15 Replies Latest reply on Jul 31, 2018 5:05 PM by sjmill01

    How to help your viewers! (and make more money yourselves!)

    bsb001

      Hello,

      Now that the Ben Heck Show is over, I wanted to voice my opinion directly to you.  I had repeatedly posted this on his YouTube page, but was always ignored or blown off totally.  Thus I unsubscribed to his show and stopped leaving any feedback whatsoever to his videos.

       

      As funny as it sounds, many of his viewers (myself included), had a strong desire to build copies of his projects.  Part of the appeal is that he gives the viewer a basic road map to follow.

       

      However, he stops way short of providing any real information a viewer could use to reproduce his projects.  His show would have had a way larger following if he just released the eagle files for the circuits he came up with.  Providing the Fusion and laser CNC files would have allowed a user to reproduce the cases, and sharing the code would allow the viewer to actually use the project when they finished building it.  Sure a few projects at the end had some information posted here, but at that point it was way to little, way too late!  At that point, for the most part, I was no longer even watching his videos at all  -- I didn't want to even give him view counts.  I was hoping his show would fail and another maker would be brought in to take his place.

       

      I hope you take note here:  If I was in your shoes, I would require any future  maker you support to post these files, as well as a Bill Of Materials for any project they do on their show.

       

      You are in the business of selling parts, tools, and equipment.  If they list a BOM, and can find the tools and equipment listed for each project with a link to your site, where do you think a large number of viewers would get their parts, tools and equipment?

       

      It's such a simple idea, but nothing that Ben Heck ever wanted to hear.  And now I'm glad to see him go.  He had good ideas (mostly), and if you skipped past what he thought were the "funny" parts, some of his projects were really cool. Hopefully you can find another maker to support on YouTube.  I truly hope you require them to post the full information to reproduce the projects they are building.

       

      When you find someone, and if they share their knowledge so others can build the same thing along at home, I'll not only be a subscribing viewer who gives thumbs up, I'll also become a element14 customer!\

       

      Warm regards,

      Brian B

       

      PS - There are a ton of qualified makers out there.  Why not run a contest to find another maker to take Ben's place?  Someone who would be a good partner to element14.  Someone who would make a BOM, Eagle Cad schematics and board layouts, and the 3D printer and CNC files for viewers to play along at home?  Have a roughly 2 - 3 month contest with say $2000 divided up into 10 prizes - could even be element14 product as the prizes.  Give the grand winner a sponsorship deal as long as they follow the guidelines of providing the viewer the means to reproduce their projects at home.  I'm sure you would get a bunch of worthy material, and perhaps might even be able to make some revenue from the project. 

      (edited to correct grammar and spelling errors)

       

      • Reply
        • Re: How to please help your viewers! (and make more money yourselves!)
          sjmill01

          I like the way you think.

           

          They are actually implementing much of what you suggest.  Check out this link and you'll see the contest:

           

          Act 6 - Grand Prize Winner Announcement

           

          If you follow the blogs here on the community that the makers are doing, I know at least a few of them give their code and BOMs along with a video you might not even find at YouTube giving more detail.

           

          For the prizes, check out the menu "Build-->Design Challenges".  They gave out a few thousand for the Bluetooth challenge.

           

          I must admit, sometimes the great stuff that is going on in the element14 community does not get the justice it deserves with the one liner close out at the end of the YouTube videos.  I think they could do a little more self promotion at the end without it feeling like an ad.

           

          See ya',

          Sean

          4 of 4 people found this helpful
            • Re: How to help your viewers! (and make more money yourselves!)
              bsb001

              Thanks Sean.

               

              I have not followed any of the community here.  I was looking for a way to send my post directly to element14 management and was kind of surprised it showed up as a community question.

               

              I was over on YouTube and noticed that The Ben Heck Show was over.  After grabbing a cold one to celebrate, I came here next to plead my case for better tie in to the sponsor (and as you said - without sounding like an ad), but more so that the maker community can be better served by someone with less "hay, look at the cool stuff I made. Hell No, I won't provide the details for you to make one!" kind of attitude.

               

              Why bother sharing something at all if you are not willing to share how it's made (and the files and software required to make it), or are willing to sell the thing?  Ben was willing to do neither.  I'm not sure if it was truly a lack of time, or just his ego and stupidity getting in the way.  Either way, I can't see much usefulness in his videos other than to tease us, and leaving us wanting for more.

               

              I'll probably have to check out what else is happening here, and see where I go from there.  Anyway, again thanks for the reply.

               

              Brian B

                • Re: How to help your viewers! (and make more money yourselves!)
                  sjmill01

                  No problem.  You posted while I'm sitting on the site and editing a maker video for element14 myself for Blog #2:  Design for a Cause - Design Challenge

                   

                  For defense on the Ben Heck show, they had a weekly deadline with a small crew.  So, it was difficult to make everything ready for sharing.  I looked at it like HGTV - I'll never have a conversation with Chip and Jo, but their show still inspires me to start projects I never will finish.  :-)

                   

                  But, based on your feedback, I'll definitely include my BOM, code, 3D printer files, and Eagle files for you for "The Hog" - as we are now affectionately calling it at the house.  I have the unfair advantage over the Ben Heck Show in that I don't deadlines (that were appropriate for the greater good of the show) that require me to move on to the next project before doing so.

                   

                  Also...I'd bet this thread will be read by those in charge even if you don't get a response directly.  I had a chance to meet them a month ago.  They are a good team that are always taking the pulse.

                   

                  See ya',

                  Sean

                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • Re: How to help your viewers! (and make more money yourselves!)
                    beacon_dave

                    ...Why bother sharing something at all if you are not willing to share how it's made (and the files and software required to make it), or are willing to sell the thing?  Ben was willing to do neither...

                     

                    Perhaps take a look here:

                    Ben Heck's Build Kits

                • Re: How to help your viewers! (and make more money yourselves!)
                  14rhb

                  Hi Brian,

                   

                  You raise some really good points there, especially that most viewers would like to copy the projects they see. It probably depends heavily on the amount of time each individual has available as to what they can include  - some videos will be really exciting and inspiring but, as you mention, lack the real detail. I have noticed several videos linking to a BOM (much of which is linked to Newark/Farnell) e.g. Episode 352: Pripyat - DIY Geiger Counter

                   

                  I'm sure that as members read your constructive comments, and with the great E14 team, things will get changed.

                   

                  Rod

                  2 of 2 people found this helpful
                  • Re: How to help your viewers! (and make more money yourselves!)
                    airbornesurfer

                    Hey Brian. I can't speak for the company itself, but I'll tell you think nice thing about having the e14 community is that you can post stuff like this and probably get a candid answer.

                     

                    I can dig the frustration in your tone, but I will also note that many of your concerns have been addressed. Element14 does post the BOM and relevant files (when available) either to the specific video page, or--more often--to a repository listing all the builds that Ben has done over the years.

                     

                    Meanwhile, the new VCPs, as they call us, are that group of makers that you mentioned. We literally won a contest that element14 ran to find "the next Ben Heck". The BOM and the CAD schematics and all of the supplemental material are part of the new video package. On top of that, we're also lurking in the comments on both YouTube and here at e14, so it shouldn't be hard to get an answer to a question. For example, take a look at the video page for Project Pripyat and you'll find the complete BOM that I used. There aren't any Eagle files because it's hand-soldered. If you want the TinkerCAD files for the case and wand, please send me a message and I'll get them to you (they are pretty simple, though).

                     

                    There's a lot of detail in some of these projects that we simply can't go into with the time allotted on element14 Presents. As such, you may want to check out the personal channels for the VCP hosts since we're presenting a lot of that material as supplements to the flagship video. Please note, though, that while Ben had a small crew, the VCPs have no crew. Most of us also have day jobs on top of video work.

                     

                    Be cool. Hit me up if you have any questions.

                     

                    [edited for clarity]

                    3 of 3 people found this helpful
                    • Re: How to help your viewers! (and make more money yourselves!)
                      Fred27

                      Personally, I find that whenever I see an interesting project or build I tend to take inspiration from it rather than want to copy it completely. If there's enough information in there to prompt your own build then I feel it's all I need. For instance the case might be laser cut, but you have a 3D printer and want to use that instead. It might use a microcontroller that you're not familiar with but your preferred one will do the job just as well. You might want to improve on it or just restyle it to suit your taste. For me it's all about getting people making rather than copying, and maybe inspiring the next Ben Heck or two.

                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                        • Re: How to help your viewers! (and make more money yourselves!)
                          bsb001

                          Mr. Murphy,

                          I feel the same way most of the time.  However, there are times when the problem is with hardware or software the viewer is not familiar working with.  If the viewer has access to both the hardware and software to a project, then at least they have a jumping off point even if they have no experience with the covered topic.  Later when the viewer gains more knowledge from studying the included hardware and software, they can add features or modify the project to meet other needs.  Without providing both, you can have all the hardware knowledge in the world, but no knowledge of programming a specific processor you would be at a dead end and thus have little or no resources to move forward.  Now for someone with a ton of programming and hardware skills, I'm sure you can just substitute a different controller or hardware requirements.  However, that would not be very helpful to the noob who is just learning - they need a more "paint by numbers" type of approach where they can copy a given project as they are learning.

                           

                          As the noob, learns by doing, they can then move into being a maker and not just copy others work.  You just need to help get them on the right path.

                           

                          Brian

                          1 of 1 people found this helpful
                        • Re: How to help your viewers! (and make more money yourselves!)
                          gsgill112

                          There are a ton of platforms to get started in embedded and it becomes kinna overwelming to go through scattered documentation of all of those just to find whats right for you.

                           

                          So, I came up with my channel on youtube in which I do a Kit review of any latest and greatest or less popular kits so that it becomes easy to decide which one is for you.

                           

                          I have just started this concept and have 2 kit reviews live.

                           

                          Well I think this may be what was missing to bridge the maker world with the rapid paced Industry.

                           

                          Anyone interested can send me any electronic eqpt/kit and I can feature a review

                           

                          Here is my  youtube channel, any feedback and comments are appriciated

                           

                          https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC98erU8wYeEA-VqmTA9etNw?view_as=subscriber

                           

                          Thanks and Regards,

                          GS Gill

                           

                          gsgill112.github.io

                          • Re: How to help your viewers! (and make more money yourselves!)
                            Christopher Stanton

                            Hi bsb001 ,

                             

                            Thanks for taking the time to sign up to the element14 Community and post your comments and questions here.

                             

                            Allow me to introduce myself somewhat, I work in the social media team for Premier Farnell / element14, and I have done so for coming up to 5 years. Part of this has been to handle the social media of element14's The Ben Heck Show  which is now element14 presents . I am and have been involved in most of the day to day communicating with people on youtube, twitter and facebook, along with watching and previewing the episodes before they're pushed live.

                             

                            > As funny as it sounds, many of his viewers (myself included), had a strong desire to build copies of his projects.  Part of the appeal is that he gives the viewer a basic road map to follow.

                            > If they list a BOM, and can find the tools and equipment listed for each project with a link to your site, where do you think a large number of viewers would get their parts, tools and equipment?

                             

                            Yeah, we know, and we have tried hard to get this in a state that's maintainable and manageable. The truth of this is that the files and formatting of these projects hadn't followed any set structure until I introduced that we should have all if not most of the build files on github, you'll find them here: https://github.com/thebenheckshow and we link to them from the element14 Community. Considering the team were already focused on making projects and producing video, it relied on the team in Madison to spend the time arranging the files and putting them in such a way that was presentable on the site. This resulted in Felix creating a script that auto created this for a while and then a member of the Community content team putting in the time to format it suitably to link from the documents.

                             

                            Basically it's a matter of time and resource, and we didn't and don't have it, we make the best of a restricted situation. There's also the fact that not a lot of the products used in the show, we actually sold. Premier Farnell, Newark element14 and Farnell element14 are mainly big manufacturers and distributors (there are actually countries where individuals cannot buy from us at present, it has to be another company), so unless a company ones 1,000 teensy boards, it's unlikely that the company will stock them, so there's that. Still, attempts have been made and you'll find the BOM where possible in the episode documents. You can literally see an example of this here Episode 352: Pripyat - DIY Geiger Counter

                             

                            This is partly why most of our advertising on social media pushes people towards the element14 Community as opposed to YouTube, because you get this 'better' and 'richer' experience as opposed to having to sift through the comments or description on youtube. That's been the real intention all along, and as you see, posting here now, you're getting a reply.

                             

                            > Why not run a contest to find another maker to take Ben's place?

                             

                            Frankly, we did this already Hack Like Heck , also check out VCP Program

                             

                            > Have a roughly 2 - 3 month contest with say $2000 divided up into 10 prizes - could even be element14 product as the prizes

                             

                            We have two things which would probably interest you then, there's Design Challenges and also there's Project14 - please do tell people and feel free to enter them yourself!

                             

                            I suggest you reconnect and resubscribe

                            8 of 8 people found this helpful
                            • Re: How to help your viewers! (and make more money yourselves!)
                              bsb001
                              Mr. Stanton,

                               

                              Thank you for your kind reply.  It is indeed nice to know that perhaps some standards will be used going forward.  Even better news to know that there are now some resources that I can now go check out and revisit some of the episodes that drove me nuts before.  Perhaps I'll end up building my own BASIC hand held computer, or a Z80 based computer now that I should be able to find the firmware for it.  I'm great with hardware, but not so good with almost any form of C.  I'm just an old school hardware guy, and I can still hand assemble firmware for the 68xx and some 68xxx families of microprocessors using assembly language.  Not to good form for writing C programs, and that is what almost everything uses these days -- dang kids and their new fangled coding practices! .  Having access to the firmware for a project is most vital to me.  I can modify someone else's code, but writing most of these programs on my own would be a very challenging task, and it often stopped most projects before they began (for me).

                               

                               

                              It was also extremely funny as to how you guys had already implemented most if not all of the suggestions I had expressed in my original post.  I do look forward to your new content, and for now I'll be keeping a close eye on how things progress.  Who knows, I might even do as you say and "reconnect and resubscribe".  One thing's for sure --  I'm sure done posting comments on the YouTube channel, and will instead bring my comments here.

                              By the way, should you pass Ben in the hall sometime, or perhaps if he reads this now that he's retired, I'd like to pass along that I feel no dislike for him as a person.  I'm sure he's a great guy, and I'm sure he's smart.  He might even be funny (well that may be pushing it a bit, LOL). My beef has always been with the lack of communications from him, and what I perceived as a total lack of concern for his viewers regarding the lack of useable information to aid in duplicating his projects.

                                • Re: How to help your viewers! (and make more money yourselves!)
                                  sjmill01

                                  This will scratch the 68xx itch:  Grant's hardware homepage

                                   

                                  Grant and I were pen pal's while I built mine a couple of year's ago.  A great, great dude.  You can get the ROM's (and then edit the text to make it your own) from their.

                                   

                                  I think your comments reflect my own before I joined the community.  I would see a commercial for a product in the middle, but I'd never hear the hosts talk about element14 other than what felt forced at the end.  In turn, it was a few years before I tried out the community.  It was the design challenges that hooked me in.

                                   

                                  I think the content creators occasionally scrolling and discussing an element14 blog every now and then could help people see the light.  Chris, I think some standards around element14 references should be visited.  We could do more relevant pointing to the community, but would want to keep it at the "open source" sharing vibe with some creator guidelines.

                                   

                                  For my Smart Assistive Tech Trike build, I'll see if Max can weave the blog in to the video for the youtube channel since the blog will actually be completed prior to the YouTube production is complete.

                                   

                                  See ya',

                                  Sean