Every quarter I like to do a little update just to give our readers a behind-the-scenes look at what is happening. Oftentimes there is a big difference between what folks see publicly and the inner workings of STH, so I like to peel that back. In this edition, I wanted to share a bit about the massive change going on behind the scenes at STH. I also have an ask of our readers.
If you want to check out how this series has evolved, here are the links to the previous ones:
- STH 2019: Q1 – Q2 – Q3 – Q4
- STH 2020: Q1 – Q2 – Q3 – Q4
- STH 2021: Q1 – Q2 – Q3 – Q4
- STH 2022: Q1 – Q2 – Q3 – Q4
- STH 2023: Q1 – Q2
That list is getting quite long so we updated the format for 2023.
On the Road Again
This year feels like travel is back. Pre-pandemic, I would travel around 120-150K miles a year between when I was doing consulting and then for travel to STH events. Q3 was a different animal. I did 40 flights in 92 days, and not all of them were domestic travel.
That travel included a trip to Taipei to film a piece that will come out hopefully in late October.
From Taipei, I did a quick trip to Manila just to say I have been. When I was in middle school, about half of my class was first-generation Filipino so it was awesome to see where a lot of the culture came from. I learned a few things there including:
- Be mindful of your pockets.
- Just because it is a 45-minute walk on Google Maps does not mean the hotel saying “you should take a taxi” is because they do not want you to get exercise. I had to do some re-routing walking around.
- The wiring jobs made me feel at home.
It was also great meeting so many STH readers and YouTube viewers at LTX Expo 2023.
One of the biggest reasons for travel has been getting a place in Scottsdale, Arizona. We outgrew the Austin STH Studio by Q4 of last year, so it has been a bit rough. Between needing to find a new studio, plus the personal changes in Q2 2023, it was time to hunt for a new studio, and we are going to do that in Scottsdale AZ. We will move into a larger dedicated studio space just for STH content creation, not for testing, later this month.
I will say that being on the road that much for events, projects, and buying a house was tough. That was especially so while getting the new house ready in Arizona and getting the old house ready to sell in Texas. Once that was all in progress and while traveling the next step was moving my wife out of her place in New York City, packing and moving personally in Austin, then packing and moving the STH Studio.
To combat the constant travel and production downtime while moving the studio, we spent July and August building content at a rabid pace. While I was gone the team was testing and doing photos/ B-roll for everything because we needed to go from 3-7 days ahead to have content effectively ready 30-60 days ahead. Effectively, we needed to do an extra month and a half of work in a quarter while the team was off on vacation.
We should have a basic studio up by early next week but this move was significantly scarier than Mountain View to Austin in 2021 as the team has grown and our production capabilities/ studio is easily 3x what it was in 2021.
The STH YouTube Update
This quarter, the YouTube side went crazy, although it slowed a bit at the end of September. To give some sense, here is the quote from the Q2 2023 Letter in June:
“My original stretch goal of hitting 170K subscribers by the end of 2023 is now silly, and the number might be more like 270K or around 27% the size of the STH main site.”
One quarter later, we will hit 296K subscribers on the YouTube channel by the end of the day, almost tripling in size from September 30, 2022, the day it hit 100,000 subscribers. That is wild growth.
It is crazy to think that with a stretch goal of hitting 170K subscribers by the end of 2023, nine months later it is not impossible we hit 370K instead.
I think we had our Austin Studio pretty much dialed in before it was taken down. We had a period between mid-June and mid-September where every single video had over 100K views. For a 190-275K subscriber channel during that time, getting 100K+ views consistently was crazy. That would be like Linus Tech Tips getting 7-20M views on every video within the first month. While all of the behind-the-scenes chaos has taken its toll, we are doing it to improve. My hope is that with the new studio, we get another bump in production quality that helps us sustain this growth as it has slowed a bit over the past few weeks.
The growth, however, has meant that everyone now wants us to do a video for every piece on STH. It has been hard to tell folks no just because we do not have the production capacity for that. Also, there are things I find much more interesting to read than watch.
Still, I figure growth has been a good thing to have.
Subscribe to the STH’s Newsletter and YouTube
Did you know STH has a weekly newsletter that comes out Saturday with 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.
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.
Finally, subscribe to our YouTube and check it out here. Since that is a big focus at this point.
Subscribing to STH’s newsletter helps you see my favorite pieces of each week and a preview of the next week. Subscribing to the STH YouTube channel also helps us demonstrate our reach beyond just the website. Sometimes, doing things like showing power consumption or fan noise is easier than writing about it. This has also been something important for STH over the past few months. We have to demonstrate reach, and simple things like subscriber counts help explain reach.
Again, a huge part of this journey is all of the folks making STH an amazing community. That includes our readers, viewers, our team, forum moderators, folks at vendors, and more. Hopefully, as we move into our new facilities we can expand the team to bring even better content to the STH community.
I just wanted to say a quick thank you to Bryan #2 who is going back to school. He has been an awesome part of the team for the last year. We will be adding more folks as the Arizona studio ramps in Q4, but it is always hard to have changes to the team.