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The Year of the Chicken
The History of Doomberg and Why You Should Subscribe
“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle
A little over a year ago, the person who would go on to become Editor-in-Chief of Doomberg shared a mock-up of a little green cartoon chicken with big, open, comically penetrating eyes. We had already settled on the name for this project and were considering various options for the brand’s icon. In an earlier brainstorming session, we fleshed out the concept of a character based on Chicken Little, the paranoid bird that believed the sky was always falling. In many renditions of the tale, Chicken Little’s paranoia is validated in the end, although the reward for its prescience – being eaten by a devious fox – seems a little harsh by modern standards of juvenile fiction. We relished the concept of Chicken Little pecking away at a Bloomberg terminal, searching its vast reservoir of data, charts, and news for things to worry about, a rumbling storm brewing in the distance. It also genuinely captured our own sincerely held belief that troubling times were imminent.
When our team first saw the green chicken, we were giddy. It wasn’t complicated – a colorized version of something rather clip-arty – but it was intuitively spot on. There was just something about that design that captured our exact brand ambition. We ran a preliminary A/B test in the classic start-up style of bringing it up at the dinner table, and the results were phenomenal – everyone loved it. It just makes people smile.
Armed with a brand book and a character sketch of our “ideal reader,” we launched our first Substack piece on May 3, 2021. After 12 months, 105 articles, many tens of thousands of subscribers, and millions of views, we’ve reached the end of the warm-up phase of this journey and the beginning of the next. We couldn’t be more thrilled.
We opened prior editions of The Work of My Life with profiles of other content creators we admired and learned from. Those human-interest stories tugged at our hearts, intensified our creativity, and motivated us to continuously improve. From the volume of emails those pieces generated, many readers felt similarly. We used those pieces to openly share our journey with you and we loved writing them. They gave us a way to crystalize our learnings about the content creation industry and to regularly gauge where we might be on the “Can this be a real business?” spectrum.
Thanks to you, that question has been answered in the affirmative and this will be our last The Work of My Life report. Over time, we’ll find another way to nurture the human-interest side of our analysis and reporting – it will develop organically, as did its predecessor. For today, we thought it fit to share a bit about our own brand origin story with our most loyal supporters, make a direct and final pitch to those that haven’t yet decided whether to subscribe, and explain what’s coming next for the thousands who already have or soon will.
At Doomberg, we pride ourselves on early pattern recognition, connecting dots between seemingly unrelated subjects, and articulating the essence of complex topics in a way that makes them more accessible to the broader financial community. We are particularly proud of our early warnings about the coming supply chain, energy, food, fertilizer, and water crises, as well as our ability to expose the insanity of our current policies around energy, natural gas, and nuclear power. We also stand by the critical pieces we have written about cryptocurrencies, despite the onslaught of nasty comments from trolls such pieces typically generate, both here and on Twitter. Given some of the bold calls we have made, it is natural that we would have a few high-profile misses. As it turned out, Jerome Powell was not finished, and the silver squeeze has not yet worked. Nobody bats a thousand, and we always try to learn how and why we end up being wrong.
A little more than three weeks ago, we opened our paywall to those wishing to subscribe and gave advance notice that new articles would remain free only for the month of April. As described in detail on our About page, we are offering two paid subscription tiers:
Doomberg – access to all published articles + community participation in threads and comments ($300/year or $30/month)
Doomberg Pro – the Pro level adds an invite to our monthly Doom Zoom calls with extensive, open Q&A + periodic extra write ups + a dedicated email address for subscribers to connect directly with the team + links to paywalled podcasts where Doomberg is a guest, as permitted by the host ($1200/year)
In the days that followed that announcement, we were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and the volume of subscriptions that flowed in. Amazingly, despite still being a free newsletter while we transitioned to paid, we have already climbed the Substack leaderboard, ranking as the 4th most popular paid newsletter in the world in the highly competitive Finance category. Words can’t describe how meaningful this market validation has been for our team. Our motivation to keep earning your support has never been higher.
Those that remain on our email list but choose not to subscribe will still see previews of the pieces we publish in their Inbox, at least for the next few months. Beginning with this piece, the comments section will be limited to paying subscribers only, and we intend to be much more active in this regard. We will treat the comments feed like our own private social media channel where we hope to create even more value for – and interact more directly with – the people who support our work with their hard-earned money.
For our many Doomberg Pro subscribers, we appreciate your patience as we work through the teething issues involved with setting up a new email service on our own. Substack has many great features, but partitioning content between tiers is not yet one of them. Since we are still sometimes ending up in spam folders, we will continue to send emails from our regular account to you each time we publish something new. Once the algorithms begin to recognize we are a legitimate enterprise, things should get easier. We are most excited to announce that we are putting together the first of our monthly Doom Zoom calls, which we will likely schedule for the second week of May. The event will feature a full presentation called A Unified Theory of Doom: Life, Energy, and Currency and include an extended Q&A session for Pro subscribers to interact directly with us.
We close this chapter of our endeavor with a giant THANK YOU to all our family, friends, mentors, and fellow content creators who helped make this most unlikely journey possible. The list is too long to specify here, but if you are reading this, you know who you are. Except for Grant Williams. He gets his own special call-out because without Grant there would be no Doomberg. There just isn’t a finer person in finance, and the Doomberg team is forever grateful for his friendship, support, and endorsement.
To celebrate this incredible milestone, we made a hype video and posted it on Twitter a few days ago. Check it out if you haven’t already. We had an absurd amount of fun pulling it together (sound on!):
If that doesn’t convince you to subscribe, nothing will! See the rest of you on the other side!