I’ve launched a thing called The Library. Here’s a bit of background for anyone interested in the what, why, and how.
First up, in case you’ve not already, then pop over to The Library and read the FAQ. That should cover the basics.
The Library sits under the Cultural Digital banner – that’s the name of the weekly email newsletter I send out – and it’s a subscription service. Sign up and you’ll get access to a Google Drive containing info and resources relevant to how cultural organisations are making use of digital tech and media.
I reckon it’s very useful and pretty cheap. £200/year compares really well to the sort of fees research firms charge for their subscriptions, and I know I pay more than that for memberships and SaaS subscriptions that deliver much less value.
The Library is in very soft launch mode at the moment and will open properly in very early November. If you sign up now then you can save a whopping 50% off your first year.
There are quite a few reasons for this.
Perceived need. A couple of years ago I put together a Google Sheet with lists of digital agencies (and others) that had experience of working with arts organisations. People seemed to find that really useful but I could only find the time to update it very occasionally. Although it wasn’t the intention, that has served as a kind of MVP for the Library.
Another thing is that in my consultancy work I get asked a lot of questions about what systems people are using, which agencies everyone’s working with, whether there’s a certain type of job description out there they can take inspiration from… that sort of thing. Previously, there was no quick and simple way of getting hold of that information. The Library fills that gap.
The number of early sign-ups so far has reassured me that the perceived need is an actual one so, fingers crossed, that’s the idea successfully validated.
Spreading the cost. I have to stay on top of this information in order to do my work, but it’s not the work itself. Collating it all takes a considerable amount of time and expertise and I can’t see any one client paying for it. Spreading the cost among lots of people would make it sustainable, allowing me to justify dedicating time to making it more comprehensive and keeping it all up to date.
A more informed sector. I can only work with so many people one-on-one. If there’s a way for the sector’s organisations, consultants, funders, and suppliers to all be that bit better informed then that’s a good thing, right?
An experiment in selling an info product. I like to learn by doing things. I’ve never run a subscription-based service before so this is a chance to do that. I fully expect the lessons I learn here to carry over to other things I do.
Selling my by-products. Years ago I read a Signal v Noise blog post about selling your by-products and it’s an idea that’s stuck with me since. In a sense, that’s what I’m doing here.
Here’s what I’m using to put this together.
The website was built very quickly with Strikingly. However, the subscription payment platforms you can integrate with are a bit ropey, so for the time being I’m taking one-off payments using Typeform, which integrates with Stripe. In turn, Stripe sends money through to my bank account and connects to Xero, my accounting software.
The payment bit will need to be revisited soon because it’s a long way short of adequate. However, it’s enough for me to launch with. Perfect can wait a little while (yay agile!).
A few simple automations kick in when someone signs up:
- An excited message turns up in a Slack channel.
- Their details are added to a Google Sheet so I can keep track of when they’re up for renewal.
- Their email address is added to a list in Mailchimp
- Mailchimp sends a welcome email apologising for the lack of automatic receipt and linking to a Typeform survey so I can find out more about their expectations
I’m mostly using Zapier for those automations.
Google Drive is the hub for all the resources. Library members will be given a login to a top-level folder with lots of very nicely ordered folders, spreadsheets, and documents.
Sign up before it launches to get the first year for £100.