Home Joining forces with Chris

Joining forces with Chris

user profile picture Erik T. Oct 03, 2008
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Dear Chris Martenson fans,

I recently joined forces with Chris Martenson to help him continue publishing free educational information about the American economy on I’m writing today to introduce myself and to explain the role I’ll be playing, helping Chris grow the site and the video and live education programs.


My name is Erik Townsend. I was an entrepreneur in the software industry, and was one of the lucky guys who got out in the late ‘90s when the getting was still good. Not having to work full-time isn’t as glamorous as it probably sounds. I’ve had the luxury of time to explore quite a few issues of concern to our nation, and Chris’ work stands out as the best example I’ve found of someone explaining complex issues in plain English so that anyone can learn about them.

When I discovered and watched the Crash Course a few months ago, only the first ¾ of the course was completed. I learned that Chris had been funding the site’s hosting and technical services expenses out of his own pocket. The revenue he was receiving from paid site subscriptions only partially defrayed his operating expenses.

Chris has a personal passion for making the message of the Crash Course free to everyone. In fact, he was so concerned about not being perceived as self-serving that he has resisted the temptation to put revenue-generating advertising on the site. But traffic counts have grown exponentially and the site outgrew its bargain-basement hosting plan almost overnight. One of the main reasons the completion of the Crash Course had been delayed was that Chris was running out of money and couldn’t afford to subsidize the project out of his own pocket any longer.

Why I got involved

I felt a duty to act. I thought, here’s this guy who has committed his life to educating the rest of us about what’s really going on in the economy. I was so impressed by Chris’ altruism that I sent him a $5,000 donation to help fund the completion of the Crash Course. I’m proud to feel that I personally made the completion of this great work (the Crash Course) possible, and have no regrets about the contribution. I later learned that Chris has never dared to ask his loyal readers for donations because he didn’t want to seem self-serving. But unexpectedly, after I mentioned my own donation in passing on a blog comment page, another kind reader was inspired to send Chris a $2,000 donation. Perhaps a trend is starting on its own? If you can afford to help, Chris really needs more donations or subscriptions. He’ll never come out and ask for them directly. That’s not his style. But I’m less bashful, so please help us out if you can afford to!

Chris has basically pulled off this entire project single-handedly. It’s an amazing feat, but he’s been spread too thin. My schedule as a private investor leaves me plenty of spare time, so I decided to sign up to help Chris grow the business and put in place a sustainable economic model. I’ll be using my skills as a former CEO to help free Chris’ time and attention up so he can focus on the content he is so passionate about, while I put a sustainable business model in place. I’m doing this as a volunteer, and will have no financial interest in the site.

What I plan to do

My first managerial act will be to put advertising on the site to help recover operating expenses. Folks, everyone has enjoyed a free ride thus far. Chris gives away all this great content for free, and actually pays money out of his own pocket for the privilege of making it free to you on an expensive high-performance server. We can all see that’s just not sustainable in the long term.

I realize that some of you might find advertising bothersome or unwelcome. If anyone has strong feelings about this, I’ll be happy to discuss any other ideas you might have about how to do this some other way.

What you can do

We are all in this together. I am thankful for what Chris has done and now I’m throwing my hat in the ring. If you feel, as I do, that you’ve received something important from this site/work, the question for you is, what can you offer? This could come in many forms. Are you an internet marketing expert who feels we could be doing more and would like to donate your thoughts? Do you have a high volume site with which to make an exchange link? Do you have time, money, contacts, or skills that could help here? Do you see something glaringly obvious that we are overlooking? If you want to become more involved in some way, large or small, please contact me to discuss how and when this will happen. This is a grassroots effort, and I really need to connect with more passionate Americans who care about these issues and the importance of raising public awareness about them.

Future improvements

I’ll also be making more announcements in coming weeks to keep interested readers informed of my efforts in the following areas:

  • Updates on completion of the Crash Course, including Ch. 20 and a new “Chapter Zero” video introduction by Chris, which will overview the content of the Crash Course
  • Plans for new video, audio, and blog offerings
  • Introduction of a donations program and honor roll for major donors
  • New Live Speaking Tour program
  • Monthly Conference Call Program for subscribers
  • Development of a viral marketing strategy to promote the free content on the site
  • Plans to repackage the Crash Course and weekend seminar materials as courseware for a semester university course on practical economics. The courseware will be made available to professors of accredited universities and other institutions on a discretionary basis

One more thing…

I’d like to ask regular readers to take to heart that Chris has been working phenomenal hours for the last several weeks, and is swamped keeping up with the bailout, the new site and related migration issues, and getting Chapter 20 finished and online. Your patience and understanding will be appreciated if Chris cannot personally answer every e-mail as he’s done in the past. We need to keep focus on our key strategic priorities, and the only way for everyone to enjoy the quality of the Blog content and still see Ch. 20 on time is to scale back the amount of time Chris spends personally attending to all his fans. You can blame me for this, too, but I’m sure you’ll understand why it’s necessary. Recent blog comments have indicated that you’d like to see more of Chris’ objective content, so that’s what I’m going to work on bringing you.

I’ll be starting some conversations in the online forums on this site, soliciting your feedback, suggestions, and ideas about the future direction of the site and related video, audio and blog products.

I look forward to working with you to help Chris serve everyone with more top-quality free content pertaining to the American economy in plain English that Main Street can understand.

It’s the most important challenge of our time. If you can help me spread the word, you’ll be doing a great thing for our country.

If you need to contact me, don’t hesitate to e-mail me directly at

Erik Townsend
Fort Lauderdale, Florida