Reflecting Back

The text blog has been around for about two years now and the video blog is a little over one year old. I thought this would be a great time to look back and tell you a bit more about what happens in the background and what it takes to produce a blog like this.

When I started this blog, the only reader was myself and my wife as proofreader. Starting a blog is completely based on the belief that one day, someone will read and value the stuff you put out there. There’s absolutely no guarantee for this to happen. You may remain the only reader of your own articles for a long while.

Relocating to the US cost me a lot of my valuable lab equipment. One of the most difficult things to get is sponsors when your viewer count is right around 2. So I started by translating some of my old articles into English and began posting them. I was positively surprised to see that just a few month after doing this, views would skyrocket. Of course, the views were ridiculous compared to what they are now.

Small sponsors started submitting demos of their products for me to review. Abracon and freescale were among the first. Analog Devices and STMicroelectronics followed. While I really appreciate those contributions, they were relatively small. I wanted a big sponsor. Not because I am greedy, but because of the fact that I wanted to see someone take a risk on me. If a large manufacturer was willing to pony up a significant amount of cash, I knew that someone else would see the vision. In the beginning of 2013, this sponsor came along, Teledyne LeCroy. And knowing that to date the opinions about my blog within LeCroy are quite divergent, I can only imagine what kind of effort this must have taken by the driving person in this.

The problem with every hobby is that it comes after everything else. Money making first, family second and then the hobby. I know it should be family first, but unless you live in a dream world, you know that family doesn’t work without income. One theoretically easy way to shift the hobby into the “money making” category was to make it profitable. That’s a plan I have started to implement but I am far from it. Google AdSense is cool but even big guys like Dave Jones from the EEVBlog need to create extra revenue to make a living. That’s simply because Google AdSense doesn’t cut it.

Therefore I have implemented a Paypal “donate option” and LeCroy, once again, is helping out, as you can see by the ad in the top right corner. All the revenue together is at least enough to break even and buy better equipment every once in a while. Getting demo devices is no longer a real issue. So this is great progress.

One thing I noticed is that the access to manufacturers of RF components is more difficult than I thought. They often work in tight military dominated markets and are also mostly very ignorant of social media. As I have shown in one of my video, Mini Circuits is the first to hop on board. This is an excellent development. Believe it or not, those little components / modules add up quite quickly.

With the video blog going so well, I have unfortunately ignored the text blog quite a bit. I am not sure if that’s a particularly bad thing or not. The views / subscribers of the text blog are still exponentially rising. But it’s definitely one thing I need to improve. And I will.

So that’s the look into the past of this blog. What’s in the future? Since I don’t have a crystal ball handy, I have absolutely no idea. But I know that the past 1 – 1.5 years have definitely affirmed that my time and money invested in this blog were well spent.

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