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I've been gone, let me explain....

rcarlson profile image Robert Carlson ・3 min read

I’m not dead, but I feel like it!

I wanted to take a minute to write about what’s going on with Let’s Build. Things have been a little slow lately, and by little, I mean a lot! I’ve been absent on the community for about 3 months and have failed to support you all with content and community building. I’m deeply sorry and I wish I was more transparent a lot earlier with what has been going on.

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Why the recent absence?

Long story short, I and the other founders took on more than we could handle these past few months. We decided as a team in July we would pursue some contract work so that we could help afford to keep the lights on here (turns out servers are expensive)! These contracts included some web development work to upgrade an application’s UI which we initially estimated at 1 month, however 3 months later we found ourselves implementing a ton more work than we originally signed up to do. Lesson learned I suppose!

After all was said and done, we realized that this contract work simply took over our time and lives. It always seemed like we were a couple weeks away from being done and we could get back to Let's Build, which is why I hesitated to say anything publicly, but after @rohanthegreatt said something on the site yesterday I figured I needed to explain it here

They say time flies by when you are having fun, but it also flies by when you are struggling to get a project completed and you are stressed out beyond measure.

What’s the plan going forward?

The good news is, with our development contracts ending next month, we have managed to make enough money to keep Let’s Build running for another 12 months. Yay!

These last 3 months have also given us time to make sure we are making the most of the next year afforded to us. It’s not enough to simply keep the servers running, we want to focus on community growth and help fill a void in the ever changing game development community, and with our costs covered, we can now focus on this exclusively.

Finding more authors who can teach!

We have some amazing contributors which is part of what makes this community so special.

With that said, we are focused on finding more authors by reaching out to individuals who specialize in education and training. This is something we have done in the past; I think most of our regular and successful contributors were people I personally got know and invited to the platform, and we plan on expanding this effort to go beyond myself in order to help grow our tutorial-based content.

Reaching out to devs who want to learn!

Secondly, with our ever-growing collection of tutorial-based content, we will be personally reaching out to new developers on social media and other sites referencing these great resources. Our hope is to help people see Let’s Build as a safe and friendly place for them to learn.

We’ve considered long and hard about paying for advertisements, however we would probably blow through all our money in 3 months and there simply is no guarantee it's effectiveness. Plus, this model just does not fit our culture.

We find the content we've gathered so far to be the most effective form of engagement. We are all about community building, and although getting to know people is time consuming, it’s also rewarding in a lot of ways!

We want to help people collaborate with each other

Lastly, we want to help developers connect on this platform beyond simply learning. We have had a few people try to use Let’s Build as a place to find help, sometimes this worked, and sometimes it didn’t. Right now we simply don’t have the numbers to help fill this need, however as we continue to add members to the community we feel this need with be easier for us to fill. I would continue to encourage you all to reach out to find help with your projects, but also be patient as we grow and increase our numbers.

What do you think?

Thank you for your patience, understanding and how awesome each and everyone is here. I'd like to end by asking you some questions. Is there anything you would like to know about our direction? Do you have any thoughts on this community and where you want it to go? I would like to know your thoughts.

Discussion

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rohan profile image
ro

Ok! I understand, I imagine servers are expensive to keep running. Hopefully the platform can get larger though! Maybe you could put ads on the site? Im not sure if you want to do that, but obviosly dont plaster them everywere so when you click on a post you have to watch an ad.
I think this site has LOTS of potential, dev has become too saturated and was never very game-dev friendly. (proof of this over-saturation are my tutorial series, some of my old tutorials got about 50 hearts now my new ones get about 5 on average while some people are copying and pasting the exact same post and getting 100s of hearts).

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rcarlson profile image
Robert Carlson Ask Me Anything

We like the model DEV does with sponsorship, it seems less intrusive, but until we start getting hundreds of thousands of unique hits each week it's not really something we think we can entertain. In the meantime we put affiliate links in those places.

Another option we are going to explore later on in 2021 is a patreon or maybe a premier membership which would give you access to some analytics on your posts.

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rohan profile image
ro

I think they are all good ideas, Specifically the membership and the patreon. Don't make not having the membership too restrictive though after all to make someone want the membership they will have to enjoy using the platform.

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rcarlson profile image
Robert Carlson Ask Me Anything

We wouldn't change anything with what you currently get, maybe only add some features that content creators who want more analytics might value.

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rohan profile image
ro

Good idea! I like it. Especially if the platform grows then more popular devs would want to see how their posts perform

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oivoodoo profile image
Alexandr Korsak

Where are you hosting? I used to use hetzner for my personal projects. and for 30-40 euro per month, you can get a pretty good machine with 8 vcpu, 32gb memory. Amazon is pretty expensive until you get the funding.

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rcarlson profile image
Robert Carlson Ask Me Anything

heroku, but its mostly the services that come with this platform. The DEV community (whos software we use) decided to build their site using a lot of 3rd party services for things like background jobs, caching, file uploads and image resizing. The servers themselves are not too bad, its the addons that really add up.

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rcarlson profile image
Robert Carlson Ask Me Anything

Don't get me wrong though, we're very happy to have started this community from a pre-existing app rather than having to build this from scratch, but it does have its costs :)

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oivoodoo profile image
Alexandr Korsak

it's forem engine, as I see. it's generic rails application. I believe you can use dokku in hetzner and amazon s3 for storage persistence + enable cron tasks to make the daily backups. it's pretty easy and save you the money.

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rcarlson profile image
Robert Carlson Ask Me Anything

Thanks for sharing this!