Paid screencast subscriptions are not new, but RubyTapas was one of the first, if not the first, “pro” screencast series to specifically embrace a sub-five-minute format and a very fast (multiple times a week) release schedule. It was a bit of a risk, asking people to pay for such short videos. I wasn’t sure how well it would go over.
As it turns out, the format struck a chord with many, many viewers. I’ve heard from countless people how much they like watching a RubyTapas episode with their coffee in the morning, or while taking a short break from work. A lot of people find them easier to digest than longer-form videos. The fact I now make my living from RubyTapas is the ultimate testament to the success of this model.
As RubyTapas has grown, I’ve noticed a trend of other nascent screencasters being inspired by it and and starting their own series of bite-sized, frequently released videos. I want to be very clear on how I feel about this:
I wholeheartedly support this trend! If I’ve inspired others to make frequent, focused, to-the-point technical screencasts, then that’s GREAT! I think it’s a terrific model, and there’s room for many, many more screencasters demonstrating their own beloved tools & technologies this way, whether for pay or gratis.
Not only that, but I’m happy to help. I’ve posted about my workflow and made my custom tools available. I do my best to bring visibility to other programming screencasts when I come across them. But beyond all that, I also make a point of answering any questions people have about my tools, process, business model, or anything else related. If there’s something you want to know, just ask!
I do have one request, though: please come up with your own name! I’ve put a lot of time and energy into building and promoting the RubyTapas brand. When people think programming videos and “tapas”, if they have any association between those words at all then they think of me. RubyTapas is my first “Tapas” offering, but it is unlikely to be my last (and that’s all I’ll say about that for now). And yes, I will be pursuing trademark protection for it, which I suppose means I am now The Man.
Be creative instead! BashBites, Haskel hors d’oevres, Clojure Carnitas… there are an endless number of delightful naming opportunities for short screencasts. In fact, if you’re stumped, email me and I’ll help you think up a name. I love naming things, it’s one of my favorite parts of programming!
Anyway, that said the main point is still this: If you like RubyTapas and want to make something like it for another language or technology: jump on in, the water’s fine! And let me know how I can help.
RubyTapas is awesome. Short and focused. I wish all tutorial / technical videos followed your format.
I have a few names for the list: PythonBurritos, Elixir Shots / Elixir Mojitos, Node Pastelillos and Kopi Luak Nuggets (about CoffeeScript)
Thanks for sharing your success Avdi!
Glad you spoke up about this, and hope you worked it out amicably with emacs tapas). When I first heard of that series, I definitely thought it was you, which is the biggest problem with trademark infringement.
Also happy to hear you’re able to make a living out of it!
I still don’t do a screencast, but I’ve started a Ruby blog with shirt tips, which I called RubyChunks.com
Thanks, Avdi, for sharing with us!
I’ve taken the other important route and started TestBytes, a series of screencasts with tips and techniques for software testing.
Mario Gonzalez Macedo
Ortask founder and chief engineer