The Future of Slacker Labs

The Future of Slacker Labs

Whelp, we made it to a new year.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about the future of Slacker Labs and the content I want to make. Some of it has been comments on my videos, some of it was Brian's eye-opening video about the state of the Smart Home Space, and our place as creators in it. But a lot of it is just me. I am constantly looking at ways to make things better.

I have never considered myself part of the "influencer" world, and have never made content with the single goal of influencing your opinion. I simply made content around the things I was doing to share what I know. This building a smart home isn't as easy as it should be. My journey has been, until recently, a constant battle of trying to get my smart home "just right" and "stable" during what has felt like a constant earthquake.

I started Slacker Labs with the hope I could make your journey a little easier than mine was. But the reality is creating this content is expensive. Not financially, although there are recurring expenses this channel doesn't currently recoup, but the biggest expense is time.

I didn't start Slacker Labs to be my full time job, although if that opportunity presents itself one day I might say yes. And while I have no plans to stop making content, at least not as I write this, I am going to make some changes with the hope that this channel can get to supporting itself, and focus more of the content I want to make all while be less reliant on ads.

Unfortunately I can't say goodbye to all sponsored videos. They enable me to make videos I wouldn't have the resources to make otherwise. But I am going to be more selective in which products I showcase, and which companies I work with. Some of that is I want to focus on products and services that I feel make the entire smart home space better, and not those that just solve a problem in my smart home. And some of that is bad experiences working with some these brands for the past year or so.

That said, I want to be upfront about my policy regarding Sponsored content.

First, I will continue with my policy of not asking for direct payment in exchange for sponsored videos. I have always preferred to deal in affiliate links or affiliate based deals because then I only get paid if you find the product compelling and buy it. And that's not to demonized those that do make those deals. At lot of really good content wouldn't get made otherwise. It is how the system works of creating content in this market works. I just prefer to have any compensation tied directly to your decisions about a product or service.

Second, Like I said I am getting more selective about sponsors. Not to say I wasn't before. You should see some of this stuff I have been asked to "review" and I said no to. Some of it was clear they hadn't watched my content, and some of it was downright bizarre with no place on a smart home focused channel. But going forward, any product or service will have to be something I can personally vouch for. For smart home products, they will have to integrate with Home Assistant either through an integration, or another platform with a direct integration to Home Assistant using something like Matter. And as always it can't be just an ad, but something I can show being used to automate the boring stuff.

And third, I am planning on started up Patreon and possibly some online Home Assistant courses this year as another option to help get closer to the dream of being viewer funded. I have actually considered both multiple times, and stopped simply because I need to make sure what you get in return is worth more than you put in. Again, the goal isn't to fund my life, but to be able to say no to more ads.

Anyway, enough about the business side of running a Youtube channel. Let's talk Content.

In 2023 I published some of my longest videos. And some of them took a lot of work to put together. For 2024, I want to focus on shorter videos. There will still be some long ones simply because some of these topics are complex. But some of the topics I had planned on being long videos are going to get broken down into shorter videos. This will hopefully mean more content, but also videos that are focused on a single thing instead of trying to be a complete guide. The focus will remain showing you how to Automate the Boring Stuff using Home Assistant.

But Home Assistant is in a state of constant change which means videos from last year are already wrong as of the first release here in 2024. And I want the content to be useful so breaking it down into smaller chunks will make it easier to digest, and easier to update topics when things change.

As with everything in my life, this is subject to change. Especially the content parts. But I am hopefully 2024 will be a big year for Slacker Labs both in terms of helping you automating your Smart Home, and in terms of getting content out.

There were times in 2023 where I was close to shutting it down. But the reality is I love sharing what I know, and I love Home Assistant, and the community. Those things are what keeps me going more than anything. Please don't stop to providing feedback on content you want to see, and especially when I get things wrong. It's important to me that the full story is told, and that includes adding the parts I inadvertently leave out in the rush of editing or correcting things I mis-represent.

Thanks for being part of this journey, and I look forward to automating the boring stuff with you in 2024.