This Is Double Bounce
Because making stuff should mean making rent
Growing up I was never cool enough to publicly make things. I wanted to, for sure, but I didn’t have that thing inside that pushed me to that point of complete abandon. That talent/confidence/passion/whatever that makes someone brave enough to put something out there and say “this is who I am.” So instead of being that person I marveled at those who were; they were superheroes to me. Now, we’re talking about the late 90s/early 2000’s here so this pretty much just means people making sick photoshops of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony covers and yellow text on black background fan sites but, execution aside, the very existence of the work made me feel like anything was possible. That there was a big old world out there and if you couldn’t find your place in it you could create it.
That stuff is still my favorite internet stuff and those people are still my favorite internet people. Like the cyberpunk ASMR universes and 90s pastiche elevator muzak/R&B/informercial music scenes where people realize they love the same thing and see how far they can take it. Or the compassionate, funny comics and people documenting their community where voices outside of the traditional mainstream have room. It’s the vegans with style, the film editors who care about the craft, the live streaming long haul truckers, and Street Fighter champions who are just so good at what they do they naturally amass fans. That’s the stuff that makes the internet more than just a hive of villainy and shouty, bigoted comment sections. That’s the internet I was promised. An internet that says anyone can join and maybe pay their bills while doing what they’re best at. But the internet I got is one of a bunch of people cynically trying to sell their blandest shtick to #brands.
And I totally get how things ended up this way. You get what you reward and we’ve set the whole game up to reward scale and safety. You want to make money on the internet? Rad. Create a YouTube account and put out as much as you can as frequently as you can and if you’re great you’ll eventually get paid a little bit from advertising. Or, if you’re impossibly lucky and super accessible, some corporation might toss you some money to slip their product into your work. For all the technology we’ve built over the past fifteen years we haven’t really done anything to support the people doing stuff with it — we just ignored them once money got involved. That’s not an internet I want to keep living on; I don’t think I have to either.
So this is Double Bounce. My attempt to change it.
Double Bounce allows creatives to convert the work they’re doing into something they can get paid for while making the whole fan experience better for their supporters. It allows creatives to paywall and charge subscription fees for their work, see analytics about sales and subscribers, directly poll fans, and talk to other creators who make similar things. While fans get direct access to creators, a place to talk to one another through messages boards, a voice in the work itself, and a community filled with only fans. It’s my attempt to start treating the incredible, bizarre, shocking, and sometimes awful projects out there as something other than chaff at the bottom of the internet; to treat them as businesses.
Because if we get there it’s a better internet on the other end. It’s a place where you can be a professional weirdo. Where writing a skincare newsletters or drawing a webcomic is a real job. Where success is a foundation you can build on and not just a bunch of likes. It’s just a more fun place.
And I don’t think we’re that far away. These people are already out there. They’ve got tens of thousands of followers on Instagram and Tumblr and Twitter. They’re musicians and makeup artists and hypnotists and writers and dancers and pornographers and athletes and there are roughly 200 of them for every little thing you’ve ever cared about. It’s all happening right now; they’re just doing it without support and they’re doing it in a vacuum. That can change. It’s got to.
So that’s Double Bounce. But while I’m dealing with the startup stuff (and if you’re down the product is here!) I want to do what I can to shine a light on those people and those communities. So that’s going to be Double Bounce too. A weekly interview series right here with the people who came out on the other side of an indifferent internet and what they learned in the process. There are so many little, thriving pop cultures and all of this is about celebrating them and making it just a little easier for everyone to create their own. I’m trying to build technology to make this internet but it’s not going to happen with software alone; it’s going to happen when we all learn we can be internet superheroes.
Double Bounce is in beta — if you’re interested you can sign up at www.doublebounce.me. Want to be involved or tell me I’m dumb or do an interview? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org — always stoked to talk.