Last year, we had a post STH Turns 11 in a Very Different Year. We were just exiting the first wave of the global pandemic. As a result of that year, I had the opportunity to sit down and plan some major changes. Many longtime readers have started to feel them over the past month or so.
STH Turning 12 Maybe Maturing?
During the pandemic, we pushed slightly harder on the YouTube channel. While not big, it is certainly bigger than we entered 2020 with. In the end, I want most of our review content to be available both as a written review and as a video. The challenge is that doing both is perhaps not doing twice the work, but it feels like it is doing 80-90% more work.
As a result, we are going to be expanding the STH studio and adding headcount to help with the video production. Currently, we use more remote editors, but we recently did a project where we had Joe fly down to shoot then edit and that model is just much better.
At the same time, I also personally need to get out of a 100-hour workweek schedule, at least doing what I am doing these days. STH does not continue to grow if my hours grow. Also, with the stay-at-home directives, it was much easier to become immersed in work. With travel starting to pick up again, time is getting crunched again.
With that realization, and even as the team has grown a bit over the last year, the plan is to end the summer with 2-3 more full-time or nearly full-time folks.
Preparing for that has been a major change. In July this year, we are going to be swapping out some facilities. We added another data center that we use in our portfolio earlier in 2021, but thinking ahead to 2022 we are going to need liquid cooling which means another facility. The plan is to start the transition to the new facilities this year to be ready for that transition in a few quarters.
The net impact of all of this change has been that I am personally spending 30 hours a week preparing for the moves. That translated into publishing fewer videos and reviews than I wanted in May and which will likely continue into June and July. Currently, we are about a third of the way through a behind-the-scenes effort to get to a new operating model.
I just wanted to say a quick thank you to the extended STH team and specifically, Cliff, Dmitrij, Eric, Joe, John, Kris, Rohit, Steve, Will, and William for stepping up big time over this past year. Also to Virginia’s team at Mala Marketing for selling ads and getting us some revenue. I also wanted to thank our forum moderators for helping sustain STH. Personally, 2020-2021 has been very rough which I may get into in a later post, but really without the STH team, last year would have been an enormous challenge. Instead of contracting, STH grew significantly last year and the hope is that as we expand the team further and update our facilities, we can make a strong exit out of 2021.
Over the past year, we have started to work with more companies which have helped diversify our content even more. For example, we made a considerable push over the past year with networking that Rohit has been spearheading, and that has required both setting expectations with the broader STH community that some coverage time would be dedicated to networking instead of just servers and storage. Although we run perhaps the only editorially independent server review website (unlike other sites we do not have direct contracts with vendors, we get our operating budget from 3rd party marketing agency ad sales) it takes a large community of folks to sustain a site like this for over a decade.
Lastly, I just wanted to thank all of our awesome readers and our small but growing audience on YouTube for supporting STH over the past dozen years. There have certainly been ups and downs, but hopefully, we are getting to a great place. Just know, I am looking at this like three months of pain to get to a better place so there is a plan.
Ultimately, I want my 100-hour work week to include being able to set aside more time and resources toward efforts to bring technology to those communities that lack opportunity. We had some feedback with our first Project STH piece, which is great. The ultimate reason and design behind what we are doing over the next few months is to free up the ability to go out and help folks and start making an impact. With vaccines, and hopefully travel opening up later this year, the hope is that we can start executing on that vision. Ultimately, if I am going to dedicate 12 years of my time to STH, it needs to do a better job of giving back. We just need a global pandemic to subside.