KEVIN GRINDE — Rhythm Of The Trail: The Fish, One Year After

Unheralded.fish became a year old this week.

One-year-olds are a blast to watch as they grow. They’re fresh, fun, unpredictable, messy, emotional, creative, aware and always entertaining.

I’m describing my granddaughter, but many of those characteristics could describe the Fish, too.

In the second year of life, humans slowly but surely learn to become aware of their environment. They become more creative; their sense of taste, smell, touch develops through experimentation; they learn to speak and express themselves in a variety of ways (some get very good at it and rarely shut up); they become familiar with rules and how to break them; and they embrace fun because fun translates into many things, sometimes happiness.

In our second year, the Fish’s path won’t be any dissimilar with that of the kid’s.

We hope to attract more contributors, communicators who enjoy going along on our ride even though none of us know where our next destination will be. They’ve chosen to contribute because all of them — their names appear on the left side of this page — want to share their work.

None of them have been compensated one red cent. A few have said we should keep the Fish that way. Maybe we will. Maybe we won’t. We’re not going to lose any sleep about the entire business model thing: capital, profit and loss, cash flow, budgets, sales, return on investment, market, branding (that one word makes me fume more than any other on this list, and someday I may tell you why that’s so) …  Add “human” resources to the list and and fill in the blanks if you wish.

Don’t misunderstand. We are taught that business makes the world go ’round — and it does, for better or worse. And more power to those who choose to make that happen. An ethical, profitable business is worth its weight in gold, not just to the owners or people who buy its stuff but, most importantly, to those who make the widgets and the profit happen.

Responsible capitalism can be a very good thing — you know, the nonsubsidized ones that pay a fair wage beginning at $15 and hour and offer benefits solid enough to help cover basic needs … The ones whose owners and management treat people well and follow the law — you know — they don’t discriminate against age and disability, gender. Businesses without Human Resources departments. Businesses that don’t gouge on prices or subscribe to collusion (like the owners of gas stations in a city I’m familiar with). The ones who clean up after they make a mess.

We work to buy and pay for the basic essentials to survive: food, water, shelter, clothes, sanitation, education, health care and transportation. The rest of life’s stuff pretty much is all bullshit, except for owning at least one drum set.

Of course, jobs are great. Some of us like them so much, more and more people are working two or three $7 an hour ones each week.

All I’m saying is  money wasn’t the motivation that drove the four of us who formed and launched the Fish. Telling and sharing stories was — that’s it. Pretty pure. Pretty simple.

We also know people these days demand their information for free, which is why most business models for the majority of print and online publications are outdated by decades or even days. The so-called successful ones are really good at offering breathless stories about the Kardashians, the fake reality stuff, sports only, Hollywood, Disneyland — just about anything in SoCal — or they lie to you.

I’m also saying that, yes, a Fish business model does exist. We’ve been approached by businesses to become part of our pages. This week, we posted an invite to advertisers. Where all of this ends up, who knows? We doubt we’ll ever get rich on the Fish, but as long as people want to share their work, we will be here.

Right now, we’d like to thank the people who’ve shared their thoughts, their words, their images and wisdom. For those of you who don’t write, know this: writing well is one of the most difficult things you can do. Trust us. Fish contributors write well.

So on our one-year anniversary, the four of us -— Joe Greenwood, Mike Brue and Jeff Tiedeman (Jeff does the lion’s share of the lifting at the Fish) — would like to thank the people who’ve become a  part of this web site. Thank you! Russell Hons, Nancy Edmonds Hanson, Jim Fuglie, Dave Vorland, Natasha Thomas, Terry Dullum, Jeff Olson, Tim Madigan, Tom Coyne, Tom Davies, Eric Bergeson, Bev Benda, Lori Nitschke, Barbara LaValleur, Chuck Schumacher, Justin Welsh,  Darrel Koehler, Nick Hennen and Kim Yeager, John Stennes, Jerry Kram and Chris Allen.

These people have provided some excellent reading. We welcome future contributors, too. We want to add to our media mix -— think video. If you’d like to become a part of this gang, let us know. You won’t get rich, but the payoff is in the sharing and knowing what you write just might make a difference, even for a few minutes, to those who read you. That’s what we’re about.

Most of all, the biggest thanks goes out to you — our readers — who keep the Fish flopping. Have an excellent 2016. We sure will.


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