Discover more from the zakelfassi experiment
What's going on again with this experiment?!
or where did i vanish, once again.
Calling this newsletter a “newsletter” is a misnomer. There’s been no frequency or predictability whatsoever; it has “everything but the news.”; and the only thread between everything is the abstract narrative.
Welcome to my brain 🧠.
One of the reasons I started this substack in the first place was to learn more about what content creators go through (post 2020), how the whole space is evolving, and get a sneak peek into Substack as a publishing platform. The experiment itself was a curiosity experiment. I learned a few things since then:
People value the things they pay for way more than the things they get for free (duh!)
Not having a paid subscriber option meant I’d never take the audience seriously (as customers), and vice-versa (double duh!)
All sorts of AIs are getting trained on the open web without any creator rewards – including this Substack.
Technology News is an important category in 2023.
There are more things to list, but I will stick with these four for now.
Re 1: People value the things they pay for way more than the things they get for free (duh!)
I recently made a tweet (err… X post) on August 21 about Google’s Project Gemini, linking a DeepMind paper, a Google re-org, and Google’s frustration with OpenAI with Google’s potential next major product move.
It was a somewhat obvious industry insight, but in hindsight, not really. TheInformation only dropped an exclusive report on September 16, pretty much saying the same thing.
Now, the thing I haven’t mentioned yet [DISCLAIMER] is I consult with a number of large investment firms and funds to share insights like these (definitely not for free) much earlier in advance. Much. Much. Earlier. I accidentally started moonlighting as a futurist of some sort at the beginning of the year, and today, I’m bringing those conversations and industry insights to this Substack. And because they’re more valuable than my typical tech-rants, I’m creating a paid tier. The paid tier will be free for existing subscribers as long as you reply to this email over the next 10 days with one thing: what topic would you like to see covered? – take that as proof of humanity (and engagement.)
Re 2: Not having a paid subscriber option meant I’d never take the audience seriously (as customers), and vice-versa (double duh!)
There’s a double reason why I’m activating the paid version. 1) I’ll be forced to push content more consistently and frequently and maybe finally take this a bit more seriously because there will be customers to satisfy. 2) It’ll help me understand the paid side of content creation a bit more.
There is another reason, albeit a more experimental one. I’m planning on redistributing all proceeds into an experimental community fund. More on this later.
Re 3: All sorts of AIs are getting trained on the open web without any creator rewards – including this Substack.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s something that I’m inherently against. OpenAI is seeking a $90B valuation, and how much of that went into the people whose content contributed to GPT? And how much of Meta’s AI Open Source models have been built on the same open web, and how much of “Meta AI” is trained on public user data? The value chain in AI is completely broken, and the good people who built the open web are getting nothing in return. Artificially gating content is the least I could do as a resistance move until the system is fixed, and putting up a paywall (or making content private) is a good starting point.
Re 4: Technology News is an important category in 2023.
I intentionally avoided covering current topics because I always thought that was cheap content.
I was wrong – not because news isn’t cheap content, but how tech news is today covered is cheap and lacks any true depth.
So yes, the experiment continues and continues to shift, and I’ll see you soon. Live to publish another day.