STH Q3 2019 Update A Letter from the Editor

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Cisco UCS C4200 C125 M5 Node Expansion OCP 2.0 Mezzanine
Cisco UCS C4200 C125 M5 Node Expansion OCP 2.0 Mezzanine

STH has had a very busy Q3 thus far, and I am frankly behind in getting our Q3 update out. In this edition, I wanted to spend less time evaluating our Q2 objectives and instead provide some insight into who your fellow readers are which I wanted to do more of as part of STH Turns 10 Years Old and Taking a Checkpoint in the Story piece. I also wanted to take a few minutes to give you a behind the scenes look at STH operations.

Q3 2019 Demographics

STH is serving millions of page views monthly. Generally, the summer months are very slow at STH. Folks in the US then Europe go on vacation and are not at work. As a result, traffic generally dips June through August or at least grows slower than usual. For anyone wondering, I generally tell folks that over a year, STH grows at a ~2% compound monthly growth rate or CMGR. This summer, we grew a lot year/ year.

STH Summer Of 2019 Year Over Year Growth
STH Summer Of 2019 Year Over Year Growth

The 2% CMGR usually puts us around a ~26.8% Y/Y growth. This summer we were up around 34% year/ year. We were beating that 2% CMGR even before the AMD EPYC 7002 launch. Driving that kind of growth is difficult, but it is largely due to our increased publishing rate that I outlined in our STH Q1 2019 Update A Letter from the Editor. I am going to talk about content and some of the operations part in the next section.

In terms of where folks come from, here is the Google Analytics view from this summer.

STH Summer Of 2019 Visitor Map Via Google Analytics
STH Summer Of 2019 Visitor Map Via Google Analytics

STH is still heavily focused on English countries such as the US, UK, Canada, and Australia (and perhaps the India IT sector.) Still, we get a decent amount of traffic from Germany, the Netherlands, France, and Poland in Europe and Japan, Korea, China, and ROC Taiwan. in Asia.

Unlike most websites, eventually, I want 70% of our traffic to be driven from outside the US. In the advertising world, there is actually a distinction made between US and non-US traffic. For consumer products that makes a ton of sense. For server products, it does not. Businesses in Fiji still need to buy servers, and the 56 folks from Fiji that came to STH over the summer probably are not a big-enough audience to have their own national server site. If you want page views, just do consumer technology. The data center sector is relatively small, but the products often ship worldwide.

Technology is a global enabler. Even if US traffic percentage goes down, I want to expand our audience to anyone that needs information. Given the sector, technical jargon is very dense, but we try making everything relatively accessible.

Google seems to think that our readers are mostly male, although we have gone from a ~1% female readership to 5.6% in 2019. We need to do better here.

STH Summer Of 2019 Visitor Demo
STH Summer Of 2019 Visitor Demo

Age-wise, over 90% of our traffic comes from folks in the 25-64 age bracket with the sweet spot being in the 25-44 decades. For your average technology site, that is skewed much older than the norm. In fact, even the single-digit percentage of traffic we get from the 18-24 bracket was up significantly over the summer due to the Linus Tech Tips Collaboration Configure Your Own Jellyfish Fryer All-Flash NAS.

Most of our readers work in IT, programming, IT procurement, Dev Ops, or similar professions. We also tend to have an extremely high university graduate or advanced degree mix.

Behind the Scenes at STH

One of the big projects I personally have been working on over the last month or so has been to get a larger photography studio setup. It all started with this photo from my friend Joe that was from our MikroTik CRS312-4C+8XG-RM 12-Port 10GbE Switch Review.

MikroTik CRS312 4C 8XG RM Heat Sink
MikroTik CRS312 4C 8XG RM Heat Sink

Mountain View/ Sunnyvale, California real estate is expensive enough that this has been a significant challenge. It took a few weeks, but we finally have a dedicated ~28 square meter place where we can wheel servers in via a cart with soft wheels. We can have various stages of queueing products for photography so we can get everything done efficiently and now have racks of equipment we use on hand.

Gigabyte R272 Z32 CNV3024 NVMe Risers
Gigabyte R272 Z32 CNV3024 NVMe Risers

The studio is still a work in progress, but the test run you may have seen in our recent Gigabyte R272-Z32 Review. The wood table is adjustable to we can adjust the height and has wheels. This may not seem like a big deal, and for the R272-Z32 it is not much of a concern. For servers that are 80-100lbs (36-45kg+) having the ability to move the server instead of moving the lighting is going to help our workflow significantly.

STH Tiny Studio Test 1
STH Tiny Studio Test 1

If you are thinking that this spot looks very ugly with bare drywall and concrete floors, it is, hence why there is a highly cropped picture. Perhaps the final edition is a great topic for a Q4 2019 update.

Final Words

STH runs as a bootstrapped site that is focusing on growth. One of the biggest changes that really hit STH in Q3 2019 is that our content pipeline has become extremely robust. e. We have reviews, show coverage, product launches, and analysis pieces planned and in-progress for the next 65 days. In September 2018 that was about 7 days. By Q1 we had the framework to handle everything. In Q3 we are finding that we did not scale enough so you are seeing the results of trying to cope including expanding facilities slightly.

I do have one ask. I made a small wager with Virginia (I think a tea or something) about a year ago that we would hit a STH Newsletter subscriber milestone at the end of Q3 2019. That time is rapidly approaching, and we are a measly 21 subscribers short! This is something I work on every Friday/ Saturday to get out to our subscribers no matter where I am traveling. Since I am a fairly conservative numbers person in the spirit of under promise, over deliver, if you know someone who is not signed up for our newsletter, I will put the form below. It would be nice to be two newsletter editions early by hitting my target metric tomorrow.

Subscribe to the STH Newsletter

Did you know STH has a weekly newsletter that comes out Saturday with a curated “Top 5” pieces from the week? We know you cannot visit every day, so we can deliver our picks for weekend reading directly to your inbox. Subscribing to the newsletter is easy. Here is the form.

Get the best of STH delivered weekly to your inbox. We are going to curate a selection of the best posts from STH each week and deliver them directly to you.

By opting-in you agree to have us send you our newsletter. We are using a third party service to manage subscriptions so you can unsubscribe at any time.

We are not selling your e-mail addresses and MailChimp is managing everything at this point so you can subscribe and unsubscribe from the list as you want.

We are not promoting the newsletter via overlays and pop-ups. Those are very effective, but they are bad for readers. I do not like them, so as long as I have a say, we are not going to have newsletter signup overlays. I run STH as something I would want to visit daily even if I did not work on it.

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Patrick has been running STH since 2009 and covers a wide variety of SME, SMB, and SOHO IT topics. Patrick is a consultant in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about server, storage and networking, building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Patrick:

    Needless to say your test results and market news are very very important. Good photography might be icing on the cake, but icing is so tasty!

    Keep up the good work!

  2. I’ve come to STH relatively late (within last few years) as we’ve outgrown workstations (which I knew very well) and into servers (which I knew next to nothing about) to transfer/host/process a petabyte of data inside a truck that goes out to middle of nowhere – often making virgin tracks in the ground.

    We are too small to be of interest to vendors to offer a customised service that we needed. As a result, STH was/is a godsend in that materials are accessible enough to understand what’s available and how it comes together and how we can apply it in our business. I now check STH daily wherever I am in the world, be in the desert with my truck of computers, in an airport lounge or holidaying on a Scottish island.

  3. Thanks for the kind words everyone.

    Jon, I think the one pictured is a Husky 62″ model from Home Depot 1002462631. I am not sure the second will be this one. The packaging looked like it had been dropped off the container ship and then beat with a hockey stick.

  4. Patrik,
    Thank you and wish you the very best with your work to serve our needs for competent knowledge and valuable insights into server world.

    And that image from the last Mikrotik review striked me right away on first look as having additional, unexpected magic and beauty, not-commonly-found in technical imagery. This piece of news explains exactly why – and gives reason to hope for such quality again. (Subscribed,).

  5. Just one improvement now you’re growing so much: Update the logo and let a good user experience designer look at the frontpage.

  6. @Paul Shilling – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. See the new nasdaq.com for an example of not applying that maxim.

  7. Thank you for all the work you put into STH. I’m one of your readers from Germany.

    I run climate simulations and similar scientific simulations, so I read STH for both the workstation-related content and the server-related content (server CPUs offer good performance-per-watt for these lengthy simulations). The NAMD and GROMACS benchmarks are of particular interest to me, as they are probably closest to the kind of software I use.

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