“Every time I go to the field and film a video, or I get ready to film a video, there’s that voice in my head that tries to talk me out of it. Well, what if it rains? Or, hopefully it will rain; or, hopefully, you know, something else will come up; or, I’ll get that phone call for that meeting I have to attend; or, something else will happen. But every single time, I have to prevail and say NO! I’m doing the work of my life! Otherwise, I’m back on the freeways. I’m beating my head against the wall. I’m on a jobsite. I’m running around 20-30 hours a week on the freeway for a 40 hour a week job. I know the hell that was and that could be again. And the difference is now I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that never happens again, and to continue doing the work of my life.” – James Kelly, aka Corporals Corner
James Kelly is a retired US Marine who reinvented himself as a YouTuber 12 years ago. He makes videos about bushcraft, survival skills, and all manner of outdoor activities. At the time of this writing, his channel has 678,000 subscribers and nearly 79 million total views. After more than a decade of solid growth, Corporals Corner exploded in popularity last year, which is when the YouTube algorithm starting putting his videos in my feed.
There’s something magnetic about Mr. Kelly’s personality. He is funny yet straightforward, disciplined but not regimented, a teacher who does not preach. But it was not until I stumbled upon a video called Solo Overnight at The Selfish Pond and Campfire Bacon Wrapped Bacon, originally published on March 29, 2020, at the peak of the COVID-19 crisis, that it dawned on me why I enjoyed his videos so much. At the 20-minute mark, Mr. Kelly embarks on an incredibly inspirational monologue about his mental approach to dealing with the crisis. I quoted from it at the beginning of this piece.
I love Corporals Corner because James Kelly is authentically and unabashedly pursuing his passion. That’s not something you can fake. Even though I can’t remember the last time I slept outdoors or went camping, let alone started a fire with anything other than a lighter, I subscribed to his channel, joined his email list via his webpage, liked all his videos, and clicked through his Amazon Affiliates influencer page whenever I bought something online. In short, I wanted him to win.
I decided to start Doomberg after listening to Mr. Kelly’s monologue. I’ve always been passionate about studying complex problems, data visualization, finance, and writing. I have crafted a nice career doing three of those four things, but I never had the courage to take the leap as a writer. What if I wasn’t any good? What if nobody read it? After watching that monologue, I had my answer.
Is Doomberg the work of my life? Perhaps it’s too soon to tell, but the early signs are good. When I get an inspiration for a piece, I find myself unable to stop working on it until it is complete. I often lose track of time while I’m researching or writing something interesting. My regular work piles up while I whittle away at building an audience for Doomberg. I get to do Doomberg, I have to do most other stuff.
I have decided to be authentic and transparent with Doomberg readers. I want to earn the right to do this for a living, for Doomberg to be my exit off the freeway, and I need your help to succeed. At the end of each month, I will share with you the progress I’m making towards doing the work of my life, along with a few thoughts about where Doomberg is headed. One month in, here are the stats as of May 31, 2021:
Articles published: 10
Total views: 55,856
Email subscribers: 1,583
Twitter followers: 2,497
To say I am thrilled and humbled by these numbers is an understatement. I’m inspired to keep going! I have many exciting pieces in progress for June. In the next few weeks, you’ll see an interesting analysis on where I think the oil market is headed, along with a follow-up to the first silver squeeze article. I’m also keeping a close eye on the crypto space, as that is the Doomberg gift that keeps on giving.
My goal is that each Doomberg piece be funny without being silly, provocative without being polarizing, and thoughtful without being self-indulgent. The graphics should be tight and the writing concise. Hopefully I’ll continue to improve on all these objectives with each article.
Finally, how can you help? If you enjoy reading Doomberg but have not yet subscribed, please consider doing so by clicking the button below. If you like something I’ve written, please share it with your friends! If you are on Twitter, please follow my handle (@DoombergT) and retweet some posts. These things are free to you but mean the world to me.
If you’ve made it this far, let me close by saying thank you. And to Mr. Kelly – should this article ever find its way to you – please know that you’ve inspired one former chicken to become an actual one!
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