How to Really, Actually Show Somebody Your Support Like You Really Mean It

I’m not anywhere close to the fanatic that some folks are, but I’m a pretty big fan of the band Radiohead. Since my first introduction to them in around 2000, I’ve happily purchased every album they’ve made and, naturally, purchased the new album The King of Limbs before it was released. I’m not saying that I wet my pants of everything the band has ever produced (Pablo Honey was a great big turd, if you want my honest opinion - yes, I said it), but I absolutely love enough of their music that I’m willing to plunk down my American greenbacks for whatever Thom and the decide is worthy of public consumption. This time, however, it was a little different. See, they offered what they dubbed a “Newspaper Edition” of the new album which costs something like $40 and comes with all sorts of extra crap, including a vinyl pressing of the same album (in addition to the digital download that I grabbed a couple of days ago). I haven’t owned a record player in years, have absolutely no use for the vinyl records (or the posters and stickers and whatever else comes in the box) and I could have bought the mp3-only version of the album for like $9, but I didn’t. Why?

Because I want to help ensure that one of my favorite bands continues to make music.

It’s the same reason I buy my friends’ ebooks, pay for t-shirts from Minimal Mac and 5by5 and was as close as possible to the front of the line when my buddy Shawn Blanc offered a paid membership to his Web site. These are people, many of them friends, that I greatly admire. But I don’t just want to see them succeed — I want to put my money where my freaking mouth is and do my part in ensuring that they succeed.

When it comes down to it, that’s how we can really show support to the things we believe in. Every person starting their own thing and every organization that provides awesome stuff for free have one huge thing in common: they need money to keep doing what they’re doing. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing something a friend wrote get a ton of traction across the web via Twitter sharing and the like, but Patrick can’t serve his little girl a bowl of retweets for breakfast and RSS subscriber counts won’t keep the lights on at Blanc Manor. Those things, while nice, don’t sting. To really appreciate the benefit of giving to somebody else, it should hurt a little — it should feel like a sacrifice.

If somebody you know, like or respect creates something and you have the means to support it financially (even if what you get in return isn’t particularly useful to you), then I’d politely ask that you do it. There are so many people out there who are trying to get their own ship off the ground and I, for one, am more than happy to do whatever I can.

Here are a handful of fine ways to spend a few dollars that will help harden the ground beneath the feet of a budding self-sustain-er. Your mission: pick one (or all) of these and give them a couple of bucks.

- Shawn Blanc’s Membership Program - My friend is Shawn (interview) quitting his job and is going to try to turn his top-shelf blog into a full-time gig. Membership on his site costs $3 per month and his writing makes mine look like a joke.

- Instapaper Subscription - Marco (interview) has built one of my favorite apps/services of pretty much all time. He recently quit his job to focus on making it more awesome. Subscriptions cost $1 per month.

- - Dan Benjamin’s new(ish) podcast network that produces the finest tech podcasts on the Internet by a freaking country mile. Subscriptions start at $2 per month. I pay $5. Pay $5 (and check out Back to Work, Hypercritical, The Talk Show and Build and Analyze).

(If Patrick Rhone of Minimal Mac had a way to donate to his site, it’d be listed here. He doesn’t and I’m going to be addressing this with him shortly.)

Seriously folks, it may not seem like much, but you have no idea how much it adds up. Go help these guys out because, basically, you’re paying for awesome. And who doesn’t like awesome?

(NB: Yes, I realize Radiohead is probably crazy rich and all that - but that’s beside the point. The new album is really good, by the way - very Kid A/Amnesiac-ish.)

Photo by Dana Moos. It’s a couple of bucks, you see.

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  1. Great article but what inspired me to comment was your ending sentence. I was just wondering why you picked a picture of deer and then, bang, you got me. It made me actually laugh out loud so thanks for that. :)

  2. Patrick does sell sponsorships for the Minimal Mac RSS feed. If you’ve got something to hawk that might match up with the audience, hit him up. (My app Eureka sponsored the feed the week the Mac App Store opened.)


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