I am here with Michael DeMond, Creator of The Cherry Tree.
Thanks, Mike-EEE. Great to be here and to, of course, be interviewed by myself.
Yeah, let’s not get weird, OK? So, tell me about this place.
The Cherry Tree is an idea that I had when trying to think of ways to fund a rather ambitious open source software project that I have had in mind for several years now, but have only begun in earnest in the past year.
I considered taking donations, but do not like the notion of asking for money. I also considered starting a creator site but didn’t like the idea of dancing for dollars every month. Plus, it’s still fundamentally asking for money – not to mention that creator burnout is real.
So you landed on building a website instead.
Yeah, it’s gotta be a perfect blend of technology right now. First off, the challenge is that, of course, the open source project I have in mind will ultimately build websites.
So how do I build a website without the framework that builds the websites you want to build?
That’s pretty meta.
Right. Sort of like how do you compile a software language such as C# without an IDE like Visual Studio.
So what’s the answer?
Hugo. Hugo is the answer. I cannot say enough about how awesome this blogging authoring framework is, especially if you are technically-inclined such as I am.
It basically flips the script.
I will allow the pun.
Thanks. Whereas before websites were hosted on servers where the server does the compiling – usually in real time, now all the HTML and resources are compiled up front in a static and portable manner, which can then easily be shared or hosted on a server somewhere.
That seems to the solve the technology part. What about the model?
So that’s the kicker and what got me building this site. It true catalyst was reading a paper by RankXL that talked about earning passive income from content that you produce.
It brought back the old days of creating websites and pulling traffic when I was in college with Tha DooM Shack and Tha Shack Network.
That’s where I got my name.
Right. The gamer tag Mike-EEE. A lot has changed since then and it has been refreshing to re-explore it all. It’s funny, as the premise is the same – pulling traffic, except now on a much smaller scale. Whereas before I was pulling in over a million impressions each month back in the late 90s, the goal now seems to be around 3,000 people per day to fund my project and put it in the black.
Which is great as there are far more people online now than where in 1998.
There’s also Google AdSense Now
Correct. I having been using Ghostery for some time now and have pretty much everything blocked except for Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. A privacy purist will of course freak out over that because that is like allowing the worst of the batch in the door. But, these are the three that I use, know, and trust – for the most part.
But, what has been going on with Google AdSense is incredible. Even though they are building a profile on you, they do a better job of connecting you with what you want, and that is worth exploring IMO.
Evil potential aside, what about the content?
Right. So we have technology, the model, now what about the content? That was the cornerstone of this entire process.
It turns out that I have been creating the content all along with my daily routine. Not just me, but others I know who do the same thing.
By sharing links on social media
It’s as if you know me! (laughs)
It’s funny, as it wasn’t until I did a search on The Onion and saw that they didn’t accept contributions that this whole idea became readily apparent to me. I thought that it was a surprising stance to not allow others to contribute. But, I am glad they don’t as this probably wouldn’t exist without it.
So will you allow others to contribute?
Maybe? For version 2? Or 3? I dunno, that seems like a lot of work. (laughs)
But, in the meantime, I know a handful of incredibly creative, funny, and smart people who I would like to get onboard to help out. We all basically do the same thing in something that I call resource commentary.
What is Resource Commentary?
Well, that’s what I am calling it, at least. At least, for now. The premise is you see a link – the resource, and you have something valuable to say about it – the satire or other commentary that is hopefully entertaining to someone. Somewhere. Anywhere. SOMEONE PLEASE LIKE ME AND MY STUFF!!! (laughs)
Well, I like it. But I am you.
I thought we weren’t going to make this weird?