One of my favorite writers, Fred Wilson, wrote a short but powerful blog post yesterday.
He reminded me how dangerous it is to create brands on other people’s property.
I’ve been enjoying writing my daily blog on Substack. It’s so easy to use. But I don’t own my content on Substack. Substack owns it.
Substack is funded by a16z. If the day ever comes that the investors start looking to get their money back, it’s completely reasonable to think that they can change the code base or do something that will inhibit my ability to communicate with my audience.
I started my online content marketing career under the strict pretense of ownership. That’s why having a website and an email list is always so important to me, because no one can ever take those assets away from me.
They’re mine. I own them.
I know that Substack is growing, but I also know that it isn’t anywhere close to profitable.
Maybe it’s time to move everything back to WordPress. I promised myself I wouldn’t switch back and forth, but I feel that this is different because what I am doing is dangerous.
Substack is already starting to create new products that keep the system insulated and forces the content creators to be dependent on on the platform. For instance, they recently launched “Substack reader”, which is more or less and RSS feed (social network) of new Substack issues that have been released.
They are using it as a way for writers to discover new writers.
The product is cool and helpful, but in my eyes, it’s the first step in them trying to claim ownership over their network.
I might be paranoid, but I’ve learned this lesson before.
I’ve been baited and switched by Facebook before and it almost destroyed my company. It look me 6 years to work out of that hole.
My personal brand is growing and I don’t want to put myself in that position again.