Hi there! This is Lowell Heddings. You might know me from such sites as How-To Geek. So why am I launching some new site after I fired myself publicly? And what the heck is How-To Geek Pro anyway? This and more on tonight’s episode.
So there I was, a few months after hanging up my editor hat, sipping scotch by the pool while Whitson was busy doing all the actual editorial work running the site that took me 10 years to build.
The person next to me started one of those conversations where you have to explain what you do, and then all the other details about what you do because there’s nothing else to talk about. As usual, this person had a confused look the entire time. And that’s when I realized… nobody understands running a website or business on the internet — except people who have already done it.
So I decided it was time to jump back in…
Creating a website, running a server, making sure things are secure, selling things online, managing a team of people remotely, setting up payroll, etc etc etc? These are all really complicated things and there isn’t an instruction manual to help you make the right choices. I mean… technically, there are actually a lot of instruction manuals on the topic. But books are boring and academic and too often written by boring academics that have never done the actual job.
This site is meant to be the instruction manual that I wish somebody had handed me 10 years ago before we grew to a dozen full-time employees, health insurance, and hundreds to thousands of hits per second on our servers.
How-To Geek Pro is about helping you run a website or business out of the cloud, making the right choices about the technology required to make it happen.
Why is it called How-To Geek Pro? Because it’s geared at professionals instead of end users, like How-To Geek always has been. And it’s going to be an extension of How-To Geek. Also, because it’s the best name I could come up with. Shut up.
A one man show (for now)
The plans for this site actually started almost 3 years ago, but went through a variety of planning changes and just never got off the ground for one reason or another.
The biggest problem ended up being how do you hire writers for a site meant for professionals? Anybody with the required experience is already employed at a job that pays well. We actually got to the point of interviewing a few people before we realized the numbers just didn’t add up to run this as a sustainable business with writers doing niche articles that hardly anybody would read. And since we’re trying to rely less on annoying ads for future endeavors, that problem is even worse here.
So the whole plan just went back to the drawing board.
If we weren’t going to be able to hire people to run the site, the only other option besides scrapping the whole idea was to run it as a one man operation. That’s how I started HTG back in 2006 after all, and it does have other benefits. You get the freedom to put your personality into things and do whatever you want. And a few years ago, I had written a column for our newsletter called “Thoughts from the Geek”, and I really enjoyed working on that. So here we are. Forget the plans. Just ship it.
HTG Pro is going to just start out as my side project, a place where I can share the experience that I’ve gained in the last 10 years, save things as my own personal notes section, and vent my thoughts on anything in the world of technology. It’s a place where I can experiment with new server technology and not worry about maybe breaking something, or rethink how a website is supposed to work in the first place.
Maybe it’ll turn into something great. Or not. Whatever.