Q&A: Tech's Message Patreon, Extended Episodes & More

The extended and free versions of episode 164 are attached to this post so you can sample the difference! Thank you to existing Patrons for allowing me to post them. Details about why are below.

Hi everyone, Nate here. I've got some answers to popular questions to share, myths to dispel, and behind-the-scenes facts to publish for the first time! Here we go...

Pictured: Nate (right) probably explaining something; wife Kate (left) probably fascinated

Why should I join the Tech's Message Patreon?
The best reason is because you've been enjoying our free version for a little while and value it enough to want to kick in a  bit of cash to help us out. But an equally good reason is because you want to get access to the extended versions of the show, the weekly bonus episodes, or the uncensored and raw versions of our recordings. 

I've never heard of Patreon. Is it a scam? Is it safe?
It's a hugely popular service that lets you subscribe to a creator in the same way you'd subscribe to Netflix or something. Artists use it, famous singers use it, a trillion podcasters tired of having to ask listeners to buy a mattress or an audiobook rely on it. You sign up using your PayPal account, choose the benefits you want, and each month your PayPal account gets debited for them. Simple! You can also set limits on how much you want to be charged per month, so you'll never pay more than you agreed to up front.

Why might you want to become a Patron?
The main benefit is to access the extended version of Tech's Message. This includes extra stories, discussions & outtakes in every episode. It's also ad-free and is delivered in a higher-quality MP3 file via an exclusive private RSS feed.

Some other benefits on offer include:

  • Free bonus unscripted episodes each week recorded exclusively for Patrons
  • Access to the raw, unedited versions of the show each week (usually longer, contains bad language and wildly off-topic behind-the-scenes discussions)
  • Listen to the show being recorded live and talk with us in our chat room while we do so
  • Once a month, join Nate, co-hosts, and other patrons for a one-hour roundtable discussion on the month in tech. The recording will be published unedited to all other patrons!
  • Access to exclusive Discord members club

What's the extended version of the show like?
Contrary to occasional belief, it's not the regular version but with the crap bits left in. It's actually the other way around: the extended version is the main version we write and record, then some of the good stuff is removed in order to make a short, free version available to the wider public.

Current Patrons agreed to let me post the extended version of episode 164 here in full so you can listen to it for free and compare it to the free version. Both are attached to this post at the bottom of the page. You'll notice that:

  • First and foremost, the extended version doesn't have any ads in it
  • It's a full 21 minutes longer, 13 minutes of which is spent discussing that Facebook is considering hiring editors to pick quality news for users. As professional journalists for the last 12-or-so years, we think we have a lot of industry insight we could add to this
  • There is a tangential discussion about which singer Ian and Nate would have been on the old TV show Stars In Their Eyes. We often have these odd conversations on the show and we know long-term listeners find them very amusing, but we keep them out of the free version so that show stays laser-focussed on news topics. We let ourselves have a little more fun in the extended version
  • There's 5 minutes of outtakes at the end of the show. As far back as my WIRED podcast days I consistently get told by regular listeners that they love hearing us fluff things up, talk about something wildly off-topic, or just simply say something ridiculous. We pick out the best of these unscripted moments and put them at the end of the show for you to enjoy

Below is a screenshot of episode 164 as it appears in Logic Pro X, which I use to edit the show. You can see the bits in green are those marked for the extended version, and the red bits are sections cut from the main show and used as outtakes. The blue parts are those that remain in the free version. Everything else is removed.

Do I have to pay for benefits I don't want?
No. Every tier includes all the benefits of the lower-price ones -- for example, the $4 tier gives you access to everything people on the $2 and $3 levels have -- but if you don't fancy the benefits of the $5 tier then there's no need to pay for that.

Do I have to commit?
Nope. You can try us out for a few weeks if you want, or even just one week, and cancel if it's not for you. 

How will I get the new version of the show and the other benefits?
When you pledge, you'll automatically be given a new RSS feed just for you. You simply paste that into Apple Podcasts or whatever app you use and the new episodes show up instantly -- no logins, no fuss. 

What the hell is this Discord thing everyone's banging on about?
It's a free piece of software for your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android device, even your web browser, that's like a combination of an old-fashioned chat room, Skype, Slack, and an instant messenger rolled into one. Except it's super slick and designed specifically for private groups. You basically get to chat with me (Nate), other hosts and guest hosts like Ian, Andy from CNET, Nate's wife Kate even, as well as all other Patrons. It's also where we stream the live version of the show and other live listeners chat about whatever we're saying. It's a lot of fun. Here's what it looks like:

Why should I pledge when I can listen for free?
In its current form, Tech's Message takes about 10 hours per week to produce (which includes everything I handle myself, from story research and pre-writes, to recording and hosting, to post-production, editing and re-edits, and finally to publication and promotion). That's on top of my full-time job as a journalist and editor. Plus, things like microphones and editing software cost money. My co-host is a freelance journalist and so the show literally goes towards paying his rent and new trousers.

I thought that's what the ads were for in the free version
No. They only exist because our publisher Acast wanted to put them in to offset the fact that hosting a popular show costs them money to host and distribute. We have absolutely zero connection to those ads -- we only hear what they are at the same time you do! -- and I give all the money they generate to charity. 

So the Patreon lets me support you directly? 
You got it! Collectively, you help make the difference to how the show is shaped, developed and expanded. 

You've convinced me! How do I give it a try?
Head to our main Patreon page and click the Become A Patron button. Or just click these words.

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