8 for his guide? Does charging eliminate the value he's offering?
Personally, I'm pretty close to logging off PH and moving on because I'm not interested in attacking everyone who offers opinions and/or offers products for my consideration. If we can talk about ideas based on risk/merit rather than whether or not we like someone I'll stick around. But this type of interaction is not on my "how to live a healthy, reduced/stress lifestyle" list.
Interesting thoughts, but Quilt appears to be finished with paleohacks, after 662 answers and thousands of comments.
"I'm here on Paleohacks giving free advice. I'm not selling supplements. I'm just helping people."
Technically that is true. He has thrown out lots of information without charging. Say what you will about Quilt, but he definitely brought a different package to the scene. It's like on Brady Bunch, when Oliver appeared on the show. Or Van Halen with Sammy Hagar at the helm. Or Fresh Prince, when they switched out the mom and brought in a kid brother. Totally changed the flavor of the conversation.
You can argue that it's for the better or for the worse, but it's all just subjective. When Kruse appears on Oprah, we can say that he was on our forum before getting his own thread at MDA, before getting his own blog, before creating the Kruse Kruisers and Kruse Karnivors. He's a funny guy and probably a magnetic personality, and I can't wait to meet him. It's going to be surreal!
I'm extremely disheartened at the numbers of folks looking to Kruse for FREE advice, let alone that anyone would pay membership for his site or consultation or whatever. In his recent interview with Sean Croxton on Underground Wellness Radio, Jack tells us why he's "paleo" -- pretty much it seemed like a good place on the internet to "dump" his ideas. He used sites like this one and MDA (Sisson is such a good businessman for his brand, I remain amazed he let Jack get away with that).
The first time I addressed Jack was because of his comments on the Taubes/Guyenet dust up at AHS11. I called him a LLVLC "flavor of the month". He came on my blog blasting me for calling him low carb and insisting that he wasn't a low carber. Don't get me started on Jimmy Moore's promotion of Quack Frost who he now describes as a stalwart low carber. My how things change, eh?
I suppose if WAPF can have its Mercola, the paleo community can have its Kruse. Sigh.
I think it's great. Hopefully he'll use the money to hire someone who is a really good writer and editor to help clean up his writing. Check spelling, check references, insert proper footnotes, format correctly, etc. You can't expect to be good at everything. I don't do my own surgery, I would hire a surgeon if I needed to do that. They do train science PhDs on science writing (I was in classes with a lot of them when I took editing and science writing classes), but they usually do not train MDs in this.
Nope. You got it.
$30/yr? Ok, sure....it's DeVany.
$248/mo? For Kruse? Dude better be cookin' the food for me.
My views of Kruse are complicated, yet I always find myself defending him on PH. Here are some pro-Kruse thoughts to consider.
You say that paleo is awesome because the information is free from hundreds of awesome researchers. Yes, I agree. However, Kruse contributes to this wealth of free information. The content of his blog remains free, and it is considerable (regardless of whether you find his delivery palatable).
Most paleo bloggers monetize to varying degrees. Ads are the most obvious. Amazon links provide income. Sisson and Kresser sell a wide range of products. As has been noted, DeVany requires a small annual fee just to access his site. John Durant offers consultations for a fee. Wolf has a nytimes bestseller and has joked about his high income (which I take no issue with). The paleo bloggers who are doctors all make money as doctors, of course. Kresser charges very high fees for consultations.
The only unusual thing happening in Kruse's case is that the 30-minute consultations fall somewhere in between advice on a blog and proper medical consultations with a doctor. This, however, is a legal issue, and I am sure that he is smart enough to navigate these waters safely - after all, as a surgeon he has a lot of experience with these tricky matters.
Kruse's paid memberships are services like any other. Think about Amazon Prime. People are free to choose whether or not the services are worth the cost.
Personally, I think that an obese person's money is better spent on accessing Kruse and his products - whatever those might be - than on more mainstream services like Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers.
Opportunity costs: consider the case of Kurt Harris as a cautionary tale. He didn't monetize as much as he could have. As a result his blog is pretty inactive these days. That's because, in part, according to him, he is pursuing other investment opportunities. The takeaway is that bloggers who don't make money from their activities are more likely to pursue other activities that do make them money. The time of doctors is especially valuable because they stand to earn so much money just from going to work (rather than blogging for our enjoyment and enrichment).
Related, academic bloggers like Guyenet and Masterjohn are already making income for their research - qua professional researchers - and they are also accustomed to the fact that their labors entail a sacrifice: all academics could have made more money as professionals, but chose to sacrifice income to pursue their research careers (this is something a PhD student like me knows a lot about).
So give Kruse a break. You might not like him, his message, or his style - that's fine. But his choice to monetize a membership that offers a bundle of goods does not deserve to be a topic of controversy.
Always knew Kruse had these intentions.
Spread the word!
Oh and now there is a website too: http://freepaleo.com.
Files available for download:
free-paleo-vlarge.png (1124×248) http://bit.ly/HC9d8t
free-paleo-large.png (562×124) http://bit.ly/HC99Wk
free-paleo-medium.png (281×62) http://bit.ly/HC9kkm
free-paleo-small.png (140×31) http://bit.ly/HC9mJc
10 points if you know the bumper sticker reference.