I wasn’t sure where it would take me at the time, but I had big dreams, nothing to lose, and a seemingly unlimited supply of stubborn determination. The things I learned along the way would serve as the foundation for ray.do (pronounced ray-d-o), our new social publishing platform.
As an artist, I was shocked when a few friends told me they would no longer visit my blog. Apparently the design was so bad it hurt their eyes.
This is when I dedicated myself to building something beautiful online.
I began experimenting with the look and feel of the website, learned WordPress, studied how search engines work, wrote about web marketing, and explored different digital content distribution strategies online. It was the first in a series of redesigns and overhauls that continue to this day.
With money tight and uncertainty high, I was faced with the failure of a number of long term relationships. While this video is less polished than the videos we’re producing now, the message still resonates and serves as a reminder to the huge leap of faith it takes to expose your inner thoughts publicly for all to critique.
A number of my posts go viral and make a splash nationally. Then this post is featured on the homepage of the Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Medium.com and other nationally relevant websites which drove millions of pageviews to my website and social properties. Today we interact with 30-50K unique visitors each month, and our distributed network is growing steadily.
This video was my first deep dive into cryptocurrencies and the blockchain as a disruptive technology in the financial sector. It would open my eyes to the future of money, digital commerce, and reinforced my vision of a new model for online advertising. I would eventually land a contract with a local bitcoin startup and come to love everything about this new and revolutionary technology.
This will become relevant as you learn more about our vision for a online currency backed by creativity and online influence. You can learn more about in the last entry on this timeline.
Realizing the system is broken
May 31, 2014
After 6 months and more than 4 million page views, I now had some online credibility. However, I quickly realized that clout doesn’t pay the bills, and started to grow frustrated with the lack of options for me to monetize my online content.
What I realized is that the way we distribute content online, and more importantly, how we compensate people for the digital content they create, is broken at the core. It became apparent that in order for anything to change, we (the creators) would need to demand that the incentive structures around online publishing be changed fundamentally.
The idea takes shape
June 19, 2014
After learning more about how the online content distribution and advertising machines work, I started to experiment with ways we could use the open nature of the internet to empower independent content creators and disrupt the world of online publishing.
The overarching goal would be to shift the incentive structures in digital publishing away from traditional advertising mechanisms, and instead use those dollars to pay creators based on the quality of the content they create, as well as the overall value they bring to the community through their digital contributions. In the process, we’re hoping to validate a new model for how commerce and advertising can work online.
In June of 2014 I began meeting with software developers to talk about how to turn my ambitious ideas into a functional digital product.
We secure financial support and software development partners
November 5, 2015
After months of negotiations and interviews with different investors I joined forces with Clear Idea Labs to begin designing the architecture for a new social publishing platform and launched ray.do (pronounced ray-d-o) as a Delaware registered LLC.
20% of the company is set aside to back a creative currency and to reward contributors on the ray.do network.
Since then we’ve used technology and new media to make a significant impact on our local community over the last year, and the Sarasota Underground website now serves as a proving ground for our online publishing platform as well as a pilot project which will help us validate new models for how to pay creatives for the work they do online.
In December and January we were invited to participate in two major collaborations.
The first was in collaboration with iHeartMedia and Sony Red, where we spent 6 hours backstage with pop singer DAYA to produce a number of social, internal, and public facing videos.
The second collaboration was with Semkhor productions and Ringling College of Art & Design. We followed Ethan Hawke on a private tour of the university and had Ethan read a script I wrote about the state of filmmaking in Florida.
We think it’s important to connect as a local community. Actually, our entire strategy revolves around using technology to help real world networks of people amplify their digital reach.
With 435 attendees and 7 candidates for city commission, the town hall was a major step in our efforts to creatively connect Sarasota through local advocacy and public awareness for community issues that are relevant to our target demographic. It also served as a notice to the community that there is a new player in town.
As part of a new venture with Bold Cowork Sarasota, we moved our entire operation into the Bold Building downtown Sarasota. The new space puts us in the center of an emerging tech community and puts us one step closer to our goal of using technology and new media to creatively connect the local community.
Validate a new digital currency based on creative output and online influence
July 15, 2019
We have an even bigger goal of using the infrastructure we are building to validate a digital currency based on a user’s creative output and online influence. 20% of the company stock has been set aside to pay contributors as the network grows which means that the currency will be backed by the value of the business itself. We hope that giving the creators ownership of the network will create a paradigm shift in how media companies are built moving forward. Welcome to the ground floor of a better internet for everyone.