Ben Thompson, the Taiwan-based American writer behind popular tech blog Stratechery, has quit his day job to become a full-time blogger. Aside from leaving Automattic, the company behind WordPress where he was employed, Thompson is super-charging his site with a new freemium business model and a podcast.
Thompson will continue to post two “fairly long” articles a week — which will be sponsored, in a similar way to Apple blogger John Gruber’s Daring Fireball site — but he is also launching an ambitious three-tier membership system to turn his passion into his living.
Readers can pay $5 per month (or $50 per year) for the ability to comment on Stratechery posts. The next level upper — $10 per month, or $100 per year — includes comment privileges and a subscription to a daily link list with commentary.
A third, top-tier option costs $30 per month, or $300 per year, and includes all previous benefits plus entry to a community of top tier members — who can message each other via email and a private message board. Thompson says there will also be opportunities to meet on/offline worldwide, and “direct access” to him too.
Thompson tells TNW that he will seed membership to selected influencers to help get the ball rolling.
It’s a bold strategy, but Thompson has already performed the impressive feat of turning Stratechery into an influential blog within the space of just one year. He’s also acutely aware of the opportunities and difficulties of Internet media today — as this recent series of posts show — so it will be interesting to see how his solo project fares.
From a personal perspective, I’m excited to see Thompson strike it out. Not only does he provide valuable input into seemingly every tech topic in the spotlight, but his perspective and writing regularly includes discussion of key topics in Asia, a dialogue that the most influential independent bloggers lack the expertise or time to cover in detail.
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