I founded and run my own organization with members (a nonprofit vs a for-profit business...which has all the risks of starting a business without a potential financial upside). And I am sure there are many other BPL members who have started their own businesses and know what a challenge it is. I have no idea what the finances of BPL are. Does anyone know how many members BPL has?
I don't know Ryan, but I get the sense that he has tried many things (making and selling gear, print magazine, workshops, etc.). Many have not worked out financially, which leads me to suspect that BPL has been a struggle. But I give him some respect for being a entrepreneur with a social commitment to a community. And for being willing to experiment and recognize when something is not working. I say all this from afar, with little direct sense of how good a businessman he is. Although the other staff working with BPL seem honorable, and I like to think that good people tend to coalesce around other good people.
Anyway, I am not a long time member of BPL, although I have been aware of it for years. I'm a long time backpacker, but took a break for quite some time due to a propensity for getting too many degrees, that starting my own organization thing, having kids, living overseas, etc. So I don't have the history of being a member that others have. But the membership fees seem pretty small, and unless BPL has a really large roster of paying members, I am guessing we are not talking about a lot of money here to run this thing on. So, at least for me, I calibrate my expectations accordingly.