I can’t believe I’m still getting away with this!
I started the site on 12th May 2007 without particularly high expectations. I certainly didn’t expect to still be here eight years later with the site close to 100 million page views. That’s a mind-blowing amount to me. I count myself incredibly lucky and privileged to still be able to do work I love.
This is the self-indulgent ramble post I sometimes allow myself on my blog-birthday – covering my general thoughts on the site and the ukulele world in general. If you want something more useful read the Review of the Year post.
I’m really blessed to be part of a world that is as encouraging and enthusiastic as the ukulele community. The success of the site is entirely down to all of you for your support over the years. I’m pathetically grateful to everyone for:
Reading: It’s such a thrill for me that people find the site useful. I know playing the ukulele helps me relax and – when I really practice a piece – accomplished. And I hope this site helps you feel the same way.
Feedback: commenting, emailing, tweeting and reviewing: I judge the success of a post almost entirely by how much of reaction it gets in comments, emails and on Twitter. That feedback is so important to me.
Ukulele for Dummies has about 500 reviews on Amazon (mostly on the UK store and US store). The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. They’re the most important thing for a book to be successful on Amazon so I’m exceptionally thankful to everyone who took the time to leave one.
Spreading the word: Telling people about the site is absolutely the best way to support it. I put the growth of the site entirely down to people recommending it to other ukers.
Buying: It’s my nightmare that one day I might have to get a proper job. So I can’t thank enough those people who spend hard earned money on my ebooks. I’m not one of those people energetic and productive enough to do a day job and run a side project. There’s no way the site could exist without your financial support.
Getting involved: There are so many clubs and groups and festivals I can hardly keep up. Add to that the number of people writing blogs, tabbing and doing YouTube tutorials. It’s staggering and it all makes playing the ukulele a better experience.
Playing: It’s a huge inspiration to watch people playing on YouTube and listening to the records. Just watching random YouTube videos gets my brain firing. If you do something cool I’m very likely to steal it.
Why I Do It
I’m very slow on the uptake. So it hasn’t been until the last year or two I’ve actually figured out why I care about this site.
Most people assume I’m a ukulele advocate and think everyone should play it. I can see where they might get that impression but it’s not the case. I’m not one of those, “If everyone played the ukulele there’d be no wars,” types. Ukuleles are great but the success of the ukulele isn’t something that gets me out of bed in the morning (metaphorically, I’m writing this in bed – I’m not an idiot).
What really gets me excited is helping people to feel accomplished and proud of themselves. Like this. (If you’re similarly excited to play Toxic the tab is here.) Or playing to entertain their friends. It’s such a buzz to be able to do that for people.
I do think the ukulele is a particularly good way of doing that. It’s a much more to people who just want to make music for their own enjoyment.
The Only Real Problem I’ve Ever Had
Most of the problems I have with the blog (the website going down for reasons that are way beyond my understanding, arseholes being arseholes, some stuff I work being a flop, YouTube messing around with stuff) are fixable or at least bearable. The only big problem comes when governments screw things up. There’s no getting around those.
In January EU laws on VAT on digital products changed (VAT = sales tax). Before I was under the UK system which has a threshold comfortably above anything I’ve earned. From the beginning of the year everyone selling digital products in EU has to account for sales in every country they sell even one copy in. There’s no longer minimum level. You’re lumped with the administrative burden of it no matter how small you are.
It’s set me back a great deal this year. I spent January without the ebooks on sale while I search around for a solution before Gumroad came up with their solution (then the time and cost switching to that system). And I’ve moved a big project I was working on to the back burner because I still haven’t got a good solution to it.
I will admit to some schadenfreude in seeing Vince Cable getting turfed out after his pathetic response to the situation.
EU VAT Action has been doing some great work towards convincing politicians to make the laws more workable. So there’s some hope.
Thanks again to everyone for their support over the last seven years. I look forward to the next eight years when I expect I’ll have renamed the blog Futulele Hunt.