I started Tech Won’t Save Us because there isn’t nearly enough critical attention paid to the tech industry. So much tech reporting echoes the narratives of the major tech companies or frames technology through a consumerist lens that’s more concerned with usability than the broader impacts of the services and products we use every day.
I think that needs to change.
In the past six months, I’ve been joined by incredible guests to dig into a whole range of issues with tech: the COVID-19 response of major companies, the problems with tech media, what tech is doing to the music industry, the need for more attention on tech’s supply chains, how gig companies are mistreating their workers, the flaws with digital ad markets, the problems with the narrative about automation destroying jobs, what a better future of technology might look like — and the response has been very positive.
Every week, the audience grows. A typical episode has listeners in more than 50 countries — sometimes more than 60. The show has more than 90 five-star reviews across at least 17 countries on Apple Podcasts. And yesterday it was ranking on Apple Podcasts’ Technology charts in 19 countries.
In the coming months, and hopefully years, I’ll be talking to experts and activists to get critical perspectives on even more aspects of the tech industry. I’ve tried to bring in international perspectives so we aren’t just focused on the United States, and I want to do more of that in the new year.
I also want to make sure that every episode remains free for everyone and to start building a community where we can talk more about these issues.
Given the lack of critical perspectives on technology, I never want to put a paywall on the podcast. I’m also not going to flood you with ads for Audible, Squarespace, or Casper. If I ever consider airing ads, they would be from left-wing media and publishers that share our values. But, in general, this is a listener-funded show.
I understand that means there’s less incentive to become a supporter, and I’m immensely grateful to those of you who have. But I hope more people who share our mission and see the value in the work that I put into the show every week will help me to keep doing it.
In the next couple weeks, I’ll be rolling out a new podcast logo and making a small update to the website to add some suggested resources for developing a more critical perspective on technology.
But I want to do a lot more.
I want to put together a better website that can have individual episode pages with full show notes and with transcripts to make the interviews more accessible to people who can’t or simply don’t want to listen to podcasts. I’d also like the website to be ready to publish written content in the future if we move in that direction.
Between my other obligations and my lack of web design skills, I’ll need to hire someone to do that work, which is why I hope, if you’re not one already, you’ll consider becoming a supporter so the podcast can take that next step.
New benefits structure coming
I know there aren’t many benefits available to supporters. As I said above, I won’t be doing premium bonus episodes. I firmly believe that putting any of our interviews behind a paywall would be the wrong move.
Not only would it reduce the audience for those guests, which feels unfair to them, but with critical perspectives already so hard to come by, I don’t feel it’s the right move to lock content behind a paywall.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other benefits I can provide.
I’m currently figuring out how Discord works so we can have a space to discuss these issues between episodes. I’m also looking at printing up some nice stickers when the new logo is ready, and I’m open to doing more merch in the future. (I think a tote bag would be cool!)
When we have enough supporters, I’m also open to doing occasional Q&As, if that’s something supporters would be interested in. I'll also be bringing back supporter shout-outs next month.
And if we reach a high enough level, I'd also be open to doing occasional extra episodes in the form of shorter interviews about recent news or longer dives into certain topics.
I’ll update the Patreon with the new logo, benefits, and goals before the end of the month. I’d really appreciate your support to take the podcast to the next level and spread these critical perspectives to even more people.