I still have things I want to write about. I’ve just been using all of my writing energy for MassLandlords.net. Here’s an update showing where my work time has gone.
You can see that ArtistBomb (blue) has gone way down. The two purple colors are both MassLandlords.net. Light purple labeled as “MassLandlords.net” counts Internet-facing work only. “WPOA” is the same organization but counts back-end administration, including finances, management, and a very little public policy advocacy.
So what happened to ArtistBomb?
Well, with any business it’s a race against opportunity cost. I worked hard for ArtistBomb, as the graph shows. Out of all the working hours in the past two years, ArtistBomb received just about half, or one full year. But ultimately, I’m not the music industry guy. When I was asked to take a more active role in MassLandlords.net, it seemed like the contributions I could make there could be more “on point” than what I was able to do at ArtistBomb. For me personally, it seemed like the opportunity lost by not working MassLandlords.net would be greater than the opportunity lost by not working ArtistBomb.
Plus, MassLandlords.net is already able to pay me a little bit.
For the rest of the folks there at ArtistBomb, I think it still makes sense to push forward. We can clearly see the need for what the company’s doing. Once they figure out a reliable income stream, they can build on that.
I think the challenge for ArtistBomb remains time allocation, actually. I doubt anyone there tracks their time to this level, but if they did, their ArtistBomb color might look more like my “WPOA” color: an important but small and variable focus. In startup land essentially all of the early work remains uncompensated. So finding more time to work on the startup can only be helped with funding or with financial independence.
As the graph shows, I’m still supporting the company with what I can provide, including legal and tax compliance. And I know they have big things in store. Big ideas take a long time to develop. In the meantime, we all need to make ends meet.
So what’s with MassLandlords?
Things are going well. But there’s a long road between where we are and full time paid staff.
All signs are that we’ll get there. It will depend to a large degree on whether we can build trust among the landlords in the state. We need their willingness to coordinate with us to reach “economies of scale.” Right now, for instance, there are still 17 groups that produce their own email newsletter without any of the benefit of our greater experience or content. We’re hoping to eliminate redundancies like this. It will free up local volunteers to focus on local problems. It will send resources to the state-level to tackle problems shared state-wide.
The time management challenge for me, personally, is not getting sucked into the never-end public policy work that lies ahead. This requires a full time paid public policy person, like they have at a local Chamber of Commerce. My mission is to build to that point. But the Commonwealth’s challenges concerning landlord-tenant law are manifest, and landlords are asking me to tackle those as soon as possible.
I’ll do what I can.