The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A personal post

Floydm's picture
Floydm

A personal post

Two bits of personal info to share with the community.

* * *

The first is that this summer my family and I are moving to Vancouver, BC.

As some recall, we spent last summer in Vancouver. Dorota and I fell in love with the city. I was born in Montreal, making my kids and I dual US/Canadian citizens, but I haven't lived in Canada since I was wee. I've always thought about it — though I grew up in California, I took hockey lessons in grade school and studied French rather than Spanish in high school — but it never seemed like the right time.

After this summer we decided that if this is something we want to do we need to just do it, so we began the immigration process last fall. We've now cleared enough of those hurdles that we are preparing to relocate there soon. We are super excited about it, though quite nervous, since it is still unclear precisely where we'll live, where and how much work I'll find, where my kids will go to school, pretty much everything about what our new life will look like. We have leads for some of these, but still this is a big step into the unknown for us. Wish us luck!

* * *

The second bit is that recently I was approached by a suitor wanting to buy The Fresh Loaf. This happens from time-to-time, but this was the most credible, substantial offer I've received. After much thought and many conversations, I turned the offer down.

The suitor currently owns a number of other websites and online forums. They purchase web properties with high Google PageRank and good growth potential, both in terms of traffic and advertising revenue. "Online value investing" is the way I think of it. TFL is a good candidate for that kind of portfolio.

I declined the offer because I wasn't convinced that this company's management would continue to prioritize the well-being of the community. Mind you, I don't believe they would intentionally do it harm - among other things, they offered to include in the contract the hiring of a professional moderation service (I didn't know such a thing existed either) to help keep things civil here. But I wasn't sufficiently convinced that their approach to site management would foster a thriving community. Increasing the amount of anonymous traffic and ad views here is clearly the easiest way to monetize the site and there is plenty of good content on the site already to sustain traffic growth for many years, even if the community disappeared tomorrow. The financial incentives to maximize the one type of traffic at the expense of the other are high and seem nearly irresistable to anyone not passionate about the community side of this site.

So I let the opportunity pass. That was hard, given the uncertainty of our near future. Vancouver is one of the least affordable cities in North America — if not the world — and we are not wealthy. I work for non-profits, rewarding work but not terribly lucrative. That money would certainly have made our transition to Vancouver easier. But still I think I made the right decision.

Maybe it is just my ego, but I feel like there is more to this site than what's captured in the traffic stats.  It isn't just another website or message board,  it is different: it's a tight-knit community, a community of folks who share a passion and try to treat each other with support, courtesy, and respect whether they are baking newbies, serious amateurs, or professionals and regardless of age or country of origin. That makes it really special to me and, I think, a lot of other folks too.  I don't want to see that get messed up.

* * *

Through this period I've reflected a lot about the future of TFL, what TFL means to me and what I mean to the community, and what would be be best for both my family and for the TFL community.

Without question, I am an imperfect manager of this site. I am not a terribly advanced baker, and I personally don't have the capacity or capital to put as much energy into improving this site as I think it deserves. There is a lot of cool stuff that could be done here, things like making the site easier to use on mobile devices and better integrated with social and multimedia, and that is just on the technical side. There are tons of cool things, editorial and content-wise, that could be done here. Or I could imagine getting more involved helping organize community get-togethers like Lumos did recently. The possibilities seem endless.

Amazingly, despite my recent negligence due to all of my other commitments (two jobs, two kids, the immigration process), site traffic continues to grow.

My plan is to chip away at some of these projects this summer, after my family's transition to Vancouver. Let me rephrase that: my hope is to chip away at some of these projects this summer. I can't offer a plan or a promise until my family is well-situated and provided for in our new home.  But, that said, if you or someone you know is looking for an interesting business opportunity and has the time, energy, interest, and capital to do it right, by all means, get in touch with me. Were the conditions right, I would not be adverse to passing on the baton to another individual or company. You wouldn't need to convince me that you'd steward the site exactly as I have, only that you'd continue to keep the well-being of the community foremost in your mind as you carried on.

-Floyd

Comments

Frosty's picture
Frosty

Best of luck with your move Floyd.  I'm not sure I'd have the guts to do it.  I think I'm a bit risk adverse by nature.  My boss is from Vancouver and he sure paints is a wonderful place...

As for the TFL, I'm glad you make the decision you did.  I know a firm would have more resources to chip away at your TODO list, but it would most likely be done to maximize profit and would not provide the same TLC that you provide.

I agree that the group here is tight knit but I also think they are patient.  I don't believe the TFL has become what it has by being the most advanced forum software / experience.  It's become what it has by the quality of people that are part of this community.  So take your time....we'll be here.

Frosty

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Thanks, Frosty.

wally's picture
wally

I haven't posted here in awhile.  Baking and my hours don't leave me with much time.  But I'm constantly visiting, lurking, and most of all - poaching on the ton of information that's contained here.

You have built a beautiful thing, and managed to to manage it in such a way that it flourishes.  You need not apologize for anything IMHO.  This is the go-to bread and baking site in my life and in my experience.

If the right person does approach you - and I hope this happens - and makes you an offer you shouldn't resist, I hope you'll take it and the remuneration which you so richly deserve.

You may have set out to create a website about baking and bread, but you ended up creating a community.  Not bad at all Floyd!

I hope you feel the pride and sense of accomplishment you deserve to.

Best in all things - especially Vancouver!

Larry

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Thank you, Larry.  You are very kind.

-Floyd

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi FLoyd,

I consider myself a newcomer to TFL so my comments reflect that.

I have been more than pleased with what you have created here.  I do not expect the 'latest' in anything....I've lived through that and , in many instances, I have found that it isn't all that it is cracked up to be :-)

What attracted me to this forum in the first place was the 'feel' of it.  I was hooked once I discovered how to navigate using the search box and now I am one of what Khalid(mebake) has named as 'suffering' from 'CBS' aka 'compulsive baking syndrome'.

Words really fail me in my attempt to express the many ways in which this forum has/does enriched my life.  I find absolutely no complaint in how you have 'run' it all of these years.  There is sooo much here besides good bread!  There is community.  There is bread.  There is history.  There is science.  There is geography.....I could go on but I think you get my point....YOU have created something unique and huge that is world wide through you hard efforts and passion - the giving of yourself to those of us here....

So I say - Job Well Done! and thanks for using your descression as to whom you will eventually pass the baton.  I understand the desire and need to move on and I understand the caution in letting go.....doesn't get any easier :-)

Your move sounds very exciting for all of you.  I went to boarding school in Vancouver as a teen and the city is a lovely one despite the fact that I didn't like to boarding school..... The people are lovely, the wilderness that surrounds Vancouver is extraordinary as you well know, and I am sure all of the pieces will fall into place once you jump off of the cliff get going.

No complaints from this member....just lots of appreciation and gratitude and well wishes for you and your family!

Take Care,

Janet

 

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Thanks, Janet!

Yes, the closeness to the beach and wilderness is one of the things we loved about Vancouver.  Truly an amazing city!

-Floyd

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Floyd,

Good luck with the move to Vancouver and as for the TFL site......your intent and gracious generosity of spirit are beyond commendable.  This is the only internet site to which I devote any time.  This is primarily due to the wonderful nature of the site and its people as maintained and directed by you.  Should it pass from your hands, maintaining the standard that you have set will be difficult, but of course not impossible.

Jeff

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Thank you, Jeff.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

you make Floyd.    It is your creation that has grown into something no one, even you, could imagine but it is still - all yours.  I'm glad there are decent offers out there and you would be worried if there were none.   You will do what is best for you and us - of that I am sure.   Enjoy Vancouver and make it home for you and your family.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Thanks, man!

gmabaking's picture
gmabaking

After reading the comments, I can't think of anything original to add. You are such an integral part of this community, it is difficult to imagine it without your leadership and guidance! I have the sense that the non-profits benefit greatly from your hard work too. There is a whole new group of people waiting to become part of your lives as your family settles into a new life.  They are the lucky ones. Hope you will continue to be excited about the lovely city of Vancouver, and will find it to be just what you want it to be.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Thank you, gmabaking.

-Floyd

sonia101's picture
sonia101

Wishing you and your family all the very best!

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Thank you, Sonia!

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

While I wish you and yours all the best in your next adventure in life, I fully support your decision *not* to sell this site.

Quote:
Maybe it is just my ego, but I feel like there is more to this site than what's captured in the traffic stats.  It isn't just another website or message board,  it is different: it's a tight-knit community, a community of folks who share a passion and try to treat each other with support, courtesy, and respect whether they are baking newbies, serious amateurs, or professionals and regardless of age or country of origin. That makes it really special to me and, I think, a lot of other folks too.  I don't want to see that get messed up.

I agree entirely with your statement (in the above quote). You have achieved and maintained these goals for all of us and we are indebted to you. The growing popularity of TFL over the years is a testimony to your vision and effort.

I hope you and yours will continue to develop, maintain and curate this site. It is *your* vision that has made TFL invaluable. Without you, I fear for it's future.

 

Floydm's picture
Floydm

There are other folks or companies that could do right by everyone here AND devote more love and attention to making improvements than I've been able to do, I'm sure.  But until I'm confident I've found someone like that, I'll keep doing my best and continue to beg your forgiveness for the slow pace of change.

-F

isand66's picture
isand66

Floyd,

Good luck to you and your family on your new move.  I have only been on this site a short time, but I find it to be more than just a web site but as others here have said we all feel a sense of belonging to a community.  I look forward to reading new posts and interacting with my fellow bread heads on a daily basis and for that I thank you for creating such a great place to visit.  I'm sure eventually somebody will come along with the right offer and you will get the reward you deserve, but if not, I'm sure you can look into developing the site so you don't lose the sense of community we have but also you can maximize your revenue potential.  If you haven't already you should post a forum for ideas on how to possibly generate some additional revenue from this site.  I'm sure many of us can offer you some creative ways to generate additional funds that you deserve.

Regards,

Ian

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Thanks, Ian.

It isn't enough to support my family on, but the site does a fine job now, IMO, of generating enough revenue to compensate me for the time and energy I put in... and I've tried to keep the advertising at a not too intrustive level.  But should there be a need or desire to change that mixture or fund a more sustained period of development, I would definitely loop in the folks here, as you suggest.

-Floyd

varda's picture
varda

Floyd,   I think it's wonderful that you and your family are making this move and I wish you all the best with it.   I want to add my gratitude for this site to the chorus.  This site creates so much value, and I am thankful that you didn't sell to someone who you felt wouldn't preserve that value.   As others have said, I came for bread, but have gained in so many other ways.    -Varda

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Thank you, Varda.

-F

LindyD's picture
LindyD

 "And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want...  Everything else is secondary."

After reading your comments, Floyd, I couldn't help but think of those words by Steve Jobs.   I think you and Dorota and the kids will find many wonderful and exciting opportunities behind those doors you're about to open, and wish you all only the very best.   Follow your heart.

As to TFL, well, I think it's a pretty terrific place as it is.  Who needs integration with FB or other doodads when the site already is the social media for bakers?  You've done an awesome job over the years and if an opportunity acceptable to you arises which will reward you for all your work, take it!

Lindy

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Thanks, Lindy!

-Floyd

lumos's picture
lumos

Everyone's already said what  I wanted to say, so I won't repeat it, but a word can't express how grateful I am for everything you've done to create this amazing community and things you're still doing daily for us to maintain it.  You don't post so much yourself, but I feel very safe being here because I know you're always there whenever we need help and you always deal with any problem very sensibly and with right sensitivity.  (.....and really sorry for numerous helps I asked you during the organization of UK get-together! :p) 

So whatever the decision you may make for the future of this forum and for yourself, I believe that'd be the right one for this community and for yourself.  I trust you.

And good luck with your and your family's new future in Vancouver.  Never been there myself, but my nephew-in-law who now lives in UK is originally from Vancouver where my niece met him some years ago. Have heard it's a truly wonderful place. 

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Thank you, Lumos.

In order to support our case to Canadian immigration that we really do intend to live in Canada and that Dorota should be allowed to come too, since September I've been working around half time for a non-profit there while remaining close to full time at the non-profit I work for here.  As you can imagine, this has severely curtailed the time I have to bake, and thus to post.  I really hope that after relocating I'll be able to reclaim a better work/life balance that includes more baking and participation here, but we'll just have to see.

-Floyd

 

 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

you make me happy and melancholy, all at the same time!  What you have created here is remarkable: a genuine community of bread enthusiasts who have become fast friends even though most have never met face to face.  While I would exaggerate if I said that TFL was a lifeline for me during my time in ZA, it is no exaggeration at all to say that it was a portable piece of home when I was very far from home.  I'm sure that Mini and some others who have moved about have similar feelings.

May you and your family enjoy your new situation in Vancouver.  It is bound to be enriching in ways that can't be measured monetarily.  Although, I think Ian may be onto something with his suggestion.  Just tell Dorota that you wouldn't be threatened by her getting a job that brings in a bigger pay-check than you've been getting, then turn your full energy to ramping up TFL to whatever potential you see in it.  (Said with tongue only partly in cheek!)

Thank you for what you have done so far.  Thank you for the improvement that I have been able to make in my baking over the past several years.  Thank you for whatever comes next.

Paul

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Thank you, Paul.  It is neat to watch how TFL can give expats like you and Mini a home away from home.  I enjoy that. :)

-Floyd

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Very best wishes for an easy move and hoping you find your new life in BC everything you hope it will be!

I appreciate your decision to keep ownership of TFL. Your integrety and your vision are a big part of the site's success. You have managed to maintain a welcoming and civil culture for bakers at all levels of skill and experience. That's no small accomplishment these days. I think the personal values you exeplify set the tone and model for our community's interpersonal behavior. It's inconceivable to me that any corporate entity could do the same.

I have to wonder whether there are members who have the skills to help implement some of the features you have envisioned and the time to devote to it. I wish I did. 

Thanks for sharing your plans and your reflections. I'm very happy that TFL will remain yours.

Warmest regards to you and Dorota,

David

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Thank you, David.  

Your participation, too, continues to be tremendously influential in setting the tone here.  Thank you for that as well.

I have to wonder whether there are members who have the skills to help implement some of the features you have envisioned and the time to devote to it.

I've wondered about that too.  Or whether there could be an arrangement where the TFL community "hired" me for a period of time to do their bidding at well below market rates but enough to make ends meet. As a Drupal Developer, it isn't the know-how I lack, it's the time.

Something to think about.

-Floyd

AW's picture
AW

Floyd,

Your leadership has made this a dynamic community. It is interesting that you say you're not a "terribly advanced baker" because what makes this online community so great is that a person's skills really don't matter. The people with more experience have contributed their expertise, people with modest skills learn from people who have more and less experience. Those with less experience help those with more experience think through and articulate how the process of bread-making specifically works.

And it's not just about skill. There is inspiration all over this site: stencils, proofers, oven-building, sharing sourdough culture. It's always enjoyable to be here.

So in my opinion the site doesn't have to be bigger or flashier or anything. It works pretty great. There's always room for improvement in work and life but like baking sometimes the more you mess with it, the more it gets messed up. It can grow naturally.

Thank you for not selling the site, especially when you can't yet see where your personal road leads. But as that proverb goes:

"If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep walking."

It would seem you're standing in the right direction, but if you need help seeing more clearly it appears you have a community of bakers who will shine a light for you if you need it.

-Arlene

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Thank you, Arlene.  Your words are very kind and give me much to reflect on.

-Floyd

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I'm sure you made the right decision - big step as it is. I never regretted following my heart and moving from Germany to Maine.

We visited Vancouver a few years ago, and loved it. My son had studied computer animation there, and was sorry that he couldn't stay any longer.

I do appreciate the great job you are doing with TFL, and can imagine how much time and effort goes into it. I'm glad that this is run by a person and not a corporation, better some quirks and glitches, than a smooth, professionally run operation that looks only at the bottom line.

For me TFL is in some ways a substitute for the missing interaction with my friends in Germany (who mostly shy away from social media).

Good luck and best wishes!

Karin

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Thank you for the encouragement, Karin!

-Floyd

Syd's picture
Syd

Is that Vancouver City that you will be moving to Floyd? I spent an amazing three weeks with an old school friend of mine and his family just outside of Duncan on Vancouver Island back in the late nineties.  It truly is a beautiful place with so much to do.  We spent a day in Vancouver City en route to Whistler. It was the middle of winter (January) so it was freezing (well for me anyway) but it struck me as a very well laid out city and pretty, too.  Anyway, I am sure you are going to love it there.  New environment, new challenges, new adventures: exciting times for the whole family.

With regards to the future of TFL: I would be lying if I didn't say I wasn't pleased that you didn't sell it. I really like it just as it is.    About all that other cool stuff that you mention could be possible if it were in the hands of someone who had more time:  well, it's not really that important to me.  I like the down-to-earth feel of this place, the civility and the genuine helpfulness of the community, but most of all I like the fact that it is an absolute treasure trove of information and a huge inspiration to me in my baking.  No amount of bells and whistles would change that.  

Having said that, if at some stage you feel the time has come to move on or to make some big changes here at TFL ,then I know everyone at TFL would support your decision. :)

Thanks for this great website Floyd and I wish you and your family all the best for the future.

Syd

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Yes, Vancouver city it is. We hope to settle somewhere out toward UBC but we'll see.  We're actually headed up there next week to look for an apartment.

Thanks for your compliments.

-Floyd

breadforfun's picture
breadforfun

Floyd,

You are very fortunate to be going to Vancouver.  I have had the opportunity to visit friends there a number of times and the city is truly wonderful.

I share the feelings that many people have already expressed about the community that you have created on TFL.  Although I am fairly new here, the site exudes good vibes.  In the truest sense of community, members here share their experiences for the benefit of all, and it is one of the few sites that I make extra effort to read daily.  I personally have learned so much from everyone on TFL, I can only hope to give back even a portion.  To have created it takes a great deal of vision and we are the beneficiaries.  In these days of commercialization on the web, it takes a lot of courage to turn down an offer to purchase a living and active site, and I have to admire your decision to keep it private.  Best of luck to you.

-Brad

 

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Thank you, Brad.  Much appreciated.

-F

Yippee's picture
Yippee

with your move, Floyd.  The TFL, where my first and only 'real' blog calls home, will always have a special place in my heart, regardless of what your decision would be about its future.  Thank you for offering this nesting ground to the budding bakers to meet up with the experienced.  It's an unforgettable learning experience that will last a life time. 

 

Yippee 

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Thank you, Yippee.

CarlSF's picture
CarlSF

Floyd,

Best of luck to you and your family in your move to Vancouver, BC.  I've heard that it's really beautiful and nice up there.  As for maintaining this website....this website is your baby and it'll always be your baby.  You're the only one that can do it.  This website was conceived from your heart, mind, and soul.   I always thought you did a great job maintaining this website, and you still do a wonderful job in keeping it running.

Carl

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Thank you, Carl.  Vancouver is indeed quite lovely.

-Floyd

Mebake's picture
Mebake

What ever you choose to do, Floyd, i'am sure your virtual community, myself included, will agree. As many said, your efforts and passion behind TFL makes this site one of the most popular sites for both amateurs, and Pros. Therefore, i'am happy that you chose to reatin the ownership of this site.

As to the move to Vancouvre, I wish you and yours the best of luck, and may you all be happy and content, wherever you land!

Best of Wishes from Dubai!

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Thanks, Mebake!

-Floyd

BurntMyFingers's picture
BurntMyFingers

I'm very new here but immediately recognized the site as a very special community. I now happily spend way too much time on the Baker Blogs. There's a technical glitch every now and then but I breeze right past it because I'm so eager to get to the great content. You have facilitated that maybe more than you know by providing... well, I'm not going to get into analogies to a lively starter, etc but that's the idea, great raw ingredients that just sit there until the right influence makes them come to life.

I don't know who your suitor was but I immediately thought of the folks that bought Chowhound. They've made some improvements but also have been stripping away some of the backwater areas of the site that might not have been making them money but were beloved by the community. That's what happens when everything is fed through an economic filter. Thank you for saving us from that and I hope the site will continue to evolve to your expectations while keeping its soul intact.

Otis

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Me too.  Thanks for the encouragement, Otis.

-Floyd

Ruralidle's picture
Ruralidle

Hi Floyd

Thanks for letting us know what is happening with you and your family, as well as TFL.

We have visited Vancouver on 3 occasions and it is one of our most favourite cities on earth (along with Victoria - just a short ferry ride away).  It is a beautiful area and the natives are very friendly!  I wish you all the very best with your move, it is something that we were looking at very seriously but that idea hit the buffers when I suffered a stroke :( .  I do hope that everything goes well for you.

Coming on to TFL, you have created a lovely online community where respect and helpfulness are the dominant characteristics of the participants.  I have learned an amazing amount since I joined the forum and it has become a significant part of my life.  I have also made many friends, both electronically and in person, with people such as ananda, lumos, Daisy_A and Bertie26 to name but 4.  It really is a special place on the internet and your (and Dorota's) time and effort are very much appreciated.  I am sure that the forum is a lucrative target for internet companies and you have my respect (and, I'm sure) the respect of many TFL users that you have chosen to keep faith with the principles that you have run TFL with for the outset, rather than taking the money from whoever offers the most.  This is particularly commendable at a time of such change for your family.

Thank you for TFL and I wish you and your family all the very best in your move to Vancouver, please let us know how things go.

Richard

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Thank you, Richard.  Will do.

-Floyd

ananda's picture
ananda

Hello Floyd,

I wish you and your family all the best in your new adventure, moving to Vancouver.   I remember your post when you first visited the city and that you mentioned then a growing ambition.

As far as the TFL site goes, many have expressed similar feelings to my own.   This fantastic social venue for bakers of all abilities throughout the world is your creation.   You should always be very proud of that, although doubtless you are also very modest, as you have never overplayed this.   Your management method and style, as lumos in particular made mention of, make this site an incredibly safe place to post, and it makes for such respected and civil inter-action between posters too.

I am sure this would be your primary concern when/if it came to passing the site into new ownership.   It would never be the same, were this to happen, but I have lots of respect for you, and am confident whoever you allowed to take over would have the same high standards when it came to looking after the interests of all of us who choose to contribute to TFL.

Personally, I too hope you stay on as the over-seer of TFL; I cannot imagine anyone doing a better job.   The ideas fermenting in your comment to David should be given further consideration, as I would love to see you rewarded honestly and fairly for all the hard work you put in for us.

Very best wishes to you

Andy

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Thanks, Andy.

-Floyd

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Hi, Floyd

Often our passions for baking is discussed here. Somewhat less frequently, but often too TFL is equated to community. On the other hand, compassion--the word--seldom, if ever, appears in our postings.

Perhaps this is so, because  compassion is most often defined a virtue for relieving another's suffering.

I think an equally valid definition is: compassion, a virtue for increasing another's happiness.

It is not coincidence that community and compassion go hand-in-hand.

Floyd, it's your passion that initiated TFL, its your compassion that's created TFL.

Vancouver is home to many sailors, perhaps you are, or will become one; so I wish you and your family a sailor's blessing,

"May you have fair winds, and a following sea."

David G

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Heh.  You know, this summer I came this close to taking beginning sailing lessons at the Jericho Sailing Centre.  I just couldn't carve out the time what with everything else going on, but I'd love to learn to sail.

Thank you for your support, David.

-Floyd 

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