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Running a Business as an Artificer
In a previous article I looked into the practicality of building a Mage Tower for yourself. That was received fairly well, so I think I'll move onto my favorite class, the Artificer. Now, an Artificer doesn't necessarily need a tower as a base of operations, and given the somewhat more limited spell selection and 1/2 Caster nature, thought I'd focus more on the innate ability of an Artificer to be a small business owner by merits of Tool Proficiencies! Mundane and Magical Item are simple to make with all the Tool Proficiencies you are able to acquire at a relatively low level. This guide could also be quite beneficial to Forge Clerics or any Wizard, Bard or Caster that knows Fabricate. I recommend several resources to look up or familiarize yourself with before you take on this enterprising business opportunity. 1) Chapter 6 of the DMG features the Downtime Activity of Running a Business. It breaks down to 1d100+X, X being a number of downtime days that you spend running your business. If you can get above a 60 on the roll, congrats, your business makes a profit for that month. 2) Eberron: Rising from the Last War. You'll need this book if you want to play an Artificer. 3) Exploring Eberron presents two new Artificer Subclasses as well as a few new infusions I reference here, namely Healing Salve and Quiver of Energy. 4) Acquisition Incorporated is a great source for new rules to allow a business to be run while you continue to adventure, allowing a constant background stream of income to help fund future adventuring opportunities. You can use as many or as few options as you'd like, but the Hireling options to run the business in your absence are a nice touch. 5) If you don't want to use traditional Hirelings, but a more customizable NPC, you could use the Sidekick Options from the Essentials Kit and the upcoming Tasha's Cauldron of Everything. I will be recommending Sidekicks for each of the business models in the examples below. 6) Waterdeep: Dragon Heist gives basic operating costs for running a tavern and One-time and Recurring fees for Guild Memberships. Given the prominence of Guilds in Eberron and other settings, it is a good standard to use for other settings. 7) Xanathar's Guide to Everything has a fantastic breakdown of Artisan Tool uses and Skill Checks that will be immensely useful to Artificers or businessmen looking to practice a trade. The following examples will be based on the following assumptions: 1) You will be running this business on your own. 2) You have options to get hirelings or other PC help should you want/need it. 3) You are level 6. This is the first level where a lot of this becomes feasible because you gain your Tool Expertise class feature and are now the best on the block at using Artisan Tools. You also gain a nice expansion to your Infusions that you can learn and I would think that knowing the Enhanced Weapon Infusion would count as having a schematic allowing you to enchant a basic +1 weapon. 4) We can use the upcoming Tasha's Rules for Character Creation on the Sidekicks so that you can swap out one Skill Proficiency for a Tool Proficiency. Wouldn't make sense to hire someone to run a weapon smithing shop who couldn't use Blacksmith Tools. Feel free to submit your own business models using the following format:
Artificer Subclass or Subclasses best suited.
Tool Proficiencies needed.
Helpful Infusions. I include these here because I believe that having a relevant infusion should count as the required schematics necessary to create a magic item. I also think that they should definitely look different than the standard fare that traditional enchanters sell.
Primary focus of business. What you will be selling or offering to customers.
Common or Uncommon Magic Items to supplement mundane sales when you hit level 10 and can make them in 1/4 the normal time and 1/2 the price of anyone else.
Sidekicks you could use in the business.
Other Party members who could help you besides the Forge Cleric, Bards, Rogues or any Spellcaster that knows *Fabricate*. You can Assume that the above classes are inferred good business partners for any of the jobs listed below. This guide will be focusing on those with Tool Proficiencies from Class, as anyone could grab a Guild Member background and be helpful as well.
Wandsmith/Arcane Focus Maker
Artillerist. This subclass lends itself well to a Wandslinger and the level 5 class features give a lot of attention to the Wand.
Armor of Tools, Woodcarver's Tools, Jeweler's Kit, Glassblower's Kit. Woodcarving for Wands, Rods and Staves. Jeweler's for Wands, and Crystals. Glassblower's for Orbs.
Enhanced Arcane Focus, Replicate Magic Items (any common wands or staves, Wand of Magic Detection, Wand of Secrets), Homunculus Servant, Replicate Magic Item (Wand Sheath). The Enhanced Arcane Focus should lend you to easily make decent wands and even Infused Wands. Replicating Magic Items for schematics for easy to make Common Magic items to upsell to customers. Homunculus Servant for extra help around the shop.
Cart, Wagon, Boat, Shop. You could have 2-3 wands on hand in a cart, a covered wagon with carving tools set up or even a section of a ship dedicated to making and selling your wares. If applicable, you could even buy a permanent location to sell your wares, this will be your best bet for glassblowing, as your toolkit still requires you to find a suitable heat source to form liquid glass. Work your way up to being your own Gilmore's Glorious Goods, Invulnerable Vagrant, or Fantasy Costco.
At this location, Wands, Rods, Staves, Crystals and Orbs will be your meat and potatoes. Basic Spellcasting Foci for any aspiring Wizard, Sorcerer or Warlock. You could even branch out into Holy Symbols, and Druidic Foci if the demand is there. While a basic Spellcasting Focus only needs to be between 5gp and 20gp. These are easily made in a single day of downtime crafting. You could even customize more expensive version of them for Nobles or highly opinionated casters to distinguish yourself from other magic shops.
Common and Uncommon Wands and Staves. Mostly Imbued Wands or Orbs of Resistance. Wands of Magic Missile, Burning Hands, Ice Knife, Catapult would all fall under these categories. Could even make a Common Wand that requires attunement, and grants the attuned the ability to cast a single Cantrip (always at Level 1) as a Novice Wandslinging item. Scrolls could be re-flavored as single use wands.
For Sidekicks, an Expert would be great to help you churn out mundane items, while a Spellcaster would help you keep a steady stream of lower end Magic Items available.
Eldritch Knights and Tome Warlocks would make great business partners. Eldritch Knights would probably push you to sell Rubies of War Mages also, bringing in a new area of clientele and the ability to advertise through Weaponsmiths for when they have some adventurers come through.
Armor of Tools, Painter's Kits, Calligrapher's Kit, Glassblowers Kit, Woodcarver's Kit, Mason's Tools. These cover the gambit of common medium to work with.
Homunculus Servant. Most other Infusions are combat based, but a Homunculus is a nice extra set of hands(tentacles or claws?) to help pass you the right tool and to clean off your brushes.
Can work from Cart, Wagon, Boat or Shop. You might want a combo of Wagon and Shop, with a mobile studio to get different landscapes and to collect different material and a shop for a gallery from which to sell things.
Paintings, Sculptures, Wood Carvings, Reliefs and finer doo-dads will be your main stock. From carvings of monsters that you've fought, self-portraits of people you've met, landscapes of other planes, or just finely made custom Dragonchess sets with pieces that look like real people. You could even specialize in ship figureheads or shop signs for taverns or other businesses. If you can find a way to make a permanent Magical Tinkering effect of the static visual image, that's a nice storefront display right there.
Illusion enchanted paintings for a Harry Potter style feel would be good magical items, or even Dragonchess sets that can move themselves.
Experts will probably get more mileage for the tool proficiencies than the Spellcaster unless your Enchanted portraits become a real hot commodity.
Kensei Monks and Battlemaster Fighters each get proficiency in a set of Artisan's Tools as a Class Feature. Monks get Calligrapher's kit, but Battlemasters get to pick their choice, so could easily be Painter's or Woodcarver's.
Armor of Tools, Woodcarver's Tools, Tinker's Tools, Smithing Tools, Carpenter's Tools. You will be mostly working with Wood and steel. Woodcarver's Tools lets you make 20 arrows as part of a Long Rest per Xanathar's.
Repeating Shot, Quiver of Energy, Enhanced Weapon, Homunculus Servant. Enhanced Weapon for a reason to be able to make +1 crossbows. Quiver of Energy might be useful for some arrows that add a bit of elemental damage to a shot, even if only +1 fire or lightning.
You can run a smaller shop out of a cart or wagon and be mostly custom orders, or you can have a fixed shot with dozens of different styles ready for sale and enchantment services on request.
Hand, Light and Heavy crossbows as well as arrows and bolts will be your primary trade. You can also Silver arrows and bolts and filigree the crap out of some crossbows if people are interested in flaunting their status that way. Pretty straight forward with these mundane items.
Walloping Ammunition, Unbreakable Arrows, Elemental Burst Arrows and Quivers of Ehlonna will be easy sources of magical flare in your shop.
Experts will be your main shopkeepers and re-stockers. Warriors if you want someone to do demonstrations.
Rangers, Arcane Archer Fighters, Kensei Monks will make excellent business partners. The Ranger especially brings a host of appropriate spells for later game enchanting. The Kensei will probably focus on more "traditional" Bows, which can help expand your clientele.
Brewer's Kit, Alchemist Supplies, Herbalism Kit, Poisoner's Kit. It is called out in Xanathar's Guide that an Herbalism Kit is required to make Healing Potions. So that's something you're definitely invest in. Also, in Xanathar's for .5lbs and 25gp of material, you can make one Alchemist Fire as part of a Long Rest with an Alchemist Supply Kit. That's not even counting what you can make during the day as Downtime. Stock up before you leave the city and you can make yourself one firebomb a night!
Healing Salve and Homunculus Servant. Healing Salve is basically a 4 use touch range Healing Word you can make. This would be a great basis for Keoghtom's Ointment. I also feel like at this point I don't need to explain why Homunculus Servant keeps appearing on these lists.
You could run this out of a cart or wagon, but i'd be worried about all those Alchemist Fire supplies rattling around. Same with a boat, unless you're just a Riverboat. A physical Shop would be best for what you need, although a cart/wagon for traveling with already made merchandise is a nice way to spread the brand name and to gather exotic or non-local supplies.
Healing Potions! You are the local healer. You will also probably have on hand a good number of natural remedies for people who can't afford a constant stream of Healing Potions and instead use the Medicine Skill Proficiency to treat wounds. You can also make a single item of either Alchemist Fire, Acid, Antitoxin, perfume or soap as part of a Long Rest with an Alchemist's kit, so you can have a varied catalogue. makes sense to me that Sunrods (fantasy glow sticks) would be something you'd make with Alchemist's Supplies. You could even dip into Poison's, that wouldn't be advertised of course, but would include a bit of a premium on their sale for those in the need of such a thing.
As you level up you can more easily make Potions of: Greater Healing, Fire Breath, Hill Giant Strength, Resistance and Water Breathing. You can also easily make an Alchemy Jug, which can make you day to day operations even cheaper as you can simply have the jug produce some of the more mundane liquids you may sell. The Decanter of Endless Water is also a must have item and too easy of a sale to anyone adventuring near or into a desert. Keoghtom's Ointment is also a nice Emergency Medicine that you could sell to a local Hospital or Militia.
Expert's are your best bet at brewing basic potions for you and keeping the mundane supplies stocked. A Spellcaster would be able to expand your inventory with Climbing Potions, Beads of Nourishment, Beads of Refreshment, Candle's of the Deep, Perfume of Bewitching and Tankard's of Sobriety.
Druids, Eldritch Knights, Monks and Rangers would be good partners as they can easily get Nature and Medicine proficiencies for a good number of the items that you make.
Any Artificer, but strong lean to Alchemist due to class flavor.
Brewer's Kit, Carpenter's Kit, Cook's Utensils, Alchemist Supplies, Herbalism Kit, Glassblowing Kit. The Brewer's Supplies should be obvious, but outside of the business, you can Purify1 gallon of Water over a Short Rest and 6 Gallons over a Long rest, a handy skill to have if you aren't near someplace with Fresh Water, like the open ocean. The Cook's Utensils are also a given with a Tavern, but outside of combat they allow a creature to regain 1 extra HP per Hit Dice they spend on a Short Rest. That may not sound like much, but it effectively makes each Hit Dice one higher on average (1d6+1 has the same average as 1d8). The Carpenter's Tools are so that you can fix all the furniture that will break during the inevitable bar fights. The Alchemist Supplies are actually for embalming creatures you encounter so you can have that Mindflayer Taxidermized as a display item in your bar! That's a feature I don't think any other local bar will have. Herbalism Kit is for working with hops, or branching into a bit of Potion Making if you want. Glassblowing is for you to make your own signature glassware that you can serve with the expensive drinks and offer as souvenirs.
Homunculous Servant, Replicate Magic Item (Tankard of Sobriety). Tankard's of Sobriety seem like the perfect item for a bartender or bar owner. You can drink as much as you want but still stay sober. Might not be as much fun as regular drinking, but good for keeping your head about you and one hell of an advantage in a drinking contest.
You could run this out of a Cart or Wagon as a kind of portable bar for just drinks. If you got a decent sized ship you could even expand it to a casino boat. However, a physical shop is the best choice here, specially if you plan to expand it to housing several rooms. Location is also key here, so make sure you spend some downtime doing some Investigation, Insight and History checks to learn all you can about potential locations you might set up.
Beers, Wines, and Spirits of all kinds, with tasty food to boot! This is the stereotypical D&D Player business. There's an entire chapter of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist dedicated to setting up and running a tavern if you want inspiration. Feel free to include specials following your adventures of meat from creatures you've slain! Hydra-Burgers should be tasty.
Mostly Wands of Prestidigitation and Decanter's of Endless Water for cleaning the bar and Alchemy Jugs for an easier way to produce cheap beer and wine with basically no overhead costs. Dust of Dryness might be nice to have on hand for cleaning up spills as well. Oh, and don't forget to keep a Wand of Magic Missiles behind the bar for those rowdy patrons.
Spellcasters might make the best brewmasters of the sidekicks due to their increased Mental Stats. They can also help out with cleaning, and if they get to a point where they can Detect Poison and Disease, that would be a huge help come Health Inspection time. Experts will make good Brewers and can step up behind the bar to help out with their wide range of proficiencies. Warriors are good Bouncers and a way to take care of those pesky Dire Rats in the cellar.
Way of the Drunken Fist Monks will either be a godsend or a curse for you as a business partner. Other Monks and Rangers would make a good partner as their naturally high Wisdom scores would help with Insight and Perception to keep an eye on patrons and employees. And no one is better in a bare knuckle brawl than a Monk, you could even put a fighting pit in your tavern if you want that kind of atmosphere, but I'd be sure to have a place to check weapons at the door so fights don't escalate too much outside of the fighting pit. Barbarians and Fighters have the CON to put down the drinks for Taste Testing and still being able to be a Bouncer. Beastmaster's can use their companion as a novelty server or even tavern mascot. And while I said I wouldn't include them on the list, I just have to say that any Bard would go here wonderfully.
Battlesmith (It's in the name)
Smithing Kit, Alchemist Supplies, Leather Working, Jeweler's Kit, Woodcarving Kit. The Smithing Kit and Woodcarving kit should be obvious as 95% of the weapons are made from metal or wood. The Leather Working Kit is for grips and wraps on the handles of weapons. Jeweler's Kit is for making fancy versions of weapons. Alchemist Supplies is for Silvering Weapons or using chemicals to stain the metal other colors.
Homunculus Servant, Armor of Tools, Enhanced Weapon, Returning Weapon, Radiant Weapon, Replicate Magic Item (Moon-Touched Sword), Replicate Magic Item (Armblade). I think both the Radiant Weapon and Moon-Touched Sword Infusions would be good enough to count for the schematics to make Moon-Touched Swords for you. Enhanced Weapon for a basic +1 weapon.
You need a forge for these, and that means that Carts and Wagons are only good for transporting completed merchandise to sell. The sheer weight needed for your forge makes a boat out of the question. Like the tavern, a physical location is the best bet for you.
Anything that isn't a strictly ranged weapon is your stock and trade here. The most expensive mundane melee weapon is the Greatsword at 50gp. That means it will take you a full day (25gp) to make a single one. All other weapons can be made in a few hours. You'll also want to have some farming supplies and tools on hand in order to maximize your customer base. Hoes, pick axes, crowbars, buckets, barrels, Caltrops, Ball Bearings, metal religious symbols etc. Silvering Weapons and adding gold/silveelectrum/gemstone decorations to mundane items are a great way to offer wares to richer customers. Yes, Lord Grantham ir'Lupiloo has a fine rapier, but he doesn't have a rapier made of Bulette-scale Damascus steel, with a hydra skin wrapped pommel and his name engraved in gold embossed Draconic along the crossguard. That's how you make a name for yourself, because Lord Brendit ir'Flaglap is going to HAVE to have a nicer Longsword than that cur for next week's gala.
Moon-Touched Blades, Weapons of Warning, +1 Weapons and a weapon with a single minor property from the table on page 143 in the DMG will be the easiest and fastest for you to replicate.
The Expert and Warrior will be best for if you want mundane items being churned out of your forge. The Spellcaster would be a better hire if you want to focus on enchanted items. The difference in what you will be able to do will be based on your location. Rural areas will focus on mundane most likely, while cities will have more demand and client base for fancy mundane and enchanted.
Fighters, Barbarians, Monks, Paladins and Blade Pact Warlocks would do great here as partners.
Smithing Kit, Leatherworking, Weaver's Tools, Cobbler's Tools, Alchemist Supplies. SMithing and Leatherworking are straightforward. Weavers is for non-armor clothing if you want to instead open up a clothing boutique. Cobbler's tools for if you want to make shoes. Fun fact, with Cobbler's Tools you can spend a Long Rest to add in a 3" by 1" hidden compartment into a pair of shoes or boots.
Homunculus Servant, Enhanced Armor, Reflecting Shield, Boots of the Winding Path, Armor of Absorption, Armor of Tools.
You could do a clothing store, shoe repair and custom designing, make and sell leather armor, custom tailoring or a dry-cleaning business (Prestidigitation + Mending) out of a cart, wagon or boat, but for the same reasons as with a weaponsmith you need a physical location if you want to make metal armor. Make it work, people!
Congratulations, you are now you party Rogue's favorite person and source of disguises. You'll have to decide the breadth and scope of just what kind of business you want to run first. Focus on just mundane clothing for commoners to nobles, or do a combination of common clothing and simple armors. Metal armors and shields will require a forge. If you are able to build yourself up, you could eventually do everything out of a large building with a little bit of everything like your own fantasy Macy's. One storefront for expensive dresses, gowns and suits. Next door is more common or work wear, and out back is the forge with protective armors, leathers and shields. This would be a nice way to ensure that all your armor pieces match, because nothing is worse than finding a great piece of new armor that just completely clashes with your personal aesthetic. This also to me just seems like a great way to play a Garrak like character. (If you don't know who that is, please see yourself over to Netflix or CBS All Access and watch all of Deep Space 9 as soon as possible.)
Cloaks of Defense, Cloaks of Many Fashions, Cloaks of Billowing, Cloaks of Elvenkind, Cloaks of the Manta Ray, Sentinel Shields, Robes of Useful Items, Brooches of Shielding, Cast off Armor, Boots of Elvenkind, Gleaming Armor, Boots of the Winterlands, Winged Boots....there are so many thematic Common and Uncommon Magic Items for you to make here.
Experts will be your go to for mundane sewing, forging and cobbling. Spellcasters if your enchanting business takes off and can run the Dry-cleaning aspect while you're gone.
Rangers, Monks and Arcane Archers will do well here are they tend to favor DEX and WIS. Also, if you do end up going into a clothing business with a rogue and you don't name it "Cloak and Dagger" then I think you actually lose a Character Level.
Any, but Battlesmiths and Armorers might do best as they would tend to have higher STR.
Armor of Tools, Carpenter's Tools, Woodworking Tools, Smithing Tools, Navigation Tools. You're mostly going to be working with wood here, and a bit of metal also. Navigation Tools just seems like a good choice, unless you want the RP of being a master of building ships, and then being completely unable to use or navigate in them.
Homunculus Servant, Replicate Magic Items (Cap of Water Breathing, Ring of Water Walking, Cloak of the Manta Ray). The Magic Items that you can replicate allow you to fully inspect or repair any ship while it is in the water.
You're going to want a shop. Located next to a large body of water. And depending on the size of the ships you intend to build, it should also be connected to an ocean eventually. You could theoretically have this business from a boat, if you make a large enough ship that you could pull alongside other ships to repair them, but I think you're best off with a permanent location.
As a Shipwright, you make ships! Boats, galleys, rowboats and everything in between. You'll want to start off with smaller boats first to build up your money until you can invest in making a large ship. According to the DMG, a Rowboat costs 50gp to make, a Keelboat costs 3,000gp a Sailing Ship or Longship costs 10,000gp and a Galley costs 30,000gp. Other than Rowboats, which you can make in a single day, these are going to be very long projects. From 120 days for a Keelboat to about 3.3 years for a Galley if you are working by yourself without any magical aid. Even if you do hire multiple sidekicks or just general hirelings, you aren't going to get paid until the entire job is done, but they will all need to be paid while they work on the ship. Instead of making brand new ships, you could also repair existing ones, and as an Artificer, you almost certainly have the Mending cantrip which can help you.
Candle's of the Deep, Heward's Handy Spice Pouch, Orbs of Direction, Ropes of Mending, Alchemy Jugs, Caps of Water Breathing, Decanters of Endless (fresh)water, Eyes of the Eagle, Gloves of Swimming and Climbing and Wind Fans are all magic items that you could sell to shipowners and crews to help them in their travels. Ghosts of Saltmarsh also has a number of Ship Upgrades that you could offer.
Experts are going to help you the most here as they can get the most amount of kit proficiencies to help across a variety of problems. Spellcasters can help if you decide for focus more on maritime magical goods.
If you plan on building ships from scratch, then you are going to need every Forge Cleric and Fabricate Spell you can get your hands on. But be careful, if you are able to start churning out ships in a week for half the cost of the competition, then that is a LOT of people that you are putting out of business and there is sure to be repercussions. For a non-magical approach, just about every party has something that they can contribute to this project. Martial classes will DO WORK on cutting down lumber and getting that ship together. Partial Casters can help speed up certain aspects of building and augment others through buffs.
Updated for multiple spelling, grammar and formatting errors
Please Feel Free to Submit your own Business Ideas! I'll add them if they fit the stated format. Punny Shop names encouraged!
<< !!! CONTENT HEREFORTH ARE OPINIONS AND SPECULATION FROM PREVIOUS PLANETSIDE DEVELOPERS. DO NOT USE THEM AS FACTS. !!! >> As no one really compiled the data from Planetside 2's current state into one place, I decided to do active tracking for informational purposes of what we currently know for Planetside community public use, and these difficult times in the uncertainty of the game. Due to moderator request, this post has the exact content they have written. Less easy to read, but has all context directly.
BBurness (Bryan Burness, Senior Designer, then H1Z1 designer)
Players will slowly leave overtime, login in less and less, just as they have been for the last 7 years.
There will be a exodus point, the point where the concurrent player numbers no longer provide an enjoyable/unique experience for the majority and the exodus happens; a sharp fall off of max current player numbers.
There will be a core player base, the diehards that refuse to leave, refuse to let it go...
Any point after exodus DBG could sunset the game; it will happen someday; hopefully we have a new and shiny Planetside game by then.
Not six months, unless DBG does something really, really stupid in that time; like hyper monetize the game... You could check out steam stats trends and with a arbitrary exodus number (say 300), you could make an somewhat educated guesstimate as to when that might be; but it would be only slightly more informed than looking into a crystal ball. Q.
hopefully we have a new and shiny Planetside game by then
Alright, pls clarify that. Do you know about anyone already working on such endeavour? Do you know about anyone planning to work on such endeavour? Do you know anyone who you would see capable and willing to work on such endeavour? A.
Do you know about anyone already working on such endeavour?
Do you know about anyone planning to work on such endeavour?
Do you know anyone who you would see capable and willing to work on such endeavour?
Anyone? as in people/persons; yes, many, many people are both capable and yearning to make Planetside 3; Do I think DBG can do it and do it well? Nope... IMO, The problem isn't the game developers remaining at DBG; they are more then capable and willing to make a great Planetside game. the problems as I see them are:
Cost/Time: Plasnetside 3 will likely need 3-5 years development; DBG has dwindling revenue stream and they have so far been incapable of delivering a successful game; I just don't think they have the money to do it right. Outside funding is certainly a possibility; I think it could be a wise investment providing they pay attention to the next point.
To much executive oversight/control: I admittedly don't have a complete picture here (any execs who want to stop by and clear things up a bit, by all means please do), as I wasn't involved in executive meetings. All I can say is on countless occasions leads would go into exec meeting and come out with plans for things I had never heard even discussed in the pit (I sat across from a-sites, Carto and near other non public facing leads, so we talked about ideas/concepts a lot.); many times these struct me as "WTF?!?" kinda of ideas. AutoRoyale was probably the closest I worked with the executive level (almost daily meetings), I got a couple stories on that one as well; such a waste...
In terms of outside companies: Absolutely, some may not agree but I honestly think Amazon Games (under Smed) would be a good fit; he shared the vision for Planetside 1, lets get back to our roots and see what we can make. It's not limited to them, there are a a large number of really good game companies out there that could do amazing things with the Planetside franchise. Keep in mind, there are nightmare scenario companies out there as well (think Planetside 3: Mobile Casino and Store) and not to scare you too much but they have a TON of money to spend. I for one am ready to roll the dice, I want to see DBG get paid and happy, and at the same time, Planetside to have the best chance at a bright future. Q.More focus on PS2? Interesting, why specifically do you think they'll go that route? I also look forward to Sunderdome. For what it's worth, PS:A was pretty fun. A. Disclaimer: Opinion based and speculation 1) Because it still makes money..its the only valid option they have taking into account the news of DBG setting up "separate franchise teams" and assuming the planetsides stick together. 2) I know who they laid off, and the people they let go (not myself, because somehow a fellow Redditor, who I'm not entirely sure wasn't my mother, correctly deduced level of my incompetence) and that list screams "oh shit! oh shit! oh shit! everything is on fire!!" , atleast to me; seriously half of those people probably got poached while walking out the door yesterday. My guess...(unless teams get full autonomy from execs) They monetize the crap out of PS2, in the hopes that the new marketplace content will bring people back to the game (I will laugh while weeping if I'm right about this one..) PSA makes a hailmary play with Sunderdome or other mode and/or spends some money on marketing Q.Do YOU think there's any chance the Planetside IPO will be purchased? A. I do..It has value and was purchased from Sony by a company who at the time stated in they had a five year plan and suggested (at least how I remember hearing it) that they would sell off the company at that time. Now for the speculation...I'm the furthest thing from an expert here
We are approaching the five year mark
We just saw the plan to break the company up into bite size (perfect for selling) chunks
Nantg H1Z1 sell shows a willingness to sell IP/license.
Asking price is dropping, state of PSA couldn't possibly help on the front.. Now, all of us know that has no impact on the viability of a future Planetside game; but to be honest I'm not sure the "suits" are entirely conscious of that fact; and buyers may try to capitalize on it (wishful thinking?)
It has Value, they will either develop under it or sell/license it; the longer they wait the more the value drops.
I do not believe DBG will try to develop PS3 at this point unless they get an influx of cash.
I really, really want it to be...wins for everyone, I do think if someone buys it it will be for Planetside 3
Q.Why did CAI even happen and why was the feedback ignored? A. Hey, So i mentioned in another thread I may not have been on the team for that update (already moved to Mercs/H1Z1) so I can't really speak about it directly. Although I think we were discussing the initial concept when I left. I remembering something about a Lib change early on, making ESF more of air superiority vehicle; having ESF control the sky would allow libs to bombard the ground; I remember liking that on a conceptual level. As for feedback being ignored, I can't speak to that directly. I can list a few reasons it may have happened. Direction from above; particularly if there was a monitization aspect to it. Unless a money feature was being introduced I doubt this was it, and honestly one of the hidden benefits of H1Z1/PSA development is it helped kept what we called "Exec Agro" off of Planetside and the other established games; it's kinda like giving them a shine toy to play with over there so the important work can get done here. (Goodluck with the agro Wrel :P) Example time!: Construction Update, we had Orbital Strike and a few other features that we felt really brought the system together ready to go for the launch; but just before that the execs/marketing saw the OS (on screen) and felt that it could be used to drive sales in a future update; so they had us pull that along with a few other features; compromising the system as designed. ~6 months later they basically said nevermind at told us to release the everything else... The people implementing didn't agree with you.. feedback is feedback, Devs consider it and then make decisions based on their goals for the system/feature. Feature was designed/planned and then passed onto people with different ideas for it making early feedback requests..awkward...Looking at the timing on this, this isn't impossible. Q. I think this means PS2 and Arena are 'off-leash' so to speak, they are technically not daybreak games anymore, daybreak seems to be moving to occupy the role of publisher and all of their IP's might be finding a little more autonomy. A. lol, I'll believe it when I see it... We were told about this 6~ months ago; told "they" were going to step back and let us have "control of own destiny".. 30 seconds later in the same speech we hear "We are putting in 3rd person camera" in PSA a feature I know for a fact 90% of the team did NOT want...I called them out on that right then and there...their response, it's to differentiate our product from our competitors and PS2...our competitors... half of the BR games out there are 3rd person... If they truly do this and leave ALL decisions to their respective teams that would be amazing and PS2/PSA would have a decent chance to make something amazing happen...but ya, this is me not holding my breath... Q.But why? Let's be real, the Planetside lore is minimal at best. We're here for the massive battles with combined arms set in a sci-fi universe. Ex-SOE/DBG devs can get together and come up with a spiritual successor. That's all that's needed. If anything, it's more freeing. A. Money, we all need it. Making MMOFPS is a massive investment of time, money, and talent; people just can't afford to not have a income for the years it would take to develop a game like this independently. This kinda of game just isn't realistic without a serious investor willing to accept the risk; owning the IP would help mitigate the risk a bit but it's still a risk. I believe in the viability of MMOFPS, and I'm sure you do to but unless someone has ~10-20 million dollars to put on the table it's not just not going to happen. Q.As much as i appreciate your post: I've seen quite some of these in the past - and despite all the forced positivity in them it was never going uphill from there. I just wish any dev or anyone who has really something to say would actually be blunt at one point. Won't be you, so i can only wish you all the best. A. No "forced positivity" here; I'm angry, I have been angry for a while (hence my ready to leave) but I'm telling you honestly it is not at the people actually making the games and it is not at a_sites. I know, I'm dancing around the subject...Let me say this, I would love to see DBG sell the company and make a profit on the sell, because that's what I believe their goal is; and that's fantastic goal to have. I would also like is the buyers to be a company or individual who not only has the drive for profits but also has a passion for games and in particular the MMOFPS genre; while at the same time understanding that their passion for games and profits doesn't automatically make them experts on making those games and that they can learn a great deal from the developers they hire at all levels and endeavor to become part of the process not just control it from above; because I would absolutely LOVE to work for a company/individual like that and would apply the same day of the sell if possible. I don't know. maybe that's hoping for too much... I pretty sure that all kinds of grammatically incorrect even for me; but I'm tired and had a few drinks so not caring so much right now. :) Q.This is why it's justified for people to be upset with PSA. DBG invested money into something that was a horrible idea and probably isn't even going to make enough money to let them cover the development costs. Now everyone is paying the price for that abortion of a game. A. PSA was not originally meant to be BR only. One of the two pitches for it that I know of stated that it needed to be more then just BR to succeed; and that was two years ago. I believe pitch may have even described a match based mini Planetside mode (think sever smash) to help bridge the gap to PS2; even go as far as to add a "Try the battle? Experience the war with Planetside 2" link in the game; the idea was to expose the BR demographic to Planetside. I understand many of the PS2 players response to what was released, but the review bombing was horrifying to watch knowing that it was going to hurt PS2 as well but not having anyway to stop it. Also, PSA got PS2 a ton of development including but not limited to DX11 and improved scripting; it wasn't a waste from PS2 perspective. If it wasn't PSA it would have been something completely different and not even remotely Planetside related. it's pure fantasy that Planetside 2 would have received any additional resources if PSA wasn't made; myself and others were moved off of PS2 before PSA was even a concept (if you don't count Mercs, but that's another story) Q.So who is left on the PS2 team? Do you sense that any of them are soon going to be jumping off the sinking ship that is DBG? A.
So who is left on the PS2 team?
I can't answer that, it's not fair to the people who have left but want to remain anonymous and it's not fair to the people who are left but want to remain anonymous. In my experience the public knows roughly 1-5% of a dev team; everyone else just wants to do their job in peace.
Do you sense that any of them are soon going to be jumping off the sinking ship that is DBG?
muldoonx9 (Alex Hoffman, former Planetside 2 Programmer)
Q.kind of hope if ps2 does die , they release the assets and source code . could imagine a community driven game with some things revised and taken out etc . Ps2 forever A. This will never happen. Too much middleware (which isn't Daybreak's to release) and potential for exposing vulnerabilities with the other games that share code, either Forgelight or Platform backend. Q.let me translate. first something like... "can i have your recipe for that delicious cake?" "nope, because i'd have to disclose how oven are made" and then the security-thru-obscurity card is played in all seriousness. facepalm A. Off the top of my head, Planetside and H1 use: nVidia PhysX, Scaleform, morpheme, and vivox. These are all expensive stuff Daybreak licenses and it would need to be ripped out before open sourcing (not an easy task) and then it would take people a long time to get it to a functioning state because entire systems would need rewriting to function without them. So it's more like "our recipe for the cake is secret cause it makes money, but if we released the recipe, you need $100k to get flour wholesale from a specific distributor otherwise it doesn't bake at all."
and then the security-thru-obscurity card is played in all seriousness
Kickstarter Roundup: Sep 1, 2019 | 15+ Ending Soon (including: Burgle Bros. 2: The Casino Capers) & 25+ New This Week (including: Successors (4th edition))
What this is:
This is a weekly, curated listing of Kickstarter board game projects that are either:
newly posted in the past 7 days, or
ending in the next 7 days (starting Sep 02) and have at least a fighting chance of being funded.
All board game projects meeting those criteria will automatically be included, no need to ask. (The occasional non-board game project may also sneak in!) Expect new lists each Sunday sometime between midnight and noon PST.
Min / Avg Pledge
Calspino Math, Mice, and Dice! An exhilarating card game that incorporates basic math concepts into the fun of playing cards. // Has raised $1,277 of $1,000 so far. (~127%) ☑
Spirit-Up!™ card game Spirit-Up!™ is a charmingly goofy, endlessly re-playable card game for self-transformation through FUN. Ages 12 and up, 1-12 players. // Has raised $3,467 of $3,400 so far. (~101%) ☑
Burgle Bros. 2: The Casino Capers The crew is back for even crazier co-op heists! New challenges trying to take down a string of casinos in broad daylight! // Has raised $321,075 of $25,000 so far. (~1284%) ☑
WarRift: Deckbuilding Game WarRift is a competitive deck-building game with a focus on player interaction. Summon your guild. Slay monsters. Take the THRONE! // Has raised $5,131 of $7,000 so far. (~73%)
Shovel Knight: Dungeon Duels Shovel Knight: Dungeon Duels is a 1 to 4 player competitive side scrolling dungeon crawl based off of the Shovel Knight video game! // Has raised $117,775 of $70,000 so far. (~168%) ☑
Bullseye Bombers Bring a little creativity to your Thirsty Thursdays. Connect and challenge your friends anywhere, anytime! // Has raised $3,166 of $20,000 so far. (~15%)
2 - ?
$30 / $63
CATCH THE KING A strategy Viking game produce and design in France - Talf Game : Tablut - Gwezboell - Hnefatalf // Has raised €2,626 of €4,000 so far. (~65%)
? - ?
$48 / €66
Epic Card Game Jungle New Starter Deck and packs for Epic! All the amazing constructed, sealed and draft play of a TCG without the high cost or random cards! // Has raised $102,786 of $50,000 so far. (~205%) ☑
HIRE! A classic board game with a modern twist. Based on the stock market, but a lot more fun! // Has raised $5,540 of $12,000 so far. (~46%)
2 - ?
$50 / $191
Killjoy: The Anti-Party Game Killjoy is a party game for 2-8 players about escaping..a party. With bad excuses. Also with fun actions to help you escape. It's fun. // Has raised $1,541 of $13,000 so far. (~11%)
Successors (4th edition) Award-winning, ancient backstabbing game for 2-5 Diadochi. World's Top 20 Multiplayer Wargame. Breaks friendships for over 20 years. // Has raised £208,490 of £40,000 so far. (~521%) ☑
#hmm means that something about the project seems a little off. Buyer beware kinda thing.
#lolwut is reserved for projects that seem like copycat games or campaigns put together with little thought. Check 'em out for amusement.
#take tags are for projects that have been restarted for some reason, with the number indicating what iteration we're currently on.
Did I miss something? Particularly something new in the last 7 days or ending in the next 7 days? Let me know in the comments and I'll add it in.
Help Keep This Running
These lists take time and money to put together. Not a lot, but a little. If you enjoy them, maybe toss me a buck now and then. 50% of after-expenses costs will be forwarded along to the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund. Signing up for a free AirTable account via my referral link can help, too. Plus, it's swell! If you want a shoutout for your donation, put your reddit username in the notes.
Bar-Top Arcade Game with 2,200+ Video Games in One Machine!
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The Dark Side of Direct Response Copywriting (LONG POST)
1. Into the void...
It wasn't til a couple years ago that I realized how much money is in financial and health direct response copywriting. At first I was like "Holy shit, this is awesome, it's the perfect job for me, I'll make so much money and have fun doing it." But the more I learned about it, the more I realized it's an extremely...gray area industry. And in many cases...dangerous. Not in a fake way either. More like...copywriting can ACTUALLY kill people, or potentially make them suicide, or otherwise screw up their lives. Such as by bankrupting their retirement accounts, or discouraging them from seeking life-saving medical treatment by promoting alternative medicines. It took a couple years to really grasp the implications. In fact, I suspect lots of aspiring copywriters (and even active copywriters) don't even realize how deepdark it gets. So in this post we're going to examine the dark side of direct response copywriting. We'll do it mostly through the lens of unregulated financial copywriting. Similar themes apply to health and similar niches. But first...disclaimer... I'm NOT claiming to be an ethical "gatekeeper" or have some kind of moral high ground. I think we should all try to find our limits and stick to them...and this is merely my attempt at finding mine. But to be really clear. I'm no moral authority, and this post isn't shaming or policing anyone. I ain't your dad. He went to get smokes a long time ago. I'm just trying to follow a line of reasoning and see where it goes. If it resonates with anyone else—good. If not, that's fine too. So kindly don't crawl up my ass if you feel attacked, lol. But make no mistake, direct response copywriting is a loaded gun.
2. Investing crash course
Alpha (the Greek letter α): A strategy's ability to beat the market, or its "edge." Performance on a risk-adjusted basis. An alpha of zero means your returns are exactly proportional to the risk taken. Alpha above zero means you are beating the market, aka getting higher than expected returns in proportion to your risk. Another way to think about alpha: the value that a portfolio manager adds or subtracts from a fund's return. Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH): States that all assets sell for their true intrinsic value, and that there is "no free lunch." In other words, there is no way to consistently beat the market, because all info is priced into current asset prices. Put another way, consistent alpha generation is impossible unless you are insider trading, regardless of strategy used (fundamental analysis, technical analysis, etc). Thus it is impossible to consistently beat the market by expert asset selection or market timing. The only way to obtain higher returns is to purchase riskier investments. Technically, the EMH is only a "hypothesis". The mere existence of market bubbles means it is an imperfect theory. If all assets truly always sold for their intrinsic value, bubbles would never happen. Which they clearly do. However... Practically speaking, the EMH is "as good as true" for people like you and me. And for financial Gurus. Because even professional fund managers fail to beat the market over long enough time horizons. This is WELL documented in detail in books like A Random Walk Down Wall Street. And if Wall Street experts with all the research and resources in the world...can't beat the market...how the fuck do you expect to? For most investors, the ONLY winning investment strategy is long-term index fund holding. Anything else is speculation and not investing. The upshot is this: wallstreetbets and day traders etc. are operating PURELY on superstition and cognitive bias. And Gurus are no more able to predict the market than professional fund managers, who on average fail to do so. Some tiny proportion of daytraders will make money over the long run, due to sheer statistical probability. For example...Peter Lynch. However, they incorrectly attribute their success to skill rather than mere luck, thus leading others to the incorrect belief that they can beat the odds.
3. Free will
When philosophers discuss free will, it's typically in the context of determinism. In other words, are our thoughts and actions pre-determined by physical events on the quantum/atomic level? Or, is consciousness supra-physical or meta-physical and therefore we really DO have free will? In my opinion, all that matters is that we ACT as if we have free will, so practically speaking the answer is yes. However, it is far more interesting to ask the question from a psychological point of view, rather than philosophical. Which almost never happens. When you do that, you realize most people don't really have free will. Because they go through life ruled by their unconscious desires. Repeating the same destructive behaviors over and over, as if in a trance. For example, when you piss away hours scrolling through Reddit...and wonder where the time went, and vow you'll get your shit together tomorrow. Or when you guzzle a sleeve of Oreos and be like "That wasn't worth it" but then you do it again next week...and the week after that... When you repeat destructive behaviors and only "snap out of it" and regret it afterwards, you acted unconsciously. And when you act unconsciously...you do not actually have free will.
4. What direct response copywriting REALLY is
It is the weaponized opposite of psychoanalysis. (Think Freud) Psychoanalysis aims to make more of the unconscious...conscious. By increasing your awareness of your unconscious desires, you increase your ability to overcome them. Whereas direct response copywriting aims to provoke action by actively manipulating unconscious desires and complexes. You try to get the prospect to enter the trance-like state where they buy based on [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking,_Fast_and_Slow#Two_systems](Kahneman's System 1), bypassing or overcoming the more rational system 2. You are basically trying to put them into an Oreo-guzzling state of hypnosis...except with the goal of them buying your product rather than eating a sleeve of Oreos. You are basically reducing their free will.
5. Why does direct response copy seem scammy?
Since direct response copywriting is "weaponized anti-psychoanalysis", it is only natural that profit-seeking copywriters target people's deepest and most personal insecurities and desires. Because those desires have the highest profit potential. That is why the biggest direct response niches are Health, Wealth, and Relationships/Sex. Everyone knows that real personal change is not possible in these areas without grueling self-work. There are NO shortcuts to true self improvement. But what sells best? Easy, fast, and effective shortcuts! Therefore, the most profitable direct response niches inevitably entail selling the most implausible "shortcuts" to fix people's deepest personal problems. In other words the profit motives PERFECTLY incentivize selling the solutions LEAST likely to succeed.
The other thing direct response copywriting is, is a tool of value creation. The perceived value of a product or service is equal to its real/intrinsic value PLUS the value created by its marketing. This is why people pay more for Smart Water than Walmart water. So what happens when a bunch of direct response copywriters build a business? They aim to create as MUCH value as possible through marketing because that is their area of expertise. And correspondingly, they put as little resources and money as possible into product development. Therefore nearly all the value has to be created through marketing, because the actual product has no intrinsic value.
Furthermore...ask yourself which professions people are preconditioned to perceive as esoteric, secretive, authoritative, and awe-inspiring? The answer is doctors in white coats, and slick finance guys in suits, driving Ferraris and handling big bucks. Medicine and finance. Health and Wealth. We are programmed to trust these authority figures...which direct response marketers know, and exploit. Truly an fortunate coincidence, for marketers, that our social programming in this regard perfectly lines up with the most profitable niches!
Let's switch gears. In this section I'll mainly quote material from an old blog called Green Laser Reviews. It was written first-hand by a guy who worked in the industry, and saw it change over time.
Up until the mid-1990′s, the financial newsletter industry was a true niche sector. The product lines of most publishers incorporated anywhere between one and a few dozen monthly newsletters that were direct-marketed to a limited “universe” of newsletter buyer names. They cost anywhere between $39 and $79 dollars, “discounted” from “published” prices of $59-129...newsletter budgets were built around the assumption that each new subscriber was worth $6 in renewal revenues a year, $6 in advertising, and $6 in list rental income. [In those days], financial newsletters provided you with well-reasoned, non-mainstream insights into how the markets work, what under-observed trends might provide opportunity, and which of the hundreds of thousands of publicly traded companies has a fair shot at going up in value. I’d even go as far that most of the financial coverage breakthroughs of the 1990′s and early 21st century were trail-blazed by newsletter editors: International investing, high-technology investing, and even the bubblicious popularity of junior mining stocks were standard newsletter fare at a time when you had to subscribe to the Asian Wall Street Journal to find out how Tokyo closed the previous day... Unless you hit the promotional jackpot, it was a by and large risky and hardscrabble way to make money. You hoped to break even on your direct marketing cost via your promo revenues (one- and two-year subscription offers), hoped to cover overhead with list rental and advertising income, and made a modest profit on renewals. This all changed in 1995 when XX...launched a fax service called Rim of Fire. It cost $5,000 a year and leveraged the speed of information transmission. Even the most efficiently timed printed newsletter took 3 days to a week to make it from the editor’s desk into the hands of the subscriber. Much could happen to share prices in between… which forced a responsible editor to limit his picks to medium-to long-term recommendations. The fax service promised to alert investors to short-time opportunities. It appealed to the more venturesome and active “traders,” rather than investors. Customers who knew what they were doing and didn’t mind spending a few thou on new sources for trading ideas. Even though they represented just a small percentage of a newsletter’s readership, the new sales they generated through these high-priced trading services went straight to the bottom line of each newsletter business. A “file” of 40,000 newsletter subscribers spending $59 on an annual subscription (and yielding $18 a head in secondary revenues) might yield 1,000 trading service members paying $2,500 per year. Most of it pure profits to the publisher. The model was so successful that by 1999, everyone with a smidge of an idea regarding investing, a kitchen table, and a fax modem had entered the newsletter business. By the time the Internet bubble popped in 2000, this model had run its course. Luckily, there was a magic cure for publishers. The harnessing of email as a push marketing tool.
In summary, financial newsletters were more or less legit, once upon a time.
There was a period when financial newsletters were at the cusp of financial information. We blazed a trail for retail investors to recognize and profit from international investing… played an influential role in the democratization of capital.
7. A Slippery Slope
From 2000 to 2010, the industry increasingly found new ways to upsell customers to higher and higher priced services and grow its margins. At the same time, the value of publishing regular, unhyped information declined due to the rise of the Internet. It was no longer possible to attract subscribers with pure information. Selling opportunities became even more crucial. Then publishers made one key breakthrough. In earlier years, services were developed by:
organic processes that used to underlie the development of a legitimate trading service...[which could] take more than a year of testing, back-testing, beta-testing until someone started writing a promo
Green Laser Reviews credits one particular promo with establishing this new paradigm:
In August 2010, however, the launch of MicroQuake Alert marked what perhaps may be the most questionable service—marketed with the most misleading and intentionally deceptive promotional copy and data...
Essentially, publishers realized that short-circuiting the expensive and slow R&D process...meant they could now fire out as many promos as their copywriters could write! In other words, they could decouple—and even entirely reverse—the normal process of the guru developing and testing a hypothesis, and then a copywriter promoting it. Now, the copywriter developed an idea first, and the guru would retroactively find investments which fit the idea. And this led to the popularity of "backtesting" as a form of proof. The problem is...anybody who has taken statistics class knows the concept of "overfitting" a model to past data. Which is exactly what "backtesting" is. You can always find patterns in data if you try fitting enough different models. But backtesting doesn't mean patterns have any predictive value. Past behavior is no guarantee of the future. Yet, that's exactly what most system promos are now. Conceits based on the fundamentally worthless premise of backtesting. So the "old" way of thoroughly beta testing and validating an investment system was thrown out, along with whatever meager chance it brought of actually identifying a true alpha opportunity—however short lived it may have been.
8. Present Day
In 2019, it's probably safe to say that MOST financial promos are the same type as "MicroQuake." What was considered an ethical lapse and aberration in 2010, is now business as usual.
“At this level of the industry, you nod and clap and pretend copywriters are geniuses no matter what fraudulent schemes they cook up… or you find yourself sidelined. Another former editor I discussed this with hit the nail on the head when he said: ‘XX (as you know) and the rest of these publishers, have no interest in a long-term relationship with the reader, or if the reader makes money. Their entire business model is designed around churning the readers and no concern for readers' profits. If a trader does well, all the better. If not, they can make him look good anyway. It’s awful.’ “It didn’t used to be that way. We worked our rear ends off for decades to turn a snake-oil industry into a viable alternative information source. So I take it very personally when I see third-rate, no-talent grifters pushing non-products, fantasy track records, criminally overblown promises.
Furthermore, efforts to rein in overblown promises backfired in an ironic way. Publishers adopted rules and hired legal editors to enforce ethical standards—but these rules were almost immediately co-opted into exact guidelines on skirting the limits of what is legal!
While these (and other) internal regulations and processes were originally implemented by publishers, holding companies, and their legal departments to introduce higher ethical standards to their businesses, individual publishers, marketers, and copywriters have by now adapted to the restrictions by circumventing what you may consider the spirit of the law and the internal regulations (“provide honest products and marketing”) by literally applying the letter of the law.
And structural factors within the publishers themselves, keeps the cycle going:
the reliance on paid-up-front, instant-gratification, multi-thousand-dollar products to generate double-digit profit margins has created extreme pressure to come up not only with ever-new promotions, but with ever-new products....the cash-flow dynamics themselves are such that each successful campaign contains the seeds of next fiscal year’s profit disaster (due to carry-over refunds and profit-based bonuses). That means the potential and frequently very real cash outflows have to be replaced with ever more shrill and fraudulent copy.
So essentially, what was once an industry selling a contrarian worldview and relatively harmless investment ideas, is now...
KNOWINGLY selling a jumble of buzzwords and unrelated, untested track record as a PROVEN “program” to make ANYONE a millionaire in a year or less [it] not only bespeaks of mere disrespect… but utter disdain for the customer, his or her dreams and fears. These days, using the letter of the law to circumvent the spirit of the law is extremely profitable. But there’s no honor in it. It’s bad juju. It’s bad for your soul.
And copywriters are square in the middle of it. It is now business as usual for copywriters to generate the initial investment idea, regardless of how little financial knowledge they have.
More than ever, this has created a kind of corporate tunnel vision that puts the creator of cash flow, the rainmaker, the copywriter, at its epicenter.
The picture is grim, but let's list all possible arguments which could justify the current state of affairs. This post is already long as fuck, so I am leaving out detailed analysis of each argument.
Fat Tails: At the tail end of statistical distributions, there are "bumps" where outlier events occur more often than probability says they will. Therefore if you pursue unlikely investment strategies, sooner or later you will get some "alpha" by hitting upon a fat-tail event. Therefore copywriters are justified in advertising unlikely or even fabricated investment ideas.
It's not actually a lie or scam, as long as all legally necessary hedging language is included.
Newsletters are mitigating damage. Even though people would make more with index funds, they want to actively trade. Following a guru will help them lose less than they otherwise would.
Libertarian argument: People are adults and can make up their own minds. You are merely giving people a choice they did not have before, and nothing is wrong with choice.
People aren't idiots. They know full well these types of predictions are unlikely to come true.
Copywriters don't decide what has value, customers do. If they don't like what you're offering, they don't buy.
Copywriting is about describing a product in the best possible light, similar to how you wouldn't put shitty photos of yourself on Tinder. And there's nothing wrong with that.
Trading is a hobby for old dudes. They want to do it, and it gives their life significance, even if they lose some money.
Sell them what they want, give them what they need. In other words, hyped up ads could be OK...if the actual advice delivered is good quality.
Many people do not want to wait 20 or 30 years to see results. They know that greater potential reward carries greater risk.
It's a matter of autonomy over one’s investments vs. paying a financial advisor.
If you promise a lower magnitude of results (e.g., 150% instead of 28,393%) it's less bad.
Financial publishing is entertainment, or alternative press. Newsletters serve more purpose than just giving hot stock picks. They also are about philosophy, government policy and personal advice.
It's like running a casino or a liquor store. You're just providing a product in the free market. You can't be responsible for what people do with it.
If you accept the EMH and "no free lunch" theories, then isn't financial copywriting just the "smart" way of participating in the market? i.e., you realize timing the market is impossible, so you profit from those who haven't come to the same conclusion.
Publishers need repeat customers to survive, and their continued existence is a testament to the value customers are getting.
Most traders' real problem is making poor, emotionally-charged decisions. Following a guru can help with this, leaving them better-off than they'd otherwise be, even if the picks aren't great.
Refunds are (usually) available.
Copywriters are "just" writers providing a service to the publisher, and therefore excused from moral culpability.
If you read the surveys and testimonials carried out by the marketing teams, you’ll see literally thousands of positive stories. It’s not always “I made xyz money”... it’s often “I love guru xyz because he’s so informative.”
Personally, I think #4 (and possibly #15) is strongest, although it seems more like a testament to the limitations of a libertarian ethical system, rather than a real justification for a copywriter to write this sort of copy.
10. Arguments Against
Summarizing the earlier discussion, Gurus and "analysts" barely do anything anymore. They rarely if ever write the newsletters, the emails, the trade alerts, or the special reports. Often they only pick companies based on what sales copywriters think will sell the most subscriptions (or the copywriter picks the companies). And backtesting is a load of crap.
If you wouldn’t want a certain scam sold to you, don’t sell it or promote it to others. It can't be right to sell advice that the copywriter himself wouldn't take, or cancer cures which he wouldn't use himself. The intent is to profit the seller at the expense of the customer, in a zero-sum way. If the whole economy worked like this, civilization would collapse. So if you're doing it, you are a detriment to society.
Some significant % of profits must be from old guys with Alzheimers and dementia.
What is legal is not necessarily ethical.
Anyone who truly believed in his or her money making idea would implement it himself, not sell the idea. If financial journalists were actually able to predict the market...they'd be running investment funds...not newsletters. (more on this later)
You might literally kill someone or make them suicide.
11. Why is the industry bigger than ever in 2019? Haven't people learned their lesson?
The answer is human nature...is a bitch. Humans are rational actors...in the service of irrational goals.
We are pattern-seeking creatures and predictions create the illusion of certainty, which we DESPERATELY desire. Even when it's illogical to do so. So financial publishing offers a feeling of certainty and protection against loss.
Financial publishing helps people see the world the way they want to. It vindicates and comforts them.
Financial publishing offers a personal relationship with confident leaders who share the reader's world view, which people want.
Financial publishing offers an alternative to the establishment, which people distrust.
Financial publishing tells people what to do. Simply put, people want and NEED to be told what to do, and will always seek it out.
People like to gamble.
Financial publishing offers unusual ideas you can't get elsewhere. After all, people know you can't get rich doing what's mainstream.
Failure in logical reasoning. No single money manager has been able to beat the market consistently. But the masses still believe that a man wearing a designer suit sitting in a nice office can bring them great returns and is justified to charge high fees to do so. They are simply unaware of the data that shows passive investing in low cost index funds is far superior than active management in the long run. Think Madoff.
Belief that they’re the exception. People truly believe that they can find those the tiny X% of funds which can beat the market.
People are driven by greed and fear.
People like to look for an edge and are lured by promises of greater returns.
At the end of the day, people JUST AREN'T RATIONAL. People often just don't do what's best, and they can't help themselves. It's human nature.
Perhaps the most undeniable and ironic proof of this...is the site StockGumshoe.com. It is a site which exists solely to "sniff out" which stocks are being teased in financial promos. Its users are skeptical enough of the publishers to NOT spend their own money on the promos... In other words they "know" it's all made up by the copywriters... Yet they simply cannot suppress their own curiosity. They can't help themselves!
the very existence of the gumshoe illustrates how effective they are: The con has worked its magic, the mark has swallowed the promise hook, line and sinker, and the only thing that keeps him from buying into it with his own money is his avarice and desire to get it for free
IMO, the Stock Gumshoe is a true testament to human vulnerability. And what's even more shocking... Is the fact that financial publishers succeed in spite of NEVER disclosing their track records. People continue buying, even though the track record is conspicuously absent. You'd think sooner or later, the public at large, would be like "Hold up. Where's the proof?" But it never happens. Believe me, if publishers could actually generate alpha, they would be RAMMING IT YOUR THROAT IN EVERY PROMO. I'll let you guess why they don't. Year after year, people's fear and greed continues to trump their better judgment. In fact the industry is bigger than it's ever been. The lesson has not been learned. And I suspect never will be. Hope springs eternal.
12. Alpha revisited, aka the nail in the coffin
Point 5 from the "Arguments Against" section deserves more elaboration. It's a point which many people fail to grasp. Here is a great explanation - I lost the original source, I believe it was a Quora topic.
Let's say that I have a seemingly sustainable track record of constructing and maintaining portfolios that generate true alpha (that is, returns in excess of expected risk adjusted returns). This is an extremely valuable skill - how do I monetize it to get the most for it?
The most direct way is to use it for myself. Since I'm generating true alpha, I should be able to use a little financial engineering to construct a portfolio the hedges away market risk and levers up the alpha - basically free money. Of course, I don't want to tell many people about my picks (maybe my dad after he signs a NDA), because if big money gets a hold of it, they'll go long the same stocks and erode my alpha. I certainly don't want to sell it to the general public because they would erase my returns and I expose myself to liability by holding positions in the equities I'm promoting.
Maybe somehow I'm this good at stock picking but my portfolio is still small. I can just take my audited returns to a hedge fund, family office, or mutual fund and sell my talents for quite a lot of money. Since they're best equipped to monetize my information, I should be able to get more from them than selling "hot tips" newsletters.
So who would sell their stock tips to the general public? People that aren't consistently generating alpha. It's still easy to sell your "skills" by recommending high beta stocks, and then as long as the market is up, you can claim your picks have beat the market! Of course, they really haven't on a risk adjusted basis, but most people that buy stock picks don't even understand how to calculate alpha or beta, so they're safe.
Green Laser agrees:
An editor who regularly turned $10,000 into $1.6 million wouldn’t bother writing flimsy newsletters—just as a lottery announcer who could pocket a mill would be auditioning for a role in a soap opera, not “help” you to become a millionaire… He’d be hired away instantly by hedge funds and investment banks. Heck, some of my editors were!
What's the upshot of all this? It's hard to say. Ultimately each copywriter has to follow his or her own truth. In the final analysis, the problem comes down to this: No one can predict the future, and any newsletter which purports to do so, is claiming the impossible. But the financial incentives encourage doing EXACTLY that. The more puffery and exaggeration you are willing to publish, the richer you get. There is a perpetual incentive away from honesty. So it's not too surprising the direction the industry went. In fact, I doubt it could have gone any other way. That said, there are a handful of smaller companies which IMO are basically ethical. In fact they are so small, I didn't even realize they existed until very recently. These are the only ones I would write for, in the current environment. It's mostly publishers which sell to a more knowledgeable tier of investor. Because I think something like "informed consent" has to be the standard. If an investor is knowledgeable enough to know no one can predict the future, then I wouldn't feel particularly bad about selling them opportunities, even if I am skeptical about them and they are somewhat hyped. Because presumably he is smart enough to use the information to make up his OWN mind, and less likely to blindly follow recommendations which ruin his life. (For Cancer cures...I admit I struggle to understand who's willing to write those under any circumstance. Although I'd love to hear a spirited defense by a health copywriter...) Of course, it's far more profitable to target newbie and clueless investors who really believe the "S.U.P.E.R. system" will make them rich. A sucker is born every minute. The bummer is... When I was a kid, I used to read Boardroom and Bottom Line magalogs... I know it's nerdy but...the copy was fun and magical. My Grandma always had them at her house. It seemed harmless. I've always had a weird affinity for direct response copy. But like many things...the reality is grimmer. The truth is... There's nothing I'd like MORE than to go write financial copy for a big publisher. You might have guessed, part of my motivation in thinking this out in so much detail, is to decide how far I'll go for money. Finance is super interesting. Copywriting is super interesting. I love the libertarian environment they promote, and how they reward competence and results. If it were 30 years ago, I feel like I could. Today...my conclusion is that I have to limit myself to the handful of smaller publishers I mentioned earlier. Even though the opportunity is much smaller. For now at least. Because if you've read Breakthrough Advertising, you know about Eugene Schwartz's Level of Market Sophistication... So one of these days, the market is going to blow up and "reset." Whether it's organically or through some kind of Federal crackdown, who knows. These companies operate under First Amendment protections which are pretty strong, but...if the Feds target you...your ass is grass. I guess we'll see how things turn out.
If you really want a mind-fuck... Smoke a fat joint and watch a financial promo... And tune into the guru's microexpressions... Lol.
A Cliff Notes Summary of the First One Out Interviews
If you haven't had time to listen to seven hours of podcast interviews, or you didn't retain everything you heard, here are some key points. I didn't think to do this until just now, so I'll be posting it as a work in progress and updating it throughout the afternoon. That way more people will have a chance to read up before the premiere. Karishma Patel, 37, Personal Injury Trial Lawyer, Houston, TX -First generation Indian-American Her mom was as a legal assistant, and got her a filing job at her law firm when she was 14. "I didn't have other options. I was basically told I was going to be a lawyer and I didn't disagree."She has watched every season and regularly listens to RHAP. She sits close to the TV to study the inflections on people's faces when something is said to them, so that she can think about what that means. But, her parents and husband don't share her enthusiasm for the show. Asked if it's her dark pleasure she says, "It is completely bright. It is a beautiful pleasure of mine, but it is mine and mine only. I haven't been able to find people to share it with." -Doing the show has caused her conflict. "Not only is it not expected, it's not allowed. It's kind of like being a disobedient Indian girl. You're not supposed to be doing this. What you're supposed to be doing is having babies. But I don't care. I'm a risk taker. I'm here to prove to myself that I don't need to listen to anybody else. I don't need permission from anybody else. This is my journey and I'm going to take it. I hope that people watching out there can see that an Indian woman's value does not come from doing what she's told." -She doesn't currently have children, and she says she has some decisions to make as she enters a crossroads and the next stage of her life. -Her law firm told her they'll replace her if they're able to find someone, and she can have her job back if they don't. "I didn't flinch." -Her strategy is to be non-threatening and play a social game. She doesn't look 37, and she wants to use that youthfulness to be disarming. She wants to build relationships other people believe in. She defines success by other people vouching for her loyalty when they go off and have private conversations with one another. "That means I got 'em, because it's actually the other way around." Asked if she wants to find someone she can trust, "I'm not going to be capable of it. I'm too skeptical for that. I overthink things, so I'm not going to be able to trust somebody the way I want to be trusted... If I do, that's the end of my game." My take: Oh my God. Poor Karishma. Her story hurts my heart. She reminds me so much of myself in her isolation, her defiance and her deep feelings. I worry that her fear of trusting people could get in the way of her forming genuine bonds. But, there's nothing she can do. Society has made her the way she is. I hope she gets a lot of screen time so she can be a star of her favorite show. Missy Byrd, 24, Military Veteran/App Developer, Tacoma, Washington -Originally from Georgia. Her family was 'decently poor.' She played basketball for the Air Force Academy because she thought it was her ticket out. -She had a brain tumor. She stopped menstruating for a year and two quarters. "I'm not dating anyone but I have breast milk. I'm a literal cow... I would look down and my shirt would be wet, and I thought, 'Dang you're clumsy. I knew you were clumsy, but you're clumsier today than you were yesterday. But it was - it was - uhh - milk." She had crying fits. She developed a stutter and couldn't look at people. Doctors told her she was just stressed. When her dad died she couldn't process emotions normally. She was about to go to the French version of the Air Force Academy, École de l'air, after graduation but because of her mental instability she was removed from school. The military shipped her to the same Air Force base as Sandra (Fort Lewis.) "I don't want to be there. Super sad. Check into the post office - fuck this. Check into the dorms - hate that." The doctor there found the tumor. She got an MRI and all weekend she believed she might have cancer. Over the next year and a half she eliminated the tumor and the symptoms using vitamins. She enlisted and worked logistics. -She made a list of the things she wanted to do now that she was going to live. "The first thing was go see Beyonce. Beyonce costs way too much money for a normal person to go see, but if you've just almost had a near death experience you go see Beyonce, bro!" She was feet away. She drove across the country. She tried weed. -She had an idea for an app, but didn't even have the computer literacy to use social media. She found a veteran's association and asked if she could intern. "They said, 'No, you should build this out yourself. We want to work for you.' I said, 'No, the fuck you don't. Okay, lemme call my grandma.'" She wrote a grant proposal and won a $1,500 office space in the center of Seattle. "Just to do whatever I want. It was like a laboratory for a child. I had Play-Dough up there. I had a white board... Just mind blowing shit when I could have been dead." -She'd seen every episode of Survivor at least three times. She started watching because her Air Force Academy basketball team was getting decimated, and she related to Foa Foa getting decimated in Survivor: Samoa. She added the show to her list. Josh suggests, "The bugs are eating you because they want some of that magic." -She isn't going to tell people her story until she's in the Final 3. "That's that Final 3 magic." She doesn't want to overly rely on strategy. She doesn't want to win individual challenges. She to build a social game and find ways to relate to everyone. My take: She's so full of exuberance. There's not a negative bone in her body right now. She's too young and her life experience is too necessarily limited to talk around three years of her life. If she shares her story, the beauty of her perspective will cause everyone to fall in love with her and want her to do well. If she doesn't, people will sense that she's hiding a lot. I think she'll figure that out and course correct within the first day. Since she was at the same Air Force base as Sandra and she was a massive fan, does that suggest she knows her? Ronnie Bardah, 35, Professional Poker Player, Henderson, Nevada-Born and raised in Brockton, Massachusetts, 20 minutes south of Boston. They were the only Israeli family in town. 50% of the people in Brockton were from Cape Verde, and he considers himself an "honorary Cape Verdian." A couple of his friends were shot and killed at a young age. -He was a good kid and had a good heart, but he was always hustling. In Junior High he was flipping Oatmeal Cakes and Fudge Rounds for a profit. Slinging baseball cards. Both his parents gambled. They were always at the dog tracks or Mohegan Sun. He had his friend make him a fake ID and got stuck with the name Alaja Jones. He went by Al and started playing the casinos. Quit his job at Sears Automotive to play poker full time.-He played Atlantic City, Vegas, then internationally. He had his first big score in 2010 when he took 24th place in the main event for $320,000. Got to keep $150,000 after taxes. "Poker's a hard way to make an easy living. Lots of people try. We risk every day. You have to get to a point when you can manage your bankroll and I've never gone broke in the 16 years I've played." -In one of the most viewed poker hands of all time, he was bluffed out of a million dollar pot by a supermodel on a poker TV show filmed in Monaco. "She made a sick play. She had no idea what she was doing but all the stars were aligned."-He watched Borneo when it aired and got back into it when fellow poker player Anna Khait was on. He calls Jean-Robert, "kinda a lazy guy...He's really good at befriending multi-millionaires." "Anna Khait... is probably the least poker player out of all of us. She played for a couple years." "And then Garrett - He's a very, very smart, smart kid... Self-made millionaire. One of the very, very few." -He only drank water for 7.5 days and lost 25 pounds for his health and to get an idea of the conditions of the show. He thinks he'll thrive in the survival situation. "People like being around me. I like to fucking bust balls and joke." He thinks old school alliances are a good plan, but you have to adapt. He says that like in poker, Survivor players can have every advantage, but they have to really smell it. -He wants Vince out. "There's an Asian Zeke in there. What value does he bring besides ruining people and getting in people's heads? He's a liability in challenges. He looks like a little corn puff. We gotta get him outta here. Sorry to sound so mean but it's the truth." My take: Ruuuuude. He has no way of knowing how other people on the cast are talking in their interviews, and may assume the trash talk is standard. If he were playing on some seasons it would be. But, in this particular season it sets him apart in an unflattering way, and it seems a part of the tough persona he's built up to escape a scary situation growing up and enter a fantasy career. We'll see whether his tribe thinks he's a straight talking character or a jerk. Tom Laidlaw, Former NHL Player, Brampton, Ontario, Canada -He was with the New York Rangers for 7 years and the LA Kings for 4. Now he has his own podcast, True Grit Life (truegritlife.com). Does it with a friend, Kevin Allen, who writes for USA Today. Does motivational speaking. -Growing up on a dairy farm outside Toronto there was a pond to water the cows. It froze over in the winters and he'd play hockey because there wasn't much else to do. Went to Northern Michigan University - four year hockey captain, ranked #1 team in the country. Drafted as a 20 year old. "My buddy had a horse farm. We were cleaning horse shit out of the stalls. There were no cell phones back then. This is 1978. My father got a call at our farm house from the New York Rangers at the draft. Back then nobody went to the draft - it was just teams. They said I'd been drafted in the sixth round. He calls the farm house where I'm working. They bring me up. He says, 'Son, you've been drafted by the Rangers.' I said, 'Great. What do I do now?' He says, 'Finish cleaning the shit out of the stalls.'" -When he played intimidation and fighting was strategy. There were guys tougher than him, but he could fight and he could also play. Problem was, he fought a guy once, and from then on the guy wanted to fight him over and over. -Jerry Bruckheimer, big hockey fan, called the NHL and wanted to get some players on the Amazing Race. Tom had kept himself in shape, he had his passport. They ended up asking him about Survivor. He'd watched it before but not for a while. He wasn't so sure he wanted to play a game where you hurt other people, but friends helped him get his head around it. He was very impressed by Christian's toughness in the endurance challenge. To prepare for the show he studied how he reacted to different situations, how to control his heart heart, etc. He wants the mental challenge. My take: Tom really ticked me off when he spoiled a couple of outcomes of this season. That's a betrayal of the producers, his cast and the viewers. But, if that hadn't happened I would like him. He's an easy-going, charming guy. His life experiences are a bit different than anyone else who's been on the show, which is what you want. Vince Moua, 27, Admissions Counselor, Merced, CA -His family is Hmong. His parents lived in Vietnam in the destruction left by the war - dead bodies, guns, people who wanted to kill them. They went to refugee camps in Thailand. Then his dad became a Montana farm hand. He met Vince's mom in the US, but she came from the same place. -Vince is from small town Merced, California - the 209. Few people he knew went anywhere but the UC system and community college. He went to Stanford, one of only 7-10 Hmong. He realized the significance someone can bring to people from the same community. He tried to be pre-med but realized "no, not today." The issues of access he cared about came well before people got to the hospital. He ended up going with education. His mom was a teacher, "But when I was growing up she said, 'Yo, if you become a teacher Imma disown yo ass.' To all of us. But, that's always kinda been my jam." -He lived in South Korea for five years. He taught English in a town. Then in Seoul ahed worked with low and middle income students who wanted to study outside of Korea. -He's a Survivor superfan, who even mentions on his Tinder account that he plans to be on Survivor. His parents were worried about him doing TV because he's not out as gay to his extended family. He comes from a clan where his dad is the "top dog" and Vince is "the next top dog." In the Asian American/Pacific Islander community when you come out, it's your family who faces - in a sense - dishonor. For a long time he distanced himself from his family, hoping they'd all be less hurt if they found out and disowned him. He always tried to find friends who would be there for him should his parents not be. A year ago his mom asked him rhetorically if he was gay. "I was try'n to go around it. I was like, 'Gurl, you don't wanna know! Yo ass keeps asking!' But she kept asking, asking. So finally I told her 'Yeah, I am!' and she was crying. My dad was like, 'Oh, my son!'" But, Vince is fine with who he is and wants to show kids like him that "let's hope that it gets better." Now his parents just want him to win. -He'd like to play an old school strategy but "I'm not afraid to cut a bitch." With the tribe he's going to be Homeboy Vince from the 209, but when he talks to the camera he's going to tell people "Don't underestimate your narratives." This past year with Crazy Rich Asians, he wants people to know that there are some Crazy Hood Ass Asians. My take: What a character. Vince has a clear point of view - Hmong, blue collar, gay - which is unique to him in Survivor lore. Even though double minorities have sometimes had trouble fitting in socially on Survivor I think somehow he's going to pull it off. As unlikely as this sounds I could even see him being a Cochran-esque winner. Aaron Meredith, 36, Personal Trainer, Warwick, Rhode Island -He's very keyed up at Ponderosa. Rambling so fast it sounds like you're listening to 1.5x. He's read four books so far - Relentless by Tim Grover, Can't Hurt Me by Dave Goggins, Iron Cowboy by James Lawrence, Harry Potter. -He was an engineer at a building insulation plant. He was miserable, too antsy sitting at a desk. Couldn't focus. So, he drove up and down the East Coast popping kettle corn - from Maine to Florida - traveling with carnies. Bartended for a while. He'd played college football and baseball, lifted since high school, and he and his friends wanted to get "huge and jacked and ripped." The owner of the gym suggested he become a personal trainer. He ended up working mostly with middle aged women and it taught him empathy. Now he owns two women's-only fitness studios. He puts supportive women around one another and offers them the positivity to seek self-growth. -He's also a party boat emcee. Lights, DJ, bar, drinks. He's an extremely social person. -He'd first applied at 23 - 6 or 7 times over the years. He was in the mix for Cook Islands and David vs. Goliath. -He's been married 7 years and has a 5 year old son. His son is a huge fan of Survivor. Libby Vincek is his favorite player. Kara Kay was his next favorite. Aaron is already sure Molly will be his son's favorite. "He has a type. He He likes the attractive blondes. He says, 'I like them because they have a nice face.' I like mommy because she has a nice face too." The boy was very concerned about his dad going on the show. He said, "Dad, I don't want anyone to laugh at you and make fun of you." Aaron said he wanted to win. His son said, "But you might not win." When they watch the show he'll always ask, "Do they like him? Do they like her?" If Aaron is portrayed in a negative light he'll have to sit down with his son and talk. He doesn't want to play a deceitful game, but he will, because he doesn't care how he's portrayed. My take: His story about his son is one of my favorites from all these interviews. I hope he gets to work with Molly. His adrenaline is too high. I hope he calms down a lot when the game starts. But, someone so social and sweet hearted who can win challenges and take themselves to the end has got to be a contender to win. Chelsea Walker, 27, Digital Content Editor, Los Angeles, CA -Chelsea just took the cast photo and they put her in the third spot from the bottom, a good omen because a weird number of winners have been in that position. "Your girl's number three. I got this!" -She's a Jersey girl. She went to the University of Maryland. "I didn't do Survivor: Maryland or anything." She studied Broadcast Journalism. She knew the generic emails for NBC Universal and emailed random people until someone replied. Now she's been in LA a year. She did coverage of award shows. Now she works at IMDB, where she helps Kevin Smith with his show. She just interviewed people at SXSW. -She's been watching Survivor since she was 8. She's cried in every interview because this means so much to her. She's trying to explain that at the point she starts crying again. "It's been such a dream of mine and To be told no year after year after year - these past six years have been a total mindfuck. I've basically been called every single year. I've been to finals three times. Survivor is my one true love, but the one year they didn't call me I got really pissed off so I tried out for Big Brother. I ended up becoming the alternate and got my key being filmed and all of that crap. But I don't like that show anyway." -In September 2017 she was at a WeHo bar for her friend's birthday when, "Oh shit that's Jeff Probst." Her girlfriends all know she's obsessed, so she pulled the waiter over and asked what that guy was drinking. So, Chelsea sent another one over. "I told my friends, 'Take my credit card. Split the bill, because I can't come back after I do this. As soon as the waiter drops off the drink I'm like, 'Jeff, this one's on me. You can buy me the next one at finals.' And I just walked out of the restaurant... That was a big move!" They didn't call her again that year, but Jeff still remembered when they talked this year. -She's been working out at four different gyms - weights, pilates, yoga. Push ups. Memorized puzzles. Reading How to Win Friends and Influence People, which she keeps in.a Bible sleeve so people will think she's religious. She also carries Harry Potter because she would trust someone who read HP. She wants to keep it cool. Make one on one connections. Eventually find idols - and not tell anyone she has one - and make calculated moves. "I don't want to be a Jacob. No offense." My take: Hearing this girl cry from joy because she's so happy to be on the show makes me emotional. She's a real go getter. I wish I were that damn fearless. Truly, I wish I were more like her. I hope her pure zest for life comes across on TV and she doesn't get stuck with a purple edit just because of her age and gender. I also hope no one decides to get threatened by her as a competitive girl and vote her off premerge. I think she'll go far. Hope so. Dean Kowalski, 28, Account Executive, New York, New York -Referring to himself in the third person, "Dean is 28 years old. As we mentioned, he lives in New York and he prides himself on being a well rounded person when it comes to interests, abilities, personalities... If I'm listening to Drake and Lil Wayne, I gotta go home and cry to This Is Us.. I can play basketball but also think about our place in the universe." He likes to tag basketball courts with a peace symbol with a ball on it which he makes using a stencil. -He structures most of his interview with Josh around an Outwit, Outplay, Outlast format, explaining why he excels at each. -He grew up in an affluent suburb. His dream was to play in the NBA. He was 5"9 3/4, so he set his eyes on college basketball as a realistic alternative. In order to get looks from colleges he went to a school 30 minutes away - top five in the country, Nike would fly them around for games and give them free Jordan sneakers. He was one of only 4 white guys in the whole school and the only one on the team. He played with Kyrie Irving, the #1 overall draft pick. "My friend said you look like the Make a Wish Kid who just wants to be on the team for a day." He played at Colombia University, where he was co-captain his senior year despite averaging two minutes a game. He became a teacher, then did sales for a tech startup in New York. He now sells ads for Google. -He's a fan, but far from a superfan. He started watching Brenda's season. (He thinks it was Nicaragua, but it was actually Carmoan.) He works with a superfan who freaked out when they had a meeting at H&R Block with Carolyn Rivera and they went out to Bourbon Street with her. He kept watching for five years and thought he could do well. He hates when people are all talk, so he sent in a tape. For the video he interviewed random strangers on the street, who had never met him or seen the show, and asked them, "Why am I going to win it?" A barber, a construction worker. He's going to tell people he's in marketing, not sales - people have sales. My take: I'm just not that into him. Elaine Stott, 41, Factory Worker, Rockholds, NY -When Josh asks her not to touch the table she asks him, "You seen that Bart Simpson commercial, right? Don't touch my Butterfinger? I'm already hungry thinking about it." -"I had a pretty rough way to go growing up." Her single dad raised her and her three brothers. She was the youngest. "I was raised like one of the boys. Know what I mean? Daddy didn't know how to raise no little girl." He worked 16-17 hour days. The kids raised themselves. "When little children make their own decisions, they make poor ones." She was a hellion. -She's originally from Woodbine, Kentucky, Nick Wilson's hometown. Her god sister went to school with him and she knows him through the grapevine. "We rode on different sides of the track. 20 years ago he coulda been my lawyer, because I was on the other side of the law. I'm not bad. I've just done some things." Public intoxication several times. "I come from a dry county. It's like Footloose. We cross the state line to get a beer and when you come back you're in trouble." She stole a newspaper stand once and had to do community service. "I was a little bit mean." -She went to live with her grandpa and cleaned her act up, by which she means that she started smoking a little weed and playing sports - basketball, softball, track. She played softball and judo in college. "I couldn't do nothing real technical. We had Brazilians on the team who could do flying arm bars. But if I got these claws on you and got ya on the ground I'd waller you to death." In casting she put this guy Will in an armbar. She was gonna choke him but didn't know if she should. -When she graduated, her girlfriend was a college Freshman so she went to all the same parties and ballgames for four years. Then she realized she needed a job. Now she drives a Ford truck for a factory. She's been there 15 years. She works 12 hours, 7 days a week. -Growing up her mom "was always in my life in some sense. She'd never miss a birthday. She'd be homeless, but she'd still call." Elaine and her brothers bought her cars, and places to live, and got her jobs. "In a sense I've been mourning the loss of my mom my whole life." Once Elaine was homeless herself and there was snow on the ground. It was cold, and her teacher took her in. Gave her Christmas presents. Made her go to prom. Survivor was a thing they shared, and the teacher was gonna be Elaine's loved one. But within a one year period the woman lost her daughter, her husband, her dog and then had a stroke. Now "she walks like Frankenstein" and can't go. Elaine got Probst to talk to her, and she can't wait to watch. In October Elaine's biological mom went into a coma. She was on life support, but Elaine wouldn't unplug her. Her mom came out of it and seemed to be doing a lot better only to die very suddenly of a heart attack. -Her girlfriend and her girlfriend's two sons are gonna be watching. The 18 year old doesn't know because he can't keep a secret. The 13 year old helped her lose 20 pounds doing crossfit to come out here. She wants the money, but she really wants "some of that soul searching, that life adventure, that life changing - some of that. You know what I mean? Gimme some of that soup! Lemme eat some of that up! I want this show to build me up, because I feel like it can. I sure hope to hell it don't tear me down." My take: About 12 sobbing emojis in a row. She's my favorite. If she gets voted out premerge I'm going to go into mourning. And how can you not sort of expect that? I am going to be so upset if they just dismiss her because she's older and looks out of shape and sounds country. If that happens, I want another Second Chance season next year. Elizabeth Biesel, 26, Olympic swimmer, South Kingstown, Rhode Island -Josh says that Elizabeth was outright identified by one of the other contestants because they'd been watching YouTube videos about how to be a better swimmer. Others guessed she was an Olympian based on her rings tattoo. -She's from the Ocean State. They lived a block away from the beach, so they wanted her to take swimming lessons. She was a rambunctious child and swimming was the only way they could calm her energy. She started breaking records when she was 7 or 8. When she was 13 she made her first national team. At 15 she went to the Olympics. She got good early. Women peak around 22-23, and she ended her career at 24. You couldn't make much money doing it. She swam one of the longer, more grueling races, and her body said "no more." She listened to her body and retired. Some athletes lose their love for swimming because they're embittered by losing by 1/100th of a second, or they leave injured. She left on a good note. Still, if she could swim competitively for the rest of her life, she would. Now she doesn't know who she is or what she's going to do with the rest of her life. Every hour of the day used to have a purpose. Now her days are wide open. She can't keep eating 5,000 calories a day. "It's sort of like I'm mourning the death of Elizabeth Biesel the swimmer." -She was a Survivor fan as a kid because Richard Hatch was from Rhode Island. In her area "Every single household that had a television set was watching Survivor." When they asked her if she'd do the show, she felt pure joy. She said absolutely right away. She's excited about the competition of Survivor. No heated Olympic pools. You're stripped down to your core. She's amazed by the scope of the production apparatus. She's not a schemer. She wants to be a challenge beast - not the best woman but the best overall. She'd love to have a Wendell and Dom relationship with another woman. But, she wants to avoid the drama as long as she can. My take: Could Chelsea be Wendell to her Dom? She's so wholesome. She's just so "Olympics." I love her and everything she represents. I'd love to see her rocket through the swimming competitions, lapping everyone else. Go Elizabeth.
Hi /EnoughTrumpSpam, let's make a list of incorrect/outrageous things Trump has said and done that made you not support him or added to your animus. I'll format all your responses with a table with the quote/action and a good source. Thanks. Edit: Thanks for the gold heterosis
"You take this little beautiful baby and you pump ... " he said, referring to mandatory childhood vaccines. "We had so many instances, people that work for me, just the other day, 2 years old, a beautiful child, went to have the vaccine and came back and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic."
[Of Kim Jong Un] "And you've got to give him credit. How many young guys — he was like 26 or 25 when his father died — take over these tough generals…. It's incredible. He wiped out the uncle. He wiped out this one, that one. I mean, this guy doesn't play games.”
Donald Trump spent 10's of thousands of dollars on an ad campaign in 1989, urging New Yorkers to bring back the death penalty and execute five minority youths who were suspects in a brutal rape case. Decades later, the youths were completely exonerated when DNA evidence proved they had nothing to do with it. Upon hearing about the settlement, Trump wrote a lengthy editorial in the New York Daily News calling it a "disgrace" and "the heist of the century". In this screed, he complained that the youths were still certainly guilty and that the city was "stupid".
Censorship on the Internet: "We're losing a lot of people because of the internet," Trump said. "We have to see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what's happening. We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that internet up in some ways. Somebody will say, 'Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech.' These are foolish people."
A former Trump University sales manager testified that he was reprimanded for not pushing a financially struggling couple hard enough to sign up for a $35,000 real estate class he knew they couldn’t afford.
Mr. Nicholas, a sales executive, recalled a deception used to lure students — that Donald J. Trump would be “actively involved” in their education. “This was not true,” he testified, saying Mr. Trump was hardly involved at all.
Ms. Sommer, an event manager, recounted how colleagues encouraged students to open up as many credit cards as possible to pay for classes that many of them could not afford. “It’s O.K., just max out your credit card,” she recalled their saying.
Tax cuts largely focused on the top 1% like Mr. Trump, both in dollars and as a percentage of income. The tax plan costs $11.2 trillion, more than any other candidate, and $4 trillion of that comes from tax breaks to the top 1%
When giving testimony before the Congressional Subcommittee on Native American Affairs, Trump spoke angrily about the Pequot Indians, whose new casino had just surpassed his Atlantic City casino as the most popular in America. ‘They don’t look like Indians to me and they don’t look like Indians to Indians,’ he complained.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
Has refused release his tax returns, even though it is a tradition. When asked why not, he said "It's none of your business" after being pointed out that being audited doesn't prevent you from releasing them.
“We have to be very strong with our military, with our security,” Trump said. “We have to be extremely strong, we have to be very strong in terms of looking at themosques, which a lot of people say ‘oh, we don’t want to do that.’ We’re beyond that.”
Trump's “plan” to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants would shrink the economy by about 2 percent. The sudden subtraction of 7 million workers would cause an immediate shock to thousands of businesses, triggering a GDP collapse ranging from $400 billion to $600 billion in production
“She’s a brilliant judge,” he said during the Houston debate last month. Cruz has been “criticizing my sister for signing a certain bill. You know who else signed that bill? Justice Samuel Alito, a very conservative member of the Supreme Court, with my sister, signed that bill. So I think that maybe we should get a little bit of an apology from Ted. What do you think?”
He bulldozed pristine and ecologically sensitive Scottish beachfront for a golf course then later went on to complain to a committee of the government of Scotland that the wind turbines off its shores ruin the view for his course
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