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Response to "Should Vimcasts go Pro?" survey

I’d like to thank everyone who responded to my recent survey about supporting Vimcasts via a subscription model. I’ve taken your feedback on board and have decided to keep producing free Vimcasts. I can cover this site’s running costs and support myself by teaching Vim classes and producing longer video tutorials to sell.

My survey asked one question: would you like to pay a subscription for more Vimcasts? The tally today is 314 responses, of which 181 said yes (58%) and 133 said no (42%). That’s an encouraging response, but not overwhelmingly so. The truth is, I’m not keen on charging a subscription for more Vimcasts. If the response had been overwhelmingly positive then I might have considered it. I wasn’t expecting that, but I wanted to put the question out there.

My gut tells me that putting Vimcasts behind a paywall would do more harm than good. Planet Money tells the story of the Red Cross charging US servicemen for donuts; a decision they’ve regretted ever since. I believe that I get more benefits out of making Vimcasts freely available than I would by charging a subset of my audience, so I’m going to keep it free. The material on Vimcasts is good promotion for my Vim class, which covers the costs of running Vimcasts.

And I enjoy running my Core Vim Class. So much so that I want to spend more time teaching this class and others like it. Since this is a core part of my business I’ve decided to raise the prices for the class. Expect to see more Vim classes from me in the future.

I’m also planning on producing longer video tutorials to sell. My first paid screencast series on Vim for Rubyists is now available. If you purchase these videos, I thank you for supporting my work on Vimcasts. Expect to see more paid screencasts from me in the future.

I value your feedback

Vimcasts is a labour of love. In choosing topics for episodes, I’ve generally been guided by what’s interesting to me at the time. That strategy has had mixed success. When I started Vimcasts I was relatively new to Vim myself, so the topics that were of interest to me were also of general interest. I call that beginner’s luck! Recent episodes have not been received with as much enthusiasm as the early ones. I wonder if that’s because I’m more of an expert Vim user now, and the things that interest me are more specialised?

I want to keep producing content that is relevant and inspiring to the community. To make that happen, I want to engage more with my audience. I’d like to ask for your feedback, because it keeps me motivated. I’d also like to encourage your suggestions about what to cover in future episodes of Vimcasts. So I’m thinking of setting up a mailing list or forum to encourage discussion around the topics covered on Vimcasts. Inspired by Ruby Rogues Parley, I’m considering using Discourse.

Love Discourse? Hate Discourse? Know of something better? Let me know by email or in the comments below.

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