|I am coming back to SI with a similar mindset to what I had back in 1995 when I started it with my brother. We were not trying to make money with it...just dreaming of changing the world in some small way, as most people do at some point in their lives. We loved investing and technology, so SiliconInvestor.com was born. |
We incorporated as VB Web Partners ("Virtual Brothers"), and the plan was to use SI as a humble showcase for my programming talents. We were going to make money creating other websites.
We rented a small office in San Jose paying $900/month out of Jeff's savings. We lived there too, to save money, and because I had to sleep next to the Window NT servers that crashed every few hours. Every morning we folded mattresses up against the wall, answered email, then walked to the health club down the street to shower.
SI grew like a monster, and to keep quality high, by 1996 we started putting up barriers to slow down posting on the site. At first we asked new members to send us a postcard with their userid! Then we started a lifetime fee. The bank wouldn't approve us for a merchant account, so people had to send checks by snail mail! With the initial revenue, we printed the first run of 2000 t-shirts and started mailing them out to each of the new memberships.
Anyway it's not a priority right now to write the complete history of SI, and there is already a History of SI thread for that :) #subject-18370
We hated recurring subscriptions in the 90's, and I still do. If there needs to be a barrier to new registrants, then I will put one up. It only costs $1000/month to run SI, and I have no need to make money from it, so the barrier will likely be in the form of having to post some high quality messages to earn your way in.
I want to devise a system where the existing users determine who gets in...at both the subject level and community level. The exact recipe will be figured out by trial and error, starting with the most active threads. If there are 500 posts/day on a single subject, can we increase the quality and reduce the quantity through some self-determining system overseen by the moderator?
But that's a ways off. Mission #1 is to get the place cleaned up and growing again. Dropping the ads and subscriptions the first step.
My wife is working on putting together the first run of 2011 SI T-Shirts. All grandfathered, lifetime, and premium members will have the first opportunity to receive them. For free of course. Anyone who has paid recently and wants a refund can have one upon request (I need a few weeks to start processing them though).
If it grows again and I can start lifetime memberships again someday, great! That will allow me to hire more help (starting with a full-time job for SI Ron).
If not, I'm perfectly happy to keep running it as a hobby, and to ensure that the community all of us created together survives. I am looking forward to whatever happens.
Bottom line is I honestly don't know where this is going, but I can promise that SI will NOT go downhill from here. This weekend's changes are the most dramatic ones you'll see; the site will continue to improve incrementally.