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why a newsletter

Today I shared the first issue of the newsletter. Why am I even doing a newsletter? Well, I think I’ve always wanted to do one, but I didn’t really know how. And I didn’t know which email service I should use. And I just didn’t know a lot of things. But then I saw a video by a former colleague of mine, Dann Berg. We used to work together at Datadog. Maybe not closely, but I knew of him at Datadog. And I think we had spoken a few times. But he had a video pretty recently about why he started a newsletter. And I think it kind of resonated with me. And I saw how easy it was for him.

Of course, everything’s easy when you see a video and you sign up for a service, in my case, Substack, which is what Dan is using as well. It’s a different thing when it comes up to the date where you said you’re going to send out the newsletter. And then the day after comes along. And then maybe even the day after that. I’m not sure when I said I’d send out the newsletter, but I don’t think it was the second day of the month.

I remember that problem when I was involved with the newsletter at Datadog. It sounds really cool and easy to do days or weeks before you need to send it out. But when the time comes, then it’s harder. And it’s the last thing you want to have to do.

Today I just looked at some of the things that I wanted to share with people that I haven’t had a chance to share. And those are the things that went into the newsletter.

I think going forward, it should be less about something I need to do once a month. But rather something that I can share on a more frequent basis. Anytime I have more than a tweet, but maybe less than a blog post.

I think it might be good to send out a note to all the people on the list every time a video goes out. And not just say, “Hey, I’ve got a new video.” But rather, “Hey, I’ve got a new video. Here’s why I chose to do this video. Here’s some of the research I did to prepare for this video. Here is why I made some choices in the code sample.” If there is a code sample. “Here are some of the comments from the last video. Perhaps some of the more interesting comments. And why I chose to answer the way I did.”

In fact, I took a look at the onboarding survey that apparently Substack does when you sign up for any subscription. And the seven or eight responses said they wanted more tips and tricks about how to work with Ollama. And that’s something that I didn’t include in that first issue. So I think I need to… I think sharing the videos as well as the background of why I decided to do that video, I think that covers that point. Because so far, all of the videos are about Ollama. And if I share why I’m doing that video, then I think there’s usually a tip or a trick in there.

But of course this blog post has a title of “Why a Newsletter?” And I’ve just spent a whole bunch of paragraphs avoiding the question of “Why am I creating a newsletter?”

I guess I don’t know. 17 years ago when I created my first video on YouTube, I did the videos mostly for myself. I was working for a company called Open Text. And people would ask me a question about how to do something. And often, maybe even usually, my answer was, I don’t know. And so I would spend some time researching and figuring out what the answer was, and give them the answer, maybe a day or so later. And I didn’t wanna be in that position again. And so when I found the answer, I decided to create a video. Not so that I could point them to the video, but so that when they ask the question, I have somewhere to go to find a video that speaks specifically to me. I can watch it and three or four minutes later, I have the answer, and I can go back to that person and say, “Here’s the answer.”

But my YouTube channel changed. And my relationship with my YouTube channel changed. It became something bigger; I was excited to see people learning from me. I was already a trainer at Open Text, focused on teaching people how to use RightFAX. And I loved being able to show people new tools and technologies within that space. YouTube allowed me to expand beyond just the 5 to 10 people that would be in the classroom. Not by a whole lot because I didn’t have that many viewers. But still, it was an expansion of the feeling of satisfaction that I was sharing information with others.

So why a newsletter? I guess it lets me expand my reach just a little bit further.