Am I In The Pocket Of Big Doctor?

crispydoc Uncategorized 7 Comments

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.

Comments 7

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  1. Love it!
    Well if you learn any trade secrets please share them with me because I too will struggle with this at some point.
    I thoroughly enjoy every aspect of blogging (brotherhood of like-minded misfits), the entertaining discussions when people take the time to comment on your posts (the big reward for me personally), and something that allows me to be creative and passionate about.
    Doing a blog is not easy (many hours go into each post) so I do not see any issues if somehow we can get it monetized while keeping our core principals the same.
    Well wish you much financial and otherwise success. It would be nice if this is an endeavor that can make the path to FIRE that much quicker and also keep us mentally stimulated when we do.

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  2. Hey Crispy Doc,

    I was thinking about this recently too. I think I am a ways off from where anyone would consider advertising on my site and have almost identical motivations for blogging. The conundrum also reminds me of something that I encountered when I was younger.

    I used to compete in a sport called Biathlon (cross country skiing with a rifle on your back and intermittent precision shooting ). Practical when you live near the tundra, and should have future applications as my daughter nears dating age. It was also a non-mainstream enough sport that I could actually do well at competing. At one point I started to do it at a pretty high level where there would have been funding etc. It struck me that what was once fun suddenly felt more like work.

    Even though the time spent was relatively unchanged, having a financial aspect changed the nature of it for me. I think that you are approaching this well by stating your priorities. It gives you an accountability to yourself/readers which is needed when funding can bring its own pressures.

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      Loonie Doc,

      1) The only way Biathalon could sound more Canadian is if you were to add picking up trash and offering clueless tourists to escort them to the destination in your town they can’t find.

      2) It was none other than WCI who once wrote that he’s been standing in the mirror practicing the lines, “Son- you need to know two things about me….#1 I love my daughter very much and # 2 I’m not afraid to go back to prison.” Since my dad is Cuban, I’ve been practicing my Al Pacino accent to develop a Scarface variant for the day my daughter brings a date home. (Let’s leave any “little friend” jokes implicit for now.)

      3) Before you make me out to be too pure, let me state that I’d love to learn the business side of things and develop a competence in blogging for profit. I’d just prefer to do it because I’m driven to learn new and interesting things, not because I’m willing to throw readers (whom I consider my invisible internet friends) under the bus for a quick buck.

      4) You are completely right that the financial dimension has the potential to change the dynamic from drive to duty. Isn’t getting out of doing things for money the entire reason we pursue FI? Not necessarily for the need to walk away (although many folks have that need for good reason), but for the power to say no to aggravations.

      Always happy to have a visit from you,

      CD

  3. Learning new skills and having a creative outlet is great. Being part of the tribe of misfits has been the most rewarding part for me so far.

    I didn’t picture you as the Heather Locklear type, but I’m glad to know you’re not trying to keep us in your pocket.

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