Welcome to Geek Peek’s Newsletter

Let’s talk about how we got here, to this moment.

Welcome to Geek Peek’s Newsletter
Photo by Belinda Fewings / Unsplash

Hi there, fellow nerd! I'm so excited you're here! 😄

If you don't know who I am, let me introduce myself: My name is Oren, and I'm a nerd content creator and Software Engineer. I started the podcast, Geek Peek. You came here from the YouTube channel, or you're one of the many people who stumble upon this blog from Google since Geek is such a popular word nowadays! Regardless, I'm happy you're here and excited to tell you about us.

In today's issue, to celebrate the beginning of the newsletter, I want to tell you about how we got here to this moment, where my YouTube channel has crossed 10k subscribers from around the world and has a shop and blog.

Perhaps, by the end of this issue, we'll also talk about the future of this podcast.

Let's dive in!

It All Began Back in 2011

2011 was the year I realized my love of writing by opening my first Gaming News Website. I called it Alive2Play. Yeah, I was big about video games back then. But even with video games, I was a creator. I remember creating a campaign for StarCraft: Brood War. It was a lot of fun.

So, Alive2Play was an outlet for me to write about the things I loved. At some point, I recruited ten writers who wrote for the site voluntarily, but we never made any money.

It was the early days, and I didn't know how to set up a business or advertise on my site. In about 2014, when I started my Software Engineering degree, I put the final nail in Alive2Play's coffin. Most of the crew had already left to do other, bigger things in their lives. And they also weren't getting paid. You can only do so much charity work without sustaining your own life. We were also young. Many of these people left to do degrees, just as I had in 2014.

In 2019, my writing journey changed forever.

Enter: Writing on Medium.com

In 2018, a friend sent me a Medium draft on Facebook to help him review an Article he was publishing. It was sleek and nice, but I never understood this was an open publishing platform. I thought he was inviting me specifically to collaborate on an article, like how you would ask someone to collaborate on a Google Doc. I missed that opportunity, and time passed until 2019.

In early 2019, I subscribed to CreativeLive and took a writing course by Jeff Goins. One of those lessons introduced me to a creator named Shaunta Grimes, whom I still follow today. I signed up for her newsletter and loved every issue she sent me.

One of those issues introduced me to a website called Medium. She said you could make money and build an audience there, which were two of my goals for building an online presence. I joined the site in February 2019 and started writing.

My first article did not get any views, but the second one opened my eyes to the possibilities of writing on Medium. I published a guide to software I was working with at the time, and a few hours after it was published, I got an email from Medium telling me it was "curated" to the software engineering topic. Since then, I've been curated dozens of times on multiple topics. But one curation changed the course of my writing and opened a door I didn't know existed.

Medium's Curation email for Dimension 20.

In July 2019, I wrote an article about Dimension 20, a show I've been watching and enjoying for a while. That story was curated for the TV topic on Medium, as portrayed in the image above. It was fantastic news to have a story of mine on Medium's homepage. Naturally, I tweeted about it and tagged Dimension 20.

A few days later, I received a DM from CollegeHumor's PR team asking if I wanted to interview Brennan Lee Mulligan, the Game Master of Dimension 20.

What? Me? Interview Brennan? My introverted brain immediately wanted to refuse the offer, but what came out was a resounding "Yes!"

That interview was conducted over the phone while visiting my brother in Austin, Texas, during my lunch break from work. It was exhilarating to ask Brennan questions about the show and his personal skills of worldbuilding and storytelling. A couple of days later, I published it, and it also got picked up by a major publication on Medium called Better Marketing.

This was a defining moment, besides opening my eyes to a new type of content I didn't know I liked. I still did not have a YouTube channel, and I wasn't very interested in Podcasting then, but I knew I could interview Brennan and other people and publish those interviews as blog posts.

Ironically, I have only published a handful of my interviews as blog posts. Still, I intend to invest time in this in the coming weeks.

I Gave Myself a YouTube Channel as a Gift

On September 6th, 2020, six months after being cooped up at home during the pandemic and one day before my 33rd birthday, I gave myself a YouTube channel as a birthday gift. I didn't know what I would publish on it. I knew I wanted to show my nerdy side, but I was also trying to make it a business and focus on content that could theoretically make money. It was a silly mistake.

For months, I did not get a lot of views. I had some here and there, but nothing substantial until Christmas of 2020, which I don't even celebrate.

In April 2020, right after the pandemic started, I talked to Brennan about A Crown of Candy. It was my first time meeting him on a video call. I was very excited to talk to him and had some questions prepared. I was still learning to interview, but all my questions were written down on those first interviews.

So, a day after starting my channel, I published another interview with Brennan about Pirates of Leviathan, conducted on Zoom.

That video got 5100 views since it was published back then. I did not know much about click-through rates and making a good thumbnail. This was the thumbnail for that video:

Thumbnail for Pirates of Leviathan interview.

It's a bit much, and there are so many colors that I understand why you wouldn't click on it if you saw it on your homepage.

But I was proud of the few subscribers it got me. I kept going, but my progress was very slow. But there was progress.

Combining My Writing With Geek Peek

While growing my YouTube channel, I kept writing on Medium and pivoted from writing about nerdy topics to trying to write about other subjects. But once in a while, I kept writing about nerdy things. All of these articles (or at least most of them) are now here on this blog.

For some reason, I did not want to associate this blog with my YouTube channel because I was confused about the channel's focus. Then, I made the serious decision to remove my name from the channel and turn it into Geek Peek.

But even then, I was still pretty resistant because I thought the BLOG might not be about nerdy things. Then, I started a nerd-only blog called Nerd Space Magazine. All of my "serious" posts are in my newsletter or on Medium itself, where I publish whatever I want.

And then it dawned on me—what are you doing? You have a nerdy YouTube channel and a nerdy blog. Combine them both under one umbrella!

And That's How We Got Here!

Now, we have this blog, newsletter, and YouTube channel.

I just recently finished Season II of the podcast and have some free time to go through backend work. And that work includes a few things:

  1. Transcribing my interviews and publishing them as blog posts.
  2. Cutting my interviews for shorts.
  3. Publishing more nerdy articles here.
  4. Making Season 3 and posting it when it's done!

I'm excited for what the future holds for us. The vision is clear now: post nerdy things here and on YouTube. Feel free to let me know what you want to see more of in the coming days and weeks by commenting below!