Open Source & Blogging:

Power of Free Content
to Empower or Enslave
Who?
Marc Grabanski
!
!

jQuery UI Datepicker
!

MarcGrabanski.com
!

LOTS of UI Dev
Currently...
UI/UX Development Consultant
!
!
!

Publisher of:

http://FrontendMasters.com
This Talk
•
•
•
•

Free ideology
My path and mistakes
Benefits and detriments of
producing free content
Sustainability of ...
The Free Ideology
•
•

Education should be free.

•

Release free software and tools
is always the better choice.

Do free...
Equal Access
Benefits of
Free Ideology
•
•
•
•
•

Viewed as altruistic.
Gain influence & connections.
Speaking engagements.
Impact lots...
Benefits of
Free Ideology
•
•
•
•
•

Viewed as altruistic.
Gain influence & connections.
Speaking engagements.
Impact lots...
Getting Started
Making Free
Things
My Path
Passion-First
Career Choice
Web Career Wasn’t
Recommended
Dot-com crash.
No jobs!
Everyone said “stay
away” from the web.
Beginning My
Career
•
•

I started web design regardless.

•

I’ll figure it out...

To me, the web was awesome and
import...
Against Economics,
Towards Passion
“Be a Java developer, you’ll make
way more money.”
Web UI is what’s
most important
...IMO
Passion-First
Writing
Open Source &
Blogging...Why?
Getting Started
Blogging
Staring Line
•
•

No starting audience.

•

Published research / things
I’m interested in.

Writing mostly just to
remembe...
Passion is Your
Fuel for Free
Blogging
People Notice
Passion-First
Writing
Growth
Passion-First
Coding
jQuery UI Datepicker
Used by a few ’06-07

Used by everyone ’08-13
Workshops and
Conferences

• Spoke at 40+ conferences
• Italy, Ireland, Israel
• Met a lot of amazing people
All for Free
Benefits of Free
• Trust and Influence
• Connections
• Opportunities
Personal Tour of
Jerusalem
But is Free Holy?
I Killed My Blog
Could Have Been
Avoided!
Things That Sucked
lot of work
• Created a projects and to
maintain
articles.
want
• Didn’twith ato bankroll my
work
big c...
Tangible
Detriments
Expected (700+ emails to
• Free ispeople’s code problems)
debug

• Wallet is empty (I wanted to
remain...
Is Free
Sustainable?
•

Free products get sold, close
down or weird things happen to
them all the time.

•
•

Turn data in...
Potential Rewards
of Free
1. Page Views
2. Social Following
3. RSS & RSS-to-email Subscribers
4. Email Subscribers
5. Ad R...
1. Page Views
•

Measures how many people visit
your site.

•

Not very actionable.
!
2. Social
Following
•
•

Proof of thought leadership.
Not everyone sees every tweet or
Facebook post.
3. RSS &
RSS to Email
•
•

Proof of readership.
Not everyone reads RSS.

...people ditched RSS.
4. Email Newsletter
Subscribers
•
•

Personal communication (feels 1-to-1)
Highly trackable and actionable
5. Ad Revenue
•
•
•

$ = Sustainability
Overhead to manage ad space
Potentially annoying to users
6. Product Revenue
•
•

Highly sustainable

•

Value builds over time

Repeat customers

“Stacking bricks”
7. New Job
•

Usually a result of what you did
for free.

•

Usually awesome and more in-line
with your interests.
My Rewards
1. Page Views
2. Social Following
3. RSS & RSS-to-email Subscribers
4. Email Subscribers
5. Ad Revenue
6. Produ...
Succeeded at idealism.

http://marcgrabanski.com/articles/developing-valuestronger-than-money
I failed at sustainability.
Avoid my mistakes...
Build a holistic following, 

not just RSS and social.
Credit cards and email
addresses means they
like your stuff.
100% free isn’t always holy
or righteous.
Think sustainability.
Publish paid products. 

Can start with a $4.99
PDF using e-junkie or
leanpub
Maybe you won’t get
rich...
But you’ll gain
relationships with
people who like your
work enough to pay.
Customers grow with
you as you get better
over time and release
more products.
http://www.noeltock.com/startup-snippets/th...
Long term sustainability 

is honorable.
Sustainable operations can
produce more free content
Questions?
!

Marc Grabanski
@1marc
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Free vs Paid Content

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This presentation is a walkthrough of my career of releasing free content and software, as well as the death of my blog and how you can build sustainability mechanisms into the content you release for free.

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Transcript of "Free vs Paid Content"

  1. 1. Open Source & Blogging: Power of Free Content to Empower or Enslave
  2. 2. Who? Marc Grabanski ! ! jQuery UI Datepicker ! MarcGrabanski.com ! LOTS of UI Dev
  3. 3. Currently... UI/UX Development Consultant ! ! ! Publisher of: http://FrontendMasters.com
  4. 4. This Talk • • • • Free ideology My path and mistakes Benefits and detriments of producing free content Sustainability of free
  5. 5. The Free Ideology • • Education should be free. • Release free software and tools is always the better choice. Do free things for the community is a requirement.
  6. 6. Equal Access
  7. 7. Benefits of Free Ideology • • • • • Viewed as altruistic. Gain influence & connections. Speaking engagements. Impact lots of people. Receive good job offers.
  8. 8. Benefits of Free Ideology • • • • • Viewed as altruistic. Gain influence & connections. Speaking engagements. Impact lots of people. Receive good job offers. Can’t do it for these reasons!
  9. 9. Getting Started Making Free Things
  10. 10. My Path
  11. 11. Passion-First Career Choice
  12. 12. Web Career Wasn’t Recommended Dot-com crash. No jobs! Everyone said “stay away” from the web.
  13. 13. Beginning My Career • • I started web design regardless. • I’ll figure it out... To me, the web was awesome and important.
  14. 14. Against Economics, Towards Passion “Be a Java developer, you’ll make way more money.”
  15. 15. Web UI is what’s most important ...IMO
  16. 16. Passion-First Writing
  17. 17. Open Source & Blogging...Why?
  18. 18. Getting Started Blogging
  19. 19. Staring Line • • No starting audience. • Published research / things I’m interested in. Writing mostly just to remember things.
  20. 20. Passion is Your Fuel for Free
  21. 21. Blogging
  22. 22. People Notice Passion-First Writing
  23. 23. Growth
  24. 24. Passion-First Coding
  25. 25. jQuery UI Datepicker Used by a few ’06-07 Used by everyone ’08-13
  26. 26. Workshops and Conferences • Spoke at 40+ conferences • Italy, Ireland, Israel • Met a lot of amazing people
  27. 27. All for Free
  28. 28. Benefits of Free • Trust and Influence • Connections • Opportunities
  29. 29. Personal Tour of Jerusalem
  30. 30. But is Free Holy?
  31. 31. I Killed My Blog
  32. 32. Could Have Been Avoided!
  33. 33. Things That Sucked lot of work • Created a projects and to maintain articles. want • Didn’twith ato bankroll my work big company. • Had bills to pay...blogging was taking up tons of time.
  34. 34. Tangible Detriments Expected (700+ emails to • Free ispeople’s code problems) debug • Wallet is empty (I wanted to remain independent). • No long-term sustainability.
  35. 35. Is Free Sustainable? • Free products get sold, close down or weird things happen to them all the time. • • Turn data into targeted ad space. Or corporate sponsored.
  36. 36. Potential Rewards of Free 1. Page Views 2. Social Following 3. RSS & RSS-to-email Subscribers 4. Email Subscribers 5. Ad Revenue 6. Product Revenue (Books, etc) 7. New Job
  37. 37. 1. Page Views • Measures how many people visit your site. • Not very actionable. !
  38. 38. 2. Social Following • • Proof of thought leadership. Not everyone sees every tweet or Facebook post.
  39. 39. 3. RSS & RSS to Email • • Proof of readership. Not everyone reads RSS.
 ...people ditched RSS.
  40. 40. 4. Email Newsletter Subscribers • • Personal communication (feels 1-to-1) Highly trackable and actionable
  41. 41. 5. Ad Revenue • • • $ = Sustainability Overhead to manage ad space Potentially annoying to users
  42. 42. 6. Product Revenue • • Highly sustainable • Value builds over time Repeat customers
 “Stacking bricks”
  43. 43. 7. New Job • Usually a result of what you did for free. • Usually awesome and more in-line with your interests.
  44. 44. My Rewards 1. Page Views 2. Social Following 3. RSS & RSS-to-email Subscribers 4. Email Subscribers 5. Ad Revenue 6. Product Revenue (Books, etc) 7. New Job
  45. 45. Succeeded at idealism. http://marcgrabanski.com/articles/developing-valuestronger-than-money
  46. 46. I failed at sustainability.
  47. 47. Avoid my mistakes...
  48. 48. Build a holistic following, 
 not just RSS and social.
  49. 49. Credit cards and email addresses means they like your stuff.
  50. 50. 100% free isn’t always holy or righteous.
  51. 51. Think sustainability.
  52. 52. Publish paid products. 
 Can start with a $4.99 PDF using e-junkie or leanpub
  53. 53. Maybe you won’t get rich...
  54. 54. But you’ll gain relationships with people who like your work enough to pay.
  55. 55. Customers grow with you as you get better over time and release more products. http://www.noeltock.com/startup-snippets/the-long-game/
  56. 56. Long term sustainability 
 is honorable.
  57. 57. Sustainable operations can produce more free content
  58. 58. Questions? ! Marc Grabanski @1marc
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