2020 Recap/2021 Plans

What a year this has been, in more ways than one. But I’m not here to talk about the obvious, global stuff. In what I hope to make an annual tradition, I’m here to look back at my calendar year and see how well I met my goals, and set new ones for the upcoming here. I will be making these judgments based on my blog post from January of this year.

Looking Back: What Worked

One of my stated goals was to host quarterly cryptoparties in my area. Well, obviously that didn’t 100% pan out thanks to the pandemic and lockdown rules. I did, however, move those cryptoparties online to become webinars. I originally set my aim for 3 of them in 2020 beginning in Q2. I mostly met this goal. I missed my Q3 webinar due to lack of preparedness on my end (I have no excuse, it snuck up on me). I did, however, do both Q2 and Q4 and I have my next scheduled for Q1 2021. So even though I didn’t 100% nail it, I’m willing to call this a success for getting back up and sticking with it.

I said that I hoped to attract more financial support (I will have a financial breakdown at the end), and I did. At the time of publication, I have 4 patrons on Liberapay and make $3.95 USD per week. So also a win. (Also that's a bad goal cause that's not really something I can control, but c'est la vie.)

While I didn’t state these goals, these were some additional successes I had: I started a weekly current events podcast that I have thus far managed to maintain regularly, I continued to post blogs weekly, and I was invited to be a regular contributor on Decentralize Today which I am attempting to write for weekly on privacy topics in 2021.

In digital growth, I went from just over 100 followers in January to over 650 at the time of this post! That’s over 500% growth in a year! Holy cow! But it’s not just that. The blog has 16 fediverse followers and 15 email subscribers with over 21,000 views! The podcast has a combined total of almost 50 listeners and over 2,000 listens across the available platforms. And most incredibly, the site itself has steadily grown with 923 unique visitors in January and just shy of 5,000 last month! That’s a total of over 28,000 unique visitors this year! (Don’t panic, I asked my hosting provider what analytics they collect and it’s only IP address, so that’s all the information I have access to and frankly more than I want). This year has been mindbogglingly incredible. I know this is something everyone says and it sounds cliché but seriously, thank you SO MUCH! This is incredible and I’m so grateful for all of you!

What Didn’t Work

As I said, I missed one webinar totally, and even the ones I did run had a few technical mishaps getting up and running. Such is life when you run multiple operating systems and only stream a few times a year. Even so, I hope to smooth out that process and get it right as I move forward.

I had mentioned I was hoping to add a second Tor relay. I did not do that. I am still hoping to rent an offsite server and host an exit node. Sadly that has not come to fruition yet, mainly because I’m waiting for a server to open up in New York – I think we need more US-based servers (you can take or leave that opinion, that’s okay) and I think New York makes the most sense since it has the highest population in the US and therefore traffic coming from there would blend more easily, I hope. Either way, the provider has said they’re fine with me running an exit node so at least I don’t have to worry about that.

I also mentioned possibly adding to the list of federated services like Mastodon, Peertube, or more. Sadly I was also unable to do that. They are still very much goals of mine.

Financial Transparency

This year, I made $119.96 USD through Liberapay. I did not receive any other compensation related to this project.

I incur the following costs directly related to this project Web hosting: $52.82/year Write.As Pro: $45/year

All leftover income ($22.14) went towards covering my own personal, peripheral expenses such as internet, housing, food, time, and I pay for ProtonMail Plus which is connected to my TheNewOil@protonmail.com email address. In the future, if my income continues to grow, I will be more transparent with these costs but I trust at this time that you all are convinced that $22 did not cover any one of these expenses completely. (Fun side note: it wasn’t until I typed this out that I realized that technically this project is now solvent. I guess that means it’s time to expand.)

Goals for 2021

My goals for 2021 are basically the same as they were last year: continue to grow. Thanks to feedback from my wonderful readers like you, I have made dramatic improvements to the site both in content and design. I am also hoping to launch a new podcast series in late Q1 or Q2 in addition to my weekly segment. I am hoping to launch a series of video tutorials and in-depth blog posts to add more depth to my site. I am going to begin consulting services in 2021. I am also continuing to attempt to reach out into the real world and speak at conferences, organizations, and pretty much anyone who’s interested in hearing my message.

I am also working on ways to ethically monetize this project. I am currently seeking affiliation status with some of the services I offer, but I will continue to offer non-affiliate links for those who are uncomfortable using affiliate links. I’ve also been asked about possibly translating the site into other languages. This is something I would love to do. I think far too many privacy sites are western-focused, specifically in America. I need to check with my hosting provider about the best way to do this, but if you speak another language and are familiar with the various privacy practices that are legal there and the cultural norms, I would be very interested in having your help with this. And as, mentioned in last year’s report, I am still involved with my local EFF chapter. I hope to get us organized toward a facial recognition ban in my area, but I’ll help with whatever they need from me.

This past year has been incredible and humbling. The support I have experienced from all of you is just mind-boggling and I cannot express enough how sincerely, from-the-bottom-of-my-heart grateful I am to all of you. This growth would not have happened without all of you: without you sharing my site, sharing my blog posts, sharing my podcast, and of course contributing to my Liberapay. I am so eternally thankful. I don’t fully know what all the future holds, but I promise you that I am not planning to abandon this project any time soon, so I look forward to a successful 2021 filled with more growth, more security, more privacy, and more changing the world one person at a time. Thanks for being part of this with me. Cheers!

You can find more recommended services and programs at TheNewOil.org. You can also get daily privacy news updates at @thenewoil@freeradical.zone or support my work in a variety of ways here.