🏭 [Announcement] Going Paid

The Column is going to become a paid newsletter with a free version for the masses.

Darius Mortazavi
June 21, 2022

This email is going to explain why The Column is changing and the plans going forward. Scroll down to "The plan going forward" if you're short on time.

The explanation

As always, I think the best place to start is with some context: I started this newsletter two years ago as an undergraduate chemical engineering student. I wanted to learn about the companies I was interested in working for, and I knew that learning in public would provide a useful amount of accountability.

The Column has come a long way since its first edition on June 11th, 2020. The newsletter has become not just the best way to stay up to date, but the best way to learn about the chemical industry.

That's because if you read The Column for a year, you’ll end up digesting 288 examples of how we go from raw material to finished product. That’s a very useful practice for all sorts of reasons, and it’s becoming more and more relevant as society continues to demand sustainability and product transparency.

But I’m not writing this to convince you that what I’m doing is important. I’m writing this because I’m trying to level with you—I am an individual with a life and a full-time job.

I can't justify writing this thing for the next 10 years if it can't make a profit. I'd rather spend my time doing something more valuable.

So, I’m faced with a choice: Should I spend my time tracking down advertisers, negotiating rates, editing copy, and reporting results? Or should I pay-wall some of my content and spend my time creating more content?

If I went the advertising route, I think one of two things would eventually occur: I'll either run out of advertisers because my audience is too small, or I'll burn out while spending all my time looking for advertisers. 

I'd rather spend my limited amount of time learning about the chemical industry and improving the content in the newsletter. I think it's the most sustainable way to move forward.

Plus, I think that putting a price tag on something that has historically been free really cuts to the chase—it's a great litmus test for value.

The plan going forward

So here’s the deal: I’m going to split The Column into a paid version and a free version.

Since I won't be chasing advertisers, I'll have enough time to write monthly round-ups and do occasional deep dives. Those emails will supplement The Column's current three-time-per-week email, which will now be known as the daily update.

Paid subscribers will continue to receive daily updates three times per week, plus the monthly round-up and occasional deep dives. Free subscribers will receive daily updates only twice per month, plus the monthly round-up and occasional deep dives.

So, if The Column has been valuable to you, please consider becoming a paying subscriber.

I’ll be pricing the newsletter at discounted rates of $5/month or $50/year until September 1st for my initial readers. If you sign up before that September 1st deadline all of your future payments will be paused until October 1st.

If you miss that September 1st deadline you'll automatically be moved to the free version of the newsletter. Anyone who chooses to become a paid subscriber after September 1st will see the normal rates of $6/month or $60/year.

The last option I want to mention is a special one. If you love The Column or just really want to help me out, you can purchase a lifetime paid subscription for $150. I'll be keeping this option available until September 1st as well.

All paid subscribers will also have access to an exclusive community on Discord starting this fall. More details on that coming soon.

In any case, I’m grateful for all 5,307 of you. Thank you for reading what I write, replying to my emails, and validating my interest in this extremely under-communicated industry.

Poll: What do you think you'll do?

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Feel free to reply to this email if you have any questions. 

 -  Darius

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