End of Year Retrospective
Thank you, and Happy New Year!
Thank you all for being readers and listeners of the Software at Scale publication. I’m also extremely grateful for the guests, who make the show what it is.
We’ve had around 65,000 downloads of our episodes, and just about 100,000 page-views this year, which has blown past my wildest expectations for a one-person side-project publication with long-form content. We released 35 episodes this year and had several founders/C-level executives of unicorn companies and even a couple of decacorns. We’ve also had maintainers of some of the most widely used software in the world. However, I’m most proud of this small but mind-boggling metric: at least ten individuals have heard most of my entire episode backlog on Spotify. That’s some serious appreciation, thank you!
We also had some failed experiments, like a YouTube Clips channel that had decent ROI, but I couldn’t create a repeatable, cheap process to justify spending time on, and even some TikTok videos that didn’t generate a lot of interest.
When the show was initially conceived, I had planned only to talk to individual contributors (I.C.) at large software companies that had experience building complicated, highly scalable software. The goal was to provide lessons that senior I.Cs had learned via experience in a casual, unfiltered format. Hence, the tagline “technical stories behind large software applications”. But over time, there were a few issues I ran into with this framing, mainly, it’s hard to consistently source senior I.C.s as guests on the show. They have a limited incentive to appear on any podcast, and they often wait for approval from their company’s communications department to appear on the show, which ended up causing several delays and cancellations. On the other hand, we gradually expanded the scope of the show to include interviews with engineering leaders, founders, and executives after some inbound interest, and have been expanding the scope to other software builders ever since. We’ve had a series of engaging interviews, some deeply technical, and others that dive into all these different aspects of building software, like organizational design, an open-source driven organization, and fostering inclusive communities. It’s also been much easier to manage my guest pipeline because of increased inbound interest, get more listeners due to the larger audiences of guests, and create a more sustainable publishing process.
To that end, we’ll be tweaking a few parts of the show to make this evolution (pivot?) explicit. The tagline “technical stories behind large software applications” is hopelessly outdated, and will be changing soon (suggestions welcome!). Other parts will remain the same - a continued focus on guests solving problems relevant to software engineers.
Next year, we will release more written interviews, given the success of that format (eg: episodes like this), and more standalone, opinionated articles. I would love to build out a community behind the show, so would love to know if any readers/listeners have an interest in participating. I can also guarantee that I won’t be selling N.F.T.s of episodes.
I would love your thoughts or any feedback. You can reply to this email here, or reach out to me on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading and tuning in, and happy new year!