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Stuff for stuff.

It's probably fair to say that I'm not a fan of advertising, which is one of the reasons why I tend not to do it - one reason is because, like a lot of people, I have multiple layers of ad-blocking software in place and another is because the return on investment is, generally, bloody awful.

As far as advertising goes, Bill Hicks was bang on the money.

A question I get asked a lot is 'is there a video and/or recording of $MODULE' - the answer to this is generally 'no', and here's why: I'm a one-man operation, so everything business-related is done by me - design, builds, the whole bit. I'm also a big believer in the separation of 'work' and 'not-work' so it's very rare that I have time to do such things - once I'm off the clock, that's it.

In addition to that, I'm not in the habit of doing internet searches for myself in order to flatter my vanity - if someone tags me in one of their posts, great. If someone mentions my gear in a positive light on a forum somewhere, that's also great, but generally there's probably a lot of stuff out that that I just don't see. Life is too short for many things, and vanity searches are one of them (others include crap beer and crap coffee, but that's a rant for another day)

In addition, even if I did have time to do videos and recordings (which I don't) they'd invariably look like shit because I'm really not a visually-oriented person. If you want something to work then I'm right there with you, but if you want it to look pretty then you're better off asking someone else.

With this in mind I'm toying with the idea of 'customer participation' wherein I send you a free module and in return you do a short video and/or recording putting said module through its paces. You get to keep the module, and your video gets embedded on the webshop's product page.

WHOA!, you're probably thinking ... FREE STUFF!

Well yes .... and no. There's a catch to all of this:

  • By giving you a module I'm expecting something in return - specifically a video or recording of some sort (ideally both) which will be used as marketing material. Generally, this means that the video will end up embedded in the shop listing and there'll be a link to any audio files.
  • I will be pretty picky with who I send modules out to - if you've got a proven track record in doing things like gear videos and/or recordings then you're far more likely to get the nod. One thing that will rule you out is if I have to sign up to any service in order to view/hear your stuff - the one exception to this rule is YouTube, but even then if your stuff isn't publicly viewable then I'm not going to bother going hunting for it.
  • Whilst the gear you'll receive will be functionally identical to production modules, it might look different - it may have a 'proper' FR4 panel or it might have a decorated 3D-printed panel. A lot will depend on what I have to hand at the time - if you're going to judge on appearance rather than functionality, move on ...
  • Your videos/recordings will be used in web-shop listings, with appropriate credit. If you're not OK with this, then this initiative isn't going to work for you.
  • I'll be giving away one module per release so if someone has got there before you then unfortunately you're SOL (eg. it's very unlikely that there'll be another XO106r5 made available in this way)

To give you an example of the sort of thing that's good, here's the video that Johnny Beaver did putting the forthcoming XO106r5 through its paces:

Now admittedly, this video is about 18 minutes but it demonstrates the capabilities of the module in all sorts of ways that I'd never think of - there's a good balance between showing how the module works in isolation as well as how it can interact with external sources. On top of that, some of the sounds that result are pretty damned cool.

This is the sort of thing to shoot for - it doesn't necessarily have to be 18 minutes-worth, though. Obviously, this sort of thing works fine for something which makes a noise - you might need to be a bit more creative with something like a sequencer.

I'm still fleshing out this general idea, but if you're interested in demo-ing stuff subject to the conditions outlined above, let me know - immediate replies cannot be guaranteed but you will get a response. There's absolutely no guarantee that this idea will take off in any meaningful way, but I'm quite happy to give it a go ...

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