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Letter to Readers
Announcing free and paid content
Rational Reflections was launched at the beginning of 2020 and now has 4,500 subscribers. In a world of constant information overload, your time is valuable and should be treated with respect. Thanks for subscribing!
Although the newsletter is just two years old, The Rational Walk is now thirteen years old and has over 800 articles, all of which are free to read. Many of you came to this newsletter because you have been readers of The Rational Walk for many years.
Today, I am announcing a paid subscription option for Rational Reflections in addition to the continuation of weekly free content.
The original purpose of setting up Rational Reflections was to send out a periodic newsletter with brief commentary and links to interesting articles and podcasts.
The Weekly Digest will remain free for all readers.
If you have been receiving Rational Reflections, you will continue receiving the weekly digest unless you choose to unsubscribe.
I plan to spend more time curating the weekly digest and far less time posting links and other content on Twitter which has become an unproductive drain on time and a major distraction. If you’ve been following @rationalwalk on Twitter, please consider signing up for the free weekly digest.
I’m very happy to have subscribers who only wish to receive the weekly digest. Links to paid content will appear in weekly digests, but I will not send snippets, or “teaser” emails. There will be no spam or annoying solicitations to pay for content.
With few exceptions, articles other than Weekly Digests will be behind a paywall for at least three months before they are available to the public, either via Rational Reflections or republished on The Rational Walk website.
So, what type of content can you expect to receive with a paid subscription?
I should begin by clearly stating that this will not be a stock picking newsletter.
While I will occasionally write about individual companies, such articles will be written only if I feel like I have something interesting to say about a business, not because I have identified an actionable investment opportunity. That’s simply not the kind of work I enjoy or content that I am comfortable providing to the public.
Longtime readers of The Rational Walk know that I have written a great deal about Berkshire Hathaway over the years and I plan to write about the company in the future. However, I will not attempt to deliver content easily found elsewhere such as “news” style summaries of quarterly earnings. I will also not write about specific developments unless I feel that I have some insights to add. For example, in recent weeks, I chose to write about Berkshire’s offer to acquire Alleghany but I did not comment on Berkshire’s growing stake in Occidental Petroleum. Of course, nothing I write about Berkshire should be construed as investment advice.
Most articles will be about general investment topics, personal finance, book reviews, and occasionally about history, philosophy, psychology and literature. I like to read widely and think about a variety of topics outside the field of investing, and the articles will reflect those interests. Newer readers can follow some of the links above to get a sense of the type of articles that are likely to appear in the future.
Articles will not appear on a set schedule, but I plan to post new articles several times per month. Over the course of a year, I would anticipate posting at least thirty to forty articles, and possibly more than that. However, I want to avoid publishing content simply because the calendar says I must do so in order to fulfill a pre-determined schedule. Doing that would compromise the quality of the content.
I have decided to price the paid tier of the newsletter at $7 per month.
I believe that it is important to deliver “consumer surplus” in any economic activity. Many businesses try to maximize price and leave little, if any, consumer surplus on the table, but this is short sighted and fails to nurture a growth mindset.
As a writer, I want to reach as many readers as I can. For example, I would much rather have four hundred paid subscribers at $7 per month versus two hundred paid subscribers at $14 per month. Of course, in reality, I have no idea how many subscribers would sign up at $7 vs. $14, or at any other price point, but I’d prefer a larger group of happy readers to a smaller group of marginally satisfied readers. Life works out better for everyone with this type of mindset.
Obviously, by introducing a paid option, I also would like to earn income from this endeavor. There are limits to an inner scorecard and there are times when submitting your work to the verdict of the free market can be intellectually interesting. I’ve enjoyed writing free content for many years, but there’s always an opportunity cost involved in doing so. Market signals are valuable.
All payments are securely handled via the Substack platform. If you would like to subscribe to the free or paid options, you can do so by clicking the button below.
If you do not wish to sign up for a paid subscription but like the free content, you could help improve the circulation and reach of Rational Reflections by sharing individual posts on social media, by providing comments and feedback, or simply by clicking on the “heart” icon indicating that you like a post which improves placement of the newsletter in Substack’s ranking algorithm.
Thanks again for reading Rational Reflections!