June 30, 2023
The next iteration
Hi, I'm Vincent.
I've been running calmcode for nearly three years now and it's been a very rewarding experience. I've been recognised for it, received many personal messages with heartfelt thanks and it's been humbling to see the site grow this far merely by word-of-mouth. Friendly strangers even have told me calmcode helped them rediscover the joy of coding again, reduce their skill anxiety and I've seen a lot of cool project demos that the courses inspired.
At the same time though, the site has gotten to the point where I'm wondering what to do with it. It feels like it could grow by putting more effort in ... or it may plateau. It wouldn't be a disaster if the site plateaus a bit, but the more I think about it, the more I think I'd like to see it grow. Everything I've written in the origin story of the site still applies today and it feels like there's still so much potential in this project.
If I'm going to make this site grow further though, then it may be time to look for collaborators. In part because I'm aware of the limits of my own knowledge, in part because different perspectives might make for good improvements ... but also because collaborating with other smart people is just "more fun". However, if I'm going to attract the right collaborators then I want to do it calmly and substainably.
That also means that I really need to start thinking about a revenue model. There's a little stream of "thank you" money that comes in from ko-fi, which I'm super grateful for, but it's not enough to cover any serious collaboration. At the same time, I also prefer to keep the content freely available. Not everyone has an amazing budget, and I truly think that the free nature of the site helps attract the people whom the content is for.
With this in mind, I'm going to be experimenting with the site a bit. In particular, here's my current "plan":
- The site is going to experiment with sponsored ads, but calmly. If you're on a desktop looking at a course, you'll notice it on the right hand side. The ads will be curated by hand and will be served by ourselves without any third party in the mix. One benefit of this approach is that we can guarantee that the ads remain tasteful. But it also allows us to serve the ads from the backend and won't need to worry about tracking pixels.
- Eventually, there will also be an afforable paid option that will make these ads go away. We will make sure that there are also some "extras" for paid users who want to support us.
- This way, hopefully, there will be just enough of a passive income stream that I can convince people to join me for a few calm hours a week. This will lead to more content, which in turn might help convince more people to buy into the platform.
None of this is set in stone, but it feels like a plan worth trying. The first ad is up right now, which is a shoutout to my very supportive employer, but I'd also like to announce that I'm open to hear from other prospects.
Also, and as always, there is no rush. All of these changes will take time and it's my intention to explore this calmly. If you have any concerns about this, feel free to comment on the discussion board. It's all a bit new, and certainly an experiment, so I'm eager to hear to feedback.
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