I write an independent newsletter on technology - The Pragmatic Engineer. Independence goes beyond just not having an employer. This is what it means for me:
Things that I do not do:
- I do not accept payments in any form to write about a company or a product. I don't do sponsorships, advertisements, or hidden advertisements in my newsletter, blog, or other properties - e.g. videos, Twitter, and so on.
- I do not use affiliate links in anything I recommend. Affiliate links are a way to get a "kickback" when someone buys products recommended. Note that I removed all former affiliate links on this blog and my YouTube channel. Read more about how much I made and why I removed affiliate links on the blog that made $15K/year and third-party ads.
- I do not hold individual stocks about any publicly traded company I write about or mention.
- I do not accept products, books, newsletters, or anything else as complimentary gifts. I pay full price for anything I might write about.
Potential conflicts of interests, and how I go about these:
- I am an advisor in three companies where I receive equity in return for advising and an investor in several others. My typical investments are in the $5,000-15,000 range. My main goal with investing is to stay in the loop with interesting, exciting, and forward-looking companies and startups, and use these connections to get a pulse of things happening at startups. I disclose my affiliation, should I mention any of these companies in my writing, and aim to not bias in overly favoring these companies. Note that I have stopped investing in companies as of mid-2022 and I'm not sure if I'll do further investments, given investing also creates bias which I want to minimize.
- I run a talent collective and jobs board where companies can post jobs or purchase a membership. Whether a company is or was a customer here does not influence if I write about them or not. I run my job board independent of my newsletter and don't keep tabs on specific customers.
- Some companies might make group purchases of my newsletter or books. Like the above, I don't keep tabs on such purchases - most of these come as self-service.
- I have worked in the past at Microsoft, Skyscanner, and Uber, companies I sometimes mention in my writing. These experiences shaped my professional outlook but don't otherwise impact my opinions. I hold no stock in either of these companies.
My revenue sources:
- The majority of my revenue comes directly from newsletter subscribers. This aligns my interests with the interests of readers.
- I sell books, which is another large revenue source.
- The Pragmatic Engineer Job Board and Talent Collective is also a revenue source.
- My YouTube channel makes a small amount of advertising revenue (below $5,000/year). I keep ads on because even if I turn them off, YouTube still overrides this and shows them. I have no control or knowledge what ads are served for my videos.
- I no longer have any revenue sources from sponsorships, affiliates, or third-party ads - outside the YouTube ads mentioned above.