ESN: Q2 and Phase 2

The past two months have gone by like a blur. Thanks to everyone who has supported all of the shows by listening, reviewing, and tweeting, as well as visiting our sponsors. There's a lot of cool stuff coming throughout the rest of the year. Speaking of sponsors...

SPONSOR PAGE

This is coming later today (waiting on a couple approvals).

This is not being added because it's been promised to sponsors by default (it isn't). I wanted the most current offer codes and referral links be easy to find, and all in one place. 

  • Regular, recurring sponsors change their active codes. Some do every two weeks.
  • Having one link (to rule them all) is better for me and for all of you.
  • If you listen, but are behind and want to support the shows, you can find founding/legacy sponsors, ones on current calendar quarter shows, and so on.

MEMBERSHIP & MERCH

I want to offer these. I do not plan to make memberships include physical merch. It's more than I know I can keep up with. The limited-run t-shirt thing is of definite interest.

I think I'll end up using Memberful, but to do it right, I need to know what renewal plans and amounts people want. If this is the sort of thing you're into, drop me a line.

SERVICE INTERRUPTION/RESUMPTION

I had planned some downtime after the first wave of four shows.

I had planned a week off during SXSW. Then I got sick. Then I stayed sick. Then we found out our lease wasn't being renewed and we had to find somewhere to go in less than 60 days.

The good news is that I planned the break so that the "back catalogue" would be manageable for new listeners and so that people could catch up, and the extended break showed that indeed, they did.

The further good news is that we think we found the house and will close on it quickly. The not-really-bad news there is that this subdivision themed its street names to Braveheart, unlike a different subdivision we looked at that actually had a street called Helms Deep Drive. Seriously.

Further bad news: the move may cause a week of no shows at the end of this month or beginning of the next. You'll be notified in advance, and given some content I canned at the source to ensure freshness. It might include recently-recorded interviews/Q&A's with Peter Weller and Bill Sienkiewicz, among other things.

Resulting good news: more breathing room for new listeners to jump in before the numbers get too imposing. Here's a quick look at the most recent episodes of our three headline shows:

Electric Shadow 5: Blasphemy and Sex

A focus on the history of SXSW and the Austin Film Society. Built around an interview with Louis Black (co-founder of both organizations), Mois├ęs talks with or we hear from all of the following:

Giant Size 5: Internet Comics Database

Complete with TWO post-shows, John and I recap comics-related happenings from SXSW 2014 and since, from Greg Pak, Jonathan Coulton, and Code Monkey to ComiXology Submit, The Bunker, and Doc Unknown to the digital/app/API revolution we welcome with open arms.

Thank You For Calling! 5: Backblaze Case Study

A MacWorld Expo Special wherein I talk to a good chunk of the company's booth-bound staff. We delve into the origins of an online backup service's customer service & support infrastructure, from passing around a GMail account to helping people feel less powerless and/or vulnerable.

PROGRESS

I assumed Electric Shadow would be the anchor show. That's why I named the network after it and "cast" the panel the way I did from the start. Thank You For Calling! I had expected to overtake Giant Size, and boy has it, nipping at ES's heels. I knew Giant Size would be the "niche" show from the start, but I'm surprised at how quickly it has outgrown the average downloads of its former incarnation.

RATINGS, REVIEWS, AND MARKETING

I need to drive more iTunes ratings and reviews. If you're reading this and haven't done one yet (and are not my mother), that would be greatly appreciated.

I also need to find time to properly "market" the shows a bit more, spread them around to blogs and sites and podcasts that would consider their content newsworthy or post-worthy. The recent ComiXology acquisition and my serendipitous TYFC and GS interviews brought this to mind.

I'm delinquent on finding recording time with a few podcasters who've asked me on, but that will be remedied and quick!

LEANER, MEANER, STRONGER

I also want to get the runtimes of Electric Shadow and Giant Size a bit tighter. I don't think they run "too long", but I want the longest of either that you now see in the feed to be the exception and not the rule when it comes to length.

I frequently see successful podcasters dismiss the notion of keeping shows to around (or under) an hour in length.

"Make it as long as you want. If you're good, the audience will come," they say.

To be competitive, I have to respond to my own instincts as someone who listens to a very large number of shows, and almost all at 3x speed. Even though that radically increases how many I can listen to, I still have to periodically cull, and the first to go are the three-and-a-half-hour interview show grab bags.

I also think that if you're fine plateauing, then catering only to the people you already have is fine. Making the theoretical tent bigger without resorting to pandering is a good thing, if you ask me.

One of the reasons I made the hard-and-fast "it'll never be over one hour" promise regarding Thank You For Calling! was to make it an easier addition to one's feeds, beyond the unique show topic and format(s). I'm convinced that it was really, really successful as a result. This is also why I radically shaved down the length of excerpted interviews on ES & GS, and created the supplementary feeds so that listeners could get as crazy or not-so-crazy as they wanted.

"Keep them hungry for more" is what I want to stick to more than "I have an enormous built-in audience, pretend like you're me and see how far that takes you".

NEW SHOWS, AD SALES, AND WORLD DOMINATION

I'm not starting any new shows on ESN any time soon. I have formats and concepts laid out for a few I would like to be able to add at some point, but they're entirely dependent on having the time to produce and cover their costs. Only two are of "headline" show length, three run under 15 minutes, one would not involve me as a host or co-host, and yet another could phase me out over time.

I'm always interested to hear what you would like to hear or hear more of, so keep the requests and feedback coming.

I've been asked multiple times, so I'm answering that and a few other FAQ's in one go.

I am not looking to acquire any shows for ESN, nor am I interested in having ESN acquired.

I am selling all of ESN's ads myself, in addition to handling ad sales for a limited, manageable number of clients.

LIVE EVENTS/SHOWS

I've been itching to start doing/sponsoring/curating screenings in Austin, and not just movies. I'm setting up a mailing list very soon.

I might do a live Electric Shadow (and/or Thank You For Calling!) during WWDC week in San Francisco this year.

(UN)LIMITED EDITION RE-ISSUES

Today, I "reprinted" episode 33 from the first iteration of Giant Size as a "Giant Size ORIGINS" episode in the new feed. I mentioned that I would be doing this back in the "#0" episodes, but here's why and how it's happening.

The reason this specific episode got "reprinted" now is that I brought it up in episode 115 of The Critical Path.

I want everything all under one roof, over time. It ensures no broken links or confusion as to where you can find content referenced in newer episodes down the road.

RE(TAINING) NUMBERING

Since Giant Size and Electric Shadow took on new numbering, old episodes will be plugged into the new feeds with a leading "(Classic) 0." in front of their original episode number, and retain their original posting date and time.

This preserves chronological sorting, offsets episodes as "classic" vintage, and allows longtime listeners to ignore or re-listen at their leisure. I'm updating the edits of all episodes to reflect correct station identification as well as updated pre-/post-shows.

I didn't forget the old After Dark post shows. They'll become Extras.