In medical school and residency, a very few righteous professors warned us of the dangers of accepting pharmaceutical meals, textbooks or other swag lest they influence our prescribing patterns in nefarious ways.
The drug reps wandered the halls of our sorry solitary training grounds, a corps of fit and attractive young people whose attention most nerdy physicians could never have hoped to command before the promotion from blood-splattered grunt to Major with a pager.
Perhaps the most accurate representation of the pharma rep I’ve seen is from Scrubs, when Heather Locklear struts down the halls of a hospital in slow motion while repressed docs stare longingly, jaws agape in awe and desire.
The reason these thoughts are percolating through my brain lately is because I’m trying to figure out what stance I should take as I establish nascent affiliate relationships.
While I don’t necessarily expect to make money on this site, I’d like to learn the skills involved in appealing to affiliates, posting links, and generally learning the details that everyone but Don Draper had to manage to keep the lights on in Mad Men.
This appeals to me because I’d like to learn some skills outside my comfort zone. I’m a believer in growth mindset, so the chance to learn something new and develop proficiency is inherently interesting to me.
At the same time, I’d like to make some sort of a compact with readers (who at present may consist exclusively of blood relatives) to remain honest about when I stand to profit from a product I endorse or otherwise promote on the site. I don’t think running a profitable blog would undermine my purpose, but it’s time I enshrined my ethics going forward.
As a cherry on top, I’d like to do this in simple, elegant language (without sounding like an attorney has made simple ethical concepts into complex CYA legalese).
With that in mind, here are my guiding principles going forward.
1) Crispy Doc is first and foremost a means to communicate my mid-life crisis in words. Reclaiming my time and allotting it according to my values. Pursuing freedom by achieving FI. Providing advice I wish I’d received (or taken) when I was 15 years younger and fresh out of residency. Sharing those experiences and priorities that I find central to meaningful living.
2) The site is an opportunity for me to learn and test new skills on the interwebs. It’s also a chance to explore a second act for when I leave medicine for good.
3) It’s an opportunity to find and connect with a tribe of invisible misfit friends with shared values and vision and participate in a community. This can be tricky, as the more connected I become to virtual friends the more I risk neglecting my family. Goal will be to honor any request from my son, daughter or wife when they ask me to put down the phone or get off the computer. Better still, to never let it get to that point.
4) It’s a chance to dabble in entrepreneurship, with the caveat that any affiliate or advertising relationships should be secondary to the reasons above. If I stand to make money from something I write about, I’ll disclose it up front and make transparency central to what I write about. I’ll also try to specify who might benefit from a particular course or financial product.
5) I won’t put my interests ahead of yours or otherwise try to surreptitiously hose you.
So there it is. Hold me accountable, dear reader.