letter to the team – July 2016

SENT to the team, end of July 2016 – Before the twit longer where it was said that nobody knew what my vision was…….

I’m Steve Jobs until further notice. I will listen to ideas and such, but I need to get back into the visionary role and give us direction. The website and YouTube needs a visionary asshole. If this ruins friendships that is regrettable… I don’t think it will so long as everyone understands that I am doing this to forward the vision of the business… The site is not performing as well as I think it should and it hasn’t been growing well since I decided to be a somewhat absentee owner. Startups with absentee owners don’t do well. Startups with multiple visions don’t do well. And startups with a murky vision go in circles, like we sometimes do.
My stepping back was pre-mature, so I am sorry for that. Many of the issues going on now are due to my want to be more hands-off. I can see it isn’t time for that yet, I haven’t earned it. We need a singular vision. So, I’ll lay that out everyone can chime in… if anyone does not want to be involved in my vision, they can leave. The whole, “We are partners so things can’t be unilateral,” will not work at this juncture since the vision is murky. There can only be one visionary and one goal.
Everyone does product reviews and such. Let’s do what we do best… what only we can do. Let’s remind the world who Tek Syndicate is.
The YouTube page:
We will have an editorial calendar. Jennifer will gather all the videos that everyone wants to do then get with me so we can select the days for the videos to go live. We can use the weekly updates for some guidance, but ultimately, the calendar is king. It’s a little rough when we all say we have three of four videos to upload then they just randomly get uploaded throughout the week. So, we have to get on a strict schedule.
· 4-5 videos per week MAX. 1 or 2 may be a product video.
· Wendell is king of the Linux page and can organize content there
· Focus
o 1-2 concept videos per month: (Did Apple ever Invent Anything?, Packet Sniffing, XBOX Rant, Windows is terrible, etc.)
o Tek every week
o Inbox bi-weekly
o Two build videos per month with Amazon links
o The rest are projects and products discussed on a case by case basis and approved by me for now, possibly Wendell or Qain after we get the workflow going
· We can discuss the other channels.

Social
· Long videos (tek, inbox, special segments) will get a 30 second render that will be uploaded to
The Website
I have not fully figure this out yet, but I know we need writers. We need to hire good writers to help turn our site into a destination for intellectual conversation, speculation, etc. We have talked about this before, let’s do it now. We also talked about using writers on the site to help fuel the videos. Let’s figure that out.
How is the re-design coming? Do we have a list of what has been doing and what will be done? Do we know how much we have paid and how many hours are involved in this? Does anyone know If Kremath is working? How about the Patreon plugin?

Wendell
You have been dealing with the minutia while I was pretty much MIA, doing side projects, etc… so I’m grateful for that. It’s time for us to lower your involvement so we can do most of this at our main office in Portland. So, here is what I propose
· Fewer product videos. Watching you do the video on CAM was like watching Einstein do 3rd grade math. It was sad.
· Never trade a vendor a favor for a video, only guarantee them a social post (unless it’s a GPU, CPU, or something we would make a video on anyway)
· Fewer videos in general on the main channel
· Prioritize (in this order): tutorials, builds, special segments………………… then products
· Throw ideas at me for special segments, like we did in the golden years… send me some notes about apple not inventing anything, or packet sniffing… so I can then make the outline my own and we can shoot the video together – this was really the time when we were the best
· If you want to divest your shares let me know. I feel that we owe you a piece of our sales from the store (for as long as you continue to do videos) since your videos do build the audience that does most of the shopping in the store. You should also be entitled to a cut of profits. We have to pay that to you from now on because it seems to raise our tax liability, and mine personally.
· Let me know what events you want to hit
· Your editor is still very rough and I would not consider the quality up to our main channel’s standards. I would prefer to spend that money on a production person who will shoot all your stuff in a concise way so we can edit it in Portland.
Qain
I want to list out your job description… right now you are an everything, just doing whatever needs to get done and sometimes just waiting for stuff. Let’s give you a job description and list your responsibilities so there is no guessing. We need to know what to expect, as do you. You mentioned a few projects you wanted to do, but let’s cover your actual job. Do you want to be on camera for tutorials? Have a show? Etc. Let’s just list it all out. Community liaison? Etc… Let me know.
Also, update me more on what you are doing and reply to my emails… even if it’s just a “got it”. I’m in the dark with what you are doing most of the time.
Jennifer
· QuickBooks
· Setting the schedule up
· Event planning
· What else?
· This job shouldn’t take more than 16 hours per week, so we will cut her hours and pay accordingly – I am OK if she quits due to this
· No more sales and marketing after we hire someone to do it
When we first hired her, she told me that she wanted to only work for us part time and that she wanted to start her own company to help us and other YouTubers. I wonder if she might still consider this as an option.
Steph
She is not officially on payroll. She will be doing 3-4 edits per week and will be following the calendar. The forum is a good place to chat, but she will follow concrete dates on the calendar (That Jenny and I will arrange).
Sales
I still haven’t settled on a new sales person. Qain, how was Brad (KBMOD Guy)? I have been talking to Richard and he is extremely good at cold calling, harassing people for money, following up, etc. He has been running his own business for years, has done door to door sales, etc. So, he does not know the industry well, but he is tenacious as hell. I think I will use him to help train a sales person locally in Portland, or we might just try him out.
Talent
We should look for more talent in Portland. We need people who will work on a project basis and we can try out a few to see if any of them fit.
Manager
This is the big goal. We need a manager who does the schedule (one of Jennifer’s jobs) locally in Portland. They also need to make our chaotic projects happen… For instance, Qain’s car mod project … Qain, you need someone to outline your ideas… break them down into segments, call locations and vendors, work with our sales guy to sell sponsorships/placements, etc. The manager will become the engine that turns the cogs.
Closing
I have no hard feelings for anyone and I know there are some hard feelings toward me. Ultimately, this needs to be my vision and I understand what that entails now. I’m not looking for intense arguing. I’d rather part ways than argue. I will hear some ideas, but what I say will be the final word until I do step back. I need to be respected. Tek Syndicate needs to be respected. We need to take ourselves seriously. We can’t tell people we are random bozos online anymore. We are as smart as anyone at The Verge, Ars, etc. We are just wilder like Motherboard or Vice. That site is crazy, but they are taken very seriously.
If you (Wendell) are unhappy with doing fewer videos or doing less work in KY, let’s talk… Perhaps you can take over the Youtube.com/teksyndicate channel. We can easily change the name from Tek Hardware to anything else. I’m willing to make that into a separate entity that you will control and you can operate it separately and keep all profits from it plus a piece of the mutual revenue we generate on the store. Then we can meet in the middle to do the tek and some special segments. We can still make products together as well. I’m not sure if this is the best idea, but it is at least that… and idea. Also, it will allow each of us to have a separate vision under the same umbrella. You can even retain Jennifer for more hours since you two work well together.