The most valuable information is free!
This blog post will most likely make references to crypto related topics, however, I think that the concept can be applied across many different scopes of interest, genres, financial markets, hobbies etc. At the end of the day, even Ivy League schools are providing free courses. How much are you willing to pay for a sheet of paper, ie. a diploma or a degree when objectively, you can obtain the same or better education for free?
This is not to say that all paid for content, media, tips or educational material does not have value, however, in my humble opinion, the most successful people, I believe, have found ways to profit from their expertise by sharing value while at the same time not charging the consumer.
I’m nearly 40 years old, I didn’t get a formal higher education until I was in my mid 30s. I didn’t suddenly buy into an old system that convinces the masses that the way to be successful is to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and spend countless hours digesting formal lessons in a classroom. However, as a military veteran who contributed to the GI-Bill during my first year in the military, I decided not to let it go to waste.
I mention that I eventually obtained a formal education, specifically a B.S. in Computer Science because that knowledge is a drop in the bucket compared to what I have learned just by being curious, driven and researching things on my own. That said I think knowledge is power and if you obtain knowledge best in a guided formal setting, DO THAT! If you are better self-taught DO THAT! If you are a sponge regardless of the educational environment DO IT ALL!
Okay, with that out of the way, the most valuable content is free! Right? What I mean by that is a good provider doesn’t need to charge the consumer. A youtuber, a blogger, an educator, even a salesman can provide a service or a product without charging the end user. It might take extra work and creativity to do it, however, it can be done. The problem is greed gets in the way. Look at Amazon, a trillion dollar company. Amazon would be a billion dollar company several times over if it didn’t charge a prime membership, but… due to greed and the convenience they offer they can charge the consumer directly for access, the seller for the platform to sell their goods on and so many countless other revenue streams it would make your head spin.
The best, most successful, highly influential personalities and corporations are those that provide a good, service, or platform without charging the consumers. Facebook is an example, sure you have to deal with adds and an invasion of privacy, but you’re not paying money to use the platform. A better example is Linux! The creator of the Linux kernel is not a billionaire. He could be if he was greedy, however, he is highly successful and I am sure quite happy with his creation. If you are tech savvy or in the tech industry you probably know that the world runs on Linux and it’s nearly 100% free!
Another, much smaller, example is Professor Messer. In my career I am required to obtain a particular certification that he has created a plethora of content for on youtube. As well as self study, listening to his videos, certainly helped me to obtain the certification I was after. I didn’t pay him anything.
Now as a Cyber Security professional, nearly finished with a Masters in Cyber Security Technologies, (only because I have more GI-Bill left and I’m not going to let it go to waste) I find that 90% of graduate studies is done outside of the classroom anyway. You are expected to take a topic or lesson, do the research, come up with a hypothesis and publish a peer reviewed paper upon completion. Meanwhile, paying out the ass to go to class once a month to receive the next tid-bit of instruction. I feel for my classmates that are taking out loans for this! Once completed though, that sheet of paper, coupled with some related experience will lead to future CTOs, Directors of Security Programs and beyond.
Again, I mention more of my formal education not for clout or because I am proud of it, but rather because of the following points I am about to share. Although I have learned a fair amount from this Masters program, I would argue I learned even more by watching DEFCON conferences, taking notes of technologies used to exploit vulnerabilities, penetration testing, information assurance, white hat, grey hat and black hat hacking, the tools used, where to get them and guides for configuring said tools. I would equate one DEFCON conference that includes taking notes and researching the topics to an entire Doctoral Program in Cyber Security. Guess what! I have downloaded every single DEFCON conference to date and continue to watch them for free and utilize the competencies obtained from that material still today.
So how does someone work full time for free? They don’t work for free silly! Instead they advise, they consult, they freelance, they sponsor, promote or collaborate. Don’t quit your day job! If you have a full time job, doing the 9–5 grind, don’t stop doing what brings you the income you need to provide for yourself or your family. There is an amazing rule that I live by… don’t recall who I should give credit to since I didn’t make this rule, I simply follow it. It’s the 8–12 rule, adjust the time slightly as needed for your particular situation. If you work 9–5, you can spend from 5ish to 8ish with your family. From 8ish to 12ish you grind! Work on your side hustle! Do this daily with the same consistency you do with your 9–5 job and you will eventually find success, and maybe, just maybe your side hustle will become your primary source of income!
There is a particular content creator I enjoy who believes in monetizing EVERYTHING! That might sound off putting at first but think about it. A few seconds or a minute of your time to watch an add before you enjoy several minutes of the content you came for is one heck of a bargain! Having banners on a website, or a small sponsor message at the beginning or the end of your content is a great way to help another person or company out and possibly facilitate a relationship that works for both of you, meanwhile your customer the consumer is still getting access to your content for free.
I realize I am not mentioning things that are new or groundbreaking, heck these few suggestions have been used for ages, I mention them because I believe the world economy is changing. We want everything to be free, but we also don’t want to give up our privacy for it. This is is why cryptocurrency, blockchain and Bitcoin are not just a speculative phenomenon where a few get rich while everyone else gets rekt! It’s a revolution! Bitcoin has presented the world with an opportunity for true financial freedom. The ability to truly be your own bank and transact without requiring a third party’s permission to do so.
Blockchain and decentralized applications have already and will continue to create new ways for the world to have a global economy that cannot be controlled by a single powerful government or entity. We now have the ability to utilize social media platforms for free and without giving up our personal information. We don’t need Facebook and we don’t need to deal with targeted adds because our browser is storing data about us and websites we visit then market to us based on said data. Instead we can utilize the brave browser while using minds.com, steemit.com, bitchute.com, d.tube and many other social media platforms that allow us to communicate on a global scale and cannot be censored. Most importantly, we don’t have to give up our personal information and our privacy stays as private as we want it to be.
Utilizing all the mentioned platforms can provide multiple income streams in the form of cryptocurrency, but most of all they provide content creators with a bigger reach. They offer the ability to transfer wealth, both monetary and informational in a way that cannot be stopped and does not require a traditional bank or middle man to get involved.
I recently created a video where I reviewed several crypto related youtubers. All of them provide content and do so in a way that creates revenue streams for them. One of them does a ton of sponsored reviews, however, he provides what appears to be unbiased and honest reviews that you can trust so his viewer count continues to increase which likely increases the fee he can charge to do sponsorship videos. Meanwhile, 100% of his content is free to the consumer! You might even win some money in the form of crypto for watching his content.
Another example is a guy who produces videos that are full of gimmicks and sound effects and its all to get your interested while keeping your attention by entertaining you with all the buzz words and sounds. Meanwhile the substance is subpar. However, for a fee you can gain access to his “VIP” content. Maybe its worth it… but in this post I am providing examples as to how someone can provide quality content for free and if its that great, they will have such a huge following that they can create several revenue streams without charging the consumers. My assumption is, his paid for content is not worth it.
Then there are others who create content, have a friendly demeanor, offer information “for free” build a community, without ever actually sharing any information that is of value. However, they are well spoken, good in front of a camera, slowly build a community and viola, they open a merch store, they sell clothes with mildly entertaining logos or sayings. The community the are building doesn’t realize they are being herded. The content creator is slowly marketing more ideas to said community, selling them merch and eventually selling them hosting services to “help them.” In this example, based on a real entity, I show how the actual product or service is provided is subpar, doesn’t add much value, but slowly corals a community together that can then be marketed to. In a sense the “community” is the customer and the discord server is the store. It’s clever but its not actually free and doesn’t add much value.
Holy shit! If you read this far… Thank you! I appreciate you taking the time to read my thoughts as I ramble on about my experience with learning valuable information throughout my life that was both free and paid for. Unfortunately it is the paid for experience that got me the sheet of paper which certainly helped me get the job that I have today, however, it was all the time I spent teaching myself outside of formal education that enabled me to be good at my job that the sheet of paper allowed me to get.
Conclusion — be a perpetual student of the world, but don’t go broke doing it!