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 year of change going on behind the scenes at STH. We have a new project that it is time to talk about. 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 – Q3
That list is getting quite long so we updated the format for 2023. I also just noticed this is the 20th installment of this series!
2023 The Massive Year of Change
Every year, I try to figure out how we can get STH to grow. This year was even more challenging since I have gone through some fairly significant life changes:
- January 2023 – Got engaged
- June 2023 – Got married in a small ceremony in the LMU chapel
- August 2023 –
- Found a house in Scottsdale Arizona, started painting, floors, and so forth
- Moved my wife from NYC to Arizona
- Moved personally from Austin to Arizona
- September 2023 –
- Finished the urgent remodel in Arizona
- NYC and Austin personal move items arrived in Arizona
- Packed and moved STH from Austin to Arizona
- October 2023 –
- Found out that we are expecting!!!
- Had the wedding reception in Arizona
- Started getting the house in Austin ready to go on the market
- November 2023 – Got the keys to the new studio
- December 2023 – House in Austin going on the market (if you need a big house with 1600 fibers in the walls, let me know)
Between getting married, three moves, house projects in two states, finding out we are expecting, and still putting ~150,000 miles of travel in, it has been a crazy year.
A few times this year I sent a note to Will saying “I think today is the day we break the publishing at least once per day streak.” A non-zero number of those times Will managed to pull out a SSD review.
Our team did an awesome job this year and was the only reason that STH stayed afloat. With that said, we saw Alex move to Colorado so he is no longer within 25 minutes of the studio. Bryan #2 is back at school. That means we need to get some folks out in Scottsdale this year. Right now we are feeling the impacts of the smaller team.
Between my being distracted, a team that for the first time in a few years did not grow, and dealing with lots of change, it has been a challenge.
Next, we are going to talk about the STH YouTube side, but we have another project that will launch in early Q1.
The STH YouTube Update
This year, the YouTube side went crazy. 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.”
We will likely exit 2023 at ~410K subscribers instead of 170K that we were hoping for when planning a year ago.
We started making changes to the STH YouTube format in early 2023 and went live in mid-Q1. That greatly changed the growth trajectory as we talked about in our WOW STH YouTube Now at 400K Subscribers piece a few days ago.
Still, the growth started to slow in Q4, coincidentally about the same time that we started producing content out of the new studio.
While it is generally a good thing to miss by having more growth than less growth, it has been a big deal for STH. The STH main site still is much larger, but the YouTube channel is no longer <10%. Many YouTubers go full-time well before they hit 400K subscribers.
The other side to it is that with marketing departments changing to emphasize video exposure, this year would have been rough to navigate if we did not have this side. Two years ago, STH was a big website with a small YouTube channel. Now, in the eyes of the market, STH is a decent-sized YouTube channel that also has a website. That is despite the fact I prefer to read and the website is still many times larger.
That brings me to the next little project for 2024: A new shorts channel.
Introducing STH Labs: The Shorts Channel
For folks who did not know this, in December, we started the STH Labs channel. This is going to be sub-2min quick video channel. Most videos are going to target under 30 seconds. One example is the tour of the NVIDIA AI servers in the ASUS booth at SC23.
We also have the rapid-fire SSD format:
The format is going to change over time, but the numbers are good so far. We have several videos getting thousands of views each already, and we just passed 50 subscribers.
This will not replace our review content, but we need a way to add video that is much less effort to produce. If you want to stay up to date on that channel, you can find the channel here.
Subscribe to the STH’s Newsletter and YouTube
Did you know STH has a weekly newsletter that comes out on 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.
Thank you to all the folks making STH an amazing community. That includes our readers, viewers, our team, forum moderators, folks at vendors, and more. Hopefully, 2024 will let us expand STH faster.
Of course, the big order of the day is wishing the entire STH community Merry Christmas.