Expect less directly Hypothesis related content here. If you want lots of Hypothesis related content, go over to hypothesis.works and check out the articles.
There will still be brain dumps of research, reflections on the social aspects of Hypothesis, etc. but most of the more directly expository content will be over there.
Note: If you read this from Planet Python, all of the Python specific articles will already be coming in automatically. There are a bunch of non Python related ones you may also wish to check out.
What’s going on?
Basically, I need to make money. I’m making some, but I’m not making enough. I am currently paying myself a salary (yay!) but it’s a salary that if any friend of mine was getting paid it I would tell them that their employer was screwing them over and they should fire them into the sun (note: This is not qualified by “any friend in the software industry”). Some of that is to build up liquidity for my business bank account (e.g. so I can pay contractors), some of it is just my company’s current revenue stream is not very large. Books are nice, and I’m very grateful to the small number of contributors on bountysource, but really all of the money comes from training, consulting and development contracts and right now I am not taking on even close to enough of them.
If I continue making money at the current rate then at some point later this year (Pencilled in at end of August if my current revenue doesn’t increase by then and end of 2016 if my savings don’t start going up rather than down by then) I really will have to throw in the towel and go get a day job. Ideally a part time one, and either way Hypothesis R&D will continue and I will probably still be available for contracting, training etc (and of course any existing commitments will be honoured), but it is going to have to get downgraded to a part time thing.
What am I going to do about it?
The contracts I’ve had so far have gone very well, and both I and my customers have come away from them pretty happy. Some of them will be turning into repeat custom, though unfortunately not on a sufficiently small cycle that they’re enough to be a path to sustainability on their own yet.
The problem is not that the contracts don’t pay enough (they do) or that I don’t know what sort of services bring real value to clients, but that I am simply not getting enough of them.
Why am I not getting enough of them? It turns out that the answer to this is quite straightforward: Very few people are aware they’re an option, and most of those who are aware that it is an option aren’t really sure it’s an option they need. I think they’re wrong, but clearly my arguments to date have been insufficiently persuasive.
Well, it turns out that there are two closely related disciplines that help you with the problem “I have a great product that not enough people know about and the people who know about aren’t buying”. They are of course, marketing and sales respectively.
These are things that historically I have been completely crap at. A lot of why nobody knows this is a thing I do is because I haven’t told them.
Oh, there’s been stuff on this site, but lets be honest: This site is very obviously just some guy’s blog. If you’re someone with budget and come here you don’t see a vendor, you see some guy ranting about social dynamics or game design. The best thing for really selling people on Hypothesis has been the documentation, and as well as being very developer focused it’s also doing a rubbish job of marketing.
So as well as being a generally great place to go for Hypothesis content, the goal of hypothesis.works is to have a single place which is just about Hypothesis and how great it is, and to make it very obvious that it is a thing you can pay for.
What can you do to help me?
The Hypothesis community is full of lovely people and I do get lots of offers of help. Unfortunately I haven’t made it easy to be helped. Some of this is because it’s intrinsically difficult – a small community of lovely people can’t and shouldn’t donate enough to support me – and some of it is just the aforementioned lack of skill at marketing that I’m working on.
If you don’t want to help, that’s OK. I won’t hate you. If you can’t help that’s definitely OK. But if you want to help, you can do some of the following…
- Donate on bounty source.
- Buy me books. This won’t actually help in the financial sense, but it’ll sure make me feel better :-)
- Buy my book. OK. You can’t actually do that yet. But watch this space.
- Share links to hypothesis.works articles, both on social media and internally to your company.
- Slightly harder variation: Write posts about how great Hypothesis is and link to hypothesis.works. If you’d like to guest post on hypothesis.works about how great Hypothesis is, let me know.
The reality is that the best way to help me is by giving me contracts. I don’t want charity, I want to exchange goods and services for currency. As an individual you’re not well placed to help with that.
As an employee (or contractor/consultant) you might be. If you think your company, or a company you know, would find either the services or the training I offer useful, talk to them about it. Also, if I can do anything to improve the site to make that job easier, get in touch and tell me about it.