We're OK :)
It's been really lovely to see, over the past month I've had several users email or message me checking that we're OK as they've noticed an absence from social media.
We're great! Just a little busy. I thought perhaps I could explain why we haven't been online much recently.
If you've been paying close attention, you might have noticed that recently we advertised for a couple of temporary staff. We've been struggling to keep up with demand for the Deluge most of this year - many new users would have noticed this, had you purchased one in the past six months there may have been a note on the site asking you to expect a few days delay before shipping - we've been playing catchup for most of the year, including being in 'lockdown’ and unable to manufacture for a some of that time.
There are now nine of us working fulltime for Synthstrom Audible, this is almost double just 18 months ago, let alone when it was just Rohan and I in the beginning.
Around a year ago, so he could focus on software dev, Rohan handed over day-to-day administration and management to me – this was the biggest change our company had made to date and meant that rather than me simply spending my days surfing the net sharing posts and hanging out with you all, I now had to do some serious work and manage a growing team.
We don't really envision getting much bigger and we're really happy with this size team, so, haha, I've actually been refraining from sharing much stuff online as a way to slow down sales. I know, this seems ridiculous to slow down sales, but we prefer our staff to be chill and happy and our production manager to not be stressed, so when sales get too high, I pull back on any sort of online promotion of the brand so they can catch up. Too popular. First world probs.
Another reason why personally I've been online less is looking after my mental health. Not just getting offline more in general, but it got to the point where I couldn't post anywhere on any platform without someone taking the opportunity to pester or grumble about our next update and it was getting to me. It does bum us out how long this update has taken and we accept it’s been far too long - I really Behringered those tease's and should have considered Rohan a bit more when he said it was too early to share those.
I've been holding off on lots of community stuff, including the community newsletter as I wanted to wait until there was substantive progress on that, ie: in beta. It sucks that I'm currently anxious about being in our own public spaces, but people tend to be politer when emailing me than when commenting indiscriminately and anonymously online.
We're all flat out here including Rohan who has actually been working on the next software update at the same time as the one you're all waiting on. We will not be teasing anything from that, not until its ready to go. Don't worry, THAT following update won't be a year after the next, we expect more like 3-6 months following the upcoming update - much of the work is already done.
Unsure what to do with these forums. I spent a bit of time building a new forum using Discourse but struggled with porting all the existing conversations here, and these forums have become a great resource. I didn't want to just have this become some weird archive, and I guess in all honesty, haha, I've just been hoping that an answer would fall from the sky...that FB would die or some amazing new platform which combined the immediacy and fun of Facebook with the permanence and rigidity of classic forum structure would just exist. I also didn't want to step on anyones toes. I love that others have started communities on other platforms, and why would I create a separate Dischord channel or Reddit etc, when those are going just fine? If we invested a bunch of time in a platform here, it would only really succeed at the expense of other platforms, and I don't mind the community being spread out.
These forums are primarily for us a way of offering a help service and for people to come when seeking answers, we know they kinda suck as far as discussion goes...but there are so many other places people can also go for that. I know everybody thinks they have the answer for this: ”use ___ because this particular forum I use uses that and it works well!". Unfortunately, we are in a unique place, we have a really fragmented community on many platforms – I guess we wanted to try consolidate that and have it in one place, but I've come to learn that people want what they want and want to be on the platform they enjoy the most. I for one enjoy Instagram probably the most, even though it sucks for discussion, but it rules for sharing and discovering Deluge content – and that’s what I love most. We can't provide a platform that is Insta meets FB meets Discord meets Reddit and I don't know if I'd want to.
One idea is to really streamline these forums and just focus 100% on what they do best:
- Deluge Help
- Sharing of presets/samples, tips & tricks
- Third Party content
- Beta testing
- General discussion/news. (it doesn't do this so well, but would seem odd to remove)
And we actually make more of an effort to point people to other platforms to spend time on. We currently point people to these other places as soon as they make a purchase (https://synthstrom.com/links/), but we could give those spaces an even greater presence on our own site. I'm not precious about being in control of where people chat, we just want the best experience, and I'm OK with that being on another platform.
A note on Synthstrom TV
I loved doing the TV station but it took a serious toll on me, all those early mornings and late nights trying to be live in times most convenient to those around the world along with the stress of keeping the stream running. Without dedicated servers it’s a real challenge and I would have constant dropouts. The final straw for me came when I was taking a short holiday for a few days and the stream broke almost immediately as I set off, but I couldn't fix till got home, but rather than just be chill and enjoy my break, I agonised over it the whole time, haha, you know, that stupid anxiety when you know it's silly to be concerned but you can't stop thinking about it. Anyway, I got home and decided to not kick it back on and instead take a pause.
I love doing it though...as some may have saw me mention a little while ago, I do plan to bring back Synthstrom TV in December, as I do miss hanging with ya'll in that environment, but yeah, haha, maybe it will be offline lots because I'm trying not to get hung up about that. I've been collating a whole bunch of cool videos to have on the playlist when it relaunches and just plan to programme timings that suit me a little more
Sorry I'm not online much at the moment. Don't worry we're hard at work and not going anywhere. Maybe these forums need a gigantic overhaul (and that doesn't just mean using a new platform). What do you think?