Where I’ve Been and Where I’m Going

Oh, hello there. As you can see, we’re getting all moved in and cozy here. It’ll take a while, I’m sure. We’ll try not to leave too many boxes unpacked in too many corners for too long, but, well, you know how it goes.

In my copious spare time as I’ve been getting ready to launch our Kickstarter (oh, by the way, did you know we have a Kickstarter?), I’ve been thinking about the things I might want to say when we launch. Today, though, as much as it’s about the future and what it may hold for us, I’m thinking about how we got here.

In particular, I’d like to take a little time to thank Ed and PZ for making Freethought Blogs happen and accepting me when I asked to join. Nearly five years ago now, I approached a brand new, shiny blog network with the world’s biggest case of impostor syndrome, swallowed my terror, and asked whether they might, maybe, you know, let me sign up. Pretty, pretty please.

I’ll forever be grateful that they said, “Yes”, but I’m even more grateful for what came after. Freethought Blogs helped me build an audience and gave me a platform from which to do effective activism. It also gave me an education in what it takes to build and run something as complicated as a blog network with a bunch of headstrong, opinionated, determined, righteous bloggers.

The Orbit isn’t FtB Lite. It isn’t FtB Heavy for that matter. It certainly isn’t the Anti-FtB. It is its own new thing, with lots we still have to learn about how it works and what it can accomplish. But without the framework Ed set up at Freethought Blogs and without all the things PZ pushed us to accomplish within that framework or demonstrated could be accomplished within that framework, The Orbit wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t have the skills or experience I’ve contributed to getting us set up. I wouldn’t have the confidence or the vision required to take the plunge. I wouldn’t have the colleagues or the social network it takes to pull something like this off.

I also wouldn’t have the experience of working with colleagues I like, admire, find frustrating, and occasionally clash with to build something bigger than all of us. I wouldn’t know that magic that is building something with almost no resources beyond our own wits, reputations, and determination. I wouldn’t know how to ask for the little else we do need with the knowledge that people want us to succeed rather than shame over not being entirely independent. I wouldn’t know what it feels like to take big, necessary risks and find a group of people willing to back my plays.

The Orbit isn’t Freethought Blogs. We have different missions, even with overlap. We have different operating structures. We have different people. But there’s still going to be a lot of FtB in The Orbit. There has to be. FtB was one of the forces that made many of us who we are.

For that, I’d just like to stop today and thank Ed and PZ for making Freethought Blogs way back when and letting me be part of it. I hope I can do you proud here.

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Where I’ve Been and Where I’m Going

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