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posted by mrcoolbp on Wednesday October 21 2015, @06:29PM   Printer-friendly
from the moar-monies dept.

Thanks to all of our wonderful supporters, we have exceeded our financial goal for this period! This period covers the second half of 2015, so we still have a few months before this period is over. Up until now, the only thing we have budgeted for was immediate and expected expenses (hosting, tax preparation, domain registrations, etc.). While we have been luckily staying ahead of these projected expenses by a small margin (about 10% in the first half of the year), it appears we have an opportunity to exceed the goal set for this period. Subsequently, we had the idea of a stretch goal. There are quite a few things that we could use this money for (not for more more servers.)

One of the biggest "expenses" that we rarely discuss is the initial capital outlay that went into the site's startup costs — $3,417 coming out of the personal accounts of our staff. Of course, we aim to reimburse these sizable contributions. Though they have noted that they wished us to first focus on making the site self-sustaining, it appears we are already doing that.

Another possible use for "extra" funds would be to have some money on hand for lawyers. We often talk about how any kind of lawsuit or legal proceedings would be a huge financial burden on us. We do try to avoid any case that may invite that; for example, we are registered for DMCA requests, we take steps so that we are not breaking laws here in the USA (etc.). However, even if we are following the laws/guidelines exactly, that does not rule out the possibility of a lawsuit, so it would be ideal that we had some funds in case such a situation ever arises.

Further down the road we would love to be able to compensate some of our dedicated — and so far entirely volunteer staff — many of whom have been working tirelessly on this site since it went live; taking time away from their lives and families so that we can have this community. This is a "for the future" thing. It would have its own quirks and issues that we would have to figure out. It's a nice-to-have-problem in case we ever do have the extra capital. Surely, having a few paid employees, at least, would help ensure the long-term viability of the site, as well as open up the opportunity to really improve and expand on what we are trying to do here.

For this stretch goal we are aiming for an additional $2,000. This should cover any unexpected costs that come up in the way of taxes for last year (yes, we are still working to finish up the filing for last year) and give us a buffer that we could just leave in the bank for now. If things continue financially in this direction (or even grow), then we can start to use this money to begin to pay back the the startup costs for the site, and keep a few dollars on hand for things that come up in the future.

I also wanted to mention that we are working on getting direct credit card payments possible through Stripe for those that prefer not to use PayPal. Though we don't have a timeline yet, it is in the pipeline.

Once again, I am personally astounded by the support that we have seen since we went live in February of 2014: over a quarter-million comments as well as all the submissions, volunteers, and subscribers — the feeling of being a part of this is hard to describe. So thank you all for being you.

-mrcoolbp

 
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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21 2015, @06:36PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21 2015, @06:36PM (#252865)

    I also wanted to mention that we are working on getting direct credit card payments possible through Stripe for those that prefer not to use PayPal. Though we don't have a timeline yet, it is in the pipeline.

    THIS!! Thank goodness its finally going to be an option!

    • (Score: 2) by mrcoolbp on Wednesday October 21 2015, @08:02PM

      by mrcoolbp (68) <mrcoolbp@soylentnews.org> on Wednesday October 21 2015, @08:02PM (#252890) Homepage

      We aim to please, we just do it slowly sometimes : P

      --
      (Score:1^½, Radical)
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by The Mighty Buzzard on Thursday October 22 2015, @10:46AM

      by The Mighty Buzzard (18) Subscriber Badge <themightybuzzard@proton.me> on Thursday October 22 2015, @10:46AM (#253157) Homepage Journal

      Quite welcome. As an offhand guestimate, I expect I'll be done coding it up for dev sometime next week. Then it's on to martyb who shall use his own credit card and moneys to thoroughly test it. Go-live date, well we're guessing "December or early January" for the next site upgrade, of which this will be a part.

      --
      My rights don't end where your fear begins.
      • (Score: 3, Funny) by martyb on Thursday October 22 2015, @10:51AM

        by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 22 2015, @10:51AM (#253158) Journal

        Quite welcome. As an offhand guestimate, I expect I'll be done coding it up for dev sometime next week. Then it's on to martyb who shall use his own credit card and moneys to thoroughly test it. Go-live date, well we're guessing "December or early January" for the next site upgrade, of which this will be a part.

        I'm looking forward to the testing, and will get right on it as soon as SN deposits my editor's paycheck in it.

        =)

         

        (For those who may be unaware, it's a joke; we're all volunteers, here.)

        --
        Wit is intellect, dancing.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21 2015, @07:06PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21 2015, @07:06PM (#252875)
    Declare the company bankrupt and start another one? Would that be cheaper than fighting lawsuits?
    Does Amazon get hit by lawsuits just because someone uses Amazon EC2 and publishes stuff people don't like?
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by vux984 on Wednesday October 21 2015, @07:30PM

      by vux984 (5045) on Wednesday October 21 2015, @07:30PM (#252880)

      Declare the company bankrupt and start another one? Would that be cheaper than fighting lawsuits?

      Bankruptcy isn't that simple.

      Does Amazon get hit by lawsuits just because someone uses Amazon EC2 and publishes stuff people don't like?

      I expect they do.

      My parents once got sued by the new owners of a house they sold to them because the dishwasher broke multiple years after they'd taken possession. They had the suit tossed out, as you'd expect.

      But the point is nothing can protect you from someone filing lawsuits against you. And even completely meritless ones need to be responded to. And even a simple response could quickly eat up half a day of billable lawyer time just writing some letters for you and or filing a response. It doesn't take much at all to run up a couple thousand bucks.

    • (Score: 2) by Farkus888 on Wednesday October 21 2015, @07:32PM

      by Farkus888 (5159) on Wednesday October 21 2015, @07:32PM (#252881)

      $6,834 paid to the trusted founders. Covers their cost this time and the same to do it again. Fold and start over. If the site is incorporated they can only touch it's assets then it is over.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by tibman on Wednesday October 21 2015, @07:25PM

    by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday October 21 2015, @07:25PM (#252879)

    Airplane tickets and hotel room for aristarchus and The Mighty Buzzard to meet in person and work out their issues. Extra stretch goal is to provide equipment so the encounter can be artistically filmed by MDC and narrated live by EF.

    Seriously though, i am happy that there is a surplus of any size. The first campaign for subs was looking scary until near the end. This second campaign went well enough that i have no doubt SN will survive as an organization. Paying down debt should be prioritized pretty high though. Even if those nice people don't need that $3,417 back right away a repayment schedule could be started now. Then paying the editors, developers, and sysadmins something would be amazing. Beer/Coffee money is always appreciated!

    --
    SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
    • (Score: 2) by mrcoolbp on Wednesday October 21 2015, @08:01PM

      by mrcoolbp (68) <mrcoolbp@soylentnews.org> on Wednesday October 21 2015, @08:01PM (#252888) Homepage

      Paying down debt should be prioritized pretty high though. Even if those nice people don't need that $3,417 back right away a repayment schedule could be started now. Then paying the editors, developers, and sysadmins something would be amazing.

      Thanks Tibman, that's our thinking.

      --
      (Score:1^½, Radical)
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Snow on Wednesday October 21 2015, @08:10PM

      by Snow (1601) on Wednesday October 21 2015, @08:10PM (#252893) Journal

      I agree that repaying the $3,417 should be a priority. I'm sure that those people that fronted the money knew that there was a good chance they would never see that money again, but things seem to be working out so their generosity should be repayed as soon as reasonable. Possibly on a repayment plan (something that sees them get their money back reasonably soon.)

      I think that saving money for a legal fund is a waste. If you are lucky, that money will just sit around, if you are not lucky, then the money you will have collected won't even make a dent.

      I'm certainly on board with paying for employees, but it doesn't appear that the site has enough income for that yet.

      What about appropriating some of the money towards some sort of giveaway. Nothing huge or anything. You could even open it up and try it out first and do a review on it. You could maybe use this to encourage people to submit stories (all submitters for the last month are automatically entered)

      What about hiring a graphic designer to make a new logo? I'm imagining an image of people being fed into a meat grinder and then a newspaper coming out.

      Or convert it to dolla dolla bills y'all and make it rain!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21 2015, @08:30PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21 2015, @08:30PM (#252906)

        It't be more like a light drizzle....

      • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday October 21 2015, @11:59PM

        by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday October 21 2015, @11:59PM (#252993) Journal

        What about hiring a graphic designer to make a new logo?
         
        Honestly, that's a pretty good idea.
         
        Plus, we could make it a whole thing out of it that would lead to all sorts of navel-gaving meta articles!
         
        I know I sound really, really sarcastic right now but that's just my natural tone.

      • (Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Thursday October 22 2015, @01:37AM

        by hemocyanin (186) on Thursday October 22 2015, @01:37AM (#253032) Journal

        I agree that repaying the $3,417 should be a priority. ... I think that saving money for a legal fund is a waste. If you are lucky, that money will just sit around, if you are not lucky, then the money you will have collected won't even make a dent.

        Starting to pay back the original contributors would be a nice and smart way to use the money.

        $500 for a lawyer might buy just enough time to explain the situation, but won't be enough to get any actual work done. It would be like taking shelter from a hurricane under an umbrella. There's just no point.

        • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Thursday October 22 2015, @01:58AM

          by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Thursday October 22 2015, @01:58AM (#253039) Homepage

          If they haven't already been raided by the law, then they're not gonna be anytime soon. I am in agreement that the original investments should be re-compensated. Raising the morale of the staff will no-doubt have a trickle-down effect and provide motivation for more quickly implement new features.

          Ideally, all staff would receive a regular stipend for their efforts, so we should hope that staff being paid for their trouble will culminate in a positive feedback loop which attracts more subscribers (and more money) to the site.

          Unfortunately I am squeezed for cash at the moment, but in addition to my subscriber dues I'll buy a T-shirt if I can find a woman who's willing to make a Soylent News-themed pornographic video with me -- I could wear the shirt and nothing else on camera, and can buy a bunch of candy-bars with red wrappers and sprinkle them all over the bed. Maybe even she and I eat some of them during the act.

          But which kind of candy bar? Well, we have the appropriately named 100 Grand [collectingcandy.com] or -- heh -- Zagnut [candy.org] from which to choose.

          • (Score: 3, Informative) by hemocyanin on Thursday October 22 2015, @03:10AM

            by hemocyanin (186) on Thursday October 22 2015, @03:10AM (#253068) Journal

            Kit Kat. Halloween sized bars are almost the exact same size as the icon for this site. That said, I feel compelled to encourage you to just buy the shirt.

      • (Score: 2) by mrcoolbp on Thursday October 22 2015, @06:14AM

        by mrcoolbp (68) <mrcoolbp@soylentnews.org> on Thursday October 22 2015, @06:14AM (#253104) Homepage

        We spoke briefly in IRC today but I just wanted to comment that the money will not go to waste, even if it sits in a bank for a few months. I have taken note of your suggestions and will present them when we look at how it is best spent/saved, and we do appreciate the input.

        --
        (Score:1^½, Radical)
    • (Score: 2) by dyingtolive on Wednesday October 21 2015, @09:03PM

      by dyingtolive (952) on Wednesday October 21 2015, @09:03PM (#252918)

      Hell, you could probably raise even more money faster if you sold DVDs of the first one. I'd buy one.

      --
      Don't blame me, I voted for moose wang!
    • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday October 21 2015, @10:01PM

      by Phoenix666 (552) on Wednesday October 21 2015, @10:01PM (#252941) Journal

      Airplane tickets and hotel room for aristarchus and The Mighty Buzzard to meet in person and work out their issues. Extra stretch goal is to provide equipment so the encounter can be artistically filmed by MDC and narrated live by EF

      ...in a mud pit. Don't forget the mud pit. And randomly protruding cattleprods. Instant viral hit, there.

      --
      Washington DC delenda est.
      • (Score: 4, Funny) by Ethanol-fueled on Thursday October 22 2015, @03:00AM

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Thursday October 22 2015, @03:00AM (#253063) Homepage

        I hope MDC brings the drugs. I want whatever he's on.

        • (Score: 1) by Francis on Thursday October 29 2015, @04:58AM

          by Francis (5544) on Thursday October 29 2015, @04:58AM (#255885)

          You haven't already had them? O,o

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by DonkeyChan on Wednesday October 21 2015, @09:55PM

    by DonkeyChan (5551) on Wednesday October 21 2015, @09:55PM (#252938)

    I'm actually on board in reimbursing the guys who helped with initial capital to get this site up and running.
    Maybe something along the lines of this:
    Draw your stretch funding out to cover + one year of overhead. This could be tapped for legal or other contingencies.
    50% of anything raised over that in the future can go right into the pockets of the folks who helped with the initial funding until they've been paid back.
    Or just in general, any extra funds can be split up 50% going towards a contingency fund and 50% to reimburse the founding capital.

    • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Wednesday October 21 2015, @10:06PM

      by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Wednesday October 21 2015, @10:06PM (#252945)

      I like this approach. Having some money in the bank for a rainy day is always a good thing, but the staff need to be paid, and reimbursed for their outlay.

    • (Score: 2) by mrcoolbp on Wednesday October 21 2015, @10:37PM

      by mrcoolbp (68) <mrcoolbp@soylentnews.org> on Wednesday October 21 2015, @10:37PM (#252962) Homepage

      Cool, I like this train of though and I'll work it into what ever plan we end up proposing. Thanks.

      --
      (Score:1^½, Radical)
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21 2015, @10:55PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21 2015, @10:55PM (#252968)

      Reimbursing is a good idea and if something were to go down then they may be willing to chip-in again if absolutely necessary. Now that the community is larger it would be easier for unexpected costs to be spread out instead of being concentrated with the staff.

    • (Score: 2) by fleg on Thursday October 22 2015, @02:20AM

      by fleg (128) Subscriber Badge on Thursday October 22 2015, @02:20AM (#253051)

      i like this.