The Polymath Business PlanThe

The Polymath will be a weekly pdf magazine publishing intellectually sophisticated analysis and commentary to a general readership. It will be an ad supported publication with free subscriptions.
Its readers will come primarily from the upper 5% of the population in intellectual sophistication and from those it will appeal to the most knowledgeable and objective.
There are about two billion adults currently living in economically advanced conditions.  The population from which The Polymath will draw will be 2 billion x 5% = 100 million.  Our current experience is that about 7% or 7 million will subscribe if aware of it.  Because growth will probably follow a Gompertz Curve, we expect that with an good circulation campaign, we will reach 2/3 of that or about 4.7 million in the first three years of publication. 

Editorial Policy

A primary goal of The Polymath is publish non-partisan analysis and commentary, as free as possible from confirmation or my side bias as possible. However, while neutral in the current culture wars, we will have a handful of editorial positions.

Primary among those, we believe that, in a technologically advanced, affluent world, no person should be required to live under a body of laws, programs and policies that they consider to be fundamentally unjust or immoral.  Because of this, we support the emergence of values differentiated Microstates and City-States to replace the antiquated Industrial Age nation states.  We also support freedom of emigration and encourage States to, within the context of their belief systems be liberalize their immigration laws.

We also believe that the vast majority of governments are being far too cavalier about the disruption that will be experienced with a coming wave of Technological Unemployment.  Where each nation must address this issue in a manner consistent with their basic values, far too often countries are currently doing little or nothing to address this very serious threat to their citizens future well being.

The Polymath is a publication that will be intended for very intelligent and erudite readers.  It is not intended to be a picture book.  Consequently, though some articles will require some graphics, for the most part The Polymath will be a text oriented publication not unlike peer reviewed journals.

While there are quite a few periodicals publishing articles for the intellectual community, The Polymath is different in two fundamental ways.  First, it is targeted at a more intellectually sophisticated audience than any other magazine on the market.  Second, it does not subscribe to, either openly or tacitly, to a ideological viewpoint.  So, while there are no real direct competitors, there are a number of publications that cater to similar markets and, as such, will probably consider The Polymath to be competition.

Liberal Publications
The Economist
If we admitted to a primary competitor, it would be The Economist.  It has a circulation of slightly over 1.5 million, but an annual subscription price of $199.  Its costs are historically high due to the need to produce and deliver 52 hard copy magazines per year.  They have recently introduced a web based version, but they have not yet mastered the medium and acceptance has been slow.

The Economist is geared to the typical manager, academic or equivalent and as such is written to about a 125 IQ with typical writers having a 144 IQ (Simonton 1985).  The Polymath will be written to about 134 IQ with typical writers having a 153 IQ.  While 9 IQ points may not seem like much, it is sufficient that our readers will clearly notice a difference in intellectual sophistication between the two publications.

The Economist readily admits to a Liberal viewpoint.  However, it is moderate in degree and the confirmation bias, though present, is not so blatant.  Of greater concern is a bias toward the Western European perspectives.  This was grossly apparent in the Crimean secession and quite noticeable in its treatment of Russian and Chinese news stories.  Its commitment to the current political structure has also been apparent in it's coverage of Catalonia's attempted secession.

It is a primary editorial policy of The Polymath that there are several political perspectives worthy of expression, among which are both Conservative and Liberal ones.  Consequently we will aggressively challenge The Economist when its confirmation bias is most blatant.

For these reasons, over time, the Polymath will replace The Economist as the most influential weekly general news magazine in the world.

Like The Polymath, HuffPost publishes in the new media.  However, it relies on the constantly updated website model rather than an e-mail delivered PDF weekly magazine.  Consequently, ike all traffic driven websites, it needs to generate enormous traffic in order to support itself.  Because of this, HuffPost has needed to lower its intellectual standards.  While that increases traffic, it is also unsatisfying to the potential reader of The Polymath.

HuffPost is substantially more liberal than The Economist and often weighs in on partisan issues in a less than unbiased way.  This, also, alienates potential readers of The Polymath.

It, too, has a discernable America centric feel, with the American take on many major world events clearly influencing the stories it publishes.  The Polymath has a goal to not be domiciled in any major country, specifically to avoid the charge that it is forwarding a nationalist agenda.

While HuffPost is very successful, because of its biases and lower intellectual hurdle, we don't anticipate it being a major competitor.

Daily Kos
The Daily Kos is a more openly liberal, at times seeming extreme, in its editorial content.  Its email list is over 3,000,000 as a free signup and is similar to the goal circulation for The Polymath.  It demonstrates the feasibility of reaching circulation rates in this range.  Again, it uses its e-mail list, similar to the plan for Leonardo, to drive traffic to its site.  It does not publish its ad rates.

It, too, has a very American focus. 

Conservative Competitors
Brietbart is a conservative equivalent to The Daily Kos, often viewed as extreme in its editorial policy and content.  It ranks #276 on Alexa world wide. In January, 2017 it claimed to have passed Fox News, HuffPost, etc. in monthly visitors with 45 million.  Fox News is not considered a competitor because its web presence is adjunct to its television news service.  It is most closely comparable to HuffPost, but because of its broader appeal is not considered a good comparable for The Polymath.

Limbaugh Letter
The Limbaugh letter began publication with 413,000 subscribers, but since has kept its circulation relatively secret.  It is quite openly conservative and partisan.  It does not cater to a particularly intellectual audience, being an offshoot of a very widely consumed radio show, it is primarily geared to the lowest common denominator in the conservative community.  It really is not sharing much of a market with The Polymath.

Dick Morris
Dick Morris publishes both on a dedicated site and through newsletter style email alerts.  He has a mailing list of 460,000 which is a free signup.  He charges $35 CPM for a dedicated use of the list and $10 CPM for sponsorship.  Morris is a very good comparable for The Polymath.  We believe that we can exceed his circulation substantially because we will be publishing a more complete magazine with many writers in an essentially virgin market.  

Building Circulation
We will be building circulation through a Compensated Word of Mouth campaign.  We will be recruiting people to promote The Polymath's free subscriptions to their contacts on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Linkedin, e-mail contacts, blog readers, etc.  They will receive 30% of the amount raised for our crowd funding.  We successfully completed a 2,700USD crowd funding from a resource of about 3,000 contacts.  So, we know that the right participants can create a lot of growth while receiving more than adequate compensation for their efforts.

After the initial reward crowd funding, if the Compensated word of mouth program does not work as well as we hope, we may undertake a CF Crowd funding and, again, 50% of the proceeds will be used for building circulation.  This should bring our circulation to 550K which is our YE 2018 circulation goal.

Our plan is to reach circulation goals of YE 2018 550,000, YE 2019 1,650,000, YE 2020 4,700,000.  After 2021 we expect that our circulation will grow slowly to its ultimate goal of 7,000,000 subscribers.

Financial Forecast & Analysis
We will use a revenue sharing model for the various activities required for full functioning.  At the beginning, the sharing will be as follows:
  • Writers' Payments  40%
  • Editorial Activities  10%
  • Ad Sales Activities   10%
  • Circulation Admin     5%
  • Administration           5%
  • Operating Profit        30%
The 30% profit will go to a newly formed corporation, The Polymathic Institute which is formed with the mission of promoting polymathic education, research, careers and lifestyles.  The Polymathic Enterprise Newtork will actually be a subsidiary under that.

As circulation increases, percentages will be adjusted annually, generally downward.  A likely terminal allocation may be as follows:

  • Writers' Payments 35%
  • Editorial Activities   8%
  • Ad Sales Activities    7%
  • Circulation Admin    5%
  • Admin                            5%
  • Operating Profit       40%
A full P&L, then will look like this:
                                                                                         (1,000s of USD)
                                                                                2018          2019            2020
Average Circulation                                         550K       1,650           4,600
Revenue per subscriber                                   20              30                  50
Revenue                                                             11,000      49,500    230,000

Writers' Payments                                           4,400       18,315       80,500
Editorial Activities                                           1,100         4,455        18,400
Ad Sales Activities                                            1,100         4,455        16,100
Circulation Admin                                              550          2,475        11,500
Administration                                                    550          2,475        11,500

Operating Profit                                               3,850       17,325       92,000

Over time, cash flow should approach operating profits, since The Polymath will consolidate into The Polymathic Institute and taxes, if any, will be paid at that level.

A relatively small dividend will be paid to the Polymathic Institute shareholders.  However, consolidated profit will, for the most part, be retained in order to fund polymathic projects. 

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