Karaf Out Now!

Karaf, my latest album, is out now!

Check it out on Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, or YouTube (coming soon).

You can also stream it right here (using Soundcloud):

If you are interested in knowing the story behind the album click here.

You can read the lyrics here, or on each individual song on Soundcloud.

Please let me know what you think about the album 😎

Thanks a lot to everyone who helped with the production, mixing and reviews of the album, as well as the_vicken for the album art. I really appreciate your support!

And feel free to follow me (below) if you enjoyed the album 🙂

Karaf: The Making

Making an album is always a weird, convoluted process.

For some people it might be a week at a studio recording previously rehearsed material, for others it might be sitting in front of a computer computer every night for weeks with a midi keyboard and a bunch of VST, but for this album the process was very different to how I usually work.

It started off as a demo I made back in 2005 using Mod Plug Tracker. I made 5 tracks, all using samples, from pianos to basic kicks and snares, and a few choirs and synths interspersed.

I forgot about it for 3 years, then in 2008 I made a feeble attempt at mastering the tracks to put them on Spotify. I say feeble as I didn’t have much knowledge of audio engineering and production back then.

Then in 2018 I got to work re-releasing all my previous material on Spotify, iTunes, etc. I briefly re-visited and remastered a bunch of albums, but when I got to this one from 2005 (titled 22″ Speed Rail), I listened to it a couple of times and realised it had potential.

It sounded like nothing on the scene at this time. And it brought me back to when I wrote that music; I was a big fan of Linkin Park, RHCP, Limp Bizkit, POD, Papa Roach, Korn, and others at the time, and when I initially laid down those tracks I wanted to make something vaguely electronic, but with strong guitar riffs.

Now, my main tool was Mod Plug Tracker, I had no microphones, and I didn’t have much knowledge of recording guitars; so the end result was something akin to a backing track.

I then exported all the original tracks from each .it file and imported each one into new Ableton Live projects. I spent a couple of hours working on the first one: All the Other Times. I added guitar riffs, added quantization for the backing tracks, added VSTis to widen the sounds, added compression and limiters, and started layering new drum tracks and bass riffs.

I started really enjoying what it was turning into.

And this small project which was intended to be a “re-release of a 13 year old album with some heavier riffs, like I wanted to record it back then” quickly turned into “hey, I can make an album out of this”.

So I went digging through other albums for discarded songs, and video sketches I had made years before, and found a few that sounded similar to the style I was trying to craft into the album.

The base (22″ Speed Rail) was laid down in Mexico in 2005, some of the other sketches were from 2008-2012) recorded in Scotland, and the rest was from 2017.

I decided to make the theme of the album about relocation, about changing over time, the mind, addiction, pain, and recovery. More importantly, it was about friends, and moving on. And most of the lyrics would revolve around these themes.

I grouped all of these tracks and recorded a few drafts for new songs, and worked on them every day for the following 3-4 months.

It was an arduous process, it always is. I went through the usual roller-coaster of “this is crap, I’m throwing it all away”, to “this is the best thing I have ever made”.

Subtle changes to the mix can change everything during the recording process.

At some point in time I had songs with rap lyrics, distorted guitars, funky electronic bass lines, clean pianos. It was a bit chaotic.

So I set out to do something I had not done before: Ask for feedback.

Usually by this stage I just kinda wrap-up, do a half-arsed attempt at mastering, and release it, knowing it’s not what I wanted to do, but it was “good enough, I guess”.

But this time I wanted to make something I was proud of, something I can release and not be afraid to share it with friends or family. Something I can listen back to in a few years and say “Woah”.

So I released a rough alpha version and asked a few friends and colleagues to do an “MR Review”. In the programming world, an MR or PR review is when you write code and make a “pull request” which is a request to merge in your changes to the main code base. Then your peers can review your code and request changes, give props, and make comments.

In a similar way I didn’t just want a music review, I wanted a detailed overview of NTHs (nice-to-haves), PPs (personal preferences), REQs (required changes), and Qs (questions).

I got my feedback after a few days, then took a couple of weeks to make those changes. I then released a beta version and sent it to one more friend who hadn’t listened to the alpha (a musician I greatly respect). He only had 3-4 comments to make which was a blast for me to listen to, I was expecting another massive list of changes.

So I made those changes and decided it was time to chill out for a few weeks and come up with a release plan. As I said earlier, it would have been way too easy to be all excited and just click that publish button. But I wanted to do things properly, whether people listen to it or not, I wanted to make a few interesting ads, release a single, record a video, contact people in the industry, etc.

And this is what led to the release of the album.

It’s always a journey but you don’t start out thinking “I’m going to make an album”, sometimes the start is just a song, or an idea, or an old album that you thought you could improve.

Click here to check it out 🙂

Thanks to everyone that helped out, as well as those who sent me comments, it inspires me to keep going and record new material.

Until next time!

Meme Killer

It took me a couple of hours to finish this song, but over 3 months to finish the video. That said, I’m proud of the result. You can check out the EP on SpotifyApple Music, or Soundcloud

I’ll follow up with juicy details about the making of this video soon 🙂

New Centralia (a short story)


Gone, is the vibrant community
Beautiful neighbourhood
Scattered bricks, crumpled roads.
Bent pipes releasing toxic gases
are left to inhabit this land today.

One wonders how it all began
when and how it will all end,
and what became of the people
Who lived in the town that was.

– Diana M. Helm



The weather was cloudy, almost threatening to rain. More and more cars arrived at the parking area. A small crowd started to assemble around the stage.

You could feel the commotion that Sunday afternoon in late July, 2062. The majority of the crowd was ecstatic, except for a few with mixed feelings. Some people seriously doubted the ideas that paved the path towards this event, others felt resentment as this had been their land, their town, but most attendees believed fervently in the ideal of a modern centralised society.

Less waste, less consumption, more space, more humanity.

By 2020 the last residents of the original Centralia either passed away or moved to adjacent towns. The town was flattened shortly after. The children and grandchildren of the last Centralians all stood together that day, most of them silent, as they knew the story all too well.

The fire that burned endlessly in the mine underneath the borough since 1962 had finally stopped; the land stood still for a couple of decades, and slowly began to be used for agriculture.

After over a hundred years of toying around with the concept and creation of centralised towns, the great minds finally nailed it. In order for everyone to be happy, they should not have to go to the city centre; they should be able to do everything from home, whilst requiring the least amount of appliances, and consuming the least amount of energy.

After the great oil crisis, we finally cracked down on wasting resources. Coal and oil were banned completely due to the irreversible effects on the environment that only became more notable year after year, thus solar became the primary source of energy. The population also increased dramatically due to medical advances, which led to strain on the electrical grid.

The only way to truly reduce emissions and energy expenditure was to remove the majority of household appliances, automobiles, and the last polluting industries. Controlling energy waste became the top priority in the late 30s.

During the following decades, ideas about centralised societies became more prevalent, leading to small experiments, but the technology wasn’t there yet.

Many towns and small cities started adopting limited centralised infrastructure, with the goal of implementing similar systems in larger cities.

First, waste management was centralised. Tubes ran from kitchens to underground facilities, they would suck out the household rubbish, recycle what was possible, and compact + deposit the rest in a rubbish facility twice the size of the town. It was fully automated with classifiers, sorters, recycling facilities, compacters, and incinerators.

It was the brainchild of Dr. Alexandra Rae Jr., and it was beautiful. It completely eliminated the need for garbage collectors, waste management specialists, and smelly bins outside houses.

Her idea had been received with great aplomb. Counties and cities all over the country began implementing it during the 40s. She began patenting multiple ideas to improve basic services for pre-existing towns without requiring substantial expense. However, she couldn’t realise her vision of a utopian city as she was found dead in her villa in 2048.

Till this day no one has been found guilty. The community suspected involvement from Mr. Patrick Hester, a local inventor who had terrible luck for most of his life. He had been promoting a variation of Dr. Rae’s ideas for just over 12 years with very little success while Dr. Rae was still alive.

Patrick Hester and his associates then came up with a series of ideas to centralise all basic services, thus giving birth to the concept of a truly centralised town. One of the most interesting aspects of this system was the washing and drying mechanism.

Clothes nowadays come with RFID tags, so it was a natural extension of the idea to build centralised washing facilities. Every day people would drop their clothes into tubes, and they would be sucked all the way to the washing station which was located underground. The size of the washing drums were massive, spanning the size of a house. Each facility would have 5-10 of these.

Experts found that having a single large washing machine would provide slightly better energy and water use than having hundreds of smaller machines.

Afterwards, clothes would be sorted by RFID tag and sent back up the tubes powered by fast & explosive bursts of air to the correct owners.

Every now and then there would probably be a mistake, and people would receive the wrong clothes. But it would be easily corrected by sending them back down again and waiting for a few minutes.

On paper everything sounded beautiful. The computer models displayed a 75% energy use reduction with this new type of system. The system was finished and tested merely weeks before the town’s re-inauguration day.

Patrick gave the opening words at the ceremony:

“Welcome everybody, to the official inauguration of New Centralia. Not only does this day represent a shift forward for humanity, but also a rekindled passion for this city. Many of the people from the original Centralia are here today, after having moved to nearby towns. However, in their hearts some of you always wished to return to your home town. We chose Centralia to make this vision a reality not only because of it’s name, but because of it’s location, now that the seas have risen and started narrowing our shorelines, we need to learn to build efficient cities further inland. Additionally, the caverns left by the great fires have given us ample space to build infrastructure and facilities. But more importantly, we chose this place due to the passion of the people here, with admiration for those who clung on to their town regardless of the smoke columns and health effects. We hope to at least be able to serve you as best as possible, given that the government did not act in time during the start of the fire, so this is our way of paying back for our mistakes.”

Some people cheered, some barely reacted. The crowd was rather large by this time. Among the visitors stood Jeremy Nixon, governor of Pennsylvania. Jeremy proceeded to cut a ribbon symbolising the importance of this day, as Patrick waved to the crowd.

Behind the podium you could see the structure and layout of the city, which looked so different from the grid system implemented in most cities in the USA.

You were in Cumbernauld some time ago. You went there to study the failed designs of the 20th century. You thought you could do so much better, but don’t you remember the problems plaguing Cumbernauld’s infrastructure and layout? How will this overcome them? Are you basing this on the ideas expressed in the old movie Zeitgeist? Or on the first ring of the city of Palmanova in Italy?

You blatantly ripped off her ideas, whilst increasing the complexity of her design. The more parts in a system, the more likely failure becomes.

You turned ever so slightly towards Governor Nixon; you observed a few drops of sweat trickling down his face, and the stains on his white shirt. You are visibly uncomfortable as well, will it work as expected? You rushed the implementation due to lack of proper estimates, and now everything was up in the air: Either it would become a success story, where the model could be applied to other cities across the country, or it would become a total failure, your ruin.

You looked once again towards the town, where hundreds of homes had already been built. The government was subsidising part of the cost, hence there was a long line of potential new home owners lining up at the booths. Contracts were signed, home owners smiled, bankers smirked, and you sat down to enjoy the celebration.

Over the following weeks people moved into their new homes, trying out the new systems.

Homes were spacious, there was so much room now that all appliances were unnecessary. No washing machines, no driers, no boilers, no fridges, no dishwashers, no cookers, no heaters, just white walls and couches. Now that AR was ubiquitous, screens were obsolete, as well as decorations. Everything customisable, virtual, perfect.

One inconvenience of this system was a hum that was heard throughout the day, a rumbling underground. It reminded some people of the fire in the coal mines. But it was the washing machines, the heaters, the giant dishwashers, and the items and liquids going up and down the tubes.

Apart from a few minor glitches, everything seemed to be functioning correctly. People mostly worked remotely from either their homes, or the spacious office spaces scattered throughout the city.

Those who didn’t work remotely found work at the pristine supermarkets, one of the jobs that was not completely replaced by Amazon despite their attempts in the late 2010s. Even though food and supplies could be received from the comfort of your home, for those who wished to socialise there were be large green parks with small restaurants and shops nearby.

Quite a few people also worked in the city centre, supervising, tending to, and maintaining the machinery underground. Although most departments were automated (including maintenance and part swapping), there was still a need in some departments.

By this time I had been in the city for a couple of weeks, observing and documenting everything, with the aim of publishing an article in a major newspaper. It would disclose how the changes affect families and society, routines, the environment, and if people were really happy.

Three things amazed me the most:

  1. The people were rather friendly. I believe this was caused by the layout changes, ample spaces, parks, and a great small-city vibe.
  2. Every few blocks you’d find monitors with dashboards displaying the current status and capacity of all services. Everything from sewage management to the status of the washing machines. There was also a counter of errors, for example, wrong meals that had been prepared, or mistakes delivering the right clothes. Your idea was to maintain this number as low as possible, so you organised, along with the government, a campaign to let every resident know that it is our duty to help maintain this number low.
  3. RGB street lights also served as a notification system for issues, not only with the infrastructure, but also with the weather (incoming storms or hurricanes) as well as nation-wide alerts such as terrorist attacks.

News had started spreading of the city’s success, and quite a few people from nearby towns and cities, such as Mt. Carmel, Ashland, and Girardville started moving to the city.

Curiously enough, these are the locations that many residents of the old Centralia flocked to during the decades-long fire.

As I strolled through the city taking notes, I noticed over the last couple of days a foul smell had been building up towards the south-western quarter. It was localised to that area but I couldn’t determine the source. I started to spend a significant portion of my daily routine strolling around there.

First I mapped an outline of the affected region, then I shaded each street based on the intensity. It wasn’t very strong, not enough to bother people, but I was still curious. It wasn’t an easy task to denote the intensity as it seemed to be intermittent. I reported about this to a couple of newspapers, but it was played down and went unpublished.

A week had passed since I started my investigation, I had narrowed the source down to a series of pipes with breathing holes which came from underground. The main purpose of these was to act as escape valves from pressure build-up in the clothes washing department.

However, the smell should be pleasant, not grotesque. It smelled chemical.

Some residents had started reporting an odd smell on their clothes. I knew I had to get to the bottom of the issue, this would make a great article on the dangers of moving too fast with a vast amount of city-wide changes at the same time. More importantly, it might inspire new cities to take more care when planning infrastructure layout underground.

I needed to go down.

Tonight, I concluded. Tonight.

* * *

Given that I was not a resident, nor did I have staff clearance for maintenance or operations, I would have to sneak in.

I stepped out of my rental flat at around 1 AM, and made my way walking towards the area.

I found a small hut with a metallic green door next to a set of tubes I had been walking nearby the previous days. I had a quick look around, it was past 2 AM. I couldn’t see anyone, but this looked like a plausible entrance. I yanked the door handle downwards. It didn’t budge. I put more of my weight on it, it didn’t feel that sturdy. Finally I slammed into it once more with all my weight. It broke, and I made my way in.

I felt ashamed about damaging city property, but I hadn’t come up with a good news story in months, and I was desperate to find something newsworthy.

I made my way down through the service ladders, it was pitch black. I made a couple of gestures which my AR kit picked up, it outlined every surface, eliminating the need for a torch, or god forbid, one of those old smartphone “flashlights”.

As I reached the bottom the smell increased slightly.

The washing and drying machines had stopped as they only operated during daytime.

I walked around the machines, which took some time due to the size and amount of them. There were at least 15, a sight to behold. The source of the smell didn’t seem to be in this room however.

I noticed towards the back of the hall there were a couple of doors. One of them was marked with a stairway symbol. I opened that door and the lights came on.

The stairway led both upwards and downwards, given that the smell was slightly more pungent down here, I assumed the source must be coming from below. I walked down a couple of stories and reached the next department: Recycling #1. This one seemed to be dedicated entirely to paper recycling. Huge vats towered over me.

The story was the same as with the previous department, the smell was slightly worse, but still not nauseating.

I decided to carry on going down until the smell grew worse.

I must have walked the equivalent of 10 stories when I started to feel ill. It had to be close. I should have brought a respirator.

I opened the door to the department on this floor. It was the waste treatment department. I had trouble opening the door as there seemed to be a pressure buildup. I finally managed to pry it open, and walked in covering my nose. It was dreadful.

I instantly noticed that the lids of two containers were bent, exposing different kinds of waste. This specific container seemed to contain chemical residues from other departments. There was a very powerful smell of gas as well. I’d have to notify the authorities.

I walked around the container, and accidentally nudged a lever with my foot. Machines spun into motion, liquids started moving from vat to vat. The swishing and swooshing made the smell even worse. I pulled the lever back as fast as I could.

Oddly, the room felt unusually warm as well.

I jogged back to the stairway. After struggling with the door once again, I managed to get out. I noticed the stairs actually continued downwards.

I looked at my watch. It was 4:30 AM and the departments were due to start their shifts in a couple of hours.

I decided to take a quick peek downstairs anyway.

I walked down a few more flights of stairs; it was starting to get cramped and less-well maintained. The stairs abruptly ended giving way to underground caverns. The fire had consumed so much during those decades, it was astonishing. The cave was huge. Clearly they had used as much space as needed for the departments to run the city that they had no use for this space.

I noticed it was really warm. Could this be the remnants of the fire? How could it remain so warm after so many years?

I walked for a few hundred meters, it branched out into a couple of paths, it looked like no one had been here.

It grew even warmer as I carried on, I was starting to sweat profusely.

I noticed a faint glow and followed it through a narrow gap.

Jesus Christ.

It was still burning.

This was the news I had been looking for.

I took a few photos using my AR headset, but I’d have to come down again with better equipment.

The coal burned bright, stacks upon stacks, the whole wall glowed intensely, there were a few areas where higher flames broke out.

I couldn’t notify the authorities yet, I had to break this news.

I thought I’d come down again the following evening, and then notify the government the following morning.

I walked back to the stairwell, and walked a few flights up to the water department. I had 30 minutes to get out of there. I took the lift all the way up to the clothes washing department, climbed the service ladders, and slid out through the same green door.

I stepped outside the building and walked around the corner.

I turned back, no one seemed to have noticed.

The sun was starting to come up, illuminating the crystal-clear tubes running through the city.

Beautiful, breathtaking, dangerous.

I was about to walk home when I noticed an odd smell… the earth started to tremble.

I walked to the middle of the road, the streets were mostly empty. The earth shook more, the smell increased, the tubes at the corner of the street grew cloudy. I tried to perform a few gestures so my AR kit would phone the emergency services, but just at that moment I heard a large rip, followed by a series of sounds I can only describe as deafening, shattering, clattering, thunderish. Did I do this? What is going on?

Then the floor burst open, probably a hundred meters away from me. Out came the drum of one of the washing machines at tremendous speed, followed by a plume of smoke and fire. Several more popped out in different places.

It probably flew 50 meters into the air before descending, I tried to get up and run, I screamed my lungs out, the ground was still trembling, I couldn’t get up.

One wonders how it all began
when and how it will all end.

Note from the editor:

I would rewrite it from the start entirely in first person:

I’m Patrick. I might be only a meter tall, but that is, after all, the new standard from Genetic Control. You old people would have used up all the space for living by now, if people had been allowed to continue growing to any size they could. You HAVE seen the statistics, right?

What are you doing, are you recording this? Stop doing that, you’ll get us both sanctioned! And don’t use my name either. If you want me to tell you what happened on my shift the other day, I need to stay anonymous. Right?

Note from the author:

Sounds good, maybe in version 2… considering it took me 3 years to go from draft to publishing this. Talk about writers block.

Dear YouTube

Dear YouTube,

You have done so much to enable creators to make and share exciting videos, whether that be mini series, cooking shows, films, music videos, news, podcasts, top 10s, documentaries, you name it.

Many communities have spawned around channels and topics, with comment sections ranging from support, to fully-blown drama. And whilst there is quite a lot of trolling, the positive and supportive comments far outweigh the negativity.

However, many of us viewers are frustrated. Those of us who spend hours watching content (and ads) have been receiving videos with worse content during the past year, more clickbait, less meat, more in-video ads, and fillers due to the 10 minute mark for mid-roll ads.

Additionally, too many creators are making videos complaining about YouTube’s policies and demonetisation, even on channels that didn’t use to post regularly about that (e.g. PewDiePie, h3h3Casey Neistat, Philip DeFranco, MrBeast, Jörg Sprave, and a myriad of other creators). A quick search for “demonetized” on YouTube returns around 369,000 videos. That’s a lot of angry creators.

This means that these YouTubers are derailing from creating the content they are known and loved for, and instead they resort to making videos talking about the platform’s problems that are directly affecting them, and in turn this means we, as viewers, receive less of the content we actually want to watch.

The way we see it is that there are three groups of problems currently plaguing the platform: monetisation, content rules/flagging, and UX issues.

1. Problems regarding monetisation:

After demonetisation was introduced over a year ago, a lot of creators were concerned, and after the first few high-profile cases started coming in, users and news outlets started calling it the “Adpocalypse“.

One solution that is increasingly being used by creators is to use Patreon, and in some cases that works really well, for example: musicians, artists, writers, cartoonists, animators, etc. But it is still an extra action (and account) a viewer has to make on a 3rd party website, which means a lot of potential contributors will be alienated. This would be solved with channel-based subscriptions similar to Twitch. We know you are experimenting with (and currently rolling out) a paid subscription system for channels, which is a good solution on paper, but in our opinion this is not the best solution.

An option to consider instead might be to establish a pot for monthly payouts. For example, a user might decide to contribute $5, $10, or $20 per month, with a similar model to Spotify or Netflix. The amount then gets divided at the end of the month between YouTubers with a percentage-per-creator calculated by an algorithm based on subscriptions, likes/dislikes, time viewed per channel, amongst other parameters.

In return, viewers are rewarded with fewer ads depending on how much they contribute per month. Google naturally takes a cut from these proceeds.

Furthermore, this can work without disrupting the business model of YouTube Red (now apparently called YouTube Premium). If we contribute $25 or more per month, why not offer the option to subscribe to YouTube Premium, but instead of keeping the $10, your revenue would depend on viewing habits, keeping $5-10 a month depending on the amount of time viewing regular YouTube, versus YouTubePremium exclusives.

2. Problems regarding content rules and bots:

One of the issues here has been communication in the past regarding changes. Recently Susan Wojcicki has stated you will be making changes in 2018 regarding how you communicate with creators. However, the wording seems to favour giving a “heads up” instead of proactively holding discussion of changes that will create major repercussions for creators.

However, that is only one part of the problem. One common complaint is that content decisions regarding monetisation, and the automatic “category / subcategory” the video falls under is not transparent enough. Some people even figured out how to enumerate the category IDs for sensitive content. Interestingly enough, that document also dives into the case of systematically suppressing demonetised videos from “suggested videos”. By making this information visible to creators, they will be able to make decisions that will influence the direction in which they wish to take their channel.

Rules also have to be made explicit, and reasons for flagging, or why videos were categorised in a certain way should be easily viewable in the Creator Studio, along with any additional information that could help the creator understand where he went wrong and how to improve / fix it. Timestamps of infringing content (the same as those applied to copyrighted content) are also a big plus.

Dude Perfect and PewDiePie’s subscribers have also mentioned a couple of instances where X-rated ads were shown on some of his videos, as their videos were placed in categories meant for mature audiences, whereas clearly their viewers have a wide age range.

3. UX and notification issues:

Videos we have viewed before (or almost finished watching and then switched to another video) constantly reappear in the suggestions. These should be excluded by the suggestions filter as few people would want to watch the same video twice (music videos being an exception). And please, do not rework the chronological subscription feed, fix it instead.

The bell / subscribe system is broken and has been mentioned by both viewers and creators. You have denied this vehemently in the past. However, recently a video on one of your own channels you mentioned the issue happened to you and mentioned this would be escalated. In this specific issue it might just have been an MQ (message queue) issue with sending out announcements (or your email service provider experienced downtime).

A mitigation strategy here would be to implement better monitoring of users that requested notifications VS users that received notifications and emails. Most push notification services, as well as email services provide receipts of reception, and also give statistics on the percentage of emails marked as spam. You should graph this (using DataDog for example) and make it visible on a monitor at all times in the HQ; this will allow you to see the actual problem, and formulate strategies to improve notifications.

As a UX bonus, if a creator uploads something new and a user is currently on YouTube, display a toast message mentioning “{CREATOR} just uploaded a new video titled {TITLE}”, you can do this easily with WebSockets or a service such as Pubnub or Pusher. The whole feature would probably only be 20-30 story points (excluding mobile).

What have been the consequences on the current policies and problems?

Jörg Sprave started The YouTubers Union movement recently, where he has 15K+ followers on his Facebook Group. He plans to take direct action such as strikes, and communicate constantly with you to try to convince you to make changes that will improve the lives of content creators.

PewDiePie has been talking about the issues for more than a year, to the point he changed his entire delivery style accordingly. Casey Neistat interviewed YouTube’s head of business (which was a great start, as mentioned in the comments of the video), however, much is left to be done.

As viewers, we don’t really want to meddle with the politics of what is happening at YouTube, nor with the frustrations of the creators. Instead, we want quality content. Many of us don’t watch Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime; instead, we rely on Youtube for our daily dose of entertainment. But something is really wrong when a lot of the content we watch includes long segments with complaints or rants about demonetisation, and the other issues mentioned in this article.

Our proposal:

We know the issue of figuring out a compromise between ads, paid subscriptions, and YouTube Premium is a complicated one, potentially involving everyone from your legal team, accounting, engineering, product, designers, and project manager.

An intermediary step may be: While you figure out subscriptions (and please make it easy to pay), then you should at least cover part of the salary of the creators that get millions of views, but are heavily demonetised, maybe based on the amount of views and likes per video.

Afterwards, we would like to offer a few strategies on how to develop and implement the changes. We’ve written these down in the following section.

We would also like to re-iterate the demands posted on Jörg Sprave’s union website, which we have split per section. These give a good idea on some of the major complaints the community of creators has:

  • Monetisation:
    • Monetise everyone: Bring back monetisation for smaller channels
    • Disable the (auto-flagging/demonetising) bots. Add a voting system aided by AI (see Valve’s VACnet)
    • Pay for the views
    • Stop demonetisation as a whole
    • Pay according to delivered value
  • Content / Rules:
    • Transparent content decisions
    • Equal treatment for all partners
    • Clarify the rules

You can read the extended version of the union’s demands on their website.

How can you implement this?

Set up three fireteams, one dedicated to the monetisation issues, each one dedicated to one of the topics mentioned above.

These teams should be nimble and be able to act with few constraints and red tape. I’d suggest the following structure:

  • Each team has 1 senior backend engineer, 1 medior frontend developer, 1 senior frontend developer, 1 QA engineer, and 1 team leader who is also experienced with the code base and can help with code reviews and basic project management. Some teams might require additional backend developers depending on the complexity of the issue.
  • Each team should start the project with a kick-off, determining all milestones from the start. One strategy might be to hold a 1-day meeting with several senior product managers, designers, backend engineers and infrastructure/devops, a compartmentalised list should be brought and each topic should be discussed, either accepted or rejected, and difficulty determined via planning poker.
  • 1 additional project manager who oversees all 3 teams, reports status directly to Susan, and attends daily stand-ups for all 3 teams.
  • 1-2 Infrastructure/devops engineers ensure that CI/CD are setup, test/production clusters are ready, and can immediately help with any needs (subdomains, socket.io, anything that needs to be deployed) during the whole part of the process.

This approach, with a positive attitude towards change, and a healthy dose of open-mindedness, may ultimately not only save YouTube whilst feeding content creators, but it may also establish a forward-thinking platform which could outlive us all.

The viewers.

PS. Big props to Dear Github for the inspiration for the style and wording of this post.

PPS. You have our permission to re-upload and modify this post as you see fit.

This post has been reposted on Github where you can make amends via a PR.


Hello, it’s been a while, I know.

Finally got around to publishing something new 🙂

The EP is a short one (2 songs), based on Synthwave/Outrun. I composed it on the way to Iași in Romania (and on the way back). I’m currently working on a video for the first song.

Trivia: What are the names of the songs encoded or cyphered in?

Listen to the EP on any of these services:

Or listen to it on Soundcloud right below.

Hope you enjoy it!