When I first stumbled across Stratechery, I thought it nonsensical and a fad. I mean who would pay $10 a month for analysis on media and technology? It is not even that comprehensive, it is just one persons work. Surely a subscription to something like the Economist would be better value. It was not until recently that I decided to give the analysis a read, and boy did I have a hit-myself-on-the-head moment.
Stratechery is an online subscription-based newsletter that doles out analysis on the real-time evolution of media and technology. It is smart, insightful, and lacking in puff and fluff found on similar publications. I marvel at it from the perspective that Ben Thompson, it’s founder and author, is able to both provide and capture essentially all of the value he is creating.
Consider the alternative for Thompson, if he didn’t have is own platform he would conceivably offer up the same analysis under an existing publication. The value of the content he is producing would still be the same, but that other publications ability to monetise it and re-imburse him for it would be nowhere as close.
Putting the success of this venture to one side, what I find to be the most enviable aspect of the entire operation is how in-alignment the demands of the business are to his life. Thompson previously worked for Microsoft prior to starting Stratechery, and I am willing to bet that he would have had to do the same thing then as he does now i.e. keep up with the latest in technology and media. The difference is that there is less overhead to contend with. While researching and writing would consume his day, it is not something that necessarily will
Stratechery puts out a daily update during the working week resulting in five pieces of analysis, one of which is free. This then becomes the marketing engine for his business given how viral articles can get on Twitter and similar distribution platforms. The flexibility in his working life (can write and research so long as he has a phone) offers tremendous synergy with his personal life. He is able to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants.