Recently was the aniversary of MotionInMotion's announcement and the creation of the "Feedback Council" (early access group), and in December MotionInMotion will be celebrating it's first full year of being live, having never missed an episode! So far there has been 46 episodes, 2 pairing sessions, 18 "RandomCasts" on the YouTube channel, and 3 episodes of RailsInMotion released to the early access group. Add in all the writing from this blog, some guest posts on other blogs, and of course the RubyMotion for Rails Developers book too and that is a lot of content!
During this short time I've learnt a lot of lessons, some about teaching, some about audio and video production, and a lot about how hard screencasters like Avdi Grimm and Ben Scheirman work, committing to release something every week is hard stuff, or twice a week in Avdi's case! I love it though, and really enjoy the conversations its lead to with many of you reading this now.
Recently with trying to juggle a lot of balls at once (many of you have been kind and contacted me asking how I'm dealing with everything on my plate, thank you again) I've learnt an important lesson, I need to cut down on and reorganise all the stuff I'm doing. I recently announced the fact that I was stopping consulting as that was the big one in the way, but now I've got a bunch of smaller things and some reorganising to take care of.
The big change
I'll start big then get into all the smaller details. The two big changes are that I'm going to be doing a very big rebranding kind of thing over the next month or two, bringing all of my stuff together under one new roof.
The work in progress logo
Many of you know my personal brand, FluffyJack. I've decided to keep rolling with it, I'm going to be placing MotionInMotion, RailsInMotion, RubyMotion for Rails Developers, this blog, my YouTube channel, and everything else in the future under the FluffyTuts brand. Books and screencasts are then going to be products that you can buy/subscribe to on the FluffyTuts website. The transition will be seemless, so don't worry, and all URLs will be redirected for the next year or two for feeds and stuff. Also remember this isn't coming straight away.
This has some other impacts too for the far away future, but I'll mention them in a bit, because the next thing is bigger than that.
A change in scheduling
I'm always going to do a weekly release schedule, but I've got some changes that are going to be applied very quickly that have to do with how topics are scheduled.
Before I explain the changes, let me explain a big problem facing me. Both for MotionInMotion and the upcoming RailsInMotion is already showing signs that it might be similar, teaching mid to senior developers is fine, but some of the newer developers in each technology are struggling a little, this is leading to a problem with the unsubscribe rate on MotionInMotion at the moment. People are psyched and then they can't learn fast enough to use that excited energy before it runs out. I've tried fixing this by releasing more beginner oriented episodes after running polls and finding that was something that was sought after.
This didn't really solve the problem though, the big problem is trying to cover larger topics (usually the foundational ones are quite big) in 5-20 minutes. Like I said, mid to senior developers are fine here because they either already know this stuff or can fill in the holes left by the short time to teach something in.
The solution I've come up with is courses. No I'm not going to try and replicate Team Treehouse or Code School or any of those kinds of websites, here's the basic idea.
- Each week I release another part of a series that will eventually take anyone from beginner to expert in a topic, no matter what skill level you are
- In between "courses" voting will open on what the next topic should be
- During the few weeks that voting is going on I'll cover smaller things like special techniques and smaller gems/frameworks
- Extra and free episodes will start being released more often that will be similar to these in between one off episodes
I'm personally very excited about this idea, it means that there will still be plenty of the kind of episodes that I release at the moment, but there will also be ways to completely upskill yourself.
Side effects of these changes
There is two main side effects that allow some nice results for all of you. The first is small but a nice bonus. Because everything will be through the one "company" and site and everything, if you are interested in multiple tech screencasts (I plan to release more in the future) then I can give you a discount for being a subscriber to more than one thing. This will also allow for me to more easily set up centralised stuff for businesses and companies to have multiple subscriptions for their employees, being able to buy just what they need unlike sites like Team Treehouse and Code School.
The one I'm most excited about which I only just realised yesterday was that this will allow FlufftTuts to "scale" much better as a company. In the future when revenue allows for it of course, I'll be able to do two things.
- Hire new teachers for new topics
- Get a proper studio
The first one is the most important, especially with my opening remark about the fact I have a lot on my plate. Currently I've got many other screencasts I'd like to do, like a Scala/Java one, or purely Android, maybe design. There is no way that I'll be able to release weekly episodes that are of the quality that I expect from my screencasts on a consistent basis if I try to release another screencast or two, with more teachers though I can.
This is a far away plan, to be clear, revenue from my content work like MotionInMotion and the book and RailsInMotion is pretty little, about $3k/month, which only just pays the bills currently. I expect RailsInMotion will have a lot bigger subscriber base than MotionInMotion as it gets better known though, which might eventually allow me to scale things out. So it's just a pie in the sky idea at the moment, but one I'm aiming to achieve so I can give all of you more and more quality content designed for your interests.
There is no real set timeline for all of these changes at the moment, the migration to one centralised place for the screencasts and books will be very soon, but I'm not certain on exactly when, then obviously all this other stuff like extra teachers could be next year, could be 5 years from now. There has been a few cases of screencasters getting burnt out though, and I don't want to end up as one of them, I absolutely love teaching, so I'm not going to be pushing super hard, my focus is first and foremost fulfilling the promises I already have for you all.
Final notes on scheduling
For those that know me a bit more personally, you know I've had an interesting time mainly in terms of personal organisation, with getting a set content schedule in place. I'm finally getting my head around it all and so blog posts and written tutorials will be coming out more, there will be more "RandomCasts", and the book's progress is going to start getting a lot faster. I've finally got a good process going, more time, and though it's only been a year, finally some better experience and knowledge of the field of content production.
I really would love to hear your feedback on all of this, so feel free to email me, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and let me know what your thoughts are.