Jul 282010

It’s time … drumroll please … for Phase Two of “Choose Your Own Podcast Adventure”! As you might recall, I solicited suggestions for my next podcast topic a few weeks ago. The many proposals offered were excellent, so I don’t just want to pick one topic myself. I’d have a tough time deciding! Instead, I want to offer you — or more precisely, the people willing to fund the podcast — the power to select the topic.

To that end, I’m holding a pledge run-off between the top three proposed topics for this podcast:

  • Irrational Family Members: How can we be consistently rational and selfish in our dealings with irrational, altruistic, and/or religious family members? When should you tolerate people you dislike or that you judge immoral? How can you make those people more tolerable — or even acceptable? What should you do if that’s not possible? When should cut off relations with someone? How can you explain what you’re doing and why to your better family members?
  • Sense of Life: What is “sense of life”? What is its importance to a person’s life? How do you identify your own sense of life? How do you identify that of others? How does sense of life impact our thinking, feelings, and choices? How does it impact our relations with other people, including friendship and romance? How is sense of life revealed in our responses to art? What is the relationship between a person’s sense of life and his explicit philosophy? Can sense of life be changed? If so, how?
  • Value Density: What is value density? How and why do people fail to seek value density in their lives? How can we make our lives more value dense? How does the concept apply to our purchases, what we eat, our relationships, productivity, vacations, education, and social events, for example?

Due to other demands on my time — like the final two podcasts for Explore Atlas Shrugged — I’ll collect pledges until August 31st at noon. If people pledge enough money to make this 30 to 60 minute podcast worth my while, I’ll produce it by September 10th. The topic will be whichever of the three above topics that receives the most money in total pledges. Most importantly, only the people who pledged on that particular topic will receive the podcast.

As before, you (or someone in your household) must pledge on the winning topic for you to hear the podcast. I’ll likely offer this new podcast for sale later, as I’ve done with my podcast on finding good prospects for romance and friendship. However, I’m not sure of the terms or timing of that sale. So if you want the podcast to be produced and you want to hear it, you should pledge now.

As before, you won’t owe me any money until the podcast is delivered to you. You’re paying for performance, not mere promises! So if I don’t produce the podcast by September 10th, whether because the funds pledged were insufficient or for any other reason, then you’ll owe me nothing. Also, if you’re not satisfied with the quality of the podcast, I’ll refund your pledge.

Finally, the pledges for the two non-winning topics will be null and void, since I’ll only produce one podcast. As a result, you can pledge on more than one topic, if you like, knowing that you’ll only owe one pledge in the end. In fact, to ensure that you get the podcast, you must pledge on all three topics. In other words, pledge early and pledge often!

You can pledge on any one, two, or three topics using this pledge form. (If you don’t want to pledge for a given topic, just enter “0″.) Please do include your questions on the topics, as that will help me produce a better podcast!

[Sorry, pledging has closed! The results are here.]

Do you have questions? I’ve got answers!

How much should I pledge?

That’s entirely up to you. You should pledge whatever amount you’d like to contribute in order to motivate me to produce the podcast, based on your interest in that topic.

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, hearing my OCON course on luck, and so on.

Will anyone know that I’ve committed?

Your name, e-mail, pledge amount, and question will be anonymous. I’ll likely post the substantive questions and comments, but I’ll make them anonymous.

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 August 31st. 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 August 31st. 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 or money order. (I prefer PayPal, but I’m happy to get payment via paper too.)

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 2011, 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 August 31st, then you’re risking that you’ll never hear it.

Why are you doing this?

I want to know whether and how much people value my work. I want to offer people what they value most. 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 projects.

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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