When I decided to try turning Cleaning the Glass into my full-time job, I was optimistic. I had received very positive feedback on the articles I had written in the prior months, which gave me confidence that there would be interest among fans in subscribing and supporting my work. I also strongly believed there was a large group of fans who were underserved by traditional media: fans who wanted to learn about the game at a much deeper level, whether that meant Xs and Os, scouting, or the complex decision-making of NBA front offices. There was a void I could step into.
But if you’ve followed this site for any length of time, you know I try to be aware of the potential biases in our thinking, those that can lead us astray and take us down the wrong path. So I knew about optimism bias, the tendency to overestimate our own chance of success, and knew that soon-to-be entrepreneurs are ripe to fall victim to it.
With that in mind, I tried to temper my expectations. I just needed enough subscribers to essentially pay a salary in order to keep the site going, and I decided that I’d give it a year to see if I could get there.
I hit that number within my first month. As Chris Ballard detailed in a Sports Illustrated article published today, the support from fans exceeded even my optimistic projections. The publication of that article is the perfect time to acknowledge the subscribers who made it all possible.
So I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank all those who support my work: I’m not getting rich off of this, but it has allowed me to spend my time studying and analyzing and writing about this game that I love. And I want to reiterate my commitment to crafting articles and providing stats to those who want to understand basketball — both on the floor and off — at a deeper level.
To that end, I have three announcements:
(1) Right now Cleaning the Glass Insider offers Articles, Discussion and Stats for $7.50 per month. I have heard from some who only subscribe for the articles or only for the stats that they’d want this broken out, so I am going to offer that option. You can now subscribe to just the Articles & Discussion for $5 per month, or just the Stats for $5 per month. Existing subscribers can change their current plans using the “Account” link in the navigation bar at the top of this page. (If you’ve already signed up for the entire year and would like to change plans, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get you taken care of.)
My hope is this makes both the writing and the stats more accessible for those who want only one or the other. It also will help me clarify exactly why people are subscribing, which leads into my second announcement:
(2) I want to continue to build on the success of the site. Knowing why everyone subscribes can help guide my choices about how exactly I build — where I invest time and money to keep adding features to the stats site and keep producing the types of articles and videos everyone subscribes for.
Stay tuned on what this means specifically, but I think it’s going to be something you like and will continue to add value to your subscription.
As part of that, I am looking for people to help accelerate the development of CTG Stats. There’s so much I want to do with the site but I need more bandwidth to get it done at a better pace. So if you have web development/design/programming skills and want to contribute on a part-time basis, just fill out this short form.
(3) Lastly, the driver of all of this is the enthusiasm of you, the subscribers. I made Cleaning the Glass because I wanted to be able to share what I’d learned with the large community of passionate and savvy basketball fans, and it’s been thrilling to do that so far.
I’d love it if you’d share that enthusiasm with others you think would like Insider. To that end, I’ve implemented a referral bonus. If someone signs up and puts in your email address as the referral, you’ll get a month free and they’ll get 10% off their first 6 months (or 10% off the full year if they sign up for the annual plan).
As Chris Ballard wrote, the success of Cleaning the Glass has implications for media as a whole. It shows the viability of different business models to enable in-depth and nuanced writing. It indicates that people are willing to pay for quality content. And it means that we, as fans, don’t have to exist solely on a diet of clichés and manufactured drama.
Thank you to everyone who made this possible. I hope you, like me, are looking forward to what’s next.