When I first started Built in Cbus, my vision was grand in scope.
I wanted to build a creative community. I hoped not only to provide a platform for creatives and entrepreneurs to promote their work, but also to provide resources by way of mentorship, partnership, and other means. That would take a lot of time, and a lot of money.
So I wanted to start smaller. I didn't just want to start another blog. ("Who wants to read another blog?" He asks, as he writes this on his blog.)
I wanted to use my talent and passion for video to bring something unique to the city. With my good friend Zach Frankart and a few others, we started out doing interviews with five interesting people in Columbus. They were well received, and we pushed forward making more videos, mostly around downtown.
I wanted to build a platform where we could provide value to people starting businesses. Alongside informative interview or documentary style pieces, we would create short promos and behind the scenes pieces on businesses and events. We could build the site out around smaller communities within Columbus. This could lend to a greater sense of pride and connection with your neighbor, and allow us to get more granular in coverage that may not apply everywhere else. We could make t-shirts! The Short North Motorcycle Club was my personal favorite.
We did our thing for a little while, and at the same time let our imaginations run wild with where it could take us and the community. At a certain point, when trying to put together more content, I ran into something unfortunate.
No one wanted to truly partner with the site. Some people wanted free work, sure. But when it came to cross-promotion or developing a place where creatives can thrive, everyone else fell silent.
Built in Cbus is one of the reasons I'm so personally against doing free work. There is a time and place to work on passion projects. Almost every video you see on Built in Cbus was created for free, and we've never run any type of advertising. But when a business approaches you and wants you to invest your time, equipment, and expertise into making something used to promote their business (which, ideally, brings in more customers and makes them more money), it's just dirty and wrong.
It wasn't supposed to be about money. I mention it here because it was really disheartening to not find more people that wanted to foster a community. I wanted to help young creatives and entrepreneurs in ways that I haven't been helped.
I'm amazed that every day @builtincbus gets at least a half a dozen new Twitter followers. Maybe the account gets recommended when new users follow a lot of other prominent Columbus-based accounts, but we've hardly put out any true "Built in Cbus" content for a year.
When you look at Silicon Valley and companies like Instagram, Twitter, or any of the numerous popular blogs, you realize not everything has to have a business model. Not right away, anyway. That was my hope with Built in Cbus. I guess I was wrong.
I'm not shutting down the site. I moved it over to live as a part of my site 7 or 8 months ago because it didn't make sense to pay for separate hosting when I wasn't actively putting new content up every month. But the site still has value (and our work still gets its positive comments from time to time), and I'm not just going to throw that away. Maybe one day if I meet someone with deep pockets, we can fund some of the original ideas I had. Commission artists to create work, sit down for interviews, and plug their website or business. But for now, it'll just have to wait.