Analysing The 9pm Edict’s Hidden Costs

Hero Image of distorted chartI’ve been analysing the time it takes to produce each episode of The 9pm Edict podcast, and the results are disturbing.

Well, they disturbed me.

The Short Version

Audio recording is a relatively small part of the process. My workflows are inefficient, because I’m always playing with the format rather than settling into a routine, let alone automating things.

On a personal note, lack of confidence sometimes slows the creative process. Thanks, brain. I also spend more time fussing over the audio mix than is probably warranted.

The time taken to produce each episode is usually 10x or even 20x longer than the finished podcast. The crowdfunded budget falls way short of proper compensation. And that doesn’t even take into account the time taken to do that crowdfunding.

The Long Version

What I just said, but with charts, and much more background information.
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A dog of a rather different colour

[This is one of my more personal posts. If they’re not your thing, and you’d rather wait until there’s a podcast or a whinge about the Attorney-General or something, then skip this one, and come back on Monday.]

Black Dog Trot“Arriving at @blackdoginst. I hope mine is a kelpie,” I tweeted as I arrived at the Black Dog Institute on Wednesday morning. Well, I didn’t get a kelpie. But I didn’t get what I’d expected either.

Australia’s Black Dog Institute is a “world leader in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mood disorders,” and they’ve developed their own model of depression. So science, yes, but no dog for me at all, kelpie or otherwise.

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“To boldly go…” and the Cycle of Time

To boldly go...: click to embiggenThere’s something symbolic and, indeed, deeply personal about the image illustrating this week’s Weekly Wrap, my five-year old photograph titled To boldly go….

A small boat heads out into the fog of San Francisco Bay on 10 December 2010. Even though it’s probably just crossing the bay to Marin County, or stopping near Alcatraz Island for a spot of fishing, it looks like there’s a vast and dangerous journey ahead.

It continues to be one of my personal favourites.

I’ve used this photo before, to illustrate Weekly Wrap 267: Chaos, then embracing the change, on 19 July 2015.

But I also used it four years earlier, on 24 January 2011, to illustrate Accommodation: into the unknown. I’d had to leave Enmore with no clear plan. I was worried. The image reflected my mood.

Less than a fortnight after that post, three strong men and a truck took away all my household possessions and office furniture, and put it into storage.

I took just two suitcases of clothing and my most important tools and documents, and headed to the Blue Mountains to stay at Bunjaree Cottages for “a few weeks”. I had a month of work-related travel coming up, I said, and I’d sort out my accommodation when I got back.

Five years later, I’m still at Bunjaree Cottages.

And it’s still temporary.

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Algorithms and the Filter Bubble references for 2015

UTS logoThis morning I delivered version six of my now-regular guest lecture to media students at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), “Algorithms and the Filter Bubble”. Here are the references and further reading.

The links over the fold start off with some background material that sets out my worldview, and then things are in roughly the same order as presented in the lecture — with the order becoming less coherent further down the page. There’s more material linked here than I mentioned in the lecture itself. Enjoy.

A recording of the lecture will be made available in roughly one week on Wednesday 23 September on Friday 25 September, as the change in Prime Minister has triggered the demand for some of my commentary. This page may be updated with further links at that time.

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Talking the Wentworth Falls bushfire on ABC 702 Sydney

Firefighters tackle the Wentworth Falls bushfire, 2 August 2015

ABC logoAs Monday morning kicked off, the Wentworth Falls bushfire that I mentioned in yesterday’s Weekly Wrap was of course a major news story.

ABC 702 Sydney breakfast presenter Robbie Buck asked for locals to talk about their experiences, so I gave him a call. Here’s the three-minute conversation that resulted.

Play

The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

[Photo: Firefighters tackle the Wentworth Falls bushfire, 2 August 2015, via the NSW Rural Fire Service.]

It’s time to turn around the Revenue Ship, and fast

I knew the first three months of 2015 had been bad for business — or at least my little patch of business — but I hadn’t realised it was this bad. Turns out it was my second-worst quarter in more than four years! Drastic action and ruthless decisions are required.

Yes, this is another of my occasional thinking-aloud reflections on my personal circumstances. If you don’t like this sort of thing, then stop reading now. Read this instead.

Still with me? Lovely.

Yesterday I updated my “media objects” chart, which counts how many things I’ve created for each media outlet, regardless of relative complexity or what income was generated. It serves as a handy proxy for revenue — because certain revenue figures are confidential.

Media objects produced monthly, 2011-2015: click to embiggen

It’s a depressing image. At best, Q1 of 2015 was no worse than Q1 of the previous year, but overall it’s still a picture of decline. Literally depressing, in fact, because I’ve left in a couple of health-related markers that I was using to analyse something else.

Back at the end of 2012, I’d tried to inject a little more strategy into the way I ran the business side of making media. This and other charts were some of the tools I created, last updated in February 2014. It’s fair to say that I haven’t really developed any kind of strategy out of the information in those charts, and this new chart illustrates the results from doing that nothing. Go me.

This chart doesn’t reflect certain positives, however. There’s now crowdsourced funding for The 9pm Edict podcast. I also do some minor work for the University of Technology Sydney, and I consult on some other media projects too. There’s also fragmentary revenue from the legacy clients of my IT business.

But I do need to raise my income levels back to something more like they were a few years ago. The next step is to do something about it. And that has been the nature of my ponderings across this Easter long weekend.