Four Pillars Sale: Another Perspective

by Mr. Cheap

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After Mike’s post announcing the sale of 4P, there was some confusion in the comments. After we got an e-mail recently asking Mike how life is “san Mr. Cheap” (which I thought was ice cold, I’m not DEAD! ;-) I figured it might be worth taking another stab at explaining what happened. Keep in mind, this is my perspective on things. Mike’s may differ, although I hope he’ll put any clarifications in the comments (in his version I’m probably less muscular and don’t save him and his family from a mugger using nothing but Kung-Fu and the power of my brain).

When we originally joined forces, Mike was far more enthusiastic about monetizing the blog than I was, so I was happy to let him handle that element of the site. After a year (and reading all the comments about what a good deal I was getting) Mike got to the point where he wasn’t enjoying posting & promoting enough to justify splitting the revenue with a partner (while doing all the promotion). The blog was under-monetized, but understandably it wasn’t appealing to do 100% of the work for 50% of the benefit.

We discussed a few options how to equalized things, but in the end figured that having one of us buy the other out made the most sense. After tossing around a few ideas, we eventually settled on a “Shotgun offer“, where Mike would determine a price, and I would decide whether I wanted to buy it for that, or sell it for that. This is kind of like when Mom makes one sibling cut a piece of cake in half, and the other pick which half they want: its a built in way of making sure a fair price is determined (since the person setting the price doesn’t know if they’re buying for that or selling for that). We had discussed this in the past and decided this would be what we’d do if one of us wanted to leave in the future.

Mike named a price (he’d prefer to keep that part private), and I decided I’d rather have the cash and lose half the blog instead of paying the cash and getting the whole thing. The cash went straight into GE stock (Mike told me not to spend it all in one place, which I did unfortunately :-). We had previously discussed what would happen after the deal, and Mike had offered to pay me to keep writing for the blog (at $20 / post, which is less than I make programming or TAing, but is a fair price for something I enjoy doing – so I’m making a cool $20 bill writing this up!). We’ve agreed that if he gets sick of me, he can fire me, and if I want to leave at some point, that’s ok too. Plus, I now have to call Mike “boss”, as in “Sure thing, boss!”  He calls me “kid” now too.

As Mike mentioned, there will be some layout changes as he tweaks the monetization (which shouldn’t affect RSS readers), and his posting has dropped off a bit (he’s not going to try to maintain the 2.5 post / week rate unless he’s in the mood to write).

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nurseb911

Thanks for clearing that up Cheap. Make sure the “Boss” doesn’t work you too hard, I heard he can be a stickler on deadlines :)

2 Jerry Hung

I hate it when money breaks things, and this was an example of that. I suppose if there’s enough money involved, it would only happen sooner than later

It’s sad to see it not work out, and even worse that money comes before passion about something. I don’t think I can ever write for money (except SQL Server T-SQL code), but for my blog to monetize it’ll take forever anyway

Sob sob, I’m only paid $2/post elsewhere :P

3 Potato

You guys pull in enough ad revenue to cover $20/post?!!

4 Four Pillars

Nurse – I think I’d be an ok boss. Truth is though I still think of Cheap as a partner – although the exact partnership has changed with the ownership change.

Jerry – If you can write posts for $2 each then there may be a position opening up here real soon! :) (note to Mr. Cheap – I’m just kidding!)

Potato – yes, we do.

5 Mr. Cheap

Mike: lol, you’re going to outsource my job to Jerry!

6 Melanie Samson

This sounds fair. I hope the business relationship stays as friendly as it sounds under the new terms. Thanks for clearing it all up as I did quite understand what the difference was after reading the original post.

7 Dividend Growth Investor

Actually, since you have been posting around 20 articles/month and givne the traffic and RSS readership at FP, I would have been surprised if your site didn’t make at least $20/post.

So can I also apply for a position in case my blog suffers from any dividend cuts? :-)

8 Mr. Cheap

DGI: Mike should get a bunch of us writing posts and he can be the blogging “pimp”! ;-)

9 Four Pillars

DGI – if you have something you think is worth $20 then send it on over. :)

Cheap – “pimp” – I like the sounds of that… :)

10 Squawkfox

Ohh, you guys need a series, “Pimp My Post!”

Congrats to both of you! :D

11 moneygardener

I was confused by Mike’s original post on this as well, thanks for clearing it up Cheap.

Two saavy businessmen indeed. I like the comparison to the cake cutting.

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