The Forest is an ever-expanding body of writing and inquiry from me, Rob Hardy. In these tangled woods, you will encounter artifacts from my past and present explorations of a handful of wickedly complex questions.
- How can I be the change I want to see in internet media and business?
- What would marketing look like if it regenerated our ability to trust one another?
- How can I build a business rooted not in endless growth, but in the disciplined pursuit of enough?
- How might building smaller, more sustainable businesses become a cultural norm? What might the world look like if that norm began to spread?
- Who must we become, as individuals and societies, in order for any of these paradigm shifts to take root?
I call this place The Forest because of the untamed, unpredictable nature of these questions. Exploring these topics intellectually is relatively safe. But to live the questions, as Rilke said, is just as likely to lead to danger, delusion, and dark nights of the soul as it is to reveal new paths and possibilities. Forests can nourish life, and they can put it at risk. The writing in these digital wilds is no different. There are no easy answers here. No quick fixes. If you choose to follow me into these woods, and live the questions alongside me, our safety is not guaranteed.
But for me, these questions resonate in a way I cannot ignore. I know I'm meant to live them, spending my days traveling ever deeper, away from the safe confines of conventional wisdom. And I suspect I'm not the only one. We've all experienced the world that "growth at all costs" ideology has made for us. We've all experienced the fruits of a culture that prioritizes control, certainty, and safety above all other values. We can all sense the nihilistic malaise that's settling over our world like a thick fog.
My sincere belief is that business, practiced with intention and care, can connect us more deeply to ourselves, and to the world around us. It can help us channel our gifts in ways that enrich and serve those around us, while giving them means to enrich us in return. And maybe, just maybe, somewhere deep in these woods, there's a new paradigm for business waiting to be discovered by a brave few, and brought back for the benefit of all. A new paradigm of business that can help heal individuals, communities, and perhaps even lead humanity into its next golden age.
The Forest beckons, friends. Knowing full well the potential fruits and dangers ahead, we choose to step across this threshold.
Much of the writing in The Forest lives behind a paywall—particularly the most practical and personal pieces.
The default for a business like this would be a recurring subscription. But I've run those types of business in the past, and don't feel they contribute to my quality of life. Subscription businesses make me feel like I'm on a treadmill, forever obligated to keep shipping new work at the agreed upon consistency. That's a fine model for some, but it's only ever caused me stress and held me back from doing my best work.
That's why access to The Forest is a one-time fee. You pay once, and you have lifetime access to everything I'll write here, whether it's one year from now or five.
You'll also notice there are numerous pricing options available.
What's the deal with offering multiple price points?
You can choose to pay $100, $200, $300, or $500 for The Forest.
Like most things here, this pricing structure is an experiment. I believe this work is worth way more than I'm charging. But I want it to be as financially accessible as possible, while still giving people the ability to pay more if they see the same value I do.
Also, the higher price points make it possible for me to offer unlimited scholarships (more about that in a moment). So if you have the means, choosing a higher tier helps get this work in the hands of more people around the world.
Do you offer scholarships for The Forest?
Yep, I offer unlimited scholarships to anyone who needs one! Seriously, if you vibe with the philosophy of this place, and you want to be more courageous with your creative work and marketing, I don't want money to stand in the way of you joining.
To get a scholarship, just send an email to email@example.com with "forest scholarship" in the subject line. Then in the body, tell me a little bit about yourself, and write a haiku that summarizes your creative journey so far. That's it. I will promptly send you a coupon code to join the membership at no cost.
A haiku is a simple, short poem, with five syllables on the first line, seven on the second, and five on the third. Here's an example!
my courageous friend
life in the forest awaits
embrace the unknown
And here's another.
send rob a haiku
i promise it will be fun
then you'll get free shit
What if I join The Forest and don't enjoy it?
That's cool. My work is pretty weird, and definitely not for everyone. That's why I have a super chill refund policy.
If you're not happy with The Forest, just tell me and I'll refund you without asking you invasive questions or making you prove anything.
There's not even a time cap on this policy. You could ask me tomorrow, or in a year, and I'll happily return your money and we'll part ways as friends.