I’ve been listening to podcasts since about 2005. Looking back there are a lot of similarities to what I listened to back then and what I do now. Technology, small business, productivity, and theology were and still are the general areas of focus. But the specifics are quite different. In technology I used to listen to a lot of web design and web programming shows and now it’s iOS development and Apple related technologies. In small business I used to follow people doing startups and now it’s more solo and lifestyle entrepreneurs. The productivity space is a lot different. And finally the theological podcasts which had an American Evangelical bent is now overwhelmingly Lutheran.

Besides the diversity of content that podcasts provide, I appreciate the diversity of formats. There are news shows, topical shows, interviews, roundtables, single hosts, multiple hosts, rotating hosts, and shows that rotate their format from episode to episode.

Everything I understand about marketing is quid pro quo. I have never heard it described in any terms that didn’t come down to manipulation. Content marketing is giving people useful content so that they will trust you and buy your product or service. Email list building is giving away something of value so people will sign up to your list and you can then monetize them. Gary Vaynerchuk has something close to being palatable when he talks about giving away things with value (jabs) and not expecting anything for any one individual in return, but ultimately gives those things of value away expecting that at least some individuals will respond to his offers (right hook).

So how do I propose to do manipulation free marketing? For one, I’m not sure what I plan on doing can be called marketing. And second, I’m not sure if it will “work” - meaning aid me in reaching my $2000 / year definition of success. The plan is to give a lot of useful stuff away and sell a few useful things. Like I said, I don’t know if you can call that marketing or if it will work, but that’s all I feel comfortable doing.

This is really all I’ve ever done and it’s never worked at a large scale before, but I have an idea to give things away more consistently and I think that consistency will be the key. So what are these things I plan to give away? First is a podcast and second are small iOS apps.

I don’t have a timetable yet for either of these things but this really is the only kind of marketing I can live with.

In my last post I mentioned that I was focusing on a niche that is not known for being profitable. The niche I’ve chosen to serve is the devotional and educational needs of orthodox, liturgical Christians.

I have no illusion that this area is going to make me rich, but since I’m a member of this niche I know how much we could benefit from a wide range of resources and the satisfaction in serving this group is worth more to me than the profits. Plus, I do believe this niche can support the $2000 in revenue a year that I defined as success.

What are the next steps? Product creation and marketing. I have very specific ideas I want to test for both. The product has an actual business model and the marketing effort is something I could actually get behind (doesn’t just feel like sales).

Do you have an idea for a technology product that could serve the devotional and/or educational needs of Christians? Shoot me an email at (brian@yamabe.net)[mailto:brian@yamabe.net] or tweet me @byamabe.

How does a husband and father of two with a full-time job, elder at his church, and various other responsibilities start and grow a business in a niche which is not perceived to have a highly profitable user base? I don’t know, but that’s the journey I want to go on and document.

I’ve been walking on and around this path for a long time. I’ve created apps with no business model. I’ve done consulting with no long term plan for where to go. I’ve brainstormed and daydreamed. I’ve come to realize that this direction is where I’ve always headed, it’s just my definition of success that has needed clarity. At this stage in my life, with the commitments I have, success would be being able to pay for the development tools and software I use and honing my skills so that my technical chops are up-to-date if I were to lose my current job. On the revenue side that would entail generating about $2000 a year. On the skill side that would mean being skilled in a development environment other than Java.

That’s the introduction. Let’s see where this goes.

I am more and more becoming aware that when I make poor comments, especially when responding online, I have been blinded by some preconceived notion about the argument the other person was making and not addressing what the author actually meant.

Most recently I asked the author of an (article on Swift)[http://owensd.io/2014/08/28/tuples-new-struct.html] why he used tuples instead of multiple return values. Well, if I had done a little more digging I would have noticed that multiple return values are tuples. But when I originally read the article, I saw the named elements of the tuples in his example and didn’t connect that the multiple return values were tuples. Looking back it was quite clear, but I just missed it. Yes, I look foolish, but because I asked the author a question, at least I don’t look like a jerk.

I remember a couple of occasions online where I commented with my own arguments and looking back I didn’t fully comprehend the authors points and my own arguments just made me look like a loudmouth.

So, the lesson is to really dig a little deeper on an article you want to comment on. See if you truly understand the problem or issue the author is trying to address. Then if you still have a problem with their point of view, ask a question. Never assert your own arguments, especially online.