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Re: Tiers and rewards coming soon: a tiny simple poll... #upcoming

Gray
 

I took the poll but, to me, one of the things about tiers/rewards that I think is a pretty big deal is making them as easy-to-sign as possible. If the backer needs to scroll through a whole bunch of lines and information, that's a barrier to donation. (Which is kind of the whole gig.)

Mike

New WYSIWYG for message posting with image uploads and social embeds #newfeatures

 

Hey folks!

I come bearing good news -- we've totally rebuilt our message posting engine from the ground up and launched a new WYSIWYG publishing tool. For those of you long-timers (Recurrency O.G. inna house!), you may remember we started out with an "all Markdown" tool and shifted over to a "less technical jargon required" posting tool that unfortunately lacked much multimedia capability to add images or display media inline -- and the new Message tool solves both of those issues.

When you go to create a new Message on Recurrency (which I would encourage you to take a few minutes and kick the tires if you can), you can still highlight text and add formatting or links from the pop-up element as before, but there's a new plus sign "+" button that appears after the cursor that lets you do the following things when clicked:

  • Upload an image
  • Paste a link to a Youtube or Vimeo video and have it render inline in your message
  • Paste a link to a Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram object (tweet, photo, profile, etc.) and have that display properly inline
  • Paste a raw HTML link to an image file hosted elsewhere and have it display inline in your message

There are 3 icons that appear when you click the plus sign that govern your selections -- here's a cheatsheet:


Please give it a whirl and let us know if you have any feedback or suggestions -- one of the easiest ways to keep a decent pace with sharing some updates regularly is to think about "what kind of in progress work or 'behind the scenes' sneak peeks can I share with my fans?" It's light lifting for you because you're already working on creating it (i.e. don't need to whip up Something Special each time specifically for Recurrency), and you can vary the sharing between Public (can be seen by everyone in the All News feed) as a means to promote what you're doing and garner some more support from other Recurrency members, & Private (goes to your supporters only) messages as a means of keeping the supporters you already have feeling engaged. 

Beyond the "feel good" factor of supporting you, supporters are mostly looking for Access and Exclusive Experiences as a value exchange for continuing to support you -- if you're willing to give them a little bit of "backstage access" as it were, it keeps them feeling extra special and starts to create that virtuous circle loop where they want to check back again soon and find out more about what you're working on. Since often these are your core, most engaged fans already, they may also be able to provide some valuable feedback to take into consideration (...or with a grain of salt, depending! :)), which keeps that virtuous circle humming because you're getting new value out of this relationship also (in addition to the straight up actual dollah dollah bills y'all. Money isn't everything... but by gum we still want some by which to keep Creating More Things!)

Thanks everyone -- feel free to just reply here with any feedback, or email us directly at creators-team@... (as always!)

-b

Re: Tiers and rewards coming soon: a tiny simple poll... #upcoming

 

Agree, & we're aiming to keep things simple yet powerful enough to fulfill the need... or as Einstein might put it, "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." ;)

We've gotten some great feedback on this via the poll -- thanks to everyone who responded!! Seems like the majority of folks would use something between 4 and 6 levels, but on the other question we're pretty split at about half who prefer each higher tier to include all the benefits of the lower tiers, and half who really just want to make totally separate rewards at different dollar amounts. So if you have a POV on either of those questions and have approx. 90s to take the poll, it is certainly not too late to get your feedback incorporated into the product build (and help us resolve the tie between "additive" and "separate" style tiers):

https://doctorparadox1.typeform.com/to/cSAwIW

Thanks all!!

-b

How early?

Gray
 

How early do you guys tend to think about announcing new projects to your audience?

I’m staring down the barrel of a serial but I’m, like, still a few months out. 

Mike

A word (...ok, several) about providing "Value Exchange" to supporters #tips

 

We've been thinking a lot about how to answer (and help you answer) a key question from prospective supporters, which is essentially, "...what's in it for me?!"

Some subset of your fans will want to support Just Because -- they love you, they believe in your mission and want to help, they're your Mom (hi Mom!), etc. To take it to the next level and convince the next layer of "fence sitters about to tip," it seems clear there needs to be more Value Exchange in the equation. It doesn't have to be the same sort of fairly rigid quip pro quo as with traditional crowdfunding like Kickstarter or Indiegogo ("I give you $15 now and in a year i expect a copy of your film") -- and in some sense we actually eagerly want to explore the also quite fascinating territory that happens Before The Product -- all the really cool stuff that happens along the way during that year that is usually carefully hidden until suddenly, Out Pops A Film! 

There is something magical and mystical about the "Artist's Way" or the Creator's Journey (or whatever you want to call it without feeling too "woo-woo" ;)) -- and people are fascinated by it. If they're already your fans, they definitely want to know about it because they already like you and don’t already have a window into it elsewhere. They are beside themselves with curiosity about how the sausage is made -- and I think this is actually even more true in the Age of Rampant Professionalism where we've been trained to think that "only the final product matters" -- there's simply too much evidence to suggest the reverse is true and that many people are hungrier to "celebrate the journey" now that most of what we see in culture and media is all neatly Polished, Packaged, and Promoted at insatiable speed. People who aren’t yet fans are still curious because they’re either creators themselves & want to learn form your process, or they’re Frustrated Creatives who were dissuaded from the Artist’s Way at some point in the past and want to live vicariously (or drum up the courage to dive back in).

So, there's a mindset and there's a toolkit & we're going to be doing our best to help with both -- on the latter end there's 1 immediate opportunity and 1 so close to on deck it may launch as early as this week:

  1. Posting Messages: if you haven't checked out the new WYSIWYG yet, please give it a whirl -- i would suggest thinking of "posting on Recurrency" as more like Twitter, less like Wordpress. More like Tumblr, less like Medium (...although Medium looks a lot more like Tumblr these days! it's complicated. there's a lot going on, people). Share some sneak peeks from the creative process, the journey, the drafty bits, the unfinished ideas in all their wabi sabi glory. Think about a relatively steady mix of Public vs. Private posting -- the Public stuff is for "hey you, prospective supporters and Recurrency members, here's what you can expect from me! Here's what I do -- come join my journey" and the Private stuff is the exclusive, "make your supporters feel special and super glad they're giving dollars to you" backchannel into the really cool stuff you're working on that they get to be in the subset of lucky folks who are privy to the process. Doesn't all have to be long-form, doesn't all have to single embedded links from elsewhere -- can be a mix of both. Experiment! Try stuff. Break things! See what resonates. Keep an eye on what Private stuff gets the most attention and do more of that. Keep an eye on what Public stuff brings new supporters to the yard and do more of that. It's more like "starting a party" than like trying to do a traditional direct sales funnel -- try to keep the guests who actually came at 8pm instead of being fashionably late entertained until the rest of the gang shows up, and encourage the gang to get the heck over here because the party is (almost -- & it will be when you get here!) raging!
  2. Tiers/Rewards: launching imminently -- will give you a way to be more explicit about what value you're providing, and experiment with different offerings at different support levels. Maybe it's $5/mo gets a supporter into your team Slack channel, or maybe it's $10 gets them a 1:1 Google Hangout with you each month. Think about ways you can offer additional value that aren't necessarily adding a Whole New Job to all the hats you're already wearing -- open the kimono a bit on stuff you're already doing. Take an extra 10 minutes and share a sketch or a storyboard after you've spent the hours working on it (and offer it as a perk by committing to it with some sort of regularity, weekly, monthly, etc.). It doesn't have to be about Creating Something Else Entirely New for supporters (though it can be) -- it can be getting savvy about repurposing / repackaging what you already do, or maybe even just giving yourself permission to get over the fear of sharing the imperfect, in process stuff (I know I have this fear and it's a personal pep talk as much as it is 'Recurrency advice').

Food for thought. If you eat some and new ideas pop out, please share -- here, in a Message, in a tweet, join our Slack, email us, shout it from a rooftop (but Vine it, so we can hear!), all of the above!

Onward and upward!

-Barb

Re: A word (...ok, several) about providing "Value Exchange" to supporters #tips

 

Howdy! I'm Emily, the newest member of the Recurrency team. Great to meet you all.

Just wanted to let you know that we are currently on fixing two bugs with the WYSIWYG:

  1. Currently, when you post a video to WYSIWYG, the video won't actually play on Recurrency. This is a bug! Please make sure you leave the video URL in the post so people can copy/paste the URL and go to youtube/vimeo/etc to watch the video.
  2. If you post a WYSIWYG message that's quite long, your message will show up as shortened with a "see more" link. We'll be removing the "see more" link very soon so people will see the whole post right away.

We'll keep you updated on our progress. Thank you! 

Scrivener course

Gray
 

Hey, there, shadowy elite cabal of creators,

I make no warrants to quality of this promo, but I saw AppSumo is giving away this here Scrivener training course for free today:


Though some of you might want to grab it while you can. 

Love and avocados,
Mike

-- 
Michael Gray
Recurrency creator team
mike@...

Ask questions; share things; break stuff -- & other recent highlights on Recurrency #tips

 

Noticed and wanted to share (and give kudos to!) a few recent posts / experiments of note:

  • Kartooner -- working on a children's book as a new exciting adventure and sharing some sneak peeks along the way: love love love this. my hunch is supporters will too (and the teasing or dangling of such acts as incentive for the idle member passing by to plunk down those hard-earned dollars in exchange for a slice of inspiration and exclusivity)
  • Bill Arceneaux -- the simple art of asking! (well, seemingly simple anyway... just ask Amanda Palmer) Also an example of workshopping at its finest: "hey, there's an idea brewing inside, struggling to come out! and it just needs a village / fellowship / amiable gang of like-minded souls to help it along..." (anyone with better superhero-fu than i -- please, i beg of you -- weigh in accordingly! (hey babe, it needs a name...))
  • Anna Washenko -- consider this also a guerrilla introduction to our little merry band of pranksters in groups.io as its newest member: after years of successful freelance writerly lifestyle (which nonetheless continues apace) Anna is making the leap into webcomic territory with Dog and Bird -- a humorously illustrated look at how interspecies friendship may just secretly hold a lot of the keys to getting along with each other on this rock we call home... congrats on the launch! Looking forward to new strips :)

It can be hard in this day and age to be (or admit to being) all Kumbaya with excitement about a "community of interest" but i daresay i, for one, would welcome our new unpretentious overlords who have the audacity to be vulnerable and humble and give credit generously vs. hoarding it as a matter of Gaining Advantage and Accruing Accolades: which is my as per usual TL;DR way of unsimply asking that if you felt a twingle in the positive direction upon witnessing the works so mentioned, please do share the love with your cohort! Or tribe, or krew, or diaspora, or whatever terminology you identify with and whoever's flagpole you think such things might runneth up...

Thanks all!!

-b

Re: Ask questions; share things; break stuff -- & other recent highlights on Recurrency #tips

Anna
 

Hi all! Thanks to our fearless leader for the kind intro. :) I'm looking forward to hearing more about what y'all are working on and doing in the world of cool creative people online. Cheers! 

-Anna

Re: A word (...ok, several) about providing "Value Exchange" to supporters #tips

 

Dropping in with a couple of related notes:

  1. the video playback bug is now fixed -- please let us know if anyone runs into any other oddities with video playback but otherwise, GAME ON!
  2. the "show more" link no longer appears on "permalink" pages, i.e. the URL that displays just the Message and not the rest of your stream of posts. There is one related issue we're still working on fixing, which is that in the context of a stream (the "All News" or "My News" tabs when you're browsing the site, e.g.) we still use the "Show More" mechanism so no single lengthy post hijacks the entire page, but there's a quirk where if you expand the Show More to view the whole post and then interact with it (either Like it or leave a comment), the Message will truncate again back to the "Show More" state. That shouldn't happen / it's pretty jarring -- so we'll working on making the Message stay unfurled once a member has expressly indicated they want to read the whole thing

Other CMS / posting improvements are in the works too; I'll follow up with a list of upcoming features and a poll about what else / what areas are most important to you in the Message department: stay tuned.

Thanks!!

Intro.. #introductions

 
Edited

Hey Folx..I'm Kahlil and I'm pretty stoked to be here (thanks Mike!). Digging the creative tech vibe and down for whatever. Oh..I'm from Chicago; now in Costa Mesa.

Re: Intro.. #introductions

 

Awesome, psyched to have you here Kahlil! Welcome to the monkey house... :) And thanks for holding down the Mid-Coast -- I know this bunch is "complicated" geographically (which is great!) including Anna Washenko who once reprazented Chicago but now hails from LA by way of NY; whereas i who now join her in LA-LA-Land as of 3 days ago come by way of Oakland via LA (the 1st time...) via upstate NY, where Erik Sagen currently calls home... Emily is entrusted with keeping SF on its toes in my absence, and Mr. Gray operates the Recurrency Appalachia branch office!

Then there's all the geography i don't know about yet -- and the curious discussion with Emily recently about how the internet seems to have exacerbated our collective Explorer Mentality to the point where i kind of feel at home everywhere and yet nowhere; I'm grateful for the chance to travel frequently and keep up with far-flung friends, but it also somehow feels harder to grasp onto a sense of local place and community. There's an "east vs. west" thing here in LA as there was in the Bay area I just left -- where the jokingly almost true sense is that some people would think nothing of popping over to Manhattan from SF to see friends for the weekend, but would literally cringe in disgust at the thought of taking a BART ride over to the East Bay 20 minutes away (same thing with the subset of Santa monica / Venice residents who "refuse to go east of the 405"). The placelessness of the web carries the allure of togetherness in a way that paradoxically seems to undercut actual togetherness with the often mundane business of building communities and living together fairly and peaceably...

Anywho -- that was a TL;DR philosophically meandering way of welcoming you to the krew, Kahlil! ;) Look forward to working with you -- let us know if there's anything we can do to help :)

Re: Intro.. #introductions

 
Edited

On Mon, Aug 3, 2015 at 09:32 pm, Barb D wrote:

 Emily is entrusted with keeping SF on its toes in my absence..

..some people would think nothing of popping over to Manhattan from SF to see friends for the weekend, but would literally cringe in disgust at the thought of taking a BART ride over to the East Bay 20 minutes away..The placelessness of the web carries the allure of togetherness in a way that paradoxically seems to undercut actual togetherness with the often mundane business of building communities and living together fairly and peaceably...

Look forward to working with you -- let us know if there's anything we can do to help :)

Thanks. From what I've observed, Miss Emily is more than capable of thrashing SuckaF(r)ee! :)

I hear you..when I lived in the Bay, in the late '90's, I was pretty disgusted by SF's prejudice against The Town.

Re: Intro.. #introductions

 

On Mon, Aug 3, 2015 at 09:32 pm, Barb D wrote:

and the curious discussion with Emily recently about how the internet seems to have exacerbated our collective Explorer Mentality..The placelessness of the web carries the allure of togetherness in a way that paradoxically seems to undercut actual togetherness with the often mundane business of building communities and living together fairly and peaceably...

Most physical community is built, in togetherness, by people whom may or may not fancy each other; whereas cyber-community is highly selective, thus heightening our fractured digital divide. Amongst most of us, ambition overrides morality.

Re: Intro.. #introductions

 

On Tue, Aug 4, 2015 at 12:54 am, 'Lil Crawford wrote:

Most physical community is built, in togetherness, by people whom may or may not fancy each other; whereas cyber-community is highly selective, thus heightening our fractured digital divide. Amongst most of us, ambition overrides morality.

 That is well put on both counts. The selectivity of online life has had challenging implications for media as well -- when your business model relies on amassing as many eyeballs as possible, and those eyeballs have more choices than ever about where to look (or look away from), there's even more pressure to polarize / sensationalize. At the same time there's even more risk and less potential reward for "speaking truth to power," and the journalist's historical role in keeping the public informed gets more difficult when it's insanely easy to filter out anything you don't want to hear (i.e. the sometimes difficult and challenging truth vs. appearance / perception of what's going on).

The ambition vs. morality dimension is something I think about all the time. We have a hard time conceptualizing beyond binary value judgments ("ambition is good!") when the truth is both far more complex and not nearly as objective as we like to imagine -- I've seen people torn apart by their own ambition; drive others around them into exhaustion (or away); or reach that point of potential corruption where the allure of end justifying the means can be almost irresistible. When you add peer pressure and cultural pressure to Succeed At All Costs to the mix, it's a recipe for abandoning morals in the name of "achievement," writ large. The more you achieve and the greater your ambition, the more likely it becomes that you'll run up against that moment when one must choose between doing the right thing and doing the successful thing that sacrifices something valuable and, perhaps, irrecoverable.

Reminder to self: choose wisely in every moment.

Rewards and goals launched -- kick tires please! #newfeatures

 

Thanks to everyone who helped shape up the tiers/rewards feature by participating in the poll and giving your feedback -- I'm happy to relay that this feature is now live along with another related but different opportunity (it's a twofer!) to set "Goals" against your overall total funding amount. Whereas rewards represent fun exclusive things you'll do individually for each supporter at that level, Goals are more "big picture" stuff like "once I hit $100 a month, I'll pay a contributor to write a new column" territory -- sky's the limit really, and please feel encouraged to experiment wildly; but my hunch is that Goals that will tend to work best will be those that represent a "reinvestment" in your brand/business. It's a way to show supporters your plans for improving their experience as a direct result of contributing to you.

Rewards can be a little more personal and even ephemeral -- "for $5/mo I'll send you a special Snapchat each month" -- or they can represent access to something specific (your Slack channel, your VIP-only newsletter, reserved front row seats at your next gig or event, etc.); but both Goals and Rewards help you get more concretely in the direction of offering a more explicit Value Exchange worth plunking down support dollars for, as well as a way to keep supporters engaged with you in your creative mission.

Please dive in when you get a chance and let us know if you have any questions, issues, wishlist improvements, or interesting ideas for unique Goals and/or Rewards to share so we can all learn from each others' brainmeats and experiences...!

Thanks all!!

Rewards brainstorming: share your process and your expertise #tips

 

We'll start pulling out more case studies as they emerge into more of a "cheatsheet"-style reference document, but wanted to share some early insights from the Brave New World of rewards:

  1. Be sure to remember that reward tiers are currently additive -- which means supporters at higher levels are also entitled to the rewards from the lower levels. Keep that in mind when designing your levels and guesstimating how much time it will take you to actually fulfill them.
  2. Think about "broadcast vs. 1:1" types of rewards and experiment with a mix of both if it's a fit for you -- a "broadcast" type of reward is something that you can prepare or create and share it in a Private message exclusively with all your supporters at once (use the privacy toggle in the Message tool to switch from a Public post to a private Supporters-only message). It doesn't even have to be long-form or something polished and "produced" -- it could be "the full transcript of the interviews i edit and publish for X Magazine" so fans can see the unabridged version, or the "take behind the take" commentary on something you might not want to post publicly and be indexed by Google. Maybe it's an annotated version of a news story you plan to rebut in an upcoming piece, or the outline of a screenplay before it's done. Maybe it's an "alternate ending" version of a short story. Or a scathing diatribe about someone, something, or some trend in your industry that you want to vent about without going public (almost like a "paid Snapchat" version of your "hot take"). Or a doodle you scrawled one night and aren't sure if it merits working up a full illustration and want to get some advice from your fans. In all those examples you Do A Thing once and share it with all the supporting fans, vs. a more "1:1" type of reward that is quite custom to each individual supporter: "I'll send you an individual Snapchat," "30 minutes of writing coaching," "A custom haiku based on a topic you give me," etc. These are more "artisanal" in nature and carry an even More Special feel to each supporter, but conversely can take a bit more time to actually fulfill (which tends to lend those type of rewards to higher tiers because there is a greater "time cost" for you to fulfill them).
  3. Consider how you might be able to "productize" your knowledge, expertise, or advice in ways that might feel pretty easy for you to deliver but carry a big "delight" value to your supporters -- here's a great example from Emily's brainstorm concept for Bill. This idea of an "Artisanal Recommendation Engine" is powerful because it's kind of in the sweet spot between broadcast and 1:1 -- it could be a customized list for each supporter based on their interests, but there's probably a lot of overlap in the lists you can most likely reuse at least some of them both for other individual supporters as well as an opportunity to collect all the individual lists into a larger document you can publish as an Exclusive for all paying supporters: "Recommended movies of the month" broken down by genre. If your expertise is in gadgets, maybe you could offer supporters shopping advice on 1 piece of gear they're considering each month, then collect those choices up into a list of "Top recommended devices" that only supporters have access to. If you're an entrepreneur, maybe you offer individual business advice or answer X biz-related questions per month, then publish the whole collection in a running document that lives behind the paywall (and is a continually growing resource that becomes part of the incentive for new supporters to join your inner circle in the first place).

In the interest of providing tangible value to supporters in exchange for their hard-earned dollars without creating a ton of new work for yourself, I think it will help to try and conceptualize how you can turn something you're already passionate about that feels easy to do into an actual explicit reward, as well as how to make use of / repurpose / repackage your efforts and the material(s) you create in different ways for different channels. Remixable, modular, "small pieces loosely joined" philosophies will serve you well in this regard, I suspect.

Also, we want to help you both internally and externally! Feel free to give a shout here in groups.io if you'd like some advice from your peers and/or a handy support system in the process of experimenting with rewards. We're also keen to help elevate and promote what you're working on both within the Recurrency community and to the world at large through social, in blog posts we promote, etc. We'll be getting more formalized around promotional plans in the coming weeks as well (and stay tuned for the first Creator Spotlight project to kick off soon!) but we're always happy to help give something specific a boost or a share (or set of shares) to help you get the word out -- let us know! Thanks all!

Manifesto #meta

 
Edited

Those of us who are Valley or Valley-connected may (or not) take our vocations for granted; but, trust me, the digital divide is still substantial.

Why do I say this? Here's why:

Most of you know, by now, that I'm ultra gung-ho about Recurrency - reason being that I represent the Tech Creative who was definitely more prominent during 1.0 - we haven't had a decent platform since Myspace!

Obviously 2-3.0 is more about their paper/$, and that's cool, but culture/kulcha outlasts paper at the end of the day (even the biggest billionaires are fans of some dead guitar god, horn player, rapper, or diva).

For me, it's the reverse - I'm an Artist who will always be a fan of some dead web mogul, hacker, or angel. Why? Because they're the mavericks of this digital world I inhabit.

Recurrency is a great opportunity for Creative Artists & Tech Mavericks to(/gether) finally/authentically fuse our mutual Utopianism and put a real dent in shit. Let's Go!

Recurrency for Writers: a brief features wishlist poll #polls

 

Howdy folks! We've been focusing some fire on making Recurrency a better tool for writers specifically, starting with our recent WYSIWYG improvements and motoring on into the following upcoming updates:

  1. Post titles
  2. Post slug / URL editing
  3. Post scheduling
  4. Post list screen -- back end view of all the Messages you've done previously
  5. Post preview -- see how it will look before it's live

Right now the scheduling feature is slated to act as a workaround for "Save a draft" -- schedule it far in the future to act as a stand-in for "True Draft" -- so for those of you who only have 30 seconds, please weigh in quickly on how important a proper Draft mode is to you. For any of you who have a few short minutes to spare, here's a more granular way to weigh in with your preferences on both desired CMS improvements and Recurrency featureset overall: please feel free to share this link with any other writers you may know (whether they are on Recurrency or not) who might be at all interested in shaping the platform to their needs:

Recurrency Writer's Poll

P.S. You don't have to be a Writer with a capital W to lend us your preferences -- creators in any genre/medium who want to weigh in on Recurrency as a vehicle to help share and publish Awesome Stuff in All Forms should by all means jump in! Thanks all!

Re: Recurrency for Writers: a brief features wishlist poll #polls

 

Draft Mode is cool, but what's most important to me is Edit - as long as I have the option to edit (whether draft or published), I'm good.