It’s Time to Move In
The Work of My Life Report: March 2022
“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.” – Aristotle
When Erik Grankvist was 18 years old, he embarked on an incredible project. Using nothing but traditional hand tools, his physical strength, the mentorship of his grandfather, and the materials available to him in the Swedish wilderness, Grankvist set about the task of building a log cabin from scratch. Upon graduating from high school, he made building this rustic dream home – and filming the entire process for YouTube – his full-time job. Count us among the millions who are grateful he did.
Watching Grankvist quietly fell giant trees using a simple axe and a set of hand saws, methodically delimb and debark them into logs suitable for construction, and painstakingly drag them out of the forest to his build site, is hypnotic. We operate in an era characterized by overwhelming digital excess and disturbingly short attention spans. By contrast, Grankvist’s measured pace, his communion with the verdant surroundings, and his devotion to standards in each element of his daily work are irresistibly refreshing.
When Grankvist first launched his YouTube channel, he documented his project’s steady advancement over a series of short videos. His 27th video – a two-hour recap of his progress titled One Year Alone in Forest of Sweden | Building Log Cabin like our Forefathers – inspires stunned admiration in anyone familiar with that little voice in the back of their head whispering, “Build something that lasts, before it’s too late.”
The video went full supernova. At the time of this writing, it is approaching a staggering 33 million views, and Grankvist’s channel now has more than 600,000 subscribers. There are legions for whom that whispered voice got a little louder.
Concurrent with the transformation of the log cabin from an empty field into the core elements of a permanent dwelling, the viewer witnesses a similar transformation in Grankvist himself: from a teenager to a full-grown adult. The person at the end of the video is nearly unrecognizable from the one at the beginning, and his literal, physical growth is the proof-of-effort that went into this project.
Grankvist has deservedly found himself in possession of an incredibly valuable social media property. As we have described in a prior edition of The Work of My Life, creators on YouTube share in the advertising revenue generated by their work, although Google takes nearly half. The other two primary ways YouTube creators can generate revenue are via sponsored posts and brand partnerships. With sponsored posts, creators slip specific advertisements into their videos, often clumsily trying to make them flow naturally with the underlying content. With brand partnerships, creators make entire videos as commercials for their sponsoring brands. After watching his latest video, two things are clear: Grankvist’s cabin is nearly complete, and he has taken on a Swedish clothing company as a sponsor.
Although the physical demands are hardly commensurate with that of Grankvist’s monumental task, the Doomberg team has spent the past year pouring every ounce of energy and passion into building our Chicken Coop – one steady drumbeat of work at a time – allowing ourselves to dream that it could one day become our permanent virtual home. When we began this improbable journey, we had a good idea of how it would feel to live there, but no sense of what the final form would look like or how long it would take to complete. We just started developing ideas, working them into draft articles, and editing them into posts suitable for publication. With every turn of phrase, round of edits, subtle joke, crisp chart, humorous photoshop, aha moment, and critical piece of feedback from our brilliant readers, the foundation of a content creation business was shaped from the thick forest of information available in the modern era. Most importantly, we’ve had the time of our lives doing it.
Like Grankvist, we have grown during this journey, layering a willing embrace of continuous improvement over all aspects of the development of Doomberg. We find our earliest pieces almost unrecognizable from our current work, feeling a touch of cringe when we read them now, which itself stands as our own proof-of-effort. If we keep doing this right, the same feelings will be triggered when we read this piece a year from now.
As Doomberg has grown, we have also been approached by potential sponsors and brand partners. While we were flattered by such proposals, and certainly understand why other content creators pursue these business strategies, the prospect of accepting any editorial influence over our work – either direct or indirect, subtle or overt – was something we just could not bring ourselves to do. We do not want to work for sponsors or brand partners. We want to work for you – our readers. We want to continuously earn your business with every new piece, letting the market decide what we are worth.
No home construction project is ever truly finished. There comes a time in every such journey when the place is done enough for living – when the finishing touches and ongoing maintenance can be completed from the inside. For the Doomberg team, it’s time to move in. We are both thrilled and a little terrified to announce that, concurrent with the publication of this piece, we have opened up the Doomberg paywall to subscribers. Recognizing that many readers have only recently joined us, we will keep all articles free for the month of April, but as of May 1, we will be fully behind the paywall.
The primary tier will consist of access to all articles, published at the same cadence we have kept for the past 11 months. In addition (after May 1st), the comments section will be available to subscribers only, and we will be participating actively as a result. Our readers are a remarkably insightful bunch, and we anticipate a lively community to develop there, guided by respect and intellectual curiosity. $30/month or $300/year
The DoombergPro tier is designed for those that want to delve deeper into the topics we cover and have more direct access to the team. It will consist of all the benefits of the primary tier, plus an invitation to monthly DoomZoom calls with live Q&A, additional background and research notes that do not make it into our final pieces, direct access to the Doomberg team via a VIP email address, as well as links to paywalled podcasts where Doomberg is the guest (as permitted by the host). The material included under this tier will evolve as we experiment with new ways to deliver value to this cohort. $1200/year (A Substack limitation does not allow us to also offer this in a monthly installment, unfortunately).
When a content creator makes the decision to go from free to paid, it is inevitable that a large number of their free subscribers will choose not to follow them behind the paywall. To those reading this piece now who fall into that category, please know four things. First, we understand and respect your decision. The creator landscape is competitive, and budgets are limited. Second, we will never spam your email address in an effort to convince you to change your mind. If the articles that we have already published or will publish for free in the month of April cannot convince you that we are worthy of your hard-earned money, no clever or gimmicky email will, either. Third, we are grateful for your support up to this point. Every like, share, comment, and constructive email was critical to getting us to where we are today. Fourth, we will continue to be active on Twitter, producing original content there for free on a daily basis under our handle @DoombergT. Please give us a follow on that platform so we can stay in touch.
We believe that many of you are Doomberg readers because you observe a world teetering on a destabilized foundation. You believe in your core that there is a better way. Like us, you are long the human spirit and pragmatically committed to building something that lasts.
See you at the Chicken Coop.