This is How to Get to Reno From Sacramento During Snowmageddon

Reno Snow!

Crossing from Sacramento to Reno right now is impossible because of the snow. Highway 50 has collapsed and I-80 is subject to close often because so many inexperienced snow drivers use it. This is how we crossed the sierras without either of those highways.

Reno Snow - Alternatives to I-80 and Highway 50

This is an image from CA-20 which has stunning views. We often drive this road in the summer because there are great cliff jumping spots on the Yuba River. It’s actually not even that snowy right now, the snowy part comes later.

Reno Snow – California is Wet

So the drive from Reno to Sacramento is usually a two hour quickie, but today we spent about six hours on the road getting from Capital City to the Biggest Little City. Despite the hyper inefficiency of it all, I had a great time.

Because of the slow drive, we were empowered to catch up on some really good podcasts. One on Science and Culture, one on investing AND an audible book called Ready Player One (get a free audiobook here).

I’m not going to lie, this is an ideal way for me to spend the day. While lots of people consider this a sort of emergency or terrible day, I love it.

Putting on chains, driving where few others drive, seeing small towns in naturally beautiful places; I love it.

When we did get back to Reno, I was excited to stop driving. The drive took about six hours. It would have taken a lot less time if we had gone straight there, but CalTrans closed the road a few minutes before we got to almost the peak of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Therefor we drove a lot of extra miles because we didn’t know the road wasn’t open.

There are two new towns I want to visit in the summer. One is Downieville, CA, the other is Sierra City, CA. Both of these cities look like great places to write a book or to go on an amazing Yuba River adventure.

Relevant Links When the Weather Gets Weird

Udemy Promotional Pricing | Testing Opting Out – Bad Idea

I really like Udemy.

They have an excellent platform and it’s getting better all the time. If you are making your first online course, Udemy is the best.

When creating an online course, there are a dump truck of little things to get stuck on. Udemy is building a platform to manage those little things for instructors like myself. New instructors get to focus on building their course and serving their students, rather than understanding the JavaScript library and other platform problems like that.

Software, hosting, credit card processing, internet traffic and a million other little things are no longer on the teacher’s ‘to-do’ list. Udemy is a great partner and if you have the opportunity to work with them, take it. It’s a great offer.

Alas, our podcast production business is growing into a larger organization. It’s important that our teaching reflects that growth too.

For that reason, I’m exploring removing our podcast production course from Udemy’s Promotional Pricing for a short time. I’ll test the results and share those results here.

TLDR? Important Stuff First

Professional Podcast Production Stats:

  • Course published April 2015
  • Course has been on Udemy for 21 months
  • $6,009 is Freedom Podcasting’s profit for that period
  • $273.15 is the average profit per month over that 21 month period
  • We’ve agreed to the Udemy Deals Program for this entire period
  • We opted out of the Udemy Deals Program on January 8th, 2017

What is Udemy Promotional Pricing?

Udemy Promotional Pricing

There are two parts of the Udemy Promotional Pricing:

  1. Percentage Promotions – Udemy’s sales team offers the teachers course at a discount of up to 75% depending on the time of year and the promotion
  2. Fixed-Price Promotions – Udemy’s sales team offers the teachers course at a specified price. This is the clause that, as far as I understand it, makes it so that many instructors often see their courses listed at $10.

Why We’re Testing Opting Out

Price is a signal of quality – I’m confident that the course is worth more and it’s important that incoming students know that they are signing up for something that is really going to teach them. A low price signals that the course doesn’t need to be taken quite as seriously.

What Podcast Production Looks Like Discounted
It is possible that dramatic discounts like this hurt the perceived value of this course.

We’re really confident with the course. We have more than twenty students who have gone through the course and created their own podcasts which live on the iTunes store.

Status Updates

Jan 8th, 2017

Even though I removed the podcast production course from Udemy Promotional Pricing, that doesn’t mean the course will be removed from current promotions. We’re currently in a promotion phase that will conclude on January 11th, 2017.

For now, we wait.

Jan 12th, 2017

All the promotions have run out and I no longer see my podcast production course for sale under the listed price. So it’s clear that the instructor can opt-in and opt-out of the Udemy Deals Program.

I’m planning on running this test for at least a month to see the results.

Feb 14th, 2017

 

Well. I think this test is complete.

It turns out opting out of the Udemy Deals program is a good way to make your revenue go down. During the month of February I only received 1 sale for the Podcast Production Course. Today, that student asked for a refund.

Generally, the course would of made between $100 and $300 by this time of the month. But right now, it’s at zero.

Bottom line, I’m going to turn it back on and see what happens. I hope I haven’t angered the Udemy gods and killed my long term sales.

Feb 17th, 2017

Well, thats pretty conclusive. After turning Udemy Deals Program back on, I’ve already received 3 new students. I didn’t change a single thing in my marketing behavior and my website analytics didn’t boom elsewhere. Udemy just started promoting my course again.

So that’s it. Maybe I’ll update this post in the future, but for now, I have a conclusion.

Udemy Deals Program is a valuable offering that Udemy makes to their instructors.

Thoughts?

If you have any experience with this, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Blue Apron Reviews | Cajun Catfish and Spiced Rice

There are a lot of Blue Apron reviews out there. I believe this one captures the essence of what it means to subscribe to Blue Apron.

Getting a big box of delicious food and 3 recipes that you’ve probably had no experience cooking is not easy. This is not a fast way to eat.

Beautiful Vegetables from Blue Apron Review

 

It’s an exercise in creating slow, beautiful food art. If you decide to order, you’ll learn a lot about food, ingredients and cooking excellent meals. If you’re trying to save yourself time, it might be better to go with something else.

I think of my Blue Apron subscription as a school in a box.

Click here to get three free meals. You can cancel the day your first box arrives if you decide it’s not a good fit for you. Canceling is very easy via their platform. I actually planned on canceling and just getting the meals, but I’m going to keep it up now.

Blue Apron Reviews

The most important thing to know if you’re deciding to give Blue Apron a try is what it’s like to create the dishes. Think of it like a cooking school in a box. The process of creating these dishes is not easy. It takes though and innovation, but the end result really is delicious.

How to Cook Collard Greens - Blue Apron Review

Blue Apron is About Learning

Here’s my favorite thing looking back at the experience now: I learned a lot! That is a huge positive. I had never used apple cider vinegar to cook in the past. Next time I cook any sort of thick, leafy greens, I know it’s great to break them up with a little vinegar. I didn’t read that anywhere, I learned it not because the recipe said it was a good idea, but because I followed the recipe and now intrinsically understand what vinegar does to collared greens.

How to Chop Collard Greens - Blue Apron Reviews

Cooking time aside, a Blue Apron membership does save time in the overall cooking process. If I were to go out searching for all these ingredients at a supermarket, I would probably just give up and get something more simple.

Video on How to Cook Fish - Blue Apron Reviews

Neither my wife or I had ever eaten catfish before! While cooking, I didn’t even try it because I was so focused on not screwing the cooking part up. So when we sat down, we were quite surprised at how delicious the fish was.

Blue Apron Review - Cooking is fun

My Own Blue Apron Reviews

If you’re just trying to eat healthy and save time, trying something else. If you’ve got some time, want to try something challenging and want to push yourself to be a better at cook, do the Blue Apron thing. You can order from their website. The ordering process is very, very easy. Here’s a coupon for three free meals. If you don’t like it after the first order, it’s easy and free to cancel:

3 Meals Free on Your First Blue Apron Order

Also, my wife was pretty impressed. For anyone out there who wants to impress a date, Blue Apron is a great way to appear to be an excellent chef.

Finally, if you’d like to see more, please Let me know in the comments below.

Thank you for stopping by the blog. Subscribe via the button on the right to stay in the know.

Maker Video Editing – Practicing The Craft

My friend and I are going to make a series of maker videos in the coming months. Before I start working directly with him, I want to develop a bit of experience with maker video editing. In the last few months, I’ve become fascinated with these maker videos.

Maker Video Editing experiments

I want to get some practice making good videos about building things before we start our School Bus conversion. We are planning that the moment we get our drop-shipping store to monthly profitability with a team to manage the day to day.

Here are my favorite makers:

This is my first shot at making a maker video. I purposely have kept the video unlisted as I it’s just an easy, fast experiment to learn some of the mistakes before I’m really trying to make something great.

What is Happening Here

In this video I just fix a pair of scissors with Sugru.

Sugru is just some putty that cures to be really durable rubber. It’s great stuff for fixing all sorts of problems.

It’s a very simple project on purpose. All I’m doing is gluing scissors together using a single product. The reason for making a video wasn’t to make the best maker video of all time, but to do something quick so I could practice making and publishing a maker video. The best way to learn is to make mistakes doing.

Maker Video Editing Experiment

Maker Video Lessons Learned:

  • Manual Focus – The wacky focus is due to the autofocus moving around. When sped up it really takes away from the shot. Also, the autofocus is wrong often so it tends to grab the wrong place. I switched the camera towards the end of the project from auto focus to manual focus and the last few seconds were much better.
  • Speed up Rates – Most of this is sped up to 300% I feel l like this is a bit fast, but it’s in the ball park of right on.
  • Editing Time – These videos take FAR less time to edit than my previous travel videos. This is a much less intense editing style. Very good news.

If you found this useful or have any tips for doing great maker videos, please share them in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

Experimenting with Maker Video Editing + Sugru

Reno Patagonia Outlet Grand Opening, Nevada!

Reno Patagonia knows how to put on a party.

It wasn’t just that they had a great space, delicious food and sophisticated booze. The organizers did an excellent job of picking local artists to be a part of the event.

I left the party thinking, “Wow, Reno really is a great place!”

The above movie was pretty much shot on the fly with my Cannon G7X. I wasn’t planning it at all, but I think it came out well.

Reno Patagonia

Who Served at the Reno Patagonia Grand Opening?

If you’re interested in any of the businesses listed in this video, I’ve listed them below:

Truckee River Flooding February 10th, 2017 | Downtown Reno, NV

This is just a quick movie about the flooding that is happening in the Truckee River. I think it’s kind of cool.

Enter Willie

Q: Have you ever seen the water this high?

A: I’ve seen it once or twice you know, but never really like this. I mean, it’s immaculate guys.

This is how it goes man. Right down here, as you can see, it’s really getting hot.

The ducks! The ducks are sitting on the side because they don’t even want to get in the water. If that ain’t bad… what is man?

Nice Lady #1

Truckee River Flooding 2017

Q: Is this the highest you’ve ever seen the Truckee River?

Yeah, besides a couple weeks ago yeah. It’s pretty crazy.

Q: Cool, do you think we’re still going to flood?

I really hope not because I live literally across the street there. I’m pretty glad they built that wall so I’m hoping we don’t flood.

I live on the bottom floor so if we flood, I’m screwed.

Nice Gentleman #2

Reno 2017 Truckee Flooding

Q: What used to be down here? It’s just a river now.

It is a side walk. The pathway goes under… but now it’s part of the river. It’s crazy!

Nice Lady #2

2017 Truckee River Flooding

Q: So the river is flowing a little less than it was in January?

Yes. It’s flowing a little lower than it was in January. It’s a little more mucked up too. In January it was grey and dark and very, very dramatic.

This is really something, it’s the Mighty Truckee.

Willie

I bet you if the fish could get out of the river, they would too! 😀

2017 Truckee River Flooding

Helpful Truckee River Links

Flood statusNational Weather Service’s website where they make predictions.

City of Reno = See what the city is tweeting about.

National Weather Service = Check NWS Twitter to learn about any warnings in the area, or to hear what’s happening on a national level.

Truckee River Ducks