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The Future of Linux For Everyone

Tech For Everyone
The Future of Linux For Everyone
By Jason Evangelho • Issue #10 • View online
Today’s Sunday newsletter is more of just a letter minus the news. It’s a letter about the only thing consuming my thoughts lately. It’s a lengthy, somewhat emotional one that you’re an important part of. So let’s just jump in…

An Open Letter, And A Call For Help
The Linux For Everyone "helping hands" community logo
The Linux For Everyone "helping hands" community logo
Perfect storm (noun): an especially bad situation caused by a combination of unfavorable circumstances.
With the exception of my brief gig doing technical marketing at AMD, I’ve been writing professionally (primarily at Forbes but with a splash of PC World, UploadVR and Hot Hardware mixed in) since 2012. At Forbes, I’ve been blessed with a surprising amount of editorial freedom, weaving in and out of video game coverage, cryptocurrency coverage, startup interviews, consumer tech reviews, the music industry, and more recently, the exciting world of Linux and open source. 
Traffic was always good, meaning pay was always good. In 2018 when I made the scary pivot to covering nothing but Linux and its surrounding technologies at Forbes, I was thrilled to see that the content resonated, with both a mainstream consumer audience, and with the gods at Google. 
Eventually, I debuted the Linux For Everyone podcast, and later the YouTube channel. My written words and spoken words and visual stories were synergized, each medium helping to build awareness of the other ones.
Everything was firing on all cylinders. 
SLAVE TO THE SEARCH
But the roads that are paved with gold when you’re a slave to algorithms and search engines are destined to wind their way to dirt and dead ends. Especially when Google changes its algorithm hundreds of times per day. Literally hundreds of times!
At some point in 2020, Google decided it would significantly reduce the importance of Forbes content, and there are multiple analytics tools out there that can illustrate that for you. I’ll keep my opinions out of this and stick to the outcome.
The end result was that no matter what I published, no matter how straightforward or how clickbaity the headlines were, the majority of the 80% to 90% of traffic usually supplied by the almighty Google just stopped showing up. 
SoI started leaning in hard to producing more Linux For Everyone videos, which was bringing in the most income. Was it a blast? Absolutely. Was it exhausting? YUP. It seemed to consume all of my time. 
(Another project I started that is active, but not getting the attention it deserves)
(Another project I started that is active, but not getting the attention it deserves)
Then you add the emotional impact and lifestyle changes from a global pandemic into the mix. And then you add almost dying from Legionnaire’s Disease last summer. And then you layer in promising new opportunities that fizzled and faded away just as quickly as they had begun…
For me, it all added up to a perfect storm. 
To be honest with you, I started losing the fire I had inside. I withdrew and became distant. I convinced myself that it was probably time to move on… 
Now it’s almost the summer of 2021 and I’m faced with a dilemma. Do I find myself a “real job” and tuck Linux For Everyone into a drawer? Do I relegate it to a hobby? Or do I think my way out of this hole, recharge my batteries, and give it one more try?
I certainly know what I prefer to do. I prefer to not give up on this brand, and to not give up on this community. You guys have never stopped believing in what I do. You’ve never stopped enjoying the content. And you’ve never hesitated to express your support in multiple ways. 
THE IDEAL SOLUTION?
The ideal solution is that I grow this newsletter, I bring the podcast and video channels back to life and those grow like weeds, and I start a new website where all my content lives (especially the written stuff – I adore writing). People donate to a Patreon that encompasses everything. Relevant sponsors throw down some advertising dollars. 
Can you guess the problem with half of that scenario? It’s the reliance on Google Adsense in the case of YouTube, and realistically, Google Adsense on the website, too. And what brings most people to the videos or to the website? You guessed it: Google. 
A search engine that can work wonders for you, until it decides to stop. Then you’re absolutely powerless. I’ve seen it firsthand after years of writing at Forbes. And I’ve heard about it from so many prominent YouTubers and other creators. 
That’s scary as hell.
OK, I know what I want, and I’m fairly positive I know what you want. So what’s the solution? 
I’m hoping we can brainstorm that together, but I really believe the answer lies with the Linux For Everyone community. People like my friend Jerry Morrison have offered to edit video from time to time. Perhaps someone can build and/or manage a personal website? Others could help out with the Linux For Everyone Twitter, Discord, Mastodon and Telegram channels. 
That won’t necessarily produce an income that’s equivalent to a day job, but if the community grows, and I’m able to consistently produce content that people value, I wholeheartedly believe that steady, reliable and sustainable income will appear. (Hopefully sooner than later…)
At one point, I wanted L4E to be sort of the “Linus Tech Tips” of Linux. I’m not ready to give up on that dream just yet. But I’ve finally come to the realization that it will never happen if I’m the only person in the driver’s seat. 
✅ If you want to help, or you have an idea to throw on the table, just hit REPLY to this email.
✅ If you’re reading this letter on the web, drop an email to me via linuxforeveryone@pm.me
Until we chat again, you guys take care. And take care of each other. 
~Jason 
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Jason Evangelho

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