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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 …

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

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