But for Calandra and his colleagues, the enormous fuss kicked up by all this turned out to be something of a blessing in disguise. They had previously pondered setting up an independent publication—only sensible given that Gamurs was a company that some months ago fired 40 percent of its staff, and then put up a job posting for an AI editor, paid between $40,000 and 55,000, who would copyedit 200 to 250 AI-produced articles per week. But the abrupt firing and mass resignations got way more attention than they had anticipated.
Calling their new venture Second Wind, Calandra and company scrambled to set up YouTube and Patreon pages to capitalize on all the attention, and put out a rebranded version of Croshaw’s show, along with other series they did own.
As of November 19, Second Wind had over 300,000 subscribers on the former, and over 11,000 paid subscribers on the latter. Calandra told the Prospect that he had initially hoped to hit the $12,500 monthly revenue mark on Patreon in the first month of operation, but they are already close to $60,000. “Not only has the Patreon exceeded all of our expectations by a country mile, we’ve also done very well on initial merch sales,” he said. “We’re already talking with multiple sponsors and partners behind the scenes…We are most certainly on a path to being sustainable.”
The Second Wind legal structure is still being ironed out, but “our plan is to be a worker co-op with equal shares among our co-founders which would be nine of us,” Calandra said.