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A screencast series focusing on rigorous, professional Javascript development.
879 backers pledged $39,331 to help bring this project to life.

Survey Results and Upcoming Changes

Posted by James Shore (Creator)

The survey results are in--thank you for your feedback! The overall feedback was very positive, and there were some clear trends. Based on the results, I'm going to make some changes to the show, including slowing down the release schedule. I'm also starting to make plans for additional episodes. Read on for the details.


Part of my motivation for doing the survey was that I was seeing some hints that people weren't able to keep up with the frequency of the episodes. The survey confirmed that. Less than one-third of respondents were up to date with the series, and the majority are several weeks behind. Most respondents preferred a twice-per-week schedule for the Live episodes.

So I'm going to try: Slowing down the episode schedule. I'm going to take a one-week breather to allow people to catch up, then switch to a two- or three-times per week schedule. Here's the new schedule:

* EVERY MONDAY and WEDNESDAY: a new Live episode (down from Mon/Wed/Fri)

* EVERY THIRD FRIDAY: a new Lessons Learned episode (down from every other Saturday)

To be clear, you're still getting the same total number of episodes, and I'm still working on the series full time. In addition to being more in line with what people want, the slower schedule will give me more time to work on the series' ecosystem, particularly the new web site.


The Live episodes got the most comments by far. There were two strong points of feedback:

* Viewers really like the "Live" format. They praised the "real-world" structure, the digressions and rants, the variety, and making mistakes and working through problems on camera. Here's a representative comment: "I like the stream of conscious presentation. I try to anticipate what is going to happen or what is causing errors. It is much more engaging than watching a perfect demo of how things work."

* Nearly as many viewers were frustrated by the pace of the episodes. They disliked time spent figuring out problems or going in circles. Here's an example: "I like the thought process and don't want to miss anything, however it spends like too much time is spent figuring out basic things (not TDD related) that could be cut more."

I think it's interesting that what people love most about the show is also what they find the most frustrating. Clearly there's a fine line to be walked here.

So I'm going to try: Cutting away more aggressively when faced with a problem that isn't central to the series, and doing more work off camera. I don't want to go too far and get rid of the problem-solving element that people love, though, so let me know how it's working for you. You can see the new approach starting with episode 36.


The Lessons Learned episodes are just as popular as the Live episodes, and actually got slightly higher ratings. This was a bit of a surprise, since the Lessons Learned episodes were originally envisioned as an alternative to the Live episodes for people who wanted a faster pace.

Generally, people liked the condensed format, the higher-level explanation of concepts, and the review of the Live material. The primary suggestion was to spend more time on concepts not covered in the Live series.

So I'm going to try: Spending a bit more time on theory and the "why" of things and less time on the "how." I might also try covering ground that's skimmed over in the Live episodes. I'm going to be fairly conservative in how I change the Lessons Learned episodes, since they're doing so well and I've found a formula that seems to work, so the changes may not be obvious. As before, let me know what you think.


The primary response to the TDD Distilled episodes was one of confusion. As in, "what are these doing here?" and "haven't we seen these before?" Only half of you find the TDD Distilled episodes interesting or relevant, and very few of you are following the series.

(To clarify, the TDD Distilled episodes were a stretch goal for the Kickstarter campaign--a bonus, not the main course.)

The most interesting result from the TDD Distilled episodes was that responses skewed towards the "too fast-paced" side of the equation, which is the opposite of what I saw for the "Live" episodes. It makes me wonder if creating Distilled versions of the Live chapters might be a good middle ground for people who find the Live episodes too slow. But, based on the Live feedback, simply cutting away more often looks like it could be more effective, so I'm going to try that first.

So I'm going to try: The "TDD Distilled" channel clearly isn't working, so I'm going to finish the episodes I promised and stop. I'm considering making "Distilled" versions of the Test-Driven JavaScript chapters instead, but I haven't decided if its worth it. I'm also thinking about distilling the JavaScript content in other ways, such as creating one-page "cheat sheets" you can print out and reference. This would all happen in the next season, so let me know what you think.


Speaking of the next season, I'm definitely going to continue producing videos after the initial run is complete. The survey responses were very positive overall, with a strong consensus that my approach is fresh and unique.

I haven't firmed up my pricing plans yet, but the series is most likely going to be subscription-based and comparable in price to other online video training sites. As Kickstarter backers, you'll be the first to know more.


Feeding the Beast has made it hard to find time to work on the website, but the new schedule should help. My first goal is to replace the login mechanism. I know a lot of you have been frustrated by the current one, and it's a necessary first step for getting the new site design up and running. I'll keep plugging away at it.


And last but not least: the Signature Edition rewards shipped on Tuesday! They shipped Priority Mail, so you should get them within the next few business days (in the US) or in the next week or two (internationally).

Thanks for watching!


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    1. Missing avatar

      Minuk Choi on

      This is good news. Didn't get a chance to do fill out the survey, but do agree that the release cycle is a bit too fast(for me).