New Year, New Approach

First and foremost, Happy New Year! As a new year begins we’re often full of energy for a fresh start to achieve new goals. I started the Production ESP32 community on October 10th of 2023 and have really enjoyed connecting with many of you. I created this site with the intention of sharing what I’ve learned while creating multiple consumer products that use the ESP32. In the process I’ve realized a few things that I’d like to address in the New Year.

Learning is in the Journey

My intention with this site was never to be a course-like curriculum. However, in a former life, I created quite a bit of educational content including a very popular course on Skillshare around the Raspberry Pi. As such, I have a natural disposition to want to turn every post I make on this site into a full-blown tutorial with first-class documentation. The problem with that approach is that, when done right, it is extremely time consuming. In an effort to fight that urge I feel like the content I am putting out is suffering from an identity crisis. It’s meant to be actionable and helpful but often it feels watered down and lacking. It takes a lot of energy to distill complex technical topics down to bite-sized actionable content. In other words, into polished educational content.

Production ESP32 is not my full time effort. In fact, it’s a very small part of my day to day. Like many of you, I am “in the trenches” building products with the ESP32. The journey never ends and I’m still on mine. I may be a couple of years ahead of you or many years behind you. Every week I’m learning something new but I hesitate to share it because I don’t have time to spend 3 hours polishing it.

I want to change that in 2024. My goal is to share more of my journey in deploying the ESP32 in production. I still think there is a lot of value in learning with me as I go but the content is going to be a little more…raw. That said, I’m always excited to interact with community members so if you come across something and want more detail or to nerd it up I’m all for it, let’s chat.

Cadence Changes

My original goal was to have a weekly newsletter with content for the community. I’d like to continue to meet that schedule but, honestly, sometimes it gets busy or I don’t have something fresh to share so it feels like I’m phoning it in. That’s a disservice to the community. So the next change in 2024 will be this: I might miss some weeks 🤷‍♂️ … deal with it 😂.

I’ve learned that trying to curate content can also be very time consuming. Again, I don’t want to just make stuff up to put in a newsletter.

More Video

Video is by far the easiest content to create but also the longest form when done freestyle. I don’t have time to edit (and can’t afford an editor) so a lot of that video content will be me struggling through problems with lots of hiccups and painful-to-watch moments of me stumbling through something. Surprisingly, when I’ve made that content in the past many people seem to really appreciate it not being as polished.

More Connections

Finally, I want to make more connections in the ESP32 community. There are so many of you out there doing cool things in your own journeys and I want to connect. I’m not sure how to best approach this but I’m open to feedback. A couple of ideas I’ve had:

  • Office Hours: A fixed time each week to work through an issue or question submitted by a community member. Something like “How do I X on an ESP32?” and I would just tackle it in real time.
  • From the Front Line: Hearing stories from others about problems or victories they’ve experienced using the ESP32 in production.
  • One-on-one Calls: I’ve talked to several of you over video chat just to get to know you better and to hear about your projects. I always enjoy it and like making the connections.

A Great 2024

I have a lot going on in 2024 but I want to continue to build this community around the ESP32 and can’t do it without all of you. If you have any thoughts or suggestions on how to improve it please feel free to reach out. I want to do as much as possible to make this community the best place to connect with other people who are using the ESP32 in production.

© Kevin Sidwar

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