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August 12, 2011

May I seek your help - also for Harlan Ellison ?

I've been writing, talking and advising for a living for four decades. I love what I do. My life is enriched by talking with people, online and off.

But a question persists: could I get paid for the 70% of my time that I currently give away free?

The online gift economy has been enhanced in recent times by a bunch of new tools. Sites with names like Klout, Peer Index, and Topsy have arrived. These measure a person's online 'influence' 'reach' and 'amplification probability'. They even measure your 'social capital'.

These tools should probably be called narcissometers. And yes, I've been playing with them. But I've also encountered a fatal design flaw in these otherwise brilliant platforms:

You. Can't. Eat. Influence.

But help may be at hand. I just joined a very clever thing called Minute Box. Minute Box helps you "find an expert and solve your problems in minutes" - and I've signed up as an expert.


Anyone in the world can now click on my page and start peppering me with questions or idle chit chat for a couple of euros a minute - and pay instantly via PayPal.

Anyone *can* do that - but why *would* they?

True, some of the people on the Minute Box home page look like deranged psychos; I'm confident about competing with them. But most of my fellow experts look bright, charming and helpful. How is a poor punter to choose among them - and, especially, choose me?

This is where you come in. I have a favour to ask. Have you ever talked or corresponded with me and benefitted from my insight into a perplexing issue? advice on setting up a project? or starting a thesis? help communicating a idea, or preparing a presentation?

What I need are some unsolicited testimonials, from you, that say:
- when, where and how we communicated;
- your profession or work at the time;
- the issue, project etc that preoccupied you;
- what benefit, then or later, the encounter brought you.

I plan to post these with the tag "Name provided" [unless you want your real name to be published]. And I'll publish updates here of how my marketing blitz goes.

Address: john at doorsofperception dot com.

[Why Harlan Ellison? Well, call me sad, but when my blood sugar and/or bank account is especially low, I find guilty pleasure in watching Harlan Ellison's fabulous 'Pay the Writer' video-rant. I'm imagining him on Minute Box, too].

Posted by John Thackara at August 12, 2011 09:54 AM