Yesterday I was checking some website that was mentioned by a PH member. The site is not paleo friendly, quite the opposite and besides various health (?) claims there was one thing that really got my attention.
There was an option called something like "Online program". Basically you pay the author 500$ for a month and get some sort of onling coaching, email/Skype support, eBook, ... Actual content isn't really that important, I'm talking more about the concept.
I admit I would be devasted to see Stephan/Harris/Peter/Eades (not Sisson though. I love his work but fuck 750$ PrimalCOn tickets and "AUTOSHIP") advertising their new online coaching program, especially if they would use marketing gimmicks (khm, Sisson and Primal Leap, khm) about how awesome this program really is.
Hardcover books on the other hand present no moral problem to me. I can actually touch them, throw them away, lend them, basically do multiple physical stuff with it (eBooks just suck in that aspect). Plus the price isn't really high and for me it's mostly about supporting the author (and not financing his new Bentley).
I still think about Paleo like a new age Hippie community and therefore charging money for knowledge seems, well, it just doesn't fit in my idealistic idea of the (paleo) world.
What is your take on this ? At which products (books, supplements, DVD's, T-Shirts ...) do you draw the limit and when "guru" becomes "Atkins" (my synonym for making nutritional money milkers) ? Will paleo become a huge business ? Will Patrick ever sent us a "SUPA DUPA AWESOME TIME LIMITED LIFE CHANGING OFFER" subscription for-only-50$-a-month email ?
Ikco and lot's of )('s :D
I was 10 years old when my mother said something I've never forgotten. We were shopping and I asked her why she picked up the more expensive brand of an item. She said, "I pay money for quality." Basically, you get what you pay for (ideally - provided all the relevant information is available to you).
Also, I should mention that both of my parents are educators. My mother taught at a private elementary school and my father teaches MBAs and PhDs at an expensive business school. I've been taught that quality knowledge is valuable and is worth my time and money.
I recognize that I have a bias; but, I'm definitely of the camp that says, "I'm willing to give a little of my resources (time or money or both) to get something of quality." Fair exchange for quality information, ya know? I certainly run away screaming when I smell consumerism lurking in the dark (but flashy) corners of the interwebs; but if I deem something worth a monetary value, I'll happily pay.
That said, is going to a Crossfit gym worth the monthly fee? Or can I get a similar benefit following the Primal Blueprint Workout Plan? I guess it depends on my goals. And in the paleo community, there surely is a wide range of fitness goals!!
Some paleo people will gladly pay the membership fee for Art Devany's website or buy some articles over at Performance Menu. Others are content with simply listening to podcasts and watching videos (both of which have a price of time).
Bottom line: only you can determine the value of something to your own life.
We got used to the idea that knowledge is not that valuable. Which is quite surprising in a country that requires obscene money to get higher education. I am a teacher, daughter of a teacher... I have a huge value for knowledge. On one hand I believe it should be easily available and for free, that's why I am such a fan of internet. On the other hand, people who make knowledge their profession need to live.
I don't have the time to do all research by myself. I am glad there are people who made it their regular, daily job. They read, they learn, they provide knowledge for me. I pay in variety of ways - sometimes it's the satisfaction of being read (many blogs), for some it's enough the ads they place on blogs to support themselves. For some it's a full blown business. In a way it's a dream job - you can live and support yourself on something you love and you are passionate about! What can be better than that? The line I draw? Never block particular knowledge completely from people who can't afford it. Knowledge and education is not for rich elites. But if you want to fence some branch or particular way of processing/offering the knowledge - it's your choice. If I don't like blogger/writer X b/c s/he wants me to pay brazillion $ for the knowledge - I know I can go somewhere else, I can go to a library, do the research by myself, the options are out there, just might be more difficult.
So like Sisson's new leap thing - if there are people who want to pay for nicely put together, digested and organized knowledge - hey, good for them. BUT Sisson also provides TONS of material for free, and someone put a lot of work into these. And I am quite grateful for that. People need to live and support themselves. And if they sell good, solid and high quality products, even if these products is knowledge - good for them. I only hate crooks and people who cut corners, misguide and abuse people.
As a professional writer (not in the paleosphere), I get a little grumpy when people suggest that the stuff I put hours into pulling together and creating, stuff that's drawn from and curated by years of experience, should be "free". The collecting and intelligent presentation of information has a great deal of value. Put another way... I don't know how much money Mark Sisson is making off the Primal thing, but he deserves every penny.
I dislike seeing them charge for things that are easily available for free.
Charging people to explain to them, Dont eat poison, Eat Whole Real Food.
Telling people that things they did not know was poison, may be making them sick.
All this should be free, and is.
That being said. People need to pay the bills. I do not agree with the rates, I havent found anyone I deem worthy of my money simply for their advice.
I do agree that a Hardcopy is worth paying for with worthful information... but Ebooks? gimme a break.
Supplements I just personally disagree with, because people should be changing their diet, not patching the holes.
Conventions, Campouts etc. if they will pay... go for it. Some of those are great fun. I wont pay $750 for a weekend personally... but if you have the money and want to. enjoy.
After reading Kurt Harris PaNu blog for about a week or so, I was impressed enough to send a donation that was about the amount that I would be willing to pay for a hard cover book by him. He doesn't solicit donations, but makes it easy to give one. I've been very happy with that choice. I find the forum very intelligent also. I wish Dr. Harris would blog more often, but understand why he does not. (he is very careful about what the writes and has other commitments). As mentioned above in a comment, I regret paying a membership fee to read the Art DeVany material. As I swing through the trees of blogs that are in the paleo forest, I keep coming back to this one for the helpful community of hairless apes. I like the idea of having an option to donate.
I think Yoannah offca is right on in the distinction made about Mark Sisson: whenever he charges money he's not withholding any particular bits of knowledge, just offering an additional service. And it's true, everyone needs to make a living. But there was one thing Sisson did that rubbed me the wrong way. On March 17th of this year he tried to get as many of us as possible to buy his book from Amazon, to get it to #1 on their sales chart. He rallied the support of a lot of other troops in the paleosphere: Dr. Harris, Jimmy Moore and a number of others posted that day to encourage us to help Mark on his mission. Well, the mission was basically a success; the book made it to #2. And I'll bet that because of that a lot of people found out about paleo. But you would think that because Mark was asking for our help with the paleo cause that he would find some way to give the proceeds of that day's sales back to the cause, somehow or other. But as far as I know it was business as usual, and that money went right back into Mark's business. I know this is a judgment thing and there could easily be a way to justify what he did, but my judgment tells me that the line was crossed.
Personally, I've never payed, except for hardcopy books. But I think there is something else playing here: people want to buy things.
Barefoot running is better? Yeah, I will buy me some Vibram Five Fingers!
Bodyweight exercises are great, you don't need machines? Yeah, I'll go to the shop to get me a trendy fitness shirt (that breathes!)!
Living the primal bluepring way is easy, and all the information you need is free on Marks website? Great, let me by the primal leap thing.
You know what I mean, I guess. People like buying stuff.
And there's no problem if they buy the stuff that works.
Let me say I really, really appreciate all the free advice/services/... all of the bloggers and people in the paleo-sphere have done so far. And I have no problem if somebody wants to make an honest living out of this. As long as the product/service is good and honest. That's why I like Mark Sisson, and why I think Art De Vany still is cool even if he charges some money.
I make part of my income through internet marketing and part through teaching and mentoring and I have no problem with people charging for information. There are several reasons for this.
First of all I would say that learning and knowledge are incredibly valuable to me. I've spent thousands on education and educational resources of different kinds. It helps me grow and become a better person, and once it's in my head no one can ever take it away from me.
Other people happily spend thousands on cars, televisions, jewelry etc. Which to me are just things. But if that's what people want to do who am I to judge?
As someone else pointed out, people ascribe more value (right or wrong) to things that cost more. The fact is that in some spheres the sources of information that require payment are more popular than the free ones, which are just as good, sometimes better. It's a weird part of human psychology. In a way it can be better for the 'paleo-cause' to charge for it because it increases its perceived value.
For some people there is an element of guilt in charging for information they believe can make the world a better place. I've experienced this myself with some of the products I sell online. But why should I feel guilty when so many people in this world make their living producing and selling garbage, war or poison?
As far as I'm concerned every cent that someone spends on one of my information products is a cent less for them to spend on something else.
I won't pay for anything that isn't either a fully written book or a forum that is particularly helpful. I understand that a lot of bloggers treat it like a full-time job, especially the already-professional-writer bloggers, but I think it's unreasonable to charge for content when a lot can be made via adverts. If they want to charge for an ad-free version of the site, that's fine, but anything else seems greedy to me.
I disagree about the ebooks though, I much prefer them. My friends and family are scattered all over the world, so lending books becomes almost impossible unless they're digital. (I know, I know, "pirating" and whatnot) But I'll only share a book with someone who either absolutely cannot afford buying it on their own; or people that would never have shown the slightest initiative in buying it themselves. The "can't be bothered" type people.
Also, you can do a text search mid-conversation in the hard-copy books :) It cuts down on the , "Oh I read it in a book..." or "I think that's what it said, something like that, I'm not positive..." Nowadays I won't really take someone's word for something unless they can show me the reference, smart-phones and e-readers (yay iPad :) make this a lot easier.
When you throw all your money at some guru, your going to be more likely to believe what they say because you don't want to know that you wasted your money. I'm not saying the paleo community is overrun with typical guru type people, just there are some of that in every diet.
If you want to know a lot you can buy a lot of books or pay to read all the medical journals you have time for. Personally reading medical journals is like watching paint dry, lol...I haven't paid for anything but I still can learn a lot by reading people's blogs. Does that make me an expert, no, I don't think so.
I read things I already know, I read things I disagree with, but I'm still learning. But what I think is the amount of money you pay or time you spend at some conference doesn't make you the wisest person in the world.
And having a blog means you're just one of the loudest. Some smart people aren't the blogging type. I'm not bashing bloggers, I'm actually going to start my own food/health blog pretty soon.
Anyway, as I like to say now: "If only we bought stuff with pistachio shells, then money would actually grow on trees".
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