Deciding my next steps with content creation

A candid reflection

Hello from London!

This week I reflected on my next steps with making content (see below) and shared the fifth video in the “ML for healthcare” series on Deep Learning (link at bottom). My favourite links from the week are also after the reflection.

Have a great one,

Chris


👟Deciding my next steps with content creation

The purpose of this week’s newsletter is to figure out what direction I want to go in next in the area of ‘content creation’ with my blog, youtube channel and other creative endeavours.

I’m going to be very candid about my thoughts and feelings, and share specific metrics, in case anybody on this mailing list finds themselves in a similar position, now or in the future.

🌇 The situation

My channel has been growing slowly and incrementally for the past few months. In the last month, it has averaged around 8/9 new subscribers a day and currently sits at just over 600. (Although ‘subscribers’ as a metric of value is limited, I do believe it is a somewhat reasonable proxy of the ‘value’ of the content.)

For the ‘stage’ I see myself at, this is pretty reasonable. I should hit 1,000 within a couple months, and that’s a lot of people. But if I look at the numbers of videos that I’ve made (coming up to my 50th video), and compare myself to others, this is on the low side. I see a lot of channels with many more subscribers after far fewer videos.

📈 Reflecting on reasons for slow growth

I put this down to:

1. A pretty low starting point technically.

I think production value is really important for making videos or podcasts. When I started, I didn’t know the first thing about cameras, microphones, video editing software, etc. There was a lot to learn. My first video had pretty terrible production quality and it wasn’t until around 20 videos in that I would say I started reaching a reasonable production standard.

2. No clear focus or theme.

Until now, I’ve largely taken the approach of just making videos about whatever was on my mind. Without really bearing in mind the potential audience. I didn’t think too much about whether one video would appeal to a similar audience as the previous. My focus was on skill development – playing around with different camera techniques, video styles, etc - rather than creating a coherently-themed output.

Without a focus, it’s hard to build momentum. People have different interests and they want to know what they’re going to get. In hindsight, it would have been useful to know what I wanted to focus on. But I wasn’t sure what that would be and didn’t want to wait until I knew. I decided it was better just to get started, then start focussing on what I wanted to say once I had the technical ability and know-how.

3. Not naturally being the most engaging speaker.

My default mode on camera seems to be pretty serious and ‘straight’. This is loosening up with time, but I don’t think my personality really comes through in my videos yet. This makes for less engaging videos. With videos, you can make information exchange much more engaging and enjoyable. It’s not just about sharing facts. I’m still figuring out how best to do this.

Thoughts on future directions

Firstly, what is the approach I can take to resolve these three points?

1️⃣ For point 1, I think practice is key. This is why I just kept on making videos, and I feel my production value has improved dramatically. This is the video I’m most proud of to-date in that regard.

2️⃣ For point 2, I should hone in a central theme or ‘mission’. This is one of the most repeated pieces of advice in ‘how to do YouTube’-type content. On reflection, the area that most aligns with my interests and what I want to do in the future career-wise, and that I think could add most value in a YouTube / blog setting, would be to:

Work on different projects (data science, coding and healthcare)

Share my findings, learnings and experiences.

I think the aim of making public projects can work as a useful incentive for me to push myself, and I’m also hoping to show other people from non-technical (and particularly healthcare) backgrounds that it’s possible to make useful tools.

3️⃣ For point 3, like point 1, I think this will improve over time and with practice. I can’t really think of any concrete steps, other than to generically “try and be myself” more on camera. I think it will come with time.

🛑 When to stop?

As a final reflection, I think it’s always worth asking myself at what point I should exert more efforts elsewhere. At the start of the year, I decided to share one video a week for the full year. That’s been low enough to not consume huge amounts of time, but the time commitment required is still non-trivial.

I always find this slightly tricky to assess. With these kinds of pursuits, it’s never clear whether things haven’t ‘taken off’ yet because you haven’t invested enough time and effort, or because it’s not the right thing for you to be doing.

To be honest, I’m not too concerned about slow growth as long as I feel there is value in what I’m making. I didn’t feel this much with my earlier videos, but have felt this more recent ones.

I’ll also continue while it’s fun and exciting. I think making and sharing projects could be, so let’s see.

If I feel that documenting my projects becomes a hinderance, then I’ll consider stepping back.

In summary,

I’m not too concerned about slow and incremental growth so far. I’m pretty proud of some of the educational content I’ve made and believe it could be really helpful for the right people. I’m going to start focussing more concretely now on making projects, learning from them personally and sharing them with others - particularly in the areas of data science, coding and healthcare. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, consider subscribing here.


This week’s links:

(1) Webinar on Natural Language Processing (a video)

This week, deeplearning.ai launched their NLP Coursera course. This builds on their previous Machine Learning, Deep Learning and AI for Medicine courses. This was the launch video and included a panel discussion with Andrew Ng and several others. I thought it was a great update on the state of NLP and some interesting perspectives/

(2) How to understand things by Nabeel Qureshi (a blog)

I stumbled across this blog and absolutely loved it. It emphasises the value of going deeply into a problem to really understand it, rather than just accepting the first answer you come across. This is something I feel I am increasingly falling towards in our digital age. With so much information on so many different subjects, it’s easy to just accept the first good argument you come across. I think there’s so much value in picking a few areas to really understand and thinking deeply about them instead (and accepting ignorance of the remaining 99.9% of all things).

(3) Tyler Cowen: Production Function (David Perell’s podcast)

I’ve seen Tyler Cowen’s name pop up all over the internet recently, but this was my first proper exposure. He’s writes at popular blog at Marginal Revolution. I enjoyed hearing about his perspective on economics and writing.


This week’s video:

This week I shared the fifth video in my Machine Learning for Healthcare series.

This video goes into the two main types of deep learning algorithm; convolutional and recurrent neural networks, how they work and how they're being used in healthcare.


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About Me

Hi! I’m Chris Lovejoy, a Junior Doctor and Data Scientist based in London.

I’m on a mission to improve healthcare through technology (particularly AI / machine learning), but along the way I want to share learnings that are relevant no matter your career choice or background.

In this weekly newsletter, I share my top thoughts and learnings from each week, as well as links to the best things on the internet that I come across.