May 212010

I’ve got an unusual proposal for you, my NoodleFood readers and NoodleCast listeners.

In the comments on this post on sex and romance, questions arose about the difficulty of finding good prospects for a lasting, deep, and happy romance. I sketched my view that most people who bemoan the lack of prospects could be doing much more than they are to increase their odds of success. Too many people don’t adopt a purposeful approach but instead wait passively… and complain.

In fact, I have a slew of suggestions for people unsatisfied with their romantic prospects. My advice would apply to men and women, gays and straights. Much of it could be used to find worthwhile friends too. It would be particularly aimed at Objectivists, albeit useful for anyone. As I marshaled some of that advice in my head, I thought to myself, “Wow, that would make a great podcast!” And plus, I’d have fun doing it!

The problem is that I’ve got about twelve other exciting projects calling my name and claiming my time right now. However, I have an idea: if enough of you are interested in this podcast, so interested that you’d pay for it, then I can justify doing it.

So here is my proposal: If you want me to produce this podcast, you can commit to pay me whatever dollar amount it’s worth to you. If enough people pledge enough money by noon on June 1st to make it worth my while, then I’ll produce the podcast. I’ll make it 30 to 60 minutes long, and I’ll complete it by June 10th. That’s intentionally before OCON or Atlanta’s MiniCon since you might want to put my advice to use before and during those conferences. When the podcast is ready, I’ll email everyone who committed, you’ll send the payment, and I’ll send you a private link. If not enough money is committed to make it worth my while then I won’t produce the podcast and you’ll owe me nothing.

Simple enough, right? I’ll add one more incentive. When you pledge, you can include a question that you’d like me to answer. If your pledge is one of the five largest, then I guarantee to address your question.

Here’s the form for you to make a pledge:

[Form removed because the deadline for pledging has passed.]

Do you have questions? I’ve got answers!

How much should I commit?

That’s entirely up to you. You should commit whatever amount you’d like to contribute in order to motivate me to produce the podcast and answer your question.

How do I know if the podcast will be any good?

I hope that you’ve come to appreciate the quality of my work from regularly reading NoodleFood, listening to my NoodleCasts, and so on. For a taste of my approach, you might check out my very popular podcast on choosing a career.

Will anyone know that I’ve committed?

Your pledge and question will be anonymous. No one but me will know that you pledged, how much you pledged, or whether you asked a question.

What if I change my mind after I pledge?

If you wish to increase your pledge, you can always pledge more. Just submit another pledge to be added to your existing pledges. If you make a mistake in your pledge, you can e-mail me at e-mail me at [email protected] before June 1st. If you want to back out of your pledge… well, I won’t have any legal way of enforcing this contract, but if you welch on your bill, you’re a schmuck!

When will I find out whether you’re doing the podcast or not?

The call for pledges ends at noon on June 1st. I’ll e-mail everyone who pledged, as well as post an announcement to NoodleFood, with the news about whether I’ll be producing the podcast or not.

How do I pay you?

You’ll be able to pay via PayPal, or you can send me a check. (My fees for PayPal are $.30 plus 2.9% percent per transaction.)

Can I share the podcast with anyone else?

You may only share it with other members of your household. Again, I won’t have any legal way of enforcing this contract, but if you distribute the link, you’re a schmuck!

What if I’m not satisfied with the podcast?

If the podcast doesn’t offer you the value you expected, then I will void your pledge and refund any money paid. All that you have to do is e-mail me explaining why you’re dissatisfied with the podcast.

If I don’t pledge, will I be able to hear the podcast?

Maybe, maybe not. If people don’t pledge enough money to make the podcast worth my while, then no one will ever hear it. If people do pledge enough money, I might release it as an ordinary, free NoodleCast… eventually. I wouldn’t do that until August, at the earliest. Before then, I might make it available for a price, but I’ve not decided. Basically, if you don’t pledge any money now, before June 1st, then you’re risking that you’ll never hear it.

Why are you doing this?

I want to know whether and how much others value my work. And I want to be fairly paid for the value I provide. Plus, knowing that people really do value my work — that they’re willing to support it with their dollars — is hugely motivating! On the other hand, if some endeavor of mine isn’t much valued, then I’d appreciate knowing that, so that I can spend my time on other work.

If this experiment works, I might use similar methods to prioritize and produce other potential projects of mine.

What do I do if I have some other question?

Please post it in the comments or e-mail me at [email protected]. I’ll update these questions to clarify as needed.

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