Journalists Aren’t Capitalists

But am I becoming one?

This whole start-up thing is serious. From challenging values to essentially not taking time off. It’s a bit intimidating.

But let me not deceive you because I have definitely taken time off, stayed out late at events, and I’m working part time. But the values thing is true.

Over the weekend, after recovering from a night of beer drinking with my fellowship cohorts and forcing myself to get up for work at my 6:30am shift, I was listening to Pandora (don’t judge me) and Jay-Z’s “Tom Ford” started to play.

The song inspired an internal dialogue about capitalism. I wondered about the authenticity of this experience I was having. The production value was high; the voice I heard was Jay-Z’s; the beat inspired some rhythmic movement. But it was a commercial at its core! As a music consumer, I was slightly offended this song was even played. This artist (who probably thinks of himself more as a businessman) had taken advantage of my vulnerability, my respect, my trust as a music fan and supporter by playing this content that had nothing to do with the beauty of storytelling in art. I was bamboozled into listening to this commercial, deceitfully disguised as a song.

Further I thought to myself that this was a scam. Artists of all kinds are taking advantage of the audiences, fans and followers they acquire by first luring them in with something beautiful and of great quality, all to just turn around and sell that trust to some disgusting corporate entity only interested in taking from the good people who enjoy culture. Nasty artists.

I could never do that.

After a discussion over WhatsApp with the cohorts, we decided this song was sponsored content.

Wait, the same concept in which I’ve been talking about building my business. Gasp! But how could it be that something so innocent and self empowering like sponsored content be a part of something so filthy? Is it possible that I am indeed a capitalist? Is it possible that I am daring to participate in this system that divides and conquers, this time as a capitalist? Whoa is me. A poor journalist trying to create a cool, cultural experience for travelers is so quickly turning into this monster.

For a moment, I nearly quit. But then I decided that this is the way things are and will probably remain for at least two generations after me. Plus, I like money and don’t want to be a poor journalist anymore.

Coming to terms with the idea of becoming a perpetuator of a capitalistic society at times has been a bit challenging. But the goal of a business is to make money. While some may start a venture for noble reasons, at the end of the day, money is the goal.

While I have these frequent existential crises, almost always ready to give up and become a hippie, my work lately has been a constant balancing act trying to figure out ways to remain transparent with my growing community while lining my pockets with money. Yes I said it: Line. My. Pockets.

Let’s be real, who wants to be poor? I don’t.

“When you broke, you sad,” said the woman next to me in this coffeeshop.

This start up thing for me is an opportunity to explore ways to service the needs of others while also pursuing financial wealth. Is it possible? I think so. But I don’t think it will be easy. I’m guessing this journey of discovery will be riddled with plenty of ethics and values propositions along the way.

In the meantime, I’ll be working on a values and ethics statement for Beyonder to keep the team, the brand and me on a more balanced path.

For those of you following my journey please let me know when I’ve strayed too far from service and too close to greed. Thanks!