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Announcing the Commonplace Membership Program

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Whoosh. I feel like I’ve been working up to this moment for a few months now. (Which, you know, I actually have.)

I’m pleased to announce a membership program for Commonplace. This program will give you access to exclusive members-only content, and it’ll allow me to justify a bigger investment in two things:

  1. First, I’d like to be able to go deeper on certain career-oriented topics on this blog.
  2. Second, I’ll like to double down and focus on building out the Commoncog app. About which … I’ll say more in a bit.

The Offer

Commonplace is a blog about building career moats. Over the past two years, multiple readers have told me that they’ve appreciated the blog’s focus on actionable ideas. Those who have been reading for a bit would know that I write from practice, and that my approach has been to lay out basic principles alongside real-world stories whenever I can.

I work under the assumption that readers would be able to put together a practice program of their own, given the two elements of principle and story. And this has largely been true — at least, if my reader correspondence is any indication. Most Commonplace readers find something useful in my pieces nearly every week.

But I also know that certain readers would prefer it if I gave more practical first-steps. Other readers email me good questions, and I send them answers that I wish I could publish elsewhere. Still others give me suggestions and pointers that I wish I could share with the rest of the people who hang out on this site.

This is the problem that the Commonplace Membership Program is designed to solve. I want to create a community of practice around building careers moats and actually executing self-improvement.

Members will get the following things:

  • Action Sheets — summarised, actionable one-pagers from every Commonplace blog post. These come in both PDF and web page formats, and are designed for easy reference. Ideally, you’ll read this when you’re just about to put the idea to practice. You may find an example of an action sheet here. Nearly all Commonplace blog posts will eventually be updated with blue ‘action sheet’ sections — for instance, take a look at the bottom of my blog post on Inversion. Most of these posts will be accessible to members only.
  • Commonplace Guides — in-depth, actionable handbooks on topics that I normally cover on the blog. You may think of a Commonplace guide as a constantly updated, living document on a career-oriented topic. The first two guides will be about career moats and burnout. Most chapters in most guides will be available to members only; I intend to update and revise sections based on new research, or based on continued experimentation. Eventually, I hope to incorporate member experiments and feedback into the guides, along with audio and video.
  • Members-only Blog Posts — this is the least developed part of the membership offering, and I intend to evolve it based on member feedback. My current plan is to write one post a month, exclusive to members. The initial posts will be about the fundamentals of competitive advantage (from which the concept of ‘moat’ comes from), but after that — I don’t know. I could write about business, if people are interested in reading about that. Otherwise, I intend to experiment a bit, and see what members say.
  • The Commonplace Forum — a private community of practice. Portions of the forum will be publicly viewable — it is integrated as comments at the bottom of most Commonplace blog posts, for instance! — but only members are allowed to comment. I’ve spent a good amount of time thinking about the kind of community I want to build. I’ve mostly settled on a focus on action — I want community members to encourage each other to put things to practice, and on a weekly basis. I suggest checking out the forum’s guidelines for a taste of this. 😊
  • Early access and discounts on the Commoncog app — Members get early-access to the Commoncog app, and a special discount when it reaches general availability. Some of you may know that I stopped work on Commoncog for two years, in order to learn how to build an audience. Well, I restarted development on the app when I was stuck in the Malaysian lockdown in May this year. I’ve rewritten most of the backend by now. I intend to give Commonplace members early access when I deem it ready for user testing, and I hope to give a discount to existing members when it finally goes live.

So: is this a lot of work? Well, yes and no. I think producing Action Sheets might consume some time, but that should taper off after a bit. The real work is in writing the Commonplace Guides, and keeping a close eye on the forums to ensure that the community grows in the way I want it to.

My hope is that this membership program will allow me to double down and focus on both the app and the blog. Of course, the idea is that the app should make writing the blog a lot easier — at least once I’ve worked it into my reading and research workflows!

I’ve priced membership at US$8 a month, or US$80 a year — but I may increase this later depending on how things turn out. Members who sign up earlier will be grandfathered in at their original price, of course. The earlier you subscribe, the cheaper it will be.

What Won’t Change

Naturally, there are a couple of things that won’t change. I’ll still write a publicly-available blog post each week, and I’ll still send the Commonplace newsletter every Tuesday. In fact, you should expect these things to go on for much longer than they might otherwise, because the support I’ll get from membership makes it easier to justify the continued work on this blog.

So let’s wrap things up. If you’ve signed up to be a member: thank you so, so much. I’ll see you in the private forum 😁. (You should probably read this thread for updates on the members-only content, and I’ll be happy to hear your suggestions there).

If you’re not willing to subscribe — that’s ok too! You may still show your support by sharing articles you love on Facebook, Twitter, Messenger, or wherever else you hang out. And if you haven’t done so already, do consider signing up to the weekly Commonplace Newsletter — I send an email every Tuesday on careers and self-improvement, and quite a number of people have told me it’s been consistently actionable and helpful.

As always, thanks for reading, and thanks for the support. I’ll see you soon.

Originally published , last updated .
  

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