Reading, Asking, Receiving

Until recently, like many news junkies, I’ve used Google Reader to capture RSS feeds which I read through any one of my three installs of [Reeder]( But just a couple weeks before it was announced that Reader will be shutting down, I switched to Fever, a self-hosted RSS library (of sorts) which I am still in the process of getting set up and optimized. Out in the nick of time (Reader goes dark July 1). We should all be wary of how much Google knows about us, and one of their central tenets (apparently), and one thing that doomed Reader, is that they don’t want to charge for most of their products. My impetus to move, to pay $30 for a personal aggregator, was in part getting my data out of Google, and part my desire to have something more elegant. (Although RSS is older technology, I’m sure those who immediately saw this as an opening for innovation are right).

Apparently these people who watch tea leaves knew this was coming; normal people don’t use RSS; and obviously Google is not interested in charging for most services because your personal data is fare more valuable than whatever few dollars they would make from your subscription. But in short, people can’t pay for something they aren’t asked to pay for.

I’m about the 1 million, 500 thousandth person to see this, but this TED Talk by musician (and former living statue) Amanda Palmer advocates that artists can make a living from their work if they only ask those who enjoy their work to help them do it. She’s famous for raising a million dollars on Kickstarter, and for making some kickass music, and I have no idea how replicable her experience is, whether for musicians (somewhat likely) or other kinds of artists (somewhat less likely). Her fan relationship is not quite what every artist would be comfortable cultivating, as you’ll see, but her thesis here—people can’t give you money if you don’t let them, that people will support the what they find valuable—seems worth trying on a larger scale. Art doesn’t (entirely) come out of nothing.