The State of Tekpub, 2011
- Friday, March 04, 2011
We've been running for a little over a year and a half and I'm happy to say that we're doing really well as far as startups and small business go. It's my goal to be as transparent and communicative as I can be - so if you're a Tekpubber (or are thinking about joining) - here's what's going on.
I'm Going Full Time
Getting a business off the ground is hard work and both James and I have put a lot of personal "stuff" into the effort. I'm happy to say that as of Monday I went full time on Tekpub - I'm able to support myself now and that's great for everyone as it means I'll be able to push more changes as well as do more videos.
This arrangement means I'll be doing more of the direct support as well as getting to bug fixes sooner - which makes me very happy. I quipped today on Twitter that we need an intern - I'd love to take one on if you know of someone who wants some Rails experience and a dose of startup freakiness.
We've received a lot of inquiries about bulk pricing plans for companies and up until now we've simply offered a discount on our annual subscriptions. We want to take this further by allowing a bit more control to the companies themselves to hand out licenses and to know what people are watching.
We're piloting a few ideas - but hopefully we'll have something pushed live in the next 3 weeks. If you need training at your company - let me know and I'll let you in on the beta push.
I'm working on multiple authors at once right now to either finish what they've started, or to get them what they need to get rolling.
If you're not aware of what's coming - here's a list:
- Mastering Threading is getting back on track - Kevin got stuck writing a book and has "unstuck" himself so that series is revving up again.
- Windows Phone 7 and Silverlight - Christopher got hammered with a Mystery Illness over the holidays and will continue pushing these series forward.
- Mastering C# with Jon Skeet is rocking - Skeet is like a freight train and we record regularly. Each time we do, I'm able to clip out 2-3 episodes. I think we should have 20+ episodes by the time we're done - and I have to say I'm very proud of what's come together.
- Sharepoint Development - I'm happy to say Sahil Malik has agreed to do a few Sharepoint productions for us! I know that Sharepoint isn't everyone's cup of tea - but a lot of people use it and depend on it - and if you're one of those people hopefully this series will help you.
- Mastering SQL Server 2008 - this one's going to absolutely rock. We don't have a contract yet so I don't want to say who the author is - but if you're a SQL person you'll know him immediately. We're set to get rolling in mid-April and we're going to do it like we're doing Mastering C# and jQuery.
- WebMatrix - this is my next one and I've been working feverishly to get the proper approach and structure down. I want this production to be 3 things: Intro to Web Development, Intro To Doing It Right, Old Dog and New Tricks. There's something in WebMatrix for everyone - and I want that to come through. I should also mention that it was during my research for this series that I came up with Massive.
- Hello Node - This one's in the very very conceptual planning stage - but so far we have a neat outline that involves working with Node.js with a cloud-based IDE. Should be fun.
- Mastering Ruby - This one's been on our list for a long time and I'm actively searching for an author. I have a few emails out to people - but if you know someone who's Ruby chops are exemplary, please let me know.
- iPhone App Development - Ben's coming back and he's going to build up an iPhone app for Tekpub that you can buy on iTunes.
- Code Freaks - this one is inspired by PeepCode's Play by Play Series, and truthfully is something we've been meaning to do for a long time. I'm going to record with people like Ayende - an "over the shoulder" kind of thing where he shows his secrets for speed and awesomeness. This would be a "Double Black Diamond" type of video - not at all for beginners.
If you think you're awesome and want to make some sizable side-money, drop me a note and be sure that you tell me what/why/where etc. You need to have some speaking skills, and the community should know who you are.
Rate Changing Time
This is never an easy thing to bring up - but it's time to hike our subscription rates. If you're an existing subscriber: don't worry - we won't change anything on you. Your rates will never change. Or I should say that if they do it means I screwed up.
The reasons for the hike are straightforward: our bandwidth bill is increasing as our catalog and user base increases. In addition, our catalog is becoming more valuable.
The new monthly fee will be $26.00, The new annual will be $279.00. Monthly is still stream-only, annual will be streaming and download, as always. To re-iterate: if you're a current annual person and you want to renew - we won't change your rate even though we don't auto-renew. Same with monthlies - we won't change your fees if you're current.
This rate hike will go into effect a week from today - so if you've been on the fence, you might want to jump. These rates are still ridiculously smaller than what you would pay for in-person training, or for a text book. Hopefully you see the value we offer.
A lot of people have asked to have PayPal back. As much as I loathe working with their API - I'll put it back. It's been working reasonably well for our monthlies from the past - and a few people have asked for its return - so I'll put it back in the coming weeks.
It's coming in 2 weeks. I need to test a few features and make sure things don't croak over 3G. I think we're OK, but then again AT&T's flakey network can cause more headaches then it's worth in terms of the support calls I think I'll get. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't try - so look for that.
Oh Yah, That OpenID Thing
Transitioning your OpenID account to user/password has been frustrating for some - including me. I'll be fixing this over the weekend. Still, to this day, OpenID is the worst decision we ever made and has resulted in 80% of our support calls. I won't lie: crawling out of this hole really sucks and I feel dumb every time I get a call or suggestion about why our login sucks.
I know it. And I'm doing my best to fix it. Your input is always welcome - all I ask is that you understand I've been hammering this problem for a very, very long time.
Thanks for hanging with us - I hate to sound cheesy and sales-y but I really think this year is going to be a ton of fun to be a part of Tekpub.