Author Topic: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?  (Read 19298 times)

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Offline ChrisGammell

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Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« on: June 05, 2013, 05:46:34 pm »
So I announced Contextual Electronics on The Amp Hour this week. Any thoughts here?

http://contextualelectronics.com
 

Offline AlfBaz

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2013, 12:04:18 am »
Hi Chris

Great idea!
Unfortunately I know squat about marketing but having been subjected to it extensively I can't help but feel that the current version of your site is lacking

Since I know precious little about marketing I can't give advice, only opinion based on what gets me excited about electronics

The opening page should be an eye grabber, pictures of scopes, soldering stations, test setups, bench and/or multimeters, components and other salivating things. Bullet points of the unique nature of the class... In other words make the page exciting to the point where you want to watch the video.

With the intro video try and make it a little more slick by doing more production, panning shots of PCB's, test equipment, screen grabs from kicad etc with voice over, possibly research marketing techniques. Tease and entice us to want more info that you can then provide in the second video

Just be careful not to go over the top and make it look cheesy

My 2 cents
 

Offline chicken

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2013, 12:36:00 am »
Don't worry about polish, content is king!

IMO the sign-up page and the posted videos are perfectly fine production quality wise. Maybe adding more specifics about the curriculum as you flesh out the details.
 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2013, 03:41:27 am »
Much like I do when I go to Chipotle for a burrito...I'm going to go with chicken on this one ;-)

AlfBaz, good suggestions, but for right now I'm going mainly for listeners of The Amp Hour and followers on Twitter/YouTube. As I try to pull in others that might not be familiar with the other things (or god forbid, don't know what EEVblog is!), I'll consider your ideas, they're great.
 

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2013, 08:51:56 am »
Hi Chris,  I come from a completely non-electronics background (6 yrs at art school) so I can very much relate to the message in your videos.  The most important thing you left out was, how much will it cost?  is it free?    Also if I can't see examples of what is being taught, and the token clip of some geeky nerds smiling and saying how it helped them I don't think i'd be inclined to even sign-up!     

Practically all of my very limited and basic electronics knowledge comes from the web, and as a learning channel I've found it's becoming every increasingly "noisy" - so what you're proposing is a nice concept!    but I think you really need to look closer at the marketing side,  also regarding visual impact, I'd have to agree completely with AlfBaz.
 

Offline AlfBaz

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2013, 09:28:51 am »
...but for right now I'm going mainly for listeners of The Amp Hour and followers on Twitter/YouTube.
:)
I was almost going to say in my original post that what you have so far is great if interested parties already knew you from your internet presence
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2013, 10:15:46 am »
The most important thing you left out was, how much will it cost?  is it free?

I can answer for Chris, as we mentioned this on the Amp Hour, no it's not free. There will be a few bits of good free teaser content, but mostly it's a paid content/service system.

I think it's a good concept in principle, but in practice will of course have a few obvious issues to contend with.
The biggest one I see is everyone potentially wanting individual attention, in which case Chris's wife will likely leave him  ;D
And about the google hangouts etc. I'm not sure how practical that is if say 1000 people sign up and all want and expect to be part of the action. But I guess only a certain percentage will want to do that anyway, so probably self regulating in that respect.

Sounds like Chris is basically going for the full service concept.
My plans for paid content on the other hand are the opposite (if I ever get off my arse and do it):
I will produce whatever content I like whenever I like, and people can buy it one-off (or maybe a series set of videos). No support offered at all, just like when you buy a book for example.
A few will be free, and if you like it and want more, you can buy them. If not, be happy with your freebie and my regular free blog content.
 

Offline lgbeno

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Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2013, 12:18:42 pm »
Hi guys, I do like the concept quite a bit.  Seems like a second full time job on Chris' side though! 

WRT paid content vs free, it is probably a matter of reach, you will probably service 10x of the audience if its free and even of it cost 10 cents, a smaller subset of the population would avoid it simply because you would need to give credit card info, login, all of that stuff...

I don't think that there is a really great answer to how to make a endeavor like this worth your time and effort but I think that one possibility would be high margin on the actual hardware being delivered or swag like the amp hour t shirts. 

Like Dave says, people expect a lot more service when it's paid for so controlling expectations will be important.

Regardless Chris, I think that it's a great concept and I commend you for getting it started! 

Maybe it's easier to have a sponsor and give things away like the amp hour?  Or donation model for those more generous and supportive fans.
 

Offline lgbeno

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Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2013, 12:53:05 pm »
Just making a post to revive this thread :)

Dave wrt to your paid content, is there a price range that you were thinking about?  I could see where some of the design series like content could be valuable enough to pay for.  Still some of my favorites...  But I know that those also take the most time/work as well.

Now that I've said that, sounds like Chris' project except for the added community aspects.  Regardless, looking forward to more details!
 

Offline N TYPE

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2013, 02:45:44 pm »
One thing which came to mind was where do you start? If its for absolute beginners then you have to mention what is volts, amps, what is an opamp, what is inductance, how to use an oscilloscope etc, and your more experienced students may get bored quickly.. on the other hand, if you jump in and make assumptions about what your students should know already, then the beginners (albeit having the best intentions) may feel overwhelmed and ripped off.
I guess my suggestion would be to offer different levels of course, or at least be specific about who the course is for.

I like to think that your target audience would in the similar situation as myself - I know the basics, I can flash an LED, take measurements,  build simple circuits on a breadboard, but have no idea when it comes to designing a useful electronic device...
I'd love to see this thing go ahead, and looking forward to seeing what comes out of it.  :-+
 

Offline lgbeno

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Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2013, 12:58:27 pm »
One thing which came to mind was where do you start? If its for absolute beginners then you have to mention what is volts, amps, what is an opamp, what is inductance, how to use an oscilloscope etc, and your more experienced students may get bored quickly..

I think that's a great question

My 2 cents (right or wrong), even for beginners, they don't need to be spoon fed that info.  I always found that if I had a forcing reason to figure something out to get up to speed with more advanced engineers, I would do so on my own time, that means that would be a lot more work for beginners but more fulfilling in the end.  Of course the community aspect of the course would allow those individuals to ask as many questions as needed to get the answers that they need which is a pretty powerful thing.

I remember in college, most of the stuff that I retained was learned in the lab talking with my peers and practicing, the lecture was just the forcing function to make those questions occur.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2013, 01:14:50 pm »
Dave wrt to your paid content, is there a price range that you were thinking about? 

I was thinking the impulse buy "phone app" type pricing model would be better. So it would likely be dollars, not tens of dollars.
But that's for one-off videos, not series or sets etc.

Quote
Now that I've said that, sounds like Chris' project except for the added community aspects.  Regardless, looking forward to more details!

AFAIK Chris is ultimately working toward the regular subscriber model.
I most definitely don't want regular subscribers, because that puts you under pressure to continually produce material. I have enough pressure already, I don't need any more!
My material, if it ever happens, will be one-off, with absolutely no expectation on me to produce any more.
 

Offline AlfBaz

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2013, 02:02:57 am »
My material, if it ever happens, will be one-off, with absolutely no expectation on me to produce any more.
You are so Ozzie Dave   :) :-+
 

Offline lgbeno

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Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2013, 06:54:29 am »
Good way of putting it Dave, I think that the pressure would be great as well, that's just the unfortunate thing about collecting money for something.  Charge $10 a month and people will want 10hrs of content or something like that.

I could certainly see where the ala carte model where videos sit on the shelf and customers know what they are buying before they pay up would be better.  Especially if it is a small price like $1 or $2.  I guess what I don't know is how to get the distribution system setup to enable that sort of thing.  Is that a new web service that someone need to create?  Sort of like iTunes meets YouTube...
 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2013, 12:27:21 am »
Dave wrt to your paid content, is there a price range that you were thinking about? 

I was thinking the impulse buy "phone app" type pricing model would be better. So it would likely be dollars, not tens of dollars.
But that's for one-off videos, not series or sets etc.

Quote
Now that I've said that, sounds like Chris' project except for the added community aspects.  Regardless, looking forward to more details!

AFAIK Chris is ultimately working toward the regular subscriber model.
I most definitely don't want regular subscribers, because that puts you under pressure to continually produce material. I have enough pressure already, I don't need any more!
My material, if it ever happens, will be one-off, with absolutely no expectation on me to produce any more.

That was initially the idea, but I wanted to clarify that's not the case anymore. This will be buying the entire 10 week course and following along. No recurring subscriptions.
 

Offline tanstaafl

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2013, 07:31:30 pm »
Can you give a rough idea of how much it will cost?

Faq says: "aim to make it cheaper than a (US) community college class", have no idea what a US community college class cost... :D
 

Offline cthree

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2013, 09:05:24 pm »
Under a hundred bucks
 

Offline cthree

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2013, 07:52:36 pm »
Allow me to share a couple of thoughts since I'm probably the kind of person this is aimed at and will probably sign up for it.

Focus on a few specific outcomes. Decide what hobbyists going to want to be able to build and focus your attention on teaching us how to build those types of circuits. While you are doing that it would be a good idea to have vectors which go into more detail like good books, websites or videos which do more into the fundamentals.

Some of the things that I think are good basic skills and topics:

1. Basic electrical and electronic terms and formulas (ohms law, etc.) Make this one free? Add how to use basic kit you will use when building circuits: a multimeter, breadboard, leads, wire.

2. Simple LED blink lesson using a 9V battery, an LED, a 555 timer and fixed resistors. Use the multimeter to probe the circuit, discuss LEDs and the 555 timer IC.

3. Change the circuit by adding a pot and a low side N channel MOSFET and a couple more LEDs making it an LED dimmer. Talk about N-channel MOSFETs as simple switches. Introduce basic schematic drawings and how to read datasheets.

4. Drive a small DC motor with a half H bridge constructed using N and P channel MOSFETs. Talk about inductive loads, talk about diodes, expand on LED discussion before.

5. Expand on #4, make the motor control circuit a full H bridge. Use an Arduino Uno to do PWM motor speed control, a tactile switch to do motor direction control, braking and freewheeling, etc. Add a voltage regulator to power the Arduino and motors from different rails.

6. Build a simple single output low voltage project power supply using all the components introduced so far. Introduce amplification, BJT transistors, dissipating heat with heat sinks. Dump the Arduino for an ATmega328. Connect an I2C LCD display and discuss serial bus.

7. Expand on #6, Build a variable bench power supply, Introduce op amps, negative voltage, explain constant voltage, constant current, "noise" effects, introduce the oscilloscope and how to connect it to the circuit and use its basic functions to probe the bench supply.

8. Wrap up. Design the PCB for the bench supply, get it made (OSHPark?), solder all the components, through hole and SMT, and put it in a project box ordered from Digikey (sponsorship opportunity?) to make a complete hobby bench power supply with LEDs, load switch, LCD readout and binding posts.

That would be the general lesson plan if I were to choose it. I'm sure there are lots of other opinions out there about what is important and I'm sure I've left stuff out but this gets a student to:

controlling and powering LEDs, using Arduino and standalone micro controllers, driving and controlling DC motors and basic DC power supply construction as well as enough theory, tools and foundation to design these types of circuits on their own.

I could see a couple of intermediate tracks from here, lighting, audio, toys and robotics, etc.

8 weeks, $99. Include a box of parts students will need to make everything except lesson #8 and the Arduino. You could skip the Arduino but a lot of people will encounter them so having a small introduction would be good so people know what they are about and can decide if they are appropriate for their projects.

Hope this is useful.
 

Offline cthree

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2013, 08:02:32 pm »
For #6 and 7, on reflection #6 should discuss capacitors, decoupling and the LCD and I2C/SPI stuff should move to #7. I omitted AC and filters. To average people that stuff is black magic. How you work that in is important but obviously there needs to a be a little of it, even if it's just some really basic RC filtering.

Why contextual? I'm not exactly sure what you mean by that.
 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2013, 08:29:31 pm »
All your suggestions are really great! However, the course will be targeting people who have already tackled some of those basics (though it's not a requirement).

The "Contextual" refers to the fact that the course will be a single project (designing an arduino shield) with multiple opportunities to learn different concepts. So each time the project introduces a new concept (such as op amps or decoupling), there will be an explanation of the concept as its implemented. The idea behind it is that beginners and even intermediate people feel such pressure to learn everything at the beginning that it becomes paralyzing. Instead, this will be lessons as they're needed and with the context of the larger project around them. It's tough when you want to start MAKING something, but you're told to start at the very beginning with small pieces. Instead this is a larger project, with the smaller pieces being explained as we go. There will be multiple resources (as you suggested) to go learn more, but really this course is for building electronics, not learning about the basics. It's funny because I took your number 8 suggestion and  built the entire course around that...because that's the hard part in my opinion! :-D

This is hardly comprehensive, but here is an early outline of the course and the videos I've started making in preparation: http://contextualelectronics.com/july-ce-course-outline/

There will be many more, and the KiCAD course will be a supplemental section to actually get to know the software as you're putting together a board.

Pricing is a little different than what I'm planning, but I'll release that info soon. I can confirm there will be a sub-$100 option though. This seems to match or beat every hackerspace class out there. Example: http://nycresistor.eventbrite.com/
 

Offline cthree

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2013, 04:27:28 am »
Great, it sounds like I sort of understand your concept.

But... If it is beginners who feel the pressure to know so much up front before doing anything useful and you mean to reduce that burden then are you not in fact directing this at beginners or is it towards those who have already crossed that bridge?

I consider myself a beginner having built my first actual circuit only about a month ago but I've been reading app notes, data sheets, art of electronics both the book and student manual nonstop and watched almost all of Dave's videos, even a couple warmed over live episodes over the last 6 months. My head is swimming with electronics, it's what I think ablaut when I go to sleep and what I think about when I wake up. I'm kind of obsessed with hardware after spending 25 years writing all manner of code.

That said, I built an Arduino Shield this morning over coffee to program sketches to an ATtiny85 using an UNO as ISP and then in the afternoon I transferred a programmed ATtiny85 to a breadboard and built up a working circuit using LEDs, MOSFETs and an ultrasonic range sensor I bought on eBay to help me pull my car in the garage the proper distance and get rid of the tennis ball hanging from a string. I put the car in the correct position, push a button which sets the range in EEPROM and the red LED lights up. When you pull out the green LED turns on and when you pull back in the red LED comes on when you reach the set point stored in EEPROM.

I guess from my point of view I'd like to start with something useful and then dig in and learn what I need to make it work. I'd like to learn about op amps but only if I'm going to find them to be a generally useful tool in my toolbox. I know what op amps are and what they generally do but I can't think of a application for using one off the top of my head. If you can enlighten me as to why they are useful, like a No.2 Phillips screwdriver, I would be grateful. I'd like to come away from it thinking "hmmm, this is a perfect application for an op amp". I know about negative feedback and positive feedback and inverting and non inverting inputs but I'm still clueless as to why any of it matters. I'm sure it does because everyone keeps talking about them but I'm not there yet. I know a lot but understand little.

KiCAD is cool but I already own Eagle standard with the hobby license and I've already designed a couple of schematics and laid out some PCBs, I'm waiting for my first prototype PCB to come back from China right now. I'd still be interested in the general skills and techniques you use to layout PCBs so I might take it anyway.
 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2013, 01:31:19 pm »
I know about negative feedback and positive feedback and inverting and non inverting inputs but I'm still clueless as to why any of it matters. I'm sure it does because everyone keeps talking about them but I'm not there yet. I know a lot but understand little.

Amen! This is exactly what I want to convey. I want to help people that are getting started and screaming, "WHY DOES THIS MATTER???" (that was my experience in class and labs). That's why I want to teach stuff in the context of building a project.

That all said, the people I'm targeting are actually just like you. What I've been saying is "Advanced Arduino Users". Looking to get building other hardware after having tackled some kits and breadboarding. The reality is, breadboarding is still only possible by prototyping these days. Through hole parts just aren't available in a large enough quantities or variety to make it worth it.
 

Offline cthree

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2013, 03:58:13 am »
Excellent, I guess I'm in then if I'm not the only one :)

I bought some of those SMT/0.1" breakout PCBs from Adafruit which have proven handy. I populated some with some of my common parts and keep them in my proto part box. I'd like to see more DIP packages, even if they charge a premium (as they do anyway). Their SMT parts might get spec'd into more projects if they had an easy to use version for breadboard use.
 

Offline vk3yedotcom

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2013, 11:08:48 am »
I'd like to come away from it thinking "hmmm, this is a perfect application for an op amp". I know about negative feedback and positive feedback and inverting and non inverting inputs but I'm still clueless as to why any of it matters. 

Feedback matters as it pretty much tells what you want the op amp to do.

This is what makes them so versatile.

Eg to to vary how much the stage will amplify then you change the feedback circuitry.

If you want the stage to pass only a limited audio bandwidth they you put capacitors in to restrict amplification above and below a centre frequency.

If you apply positive feedback to an amplifier then it becomes an oscillator.  If intended as an amplifier that's a bad thing, but there's lots of cases where you deliberately want to generate a  signal, whether for a sound effects generator, test equipment or radio transmitter.

You only need a small number of unique parts to create building blocks like amplifiers, oscillators and filters.  They just need to be connected the right way. Controlling feedback is an important part of achieving this.
If you're into amateur radio you might enjoy my books. Choice of 6. Electronic or paperback. Details here: http://home.alphalink.com.au/~parkerp/vk3yebooks.htm
 

Offline NerdCore

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #24 on: July 11, 2013, 01:59:53 pm »
I'm sorry to burst the bubble. But in the age of open, accessible, and free online information, a paid subscription model is VERY difficult to get returns from. You can take courses (old ones) from MIT/Case/Carnegie Mellon/Harvard/Stanford/ect for free now. They do this to get you interested in the school so you will attend or advertise the school to someone else so they will attend. Also, with a bit of spirited googling you can find a forum post to answer almost any question, or join that forum to get your question answered. That, or go to YouTube and find a video for just about anything you want.

Fundamentals in any subject are all over the internet. The internet and YouTube is literally saturated with fundamentals. People who want advanced information on a person to person bases, (Those who want tutoring for high level bachelors classes/ masters classes and advanced hobbyists) are the ones you should be targeting. Unfortunately, the resources the college students need are available locally to them on campus. You're left with advanced hobbyists.

I don't think the paid business model is going to net you any substantial income, but will ultimately waste your time for minimal returns. The best thing to do is get your content out there free and get sponsors for products you recommend or require for the tutorial. Unfortunately in the age of free information, getting paid is difficult. The business model for online content is simple: Your content is the hook to get people attached to your sponsors. period.
 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #25 on: July 11, 2013, 02:10:50 pm »
Well, that's where we disagree, and that's a-ok. The best part about this program is that it'll tell me quite quickly whether people want it or not, through sign ups. I think there is a market there and if people do sign up, I know they're dedicated to learning because they have some skin (well, money) in the game.

Also, it won't be a subscription model, it'll be buying access to the 10 week course.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #26 on: July 11, 2013, 02:30:01 pm »
Unfortunately in the age of free information, getting paid is difficult. The business model for online content is simple: Your content is the hook to get people attached to your sponsors. period.

As someone who essentially makes a living from that, I'd like to think that that is not the only end game,
Once you have a following and people like you and your stuff, some form of paid content or products can ultimately work.
 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #27 on: July 11, 2013, 02:38:09 pm »
Yup, Dave knows best here (how often do I say that??). The key is how many people are in your following and how much they like your style, both of which he has advised me on before; this also relates to how much they trust your knowledge. Whether people ultimately end up signing up will be a test of all these things.

Also, Dave's hidden message here and one I can corroborate from working with it on The Amp Hour is: working with sponsors sucks.
 

Offline NerdCore

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #28 on: July 11, 2013, 03:08:46 pm »
Well, that's where we disagree, and that's a-ok. The best part about this program is that it'll tell me quite quickly whether people want it or not, through sign ups. I think there is a market there and if people do sign up, I know they're dedicated to learning because they have some skin (well, money) in the game.

Also, it won't be a subscription model, it'll be buying access to the 10 week course.
There absolutely is a market for this information. However the market is so saturated that, based on supply and demand,  supply is so high that to get more viewers you need to make it free. How do you get paid then? Ads. I'm not saying it won't work. I am stating that getting people to pay for information is quite difficult. That's why so much content is free but have tons of ads. It's a more successful model. You will get people, absolutely, but enough to make a profit and worth the time? That's a craps shoot but looking at trends, it doesn't look good. Regardless it's your time and money. If you are not doing for the money but to get information out there, then OK I understand. At that point it's not about the money.

Although, I admit, bulk access to a 10 week course where you get all the require hardware is a considerably better model. But at that point your profits are effected from having to send customers components. What do you do? Keep it cheap and not send out required hardware? Lose profit and send out hardware? Or maybe use a preferred vendor which is also advertising and have a discount through them. (The last one is what I would do).


Unfortunately in the age of free information, getting paid is difficult. The business model for online content is simple: Your content is the hook to get people attached to your sponsors. period.

As someone who essentially makes a living from that, I'd like to think that that is not the only end game,
Once you have a following and people like you and your stuff, some form of paid content or products can ultimately work.
But, don't you make your money from advertising and such? I watch your videos and haven't paid to watch any yet. As I have said, there is a way to make money on a paid model. It's very difficult and not very lucrative.

Yup, Dave knows best here (how often do I say that??). The key is how many people are in your following and how much they like your style, both of which he has advised me on before; this also relates to how much they trust your knowledge. Whether people ultimately end up signing up will be a test of all these things.

Also, Dave's hidden message here and one I can corroborate from working with it on The Amp Hour is: working with sponsors sucks.

I wish you the best of luck. I for one am very curious and would seriously consider buying one. I think this is great for helping people from start to finish holding someones hand in making a project.

Although I do agree, if you have enough bulk followers you will have enough to make it reasonably successful. But for most people it's about value (which 99% of people associate with the cheapest cost). This means an advertising model with free content is most successful. As I said I guess it's more about what your end goal is. If it's to get content out there regardless then this will be successful. If it's to maximize profits then you will make money, but not a ton.

One way or another it will be "successful" in that you will make money and get your content out there. But not maximized.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2013, 03:14:46 pm by NerdCore »
 

Offline jancumps

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #29 on: July 11, 2013, 03:36:42 pm »
I'm putting away one euro per day for a few weeks already to save up for the subscription.
 

Offline DerekZahn

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #30 on: July 11, 2013, 07:29:43 pm »
Unfortunately in the age of free information, getting paid is difficult. The business model for online content is simple: Your content is the hook to get people attached to your sponsors. period.

As someone who essentially makes a living from that, I'd like to think that that is not the only end game,
Once you have a following and people like you and your stuff, some form of paid content or products can ultimately work.

Yeah, NerdCore's analysis seems just a bit overly-cynical ... :)

The value from this on-line content varies quite a bit depending on the content, of course, but also the personality and style ... anything from detailed technical lectures to "infotainment"... and potentially I think plenty of people will pay for such content if it appeals to the enough, either because it is educational (giving the viewer knowledge and skills they can use to become more powerful), or because it is simply entertaining, or anywhere in between.  Of course, it has to offer something substantial above the vast sea of free content...

What kinds of substantial value can be offered? 

1)  Thoroughness with focus.  For example, there are plenty of tutorials and introductory videos and blogs about various specific topics (say... conditioning weak signals for input to ADCs), but it is maddeningly difficult to find comprehensive coverage of such topics... the vast array of available op amps, noise issues in the circuitry, biasing, shielding, dealing with over-voltage conditions, options for changing gain levels dynamically and how to think about choosing between them, etc etc etc.  Traditionally, writing a book would be the way to communicate this kind of in-depth material, but evolving hyperlinked multimedia with community is superior....

2) Interactivity.   Like Contextual Electronics... part of the appeal is having an xpert available with detailed knowledge of the exact circuitry under study is quite valuable and worth paying for.   Similarly, interaction with peers provides a "shared experience" component that appeals to our basic social natures and requires an organizational context.

3) Personality.   We like watching certain people who we find entertaining.  The information content is rather small in Dave's mailbag segments and many (but not all) teardowns (the motorola phone teardown was quite scant on any actual information, e.g.)... there are nuggets here and there but it is an investment to dig them out.  But on those occasions where Dave is clearly enjoying the subject matter and the process of making the video, he is very fun to watch and listen to... it is a huge part of the eevblog appeal.  People pay to watch entertainment if they enjoy it enough...

On this subject, I find it interesting that Chris is quite engaging as a personality in the Amp Hour podcasts and is fun to listen to, but is unbelievably stiff and painful to watch when talking to a camera... I wonder why?

4) Putting it all together.   I found Zach Braff's kickstarter for getting his movie "Wish I Was Here" to be fascinating.  Besides the warm fuzzies of helping a celebrity you like work on a new movie, what the backers (will) get is a series of hopefully detailed videos documenting the process of the film's creation, start to finish.  Presented through Braff's affable personality, the learning opportunity and sense of "being there" is fantastic... and he raised three million dollars mostly for access to that video content.

I personally would pay a fair bit for a subscridption to a start-to-finish detailed look at design, development, and production of an electronics product, especially if Dave does it.  It is a lot more niche than Braff's project and it could be tricky to market it to the target audience, but it would be really cool.  If Dave could team up with an editor to take the "live" video of Dave working and talking about the issues he is grappling with and distilling it down tomsomething watchable, that could be awesome (Dave is a fine editor but he should be talking and doing electronic stuff rather than editing video IMO).  My favorite eevblog videos are those times when he used to document part of the design and production process for his boards.... just watching him rant about (for example)  the process of selecting and sourcing power components for the project would be vastly entertaining and with enough actual details, educational and useful.

Anyway, interesting stuff!  I will probably signup for Chris's thing, depending on my life situation etc, as my skill level is just about right for the audience he seems to be targeting.
 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #31 on: July 11, 2013, 07:54:57 pm »
That was a great analysis Derek and I couldn't have said it better myself. Really you wrote about the benefit of online media over traditional media in general, not just of Contextual Electronics, and that makes it even more valuable analysis.

As for my stiffness on camera, my guess would just be experience still. I just don't have the same amount of facetime as Dave does on camera. He improved markedly from videos 1 -> 20 but even more from 20 -> 100. And these days, of course, we can't shut him up!  :D

Thanks for the kind words and the help articulating what I couldn't.
 

Offline jancumps

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #32 on: July 11, 2013, 08:27:50 pm »
True. Camera coolness is an acquired skill. And practicing in front of a camera doesn't help too much. Trowing yourself and growing up in public seems to be the best way.
 

Offline AlfBaz

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #33 on: July 12, 2013, 05:03:05 am »
As for my stiffness on camera...
Haven't I heard you say you enjoy the occasional drink?  ;)
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #34 on: July 12, 2013, 05:23:59 am »
Also, Dave's hidden message here and one I can corroborate from working with it on The Amp Hour is: working with sponsors sucks.

I'd rather not have to deal with haggling advertisers to pay up every month.
I'd also rather not have to deal will selling and shipping and supporting stuff.
I'd also rather not have to deal with people who donate (or support in some financial way) and then complain I've done X wrong.

It's ok, I bought my lotto tickets this month.
If you see all the ads suddenly vanish and me not selling anything, you know I suddenly don't have to give a toss any more...
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #35 on: July 12, 2013, 05:32:50 am »
But, don't you make your money from advertising and such? I watch your videos and haven't paid to watch any yet. As I have said, there is a way to make money on a paid model. It's very difficult and not very lucrative.

Yes, I make almost all my money through some form of advertising or sponsorship.
But I'm saying that doesn't have to be the ultimate end game.
I would prefer not to do that, and there are others way. I don't do much of those other ways yet because a) It's work, and b) advertising is working quit well for me.

Quote
Although I do agree, if you have enough bulk followers you will have enough to make it reasonably successful. But for most people it's about value (which 99% of people associate with the cheapest cost). This means an advertising model with free content is most successful. As I said I guess it's more about what your end goal is. If it's to get content out there regardless then this will be successful.

Chris's paid content method is the exact opposite of getting the info out there.
If that was his goal (as has been many of his sites) then 100% paid content is the worst way to do it.
He's in this one purely for the financial side, he sees a potential full time business model here. Of course, being a nerd he still cares about getting info out an helping people, but lets not confuse the two.

Free content is the best model to achieve glory, if that's what you are after. My videos for example get viewed over 25,000 times every day, without uploading any new content. Because the content is free, searchable, and now highly indexed.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #36 on: July 12, 2013, 05:43:22 am »
As for my stiffness on camera, my guess would just be experience still. I just don't have the same amount of facetime as Dave does on camera. He improved markedly from videos 1 -> 20 but even more from 20 -> 100. And these days, of course, we can't shut him up!  :D

This video blog is my first ever time on camera.
I literally didn't know what to say or how to act, and I still don't. So, I'm, well, me.
I have been to NIDA, Australia's best and most prestigious film and acting school, and yes, they were absolutely mortified at my on-camera presence and technique.
My NIDA coach summed it up when he said "I can see why you are popular and people watch you, but you do everything wrong, absolutely everything!"
Curiously, my class mates all said I "act" differently when in front of the camera, but I don't see it. I think I'm just naturally more enthusiastic when trying to explain or deliver a message on camera.
 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #37 on: July 12, 2013, 01:41:47 pm »
My NIDA coach summed it up when he said "I can see why you are popular and people watch you, but you do everything wrong, absolutely everything!"
Curiously, my class mates all said I "act" differently when in front of the camera, but I don't see it. I think I'm just naturally more enthusiastic when trying to explain or deliver a message on camera.

I think that means you're a "natural". Also, if an actor tells me I'm doing something wrong, I'd likely take that as a compliment ;)
 

Offline AlfBaz

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #38 on: July 12, 2013, 03:43:13 pm »
My NIDA coach summed it up when he said "I can see why you are popular and people watch you, but you do everything wrong, absolutely everything!"
In what context? Surely not the one you are actually in
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #39 on: July 12, 2013, 04:25:11 pm »
He just does not act a part, he is the part.
 

Offline jancumps

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #40 on: July 14, 2013, 09:57:40 pm »
I've been shopping for a second hand Arduino and some related odds and ends (by accident I ended up with two: a uno and a millenove - disappointed students seem to throw them out of the window).
And I installed th IDE on my computer (it's a Linux - all in all it went fine).
Ready to go :)
 

Offline vk3yedotcom

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #41 on: July 16, 2013, 11:52:19 am »
He just does not act a part, he is the part.

Which is both good and bad. 

Good in that unlike a product it can't readily be imitated (or if it is it won't be as good or will be considered fake). 

Bad because it can't be readily made into a business system that you can franchise out and watch the dollars roll in.

Quote
My NIDA coach summed it up when he said "I can see why you are popular and people watch you, but you do everything wrong, absolutely everything!" 

Reminds me of another popular channel https://www.youtube.com/user/ashens?feature=watch

In most of his videos all you see is two hands and a dowdy brown sofa.   There's little camera work.   Yet he has over 300 000 subscribers and gets tens of thousands of views per new video in the first day.

He does teardowns by the hundred (and the odd toy beheading) with products that either cost $2 or get sent in.

A smart 'business model' for getting ratings for low production cost.




« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 11:54:01 am by vk3yedotcom »
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #42 on: July 16, 2013, 01:06:39 pm »
My NIDA coach summed it up when he said "I can see why you are popular and people watch you, but you do everything wrong, absolutely everything!"
In what context? Surely not the one you are actually in

Of course not. I make living from my niche, so clearly I'm doing enough to enable that.
Remember, this is a place that trains world class actors and performers, you are supposed to learn how to control your speaking and breathing technique, change your technique and delivery to suit the part etc etc. I'm completely binary, 100% full on enthusiasm, or nothing, so naturally I totally didn't fit with what they were trying to teach.
When asked if they would do the same thing to Steve Irwin, they said yes, they would beat that enthusiasm out of him!
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #43 on: July 16, 2013, 01:09:08 pm »
Which is both good and bad. 
Good in that unlike a product it can't readily be imitated (or if it is it won't be as good or will be considered fake). 
Bad because it can't be readily made into a business system that you can franchise out and watch the dollars roll in.

Or go into regular show business with.
 

Offline wizzy

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #44 on: August 10, 2013, 05:29:54 pm »
Pricing is a little different than what I'm planning, but I'll release that info soon. I can confirm there will be a sub-$100 option though. This seems to match or beat every hackerspace class out there. Example: http://nycresistor.eventbrite.com/
I am eagerly waiting for more information. Depending on the level of interaction and content I have budgeted up to $800 for this course as well as roughly 10 hours per week.
 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #45 on: August 11, 2013, 02:31:45 am »
Hi Wizzy,

That's a lotta dough! However, I was thinking more about it and if you don't already have a lab set up, I'll be recommending equipment and then be using that specific equipment, so I suppose some of that money could go towards that. I'm working more on the site tonight and getting a blog set up for regular updates. Are you also on the mailing list? That's the best way to stay informed, by far. In fact, I list a couple ways to keep in touch on the last email I sent out to the list: http://archive.aweber.com/contextual-elec/OCjBo/h/One_more_shot_at_the_CE.htm (obviously, the beta application has closed by now).

Thanks for your continued support!

~Chris
 

Offline wizzy

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #46 on: August 11, 2013, 06:56:06 am »
I've been following on most of those mediums since I heard about it on The Amp Hour.
I don't think $800 is unreasonable particularly if we are able to receive feedback (during the course) directly from you. Obviously there is a need for pricing tiers as different people have different levels of discretionary income, interest and requirements. You're a capitalist, you could take advantage of this!
The $100 mark that you suggest also seems very reasonable for access to the video material in a group, forum based, learning environment with less direct access.

Currently my lab has an open logic analyser, 100mhz 2ch DSO and power supply. Which should suffice? I am just excited to learn good PCB/circuit design.
 

Offline Orpheus

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #47 on: August 14, 2013, 01:03:24 pm »
As someone who has taken a LOT of MOOCs, I'd suggest that it is impossible to overstate the value of certain key elements:

1) a directed curriculum: This does not mean a textbook. I usually get the textbooks associated with any MOOC I take, but I barely touch them until well after the course (if ever). Frankly, I don't need to because the Internet is often a better textbook than anything a publisher could put out. This leads us to something that is even more valuable:

2) forum discussions with classmates: Your classmates have seen the same lecture as you. The same topics are on their minds. They are searching the 'Net for answers, and are willing to share those rare choice links that are pure gold *in that shared class context*, but might not mean as much to you without that *specific* background.  I urge you to do as much as you possibly can to encourage class discussion activity: ~100 students really isn't very much in this context.

3) Deadlines We all hated homework (I doubt any of you hated it as much as I did) but deadlines are really vital. They maintain engagement and *pacing*. That last bit is going to be especially tricky for your format, because you don't WANT to crack any whip in any way, and you want to respect your students' individual needs, BUT they are there for the structure (otherwise they'd be learning the facts of life on the mean streets of the Internet), and small things can ruin pacing, and dramatically affect the impact/cohesion of your course.

For example: students will want to have as much advance material available as possible -- and it certainly makes sense: they have work/school, family obligations and emergencies, vacations, business trips, volcanos will erupt in their distant lands, the streets may flood with virgins [1] [2], and of course your students will all have different interests and backgrounds -- but human nature being what it is, people will  "load up then coast", "delay then drown" or find some other equally pathological ways to abuse time. Every MOOC faces this. Release ONLY ONE full lesson each week, no more than two weeks ahead of its deadline. That way students must come back every week, and have something fresh to tackle when they do. If you ever went on vacation for a week or twoduring the school year, you know how out of step you were when you came back, even if you kept up on the reading. An online class will scatter like cats if you don't herd them back. Yes. 'herd cats'. If you fail to keep them as tightly bunched as a packet of particles in a synchrotron, you'll learn why

1. or whatever ...my travel agent never gets me to the really good disasters
2. and no, ComiCon 2013 does not count as "the streets being flooded with virgins"


4) SPECIFIC TARGETS This is related to deadlines. It's the WHAT that goes with the WHEN. It's going to be hard for you to impose, especially when everyone has to order parts and wants to work on their own projects. I urge you to have a core project curriculum and insist that you'll be happy to help them with their side projects IN ADDITION TO those core requirements. Otherwise... it'll be cat herding[3] again, and you'll FEEL your course not having the impact it could have.

3. I'm actually being generous. Herding cats is if you don't set deadlines. If you fail to set BOTH hard deadlines and specific target goals, you'll be herding nerfs, *wishing* you were herding cats. Have you ever seen a nerf-herder? You think they all got that scruffy-looking by accident?

Do I expect you to take what I say seriously. Obviously not. My experience teaching and learning would not necessarily be yours. But there's just a bit of truth in what I wrote, if you can find it
« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 01:10:49 pm by Orpheus »
 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #48 on: August 14, 2013, 02:19:53 pm »
These are good tips and I'm trying to structure as you mention. I totally agree about the time limited aspect, that's likely one of the best things about institutional education (oddly). The other being the paid aspect, since you have "skin in the game", so to speak. MOOCs suffer from having neither.

The way I'm planning on dealing with this is by...making more work for me. Yay! Each (important) course unit will have three parts.

  • An introduction to the topic. The example I keep using is op amps. How they work, how to use them and links to other good videos (Dave's, Alan Wolke's, others). That will be like the "library" section of the course unit.
  • The "homework" section. This will be optional, but it will be stated that this is really where the learning takes place. So for something like op amps, they'll be asked to go design an op amp with a gain of 3. There are lots of answers and ways to do it. Sharing on the forums or on their own sites will show the range of ways this stuff can be achieved (and hopefully each will be discussed).
  • The "how Chris did it" section. For the board we'll be building all together, this will be the video where I show how I did the layout; it also is the set of videos I'm making as part of the Beta Program. For the Op amp stuff, I'll show off the circuits I had in mind. And for some things, there really won't be any "How Chris did it" because it won't be necessary.

Thanks for the post. It was useful and I do take it seriously. Though my operation is small potatoes, I would love to be able to positively impact how people learn.
 

Offline Orpheus

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #49 on: August 14, 2013, 03:51:37 pm »
I certainly wouldn't call it small potatoes. It's just that online forum discussion has simultaneously concentrating and dispersing effects.

Consider a class of 100 'average people' on the first week or two. Maybe 10-20 [the As] will pop in and post almost every day , another 10-20 [the Bs] might pop in 2-5x a week, but not necessarily post when they do. Another 40-60 will visiting each week after they watch the lecture. Some will post a bit [the Cs], but we all know that people in general are mostly lurkers [the Ds], unless something incites them to respond. The rest might be to busy to read the forum (or perhaps even see the lecture) that particular week [Let's call them "F-Troop" -- or am I showing my age?)

3-4 weeks later: Group A will have read most of the posts made each week. Being present daily, they were likely the first to respond to most questions or the threads of most compelling interest, which is great, but it means that others who might have had something to say, found it was already said. Many As drift into Group B. Many Bs become Cs, etc. The upshot might be 25 threads the first week containing maybe 200 replies, mostly clustered in a few threads. That soon drops to 10/100 and below. Some popular non-class threads may not interest some students: they won't open them in subsequent weeks.  By week 4, most students will only "see" a handful of threads and posts, and won't be likely to spend as much time in that forum.

That's not the only possible pattern, of course, but a closed class won't have have the free influx of passing websurfers that often fuels and grows a newly created forum. (Over time, you'll slowly build a body of alumni) It might make sense to create your forum inside "an established attraction" to encourage mid-week repeat visits (Know any Aussie one with a forum like that?) They say the strip clubs outside Disney World do great business, even if they do black out their windows.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 03:53:15 pm by Orpheus »
 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #50 on: August 14, 2013, 05:44:46 pm »
A ha, I have a solution for that too. Since networking is meant to be a big part of the course as well, I will be splitting the session into groups of 8 - 10. So the discussions will be localized for that kind of thing and then the group can vote on what should be presented to the other groups. I figured if you say to a bunch of electronics people (aka. nerds-like-me) that you should be discussing things with the group, then usual social dynamics take over and the "A's" like you mention do all the talking/posting. Breaking it down into smaller groups allows for more discussion and encourages real connection. Was also thinking about shaking it up 1 or 2 times throughout the course. It's hard to meet new people, even online, y'know? And social dynamics mean that the smaller group will hopefully encourage more participation.
 

Offline JohnnyGringo

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #51 on: November 06, 2013, 08:01:38 pm »
Chris,
  Not much activity in this space for a few months. What's the status of the CE course?

I'm interested in taking your course, but have very little EE background/experience.
"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." - Albert Einstein
 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #52 on: November 06, 2013, 08:46:43 pm »
Hey Johnny,

Actually, quite a bit of activity. I'm up to 120 videos and I'm prepping for launch. Did you sign up for the email newsletter? (sign up on ContextualElectronics.com) I've been sending out videos as part of an introductory "Getting To Blinky" course. I'll post it more publicly on the forum later, but there are 8 videos showing you how to design a small board in KiCad and actually order and build it. Here are the ones posted so far (trying to get 6 and 7 out tonight):



~Chris
 

Offline ResistorRob

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #53 on: November 08, 2013, 03:06:28 pm »
Much like I do when I go to Chipotle for a burrito...I'm going to go with chicken on this one ;-)

AlfBaz, good suggestions, but for right now I'm going mainly for listeners of The Amp Hour and followers on Twitter/YouTube. As I try to pull in others that might not be familiar with the other things (or god forbid, don't know what EEVblog is!), I'll consider your ideas, they're great.

I will play devils advocate on this one, since I have a web design and marketing background. As you know your conversion rate is the number of people who join or buy intead of taking no action and leaving. If you have 1 person out of 100 join your conversion rate would be 1% (obviously). If you can get just 2 extra people out of every 100 to join it would bring your conversion to 3%. I know it doesn't seem like a very big deal, but essentially what you did was triple your sales!

Obviously you will get an initial bump of traffic and sales from followers of the blog and podcast. They will have less resistance to a crappy website (I'm not suggesting yours is), but people coming to you from ads or search results will be a whole different ball game. With ads costing $1-3 per click (guesstimate for the keywords you might use) I think you can see the value of every visitor even if they arrive at no cost you.

"Content is king" is a catchy little phrase, but I have seen people become millionaires selling complete junk online, because they had a killer website selling it. I'm not saying don't make the best content possible, but what I am saying is don't overlook the quality of your website, because it's more important than you realize.
 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #54 on: November 08, 2013, 03:09:05 pm »
I completely agree. Selling is a whole new ball game for me and I've already had one guy help me out with messaging. I'm sure there is a LOT more I can do, but for now I don't have time to worry about it.
 

Offline Kohanbash

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #55 on: November 28, 2013, 04:29:21 pm »
Hi
I just watched the videos you have on YouTube.

They are good and step through the process nicely. I would be interested in taking the course once it is ready.

Two things that you might consider improving:
1. The volume level is quite low. Even with my laptops volume turned all the way up it was hard to hear the videos with any background noise  in the room (for comparison with eevblog/Netflix videos I do not need to turn my volume all the way up to hear in a busy room).
2. There are several times in the videos where you correct yourself or go back to fix/change something. You might want to fix those segments of the video so that the tasks are done cleaner (Some of the errors you encounter are good and you should leave as people are likely to encounter those errors also).

« Last Edit: November 28, 2013, 04:33:23 pm by sdk32285 »
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Offline Towger

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #56 on: December 30, 2013, 12:50:12 pm »
The site http://www.contextualelectronics.com appears to be down. I just got around to reading the sign up email sent on the 23th...
 

Offline Kohanbash

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #57 on: December 31, 2013, 03:08:56 pm »
The site http://www.contextualelectronics.com appears to be down. I just got around to reading the sign up email sent on the 23th...

It is up again. Chris sent a message out before saying he is doing a bunch of server work.
Robots for Roboticists Blog - http://robotsforroboticists.com/
 

Offline resistor

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #58 on: January 08, 2014, 05:35:25 pm »
Hey Chris,

We had a brief exchange in a support ticket, but I thought I'd follow up here.  I'm kind of on the fence between auditing and participating, mostly due to the time commitment.  I'd like to encourage you to have some kind of hook to upsell people like me to the higher tier.  I'd previously suggested having read-only access to the forums for auditors, though I don't know how feasible that is offhand.  An alternative idea might be to give some kind of preview of the additional content you get at the participator tier.  Maybe make the full content available to everyone on one or two modules, with a "This is a preview of what being a participator would be like!" banner at the top!  I know for me that if I could see that the additional content was compelling, I'd be much more likely to go with the participator tier.  But, as it stands, going with the higher tier relatively sight-unseen is hard to justify.
 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #59 on: January 08, 2014, 06:55:54 pm »
Yup, saw your tickets, those were helpful.

The tough part is the logistics of getting view only. I'm really at the mercy of the software I'm using. As much as I would like people to be in the participate tier, the added money it brings in does not really justify my time on the upsell. I figure most people will be able to make the decision from the pricing matrix. Additionally, the community aspect really hasn't started yet, so there isn't much to show right now.
 

Offline apelly

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #60 on: January 08, 2014, 07:06:10 pm »
Your Kicad videos in the course are significantly more helpful than the "Getting to blinky" series would have had me believe.

I'd like to see a video of you converting a project from Eagle to Kicad though because every man and his dog seems to be using Eagle.
I'd rather a Google clue, link, or some theory than "do this" (generally)
 

Offline resistor

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #61 on: January 09, 2014, 08:41:16 am »
Yup, saw your tickets, those were helpful.

The tough part is the logistics of getting view only. I'm really at the mercy of the software I'm using. As much as I would like people to be in the participate tier, the added money it brings in does not really justify my time on the upsell. I figure most people will be able to make the decision from the pricing matrix. Additionally, the community aspect really hasn't started yet, so there isn't much to show right now.

Just saw your new site preview video.  I don't know if it was directly inspired by my suggestions, but I just wanted to say that it gets a :-+ from me.

I still think some of the other things I've suggested could be beneficial, but I totally understand that you have to make judgment calls about where to invest your time.
 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #62 on: January 09, 2014, 04:04:05 pm »
Yep, definitely had you in mind. Thanks for the feedback!
 

Offline aroby

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #63 on: March 11, 2014, 04:17:03 am »
Chris - I just found this thread and read your blog about what you're trying to do.  I hope you are successful, but I share some of the sentiments of others on this thread.  I didn't know much about electronics until about 4 months ago when I found Dave's youtube site, then Mike's, then Martin's.  All have contributed to my knowledge and I've learned a ton more from other sites.  None have been structured, which has been the missing link for me.  I feel that there are certain basic electronic building block circuits that none of these people cover and that if I understood them I'd be a lot better off.

That said, I'm not sure at this stage I'd invest in 8 weeks of training.  Largely because I don't have the time and predictable schedule to keep up.  However, one thing crossed my mind that I thought I'd share.  I'm a keen amateur photographer, and I readily pay $200 a year to subscribe to Kelby Training (now Kelby One).  That seems to be a model that works - and the content there is amazing.  Whilst it may be out of your immediate reach to be able to pull something like that off, you may want to take a look at it.  I would think that there is a market for getting luminaries in their field to produce compelling training videos and charge for them.  I certainly wouldn't have minded paying for Mike's series on hacking iPod displays, for example.  And having these as a subscription where you can access any topic whenever you want, provided you pay the subscription, is a pretty easy sell.  I don't know what the business model mechanics are behind the scenes, and obviously Kelby Media has a far bigger audience, but it may be worth a thought.

Anthony
 

Offline nixfu

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #64 on: January 22, 2015, 02:39:11 am »
Chris, about how long(how many weeks/months) is the 2015 session going to be?
 

Offline ChrisGammell

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Re: Any thoughts about the idea of Contextual Electronics?
« Reply #65 on: January 22, 2015, 02:47:17 am »
Actually, it doesn't really end. It's more like an ongoing thing where we continuously develop new modules and projects. There will be breaks, of course, but it's really meant to be an oongoing thing.
 


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