Lessons from producing season 1 of viewSource

## [00:00:00] Introduction

[00:00:00] **Aurooba Ahmed:** You are listening to viewSource a conversation around tech, web development, and WordPress with hosts Aurooba Ahmed That's me and Brian Coords.

[00:00:10] So episode 18, take two, Brian, take two.

## [00:00:16] Re-recording but with a new topic

[00:00:16] **Brian Coords:** This is already my favorite and least favorite episode. I've decided, how much time I had to spend editing a version of it that will never see the light of day.

[00:00:26] **Aurooba Ahmed:** All right, so context everyone. We had a, we had an episode plan on CSS, on CSS grid specifically, and we recorded it and it was awesome I think it was either Arc, I'm pretty sure it was Arc. It was Arc or internet or something, something got messed up and the screen share was off in multiple places, which meant that if we wanted to fix it, well we'd be up, we'd be in front of our computers, or Brian would be in front of his computer for ages and ages and ages.

[00:00:58] **Brian Coords:** It would've been faster to re-record it. Um, but I had already gotten through editing the whole like 10 minute intro till I started realizing like, oh, it's, the screen share's off, I'll fix it a minute later. Oh, screens share's off again, I'll fix it again. And then eventually realizing, oh, I think the screen share just recorded- it either skip chunks or it just recorded like at a faster speed, but it just, It

[00:01:23] **Aurooba Ahmed:** but like in different places, right? Like sometimes it was fine and then sometimes it wasn't fine.

[00:01:28] **Brian Coords:** Like jumped. Yeah.

[00:01:30] **Aurooba Ahmed:** yeah, it's

[00:01:31] **Brian Coords:** It was a good one though. It was gonna be a good one.

[00:01:34] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Yeah, we were pretty happy with it. We were, we came out with it. We were just like, oh, that was so good. Um, so maybe, maybe in season two we can come back and revisit CSS grid, and other things that we had talked about, which were really nice.

## [00:01:49] Reflecting on this season so far

[00:01:49] **Aurooba Ahmed:** But instead, what that led us into is this spiral of talking about basically podcasting and everything we've learned, learned and the frustrations and not frustrations that we have. So I figured, we figured why not just turn that into the episode because, you know, we are coming to the end of season one and it's sort of a reflective period for us.

[00:02:13] You know, we're looking back and seeing what we like, what we don't like and what, what we wanna do different, et cetera.

[00:02:19] **Brian Coords:** Yeah, we have some introspective topics for the last three episodes of the season. Some kind of, you know, big picture stuff. And, you know, the added benefit of there will be no screen sharing this episode, so editing will be a lot easier.

[00:02:34] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Yes.

[00:02:35] **Brian Coords:** And more reliable. But, uh, it's also a good place to talk about, you know, after almost 20 episodes and a lot of video content outside of that.

[00:02:43] You know, in the course of this, you know, you released a mini course. We've both been posting video tutorials. There's all sorts of stuff that we've, you know, grown and learned about podcasting and video recording in general over the last six months, five months, so

[00:02:59] **Aurooba Ahmed:** January, February, March, April, may. Yeah, five months. But we really started like in December, sort of,

[00:03:07] **Brian Coords:** yeah. Planning. Mm-hmm.

[00:03:09] **Aurooba Ahmed:** planning and practicing. Yeah.

[00:03:11] **Brian Coords:** Which leads to our

[00:03:13] **Aurooba Ahmed:** exactly.

## [00:03:13] Lesson 1: it all takes longer than you'd think

[00:03:13] **Brian Coords:** our first big topic, the thing we learned, number one. Go ahead.

[00:03:17] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Yes, exactly. Everything with podcasting, especially video podcasting, all of the planning takes way, way longer than you would think. You know, it's not just about, oh, we had an idea and we talked about it for a second, and let's sit down and hit record and done. You know, there's so much time. How much time do you think you spend per episode planning?

[00:03:42] **Brian Coords:** Well, this last episode was a really great example because we. I wanted, we wanted to talk about CSS Grid and we wanted talk about semantic HTML and we wanted to look at underscores and WordPress and how you can, you know, all this cool stuff and, you know, we wanted to show code, so you gotta write that code the first time.

[00:03:59] You gotta practice it. You gotta do research. You gotta make sure if you say, oh, you can do this, this way, that, you know, you really do a little extra checking to make sure you're right because people will let you know if you are wrong, which is good. I, I actually like that. Um, So all of that goes into it.

[00:04:16] And then you have to say, not only do I have to like have the ideas, how is this going to be a good conversation that has a beginning, a middle and end, and doesn't just go on forever. So, so that takes planning and, and organization too.

## [00:04:32] Project managing the podcast

[00:04:32] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Exactly. I mean, I remember when we first started, we were using a Google Doc and then we were using Trello to capture all our ideas. Then eventually move, we moved to GitHub projects and it was just an idea, and then there was a whole template. We have an entire template that helps us plan, right? Not only like, oh, here's gonna be the outline, but then here we're gonna, we're gonna put the links to our show notes, and then we try to do a bunch of that in the beginning.

[00:04:58] So we both have an idea of what we're coming at into this conversation with, and I remember in the beginning we would try to surprise each other for more of a real time effect in the podcast, but we realized, you know, it's not real time and it's a better conversation when we have both adequately prepared for it.

[00:05:18] So, I think in the beginning it was like one person had to spend a lot of time planning and the other person didn't really, but now it's sort of, we have to make sure we both are planning, we're both talking about it. We pregame the episode, we talk about on Slack, then we talk about it in real life, like in real time before it's recording, and then we do the recording. And all of that you know, it just. It's so much time. It's worth it, but it's so much more time than you would think than the final result that you see. And that doesn't even take me into the fact that editing and releasing, and that is a whole other ballgame as well.

[00:05:51] **Brian Coords:** Yeah. Well, and I think we learned it the hard way too because I'm sure you've done this where you post a video or something, but that's not the first take. You do a first take. It's kind of not that good. You can feel that it's not that good, but the practice helped you a lot. So you record a second take and then it's really good.

[00:06:08] And we did that with a couple of episodes too. Um, and then it just meant, well, that's kind of time, a big time waster. So like, if we could really get more organized ahead of time, we won't have to record it twice. And, uh, Because that time comes from somewhere for sure.

[00:06:24] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Exactly. Yeah. You know, with everything that we've got going on, for sure. But I mean, you know, that's the first part and then we record, and then there's the part that comes after, which goes right into our next topic.

## [00:06:38] Lesson 2: A lot of tools but never one that has it all

[00:06:38] **Brian Coords:** The editing, which is

[00:06:40] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Yeah.

[00:06:41] **Brian Coords:** the part that I'm a little, uh, not excited about right now because of what happened this morning. My,

[00:06:47] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Yeah.

[00:06:48] **Brian Coords:** I. I've hit a point where I'm, I, I'm so mad about all the different tools, SaaS applications, subscription services. You know, it, it's great that all these things exist, but I'm one: paying for way too many things.

[00:07:05] Riverside, Descript, Screenflow, uh, whatever other things.

[00:07:10] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Krisp

[00:07:11] **Brian Coords:** Krisp, uh, camo, uh, you know, Uh, then that's just software. That's not even the hardware. And you're doing all these tools. None of 'em ever do it all right. Why? You know, they all start adding features that kind of overlap, but they're all missing a feature.

[00:07:24] They're all expensive. They're all just like, like having bugs. They're all like updating way too rapidly. Arc browser every five minutes has a new update. Like it's, it's just, think I'm, I'm overwhelmed by all of the tools. Even though they're all very impressive and like

[00:07:43] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Yes.

[00:07:44] **Brian Coords:** making things a lot easier.

[00:07:46] **Aurooba Ahmed:** No, I completely hear you. You know, when we first started the podcast, I remember we tried a bunch of different tools and we started to try to figure out what is our workflow, you know, and we landed on Riverside and Descript initially, right? Because of the fact that it allowed us to share and collaborate.

[00:08:07] And also Riverside was, the reason we record with Riverside is. Is because, you know, it lets to do screen sharing and it records locally and then uploads it so we get a better quality recording out of it. You know, but, and now they have like some certain things in there. Like we thought we could do all the editing in there and stuff, but it, you can't because it only lets you have like one set template or whatever, and now it has transcripts, but you can't edit the transcripts and the transcripts are never perfect on their own. And then we were using Descript to do the transcripts and everything, but it had like a really intense learning curve for us. Right. Like it was hard.

[00:08:46] **Brian Coords:** it's Descript really is on the border of, it's not as powerful as ScreenFlow or Premier or you know, something like that. But it is way more powerful than Riverside. But it also came in with this very different paradigm of text-based editing and sequences and things like that where it, you understand why, but it is a learning curve to get into the Descript because it's not like a normal video editor.

[00:09:13] Um, it's getting closer though, with that range tool and stuff like it is, it was a learning curve.

[00:09:18] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Yeah, and the way it handles layers and tries to hide things that you think that it thinks that you don't need right now, but then you do need them and then you can't find where they are. I mean, God just like figuring out layers of the different tracks and everything. Remember how hard that was and how confusing. I remember being so mad, like, why can't I get this? And there's not enough tutorials and their documentation's not very good. And you find another documentation. It has the same problem as a block editor handbook. It's kind of there, but it's kind of not there. You know,

[00:09:48] **Brian Coords:** And it's, it's already outdated. Like they, they, they do have these videos and there's this like friendly hipster girl who like explains things, but like she's on like version one and now they're on version 3000, and you're like, that doesn't the same anymore. More so it, it's been hard,

[00:10:03] **Aurooba Ahmed:** it's a lot..

[00:10:05] **Brian Coords:** but I mean, and those are all the tools.

## [00:10:07] A lot goes into creating the kind of show we wanted to create

[00:10:07] **Brian Coords:** That's not like, we didn't even mention like Transistor for hosting the audio files and then splitting, there's audio and then there's video and YouTube all that and the transcript files and the SRT file, like there's a lot. It's pretty surprising.

[00:10:22] **Aurooba Ahmed:** it is. And I mean, you know, there's some, we're definitely doing a lot more than we absolutely, absolutely have to. We could just be doing audio or we could just not do transcripts or we could just not do subtitles and let YouTube do the auto generation for subtitles or whatever.

[00:10:36] But like the whole goal was to try to do it, quote unquote, right, you know, do it like that, is in a way that is helpful, accessible, interesting. The kind of thing that we would want to listen to and or watch, and that's hard.

[00:10:51] **Brian Coords:** There's a lot of people who do live streams of their coding and stuff, and that and that. That is cool. And I like that. And like, like there's a place for unprepared, you know, obviously. I mean, people watch Joe Rogan, you know ramble for three hours, three times a week. So like, people don't mind an unedited, like rambley thing.

[00:11:11] And I like, I do like watching stuff like that. You know, our goal for this was like very edited and focused and we definitely trim a lot of fat out of the episodes, um, before we release them. So we, I acknowledge that we are taking that on ourselves. And, you know, we could not do that. And there's a lot of people who don't, and I like their podcast too.

[00:11:33] Um, but we just like a, a kind of a specific vision. So we've now learned what it takes to execute that vision and, uh, and grown a lot in our skills for sure. Uh,

[00:11:43] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Oh definitely,

[00:11:45] **Brian Coords:** just, you know, presentation and, and stuff.

[00:11:48] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Yeah.

## [00:11:50] Lesson 3: The impact of AI on podcasting

[00:11:50] **Brian Coords:** Which leads to point number three, that we had, which is the other thing that's grown tremendously since December of last year to this, um, which like you already, you can already feel like where this conversation is going, which is the, the AI and the LLM like imprint on content production.

[00:12:10] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Everything

[00:12:11] **Brian Coords:** Yeah. Any con any digital content, production, text, video, audio. It's just, it's definitely it's a thing that affects our workflow on a day-to-day basis for sure. Like I interact with these things every day. It's like I would've never predicted that.

[00:12:30] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Yeah. I mean, I think, you know, we started using Descript from the beginning, which was using AI in a way, but it never really connected, I think, right? Because generating words, written words from audio was something that had already started to happen. We saw it with YouTube and all these other places, so we didn't even realize that we actually were using some form of AI from the beginning.

[00:12:53] But then like I think what was February or maybe March when it really, really changed everything for us. You know, it became a direct, there was a direct impact of AI that was demonstrable for us in our own podcasting workflow, not to mention the rest of our lives.

[00:13:11] **Brian Coords:** I was recording a video and copilot was predicting my code and doing a pretty good job. I have my audio going through Krisp.ai, which is removing, you know, uh, the sound of my two-year-old who's being potty trained right now. So it's a little aggressive out there. And then like, so that, and I don't, I don't know.

[00:13:33] I'll be honest, I don't know if Krisp is really an AI or if it's just a really good algorithm. You know, sometimes there's like a blurred line.

[00:13:40] **Aurooba Ahmed:** at first it was not an AI, but then it added that AI element that you and I started using a lot, right?

[00:13:45] **Brian Coords:** Well, they were always Krisp.ai but you never know, like, like, I mean, is even copilot an AI. I mean, I don't, you know, that's another conversation. But that the, yeah, the background noise removal, now Krisp does transcriptions, it does AI summaries, it does all those things. Descript is doing that, do that. Um, I put it into YouTube.

[00:14:03] There's, you know, tons of that stuff happening there. I mean, it's, kind of insane.

[00:14:09] **Aurooba Ahmed:** It is. It is. And. It's is just accelerating at such an intense pace. My spouse is starting to use it, it has in his own work and just using ChatGPT a lot, the other day he used it to like be like, tell me about my name. And I'm just like, oh, it's actually correct. Um, you know, cuz they're trying to be a little more accurate there.

## [00:14:29] AI in the kitchen

[00:14:29] **Aurooba Ahmed:** And I don't know, it's infiltrating every part of my life. I use it to like figure out what to cook sometimes because I'm like, I have these ingredients. Go. What can I make? I don't wanna use my brain. I don't wanna have to go Googling and try to check if the recipe has the actual ingredients I need or have in my pantry.

[00:14:47] And ChatGPT will just come up with something pretty useful and I made like a ground beef dish with it the other day, and it was really good.

[00:14:56] **Brian Coords:** I would maybe be afraid, but I have done that where I've, I've asked, uh, like Google Bard, like, these are the cocktail ingredients I have in my cupboard. What drinks are you could you make with these? And,

[00:15:08] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Yeah,

[00:15:09] **Brian Coords:** I mean, I. It was fairly, you know, it's like, it's,

[00:15:14] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Not bad.

[00:15:15] **Brian Coords:** yeah. So out of the kitchen into like the podcasting world, everything we're dealing with is already using this.

## [00:15:21] AI in the podcasting workflow

[00:15:21] **Brian Coords:** And that's not even getting into Descript has like, if you fake your voice with an AI to fix a word, you misspoke or, you know, those sorts of things. Like, I mean,

[00:15:29] **Aurooba Ahmed:** It's a lot.

[00:15:31] **Brian Coords:** yeah. It's, it's turning the corner of making things easier, but it's still a lot, but

[00:15:39] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Yeah. Things break. You know, Krisp is constantly restarting on us. Breaking every time, like I take my headphones off, it decides that I'm not using the mic that I always use, and it tries to connect to the mic of my headphones, and it's like, why? Just save the preference, please. Yeah.

[00:15:58] **Brian Coords:** I'm, I'm looking forward to like, in three years when all of this is baked into like Mac OS, you know, like Mac OS, Sherlock, all these things. Bring it into the sif, like to the, like at the OS level, the background noise removal, the auto transcription, like I'm ready for it. I'm like, if this is what it's like in its early stages, um, I mean, It's, it's gonna be pretty crazy.

[00:16:21] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Oh, definitely. And I think when it's there, it's just gonna be a lot more smoother. You know? It'll be more reliable. And if it hadn't already infiltrated someone's life, it will definitely be there then, you know, and. All of this, you know, we do all of this in order to create one episode. All of this stuff we just talked about, all of that goes into every single episode we create.

## [00:16:47] Lesson 4: Traction is slower and faster than you'd think

[00:16:47] **Aurooba Ahmed:** And that begs the question, you know, um, how do we feel about the distribution and the result of these episodes that we're putting so much work into? Honestly, I think that when, when it comes down to it, there's like, Six to 10 hours in total of planning, editing, thinking, recording all of it. When you put it all together, there's, there's a lot of time that we put into these episodes.

[00:17:11] Do you think it's worth it? Do you think people like it?

[00:17:15] **Brian Coords:** I think.

[00:17:16] **Aurooba Ahmed:** We should ask the people.

[00:17:18] **Brian Coords:** Yeah, I That's a, you, you said we weren't doing like live on the fly questions, but Geez, no. Uh, I think about it like a number of things. Number one, I think. Personally, I think we grow, like preparing for an episode. I feel like I take a thing, like the topics are generally like, oh, we've been kind of working on a thing, let's make an episode. And then you go, okay, now I have to be an expert on it. And that's really good for like professional development. So that's on a personal level. That's super helpful. Then there's, you know, I think we both knew ahead of time, there's this part of WordPress that doesn't get enough attention, which is advanced developers.

[00:17:56] Like there's tons of content for like the builder community. There's tons content for like the, the content marketing and SEO community. There's not a lot for modern WordPress, specifically developer-centric stuff. It's starting now. I think there's been a real like paradigm shift the last year that we're seeing uh, from like this show and other ones.

[00:18:18] But, uh, you know, we saw like a hole there. And so when we make an episode, especially the decision to be on YouTube, I think is clear that like we see a lot of this stuff as like, Long tail evergreen, like these episodes should hopefully be just as useful to somebody who stumbles on it in two years than somebody listened to it the week it came out.

[00:18:39] So I think that plays a lot into the, where we're seeing the value of it.

## [00:18:43] The focus was never on in-the-moment things

[00:18:43] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Yeah. And you know, it's interesting, right? Because. When you do something like a podcast and you see how industry sort of operates, there's a lot of like emphasis on downloads and how many people listen right when you like release something. And from that perspective, I feel like our traction has been slower.

[00:19:02] You know, it's been a lot more of a very gentle slope, if all? Um, I mean, there's definitely growth and you know, we are, the subscribers are going up definitely more on YouTube because of the demos and code sharing that we do than the audio downloads. Um, although those go up too for like a good episode.

[00:19:24] Um, and because we do try, you know, we do try to make it so that you can follow along even if you're not watching for the most part. Um, But there are like a core group of people I feel that definitely are interested in this kind of topic and the, our approach of talking about, you know, more advanced development stuff.

[00:19:44] But I also find that because of the way we approach it, and also because our focus is switched to not just relevant in the moment, but something that can be relevant over a long term. People have trouble, you know, keeping up with the episodes, you know, not every week, can you sit down and watch a 30 to 35 minute episode or show, uh, on something that will probably require you to be thinking, you know, because you're looking at code and you're figuring it out with the people who are talking about it.

[00:20:16] So it's, it's, it's, it's interesting and there's definitely an audience, but it's also not as instant or fast growing as you would think. Right.

[00:20:28] **Brian Coords:** Yeah, I mean, I think it would be easy for you and I to have an audio conversation once a week where we talk about, you know, whatever happened with, um, you know, some change to the plugin directory and stuff and like I like those things. I listen to those things and stuff.

[00:20:42] There's just a lot of smart people already doing that and like, that's great, and it felt like there just wasn't enough deep dives into what it actually feels like to build WordPress websites in the modern era. And, and not even just WordPress, some of the other stuff around it, but like that, that was like the weird hole that we see missing.

[00:21:02] And like you said, like it's not something you're just gonna like lightly throw on in the background. it's when you're at that part of your career where you're ready to start deeply understanding ideas.

[00:21:11] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Exactly. And you know, I've listened to some older iterations of development focused podcasts in the WordPress space, and one, sometimes they were way too advanced and they would go over my head because they would be talking about this very specific thing and it would be all audio and you had no context, and I would just never understand it, and then I would get bored or two, you know, they would talk about. Parts of development that can only be talked about in audio. And those were not the interesting parts.

## [00:21:38] Coders like to see the code

[00:21:38] **Aurooba Ahmed:** You know, we're, we're coders, we wanna actually do stuff, we wanna look at that stuff. You know, I mean, when you and I talk about something the, almost like the first or second thing, it's like, yeah, show me the code.

[00:21:49] How did you do it? Let, let, let's go look at it. You know? So it's hard to do it without that part if you wanna do it right, which makes it a lot harder for the person watching and also for the people creating.

## [00:22:01] Connecting with other developers

[00:22:01] **Brian Coords:** Yeah. And so now we're wrapping up this first season. I think we have a lot of thoughts about what's gonna happen in the fall when we start a second season. What the pace, the pace will probably be different. Uh, some of the topics might be different, it might be the same. Um, you know, some of the goals might change.

[00:22:19] But I think overall big picture, like it's been fun to explore and figure out, like I think we have a very clear idea of exactly what stuff we want to make. And it's sometimes like, You don't get a lot of response, but you get like a few small pieces of response from people who are like, you are talking about exactly what I do all day and when you're a solo developer, a freelancer, and you're not in a big team, and you're not in a community, like those little moments of of WordPress where you're like, oh, somebody else does that weird thing I do. Like, we're connecting over that. Um, and then they give us like feedback or show us things we didn't know about or something.

[00:22:58] Uh, those are super worth it and, uh, make it, make it fun and make it feel like you see the, the community like you, you, you see it on a different level.

[00:23:07] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Yeah. And I think that, the WordPress community is made up of more people who work solo than who work in teams. So being able to connect with those people, because I'm one of those people too, for most of my career. That's there's, there's a magic there that does make all of the hours and hours of work and figuring things out worth it for me.

[00:23:31] Uh, for sure. And that's kind of what makes, keeps me going when I was, when I'm tired and I say, oh, I have to edit this episode. Oh no, we had to rerecord this one. Oh no, this was something was off here. You know, those are the things that I think about.

## [00:23:46] The result of this podcast was more than just the podcast

[00:23:46] **Aurooba Ahmed:** So I am excited for everything that we've learned from this that's sort of feeding into the rest of our lives and on our work life, you know, uh, you're making YouTube videos. Yay, Brian. And, um, I, I built a course and all of these things sort of came out of, this almost weekly grueling process that we've put ourselves through for the last like half a year. Um, so there's a lot of like extra results that came out of this, not just the podcast itself.

[00:24:15] So I'm interested to see what season two brings when we get there.

[00:24:20] **Brian Coords:** Yeah. And before then we have like two more episodes and I know, without getting to specifics, we're probably going to think about WordPress probably, and we're gonna about, uh, the things we talked about this season and stuff, and probably talk about some of the cool ideas and, and do a recap. But this conversation about process is, uh, has been therapeutic for me.

[00:24:47] I'm no longer, uh, angry at all of my SaaS tools that failed me in my moment of need while editing this morning. And we will edit this and we will release it and we will feel much better that there's no screen share sync issues to deal with cuz it was just audio.

[00:25:06] **Aurooba Ahmed:** Yeah. Yeah, no, there, there's definitely benefits more than one benefit to doing this episode and um, you know, I'm glad that we did it. So, next episode we'll talk about WordPress probably for sure. Cuz a lot has happened during the course of this season that we wanna touch on. But for now, it made sense to start with a conversation on process, so I'm glad to have that conversation with you.

[00:25:31] **Brian Coords:** Yeah, talk to you next week.

[00:25:32] **Aurooba Ahmed:** see ya.

## [00:25:33] Outro

[00:25:33] **Brian Coords:** Visit viewsource.fm for the latest updates and links to the show notes. Review and subscribe to viewSource in iTunes, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Creators and Guests

Aurooba Ahmed
Aurooba Ahmed
(she/her) Developer building bespoke #WordPress solutions, tools, and blocks. My name is pronounced "oo-ROO-ba" — Default to kindness, folks.
Brian Coords
Brian Coords
WordPress developer and writer blah blah
Lessons from producing season 1 of viewSource
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