How An Independent Website Connects Audiences To Progressive Public Speakers

Written by Zhivko Illeieff

It has been two years since (PS) was launched and I am excited to report that since it went online PS has connected speakers on the website to various radio shows, podcasts, conferences, festivals, university talks, and other venues.

Whether it’s 3, 30, or 30,000 people, it’s always worth it to provide opportunities for concerned citizens to hear someone talk about the issues of their community. I strongly believe that, given a level playing field, independent journalists, grassroots activists, and on-the-ground experts would always generate more interest than the spectacles on commercial news. Since I don’t think social media companies would ever allow progressives to have the same privileges on their feeds as those who regularly spend thousands on paid ads, I set out to create a website where users are not “monetized,” targeted, and manipulated when looking for credible information.

From the start, I was aware that a project like Progressive Speaker needs to be managed differently than a profit-maximizing company. There are no pay walls, billionaire investors, and incessant “brand building.” While these features have helped popularize some progressive ideas in the mainstream, they’ve also divided us by imposing addictive designs and profit schemes on the public.

How is PS different? Speakers get their own page for free and visitors get to reach people who are doing incredible work without giving up their time and attention to third parties. PS does not get a cut from any speaking engagements, which means that speakers keep all potential proceeds. I wanted the design of the website to channel the mission of Progressive Speaker, which is to bring speaking engagements for progressive public speakers and to serve the public.

I am thankful to those who have joined Progressive Speaker. They produce high quality work every day without the budgets of big name pundits and celebrity authors, and against the odds determined by algorithms and paid media. I am also thankful for my family and friends who continue to help with the development of the website and encourage me with ideas and advice.

While there’s no quick fix to our dilemma, it’s evident that escaping the mind-numbing shows and manipulation on major networks requires alternatives to business-as-usual. Each of us who believes in a better future, and has the means and the time to do anything about it, has a role in creating such alternatives. This is why it is an honor to be able to help even one person discover ideas and perspectives that are missing in corporate media. As long as that’s a possibility, a project like Progressive Speaker will always be worth it.