Learning Newsletter Value Work

Good Things Happen.

Good Things Happen.
They Sometimes Take Time.

Fuck You. Pay Me.

Imagine, turning around to a lawyer, an accountant, a doctor and telling them that they weren't going to be paid.

Dear Lawyer

I listened to your advice - but I am not going to use it - so I don’t owe you.

Wrote no one ever.

So why does that happen to designers, creators, writers et al?

Value Work

Careful Where You Publish Your Work

Doc Searls, Godfather of The VRM/Me2B Movement observed recently that he writes on 4 (what amount to) personal blogs ... which made me feel a lot better about myself. In that same post he wrote;

Bigger than all four of those blogs is Linux Journal, where I wrote a great deal, including what amounted to blog posts on its website, for 25 years. That ended when Linux Journal ceased business in August. Also, as of today the entire site, with all its archives, is offline, erasing a third to a half of what I've written online so far.

Doc Searls

Think about that .... a third to a half of what you have written online is suddenly not available. And you wonder why I write articles like this.

The Scream ....

It's a cautionary tale because Doc (who's final position at Linux Journal was Editor in Chief) might reasonably have expected that whoever owned Linux Journal wouldn't suddenly remove it from public view.

Rule Number One : When it comes to your IP trust no one. Keep your articles and writing in a place that you have access to and control.

Rule Number Two : There is no Rule Number Two.

On a side note, but keeping the theme of Doc ... he recently published the links to the last three posts on the VRM Blog. They are good reads.

People are the real edge

We’re not data. We’re digital. Let’s research that.

What law might clear the way for VRM development?

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Friends Don’t Let Friends Write Content

I have had versions of this article on a number of different blogs and publications for years. The time has come to formalize it, since content, its ownership and how we think about it, is central to the principles of People First.

A recent question from someone in one of my many groups ...

"Why is it so difficult to find a freelance writing gig?

My reply ...

Because the people who pay for writing have no clue of the value, which is why they call it ‘content’ which we know has no value and is homogenous ‘filler’ that can be swapped out at a moments notice.

My Content Rule ...

'Don't Call It Content'

.... book, novel, short story, article, white paper, promotional piece, advert, painting, sculpture, song, opera, photograph, image, graphic art, poster, fine art … anything … anything but ‘content’.

If you want a general catchall phrase, how about material? It's the words that creative used to use - it meant something. Stood for something. It had value.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash


Because as long as ‘we the creators’ fall into the trap of using low cost, homogenous, non-descript words like 'content' to describe our work, our soul, our passion, our beliefs then our work will continue to be viewed as ’free - to - cheap - to - low - cost’, as ‘homogenized, non differentiated, interchangeable fodder’. Moreover, we then only have ourselves to blame and the resultant payment for your art, your thinking, your ideas, will continue to race to the bottom.

It is not in the interests of any creator to allow that, so why allow their interests to define how we think?

Content is a horrible, generic, cheap, 'anything will do' kind of word. Which is why 'content' has no value. It is also important to know that it is in the best interests of the buyers of our sweat, labour, thought and time to keep their price down. But our costs are not kept down. So our net earnings suffer. And they are suffering badly.

And it has to start with you - the creator, because it isn’t in the interests of buyers to change their behaviour and vocabulary - 'they' want great work at no cost.

From a while back now - but well worth repeating ....


It's the amateurs who make it tough for the professionals

💬 Harlan Ellison

I wonder if that is how this kind of thinking comes about? As I wrote when I first saw this ...

For all those of us attempting to get paid for value by people who wouldn’t get value if it smacked them between the eyes.

💬 John Philpin

Content is a horrible, generic, cheap, ‘anything will do’ kind of word. Which is why ’content’ has no value.

“I draw and paint on paper using pen, ink, and watercolor. I then scan and publish my work on this web site. People then visit and read this graphic novel, or if you prefer, webcomic. Occasionally, I write a blog post like this one. There is art and there is commentary, but there is no content and there are certainly no consumers.”

💬 Don Macdonald - August 24th, 2011

All Creators Should

STOP using THEIR words to describe OUR work. OUR soul. OUR passion. OUR beliefs.


START using OUR words to describe OUR work. OUR soul. OUR passion. OUR beliefs.

Newsletter Value Work
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Work-Life Balance

John Mayall's First Album arrived nine years after forming his first band.
John Mayall's First Album arrived nine years after forming his first band.

Trading my time for the pay I get (up!)
Living on money that I ain't made yet (up!)
Gotta keep goin' gotta make my way (up!) 
But I live for the end of the day (up!)

The Vogues

Written in 1965 - and nothing has changed. This newsletter introduced you to the 4P model of People First ... Pay, Purpose, Play and Passion.

With a more open, enlightened recruiting process there is so much more that people could do in any company if they were given the chance. The answer is to stop job filling and start fulfilling.

You can read the whole of Issue Number 8 here.

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Let’s End Ageism

Ashton Applewhite - Let's End Ageism - A Ted Talk

ReleasedAugust 23, 2017

Lot's more to say on this, and will. Some of the points I touched on in Tuesday's Newsletter.

Newsletter Value Work

Ditch The Binary

“Look at gender. We used to think of it as a binary, male or female, and now we understand it's a spectrum. It is high time to ditch the old-young binary, too.”

Ashton Applewhite

Says it all really. Ageism is alive and well. In fact the same day, Paul Krugman wrote a piece on the job market that I totally disagreed with - so of course I had to write something.

You can read the whole of Issue Number 7 here.

Newsletter Value
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Our Greatest Assets

Our fourth Newsletter just dropped. The focus this week .. People!

Hamid Ulukaya - founder and CEO of 'Chobani Yoghurt' presents his plan - 'the anti-CEO playbook'. A fascinating journey through the early days of the company - and how it's success can be reduced to .... people!

Secondly, A reminder that when you build systems and make changes in your organization, it's

Finally, for a while now, I have been writing about why we should stop using the word 'Content' to describe our ”book, novel, short story, article, white paper, promotional piece, advert, painting, sculpture, song, opera, photograph …. you get the point.

This week Om Malik and Khoi Vinh have both written about that very topic. Personally delighted if finally this message is catching on and gettingg through.

As long as ‘we the creators’ fall into the trap of using ‘their’ words to describe our work, our soul, our passion, our beliefs as ‘content’, then our work will continue to be viewed as ’free - to - cheap - to - low - cost, homogenized, non differentiated, interchangeable fodder’.

John Philpin - People First

Newsletter Value
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Newsletter Three from People First just launched. The theme for this week's edition is 'Humanity’ including me spotting this in a clothing store recently. I didn’t buy it - but I sure was tempted, as I ready myself for October’s IIW. (more)


Winner Of The The Nobel Peace Prize

Unless you track it, this kind of news can scoot past you before you even realize what is going on.

The 2018 winner was just announced.

"The Nobel Peace Prize 2018 was awarded jointly to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad "for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict."

Read All About It.

It's extraordinary how people contribute to society for the better good, and you think - what can I do to be more like them?

Which reminded me of last year.