A Month of Tapas

Holy cow, can you believe I’ve been making RubyTapas videos for a whole month?

Some assorted numbers and notes from my brand-new screencast business:

  • I’ve released 14 videos, including 5 free Monday episodes.
  • As of today, RubyTapas has over 500 paying subscribers, which absolutely amazes me.
  • In its first month of existence, RubyTapas has become a sustainable business. That is, it pays for the solid week+ of work that it takes to plan, write, record, and produce a month’s worth of videos.
  • People have been saying some very nice things about the videos. I put up a selection of tweets over here.
  • The folks at DPD [referral link, if you want to send a few extra bucks my way], the shopping cart and content delivery service I use,  have been absolutely amazing in helping me kickstart RubyTapas. They’ve spent hours in chat and email with me, resolving issues and working out the details of new features. Which brings me to…
  • RSS feeds! As of last Friday, the most requested feature of all, an iTunes-compatible RSS feed, is now live! You can now get RubyTapas delivered to your computer, tablet, or phone as soon as it comes out, without any of that tedious clicking and downloading.

I just want to say a heartfelt “thank you!” to everyone who has made this launch a huge success. To my wife and the close friends who encouraged me to pursue the project after the idea first popped into my head a year and a half ago; to the subscribers; to everyone who spread the word; to the people who gave me feedback that helped improve the product and the service; to the pioneering screencasters like Ryan BatesGeoffrey Grosenbach, and Gary Bernhardt who blazed the trail for services like this; to the team at DPD: thank you so much.

The Future

Where to from here? Well, unlike some of my other projects, RubyTapas has always been a go-big-or-go-home venture in my mind. My goal is to make the bulk of my income from screencast subscriptions.

Why? In a nutshell, time. If I can support my family primarily on subscription income, and if it takes me a week out of the month to assemble a month’s worth of screencasts, that leaves the other three weeks available for some of the other projects and activities near and dear to my heart. Such as…

  • Family time! I’ll be honest, doing consulting work/pairing and [co-]hosting two podcasts and writing a book and making screencasts and writing talks hasn’t left me with as much time as I’d like to spend un-distracted with my wife and kids. So my first priority if I have a little extra time is to establish a better work/life balance. After that comes…
  • Book writing! If I don’t have to take on consulting/pairing work just to pay the bills, it means I can establish a more consistent writing schedule, something I’m sure the (very patient!) beta readers of Confident Ruby would appreciate.
  • Free pairing sessions! Some of my very favorite remote pairing sessions are the ones I do for free on Open-Source code. Often these are with relative newbies to the Ruby world, who don’t have the resources to afford a paid session. Right now I limit these to one per week in order to prioritize paid pairing sessions. I’d love to be able to expand that allotment.
  • Open Source work. I really hate the fact that my level of Open Source contribution, apart from the aforementioned pairing sessions, has been so low lately. I’d like to change that.
  • Super Awesome Secret Stuff! I have some other projects on the horizon that I’d really love to move forward on…

So now you know all my grand plans. Based on this month’s experience, I think they are looking achievable. 2013 is shaping up to be a very interesting year indeed!