• 38:00

Episode number: 73

Listener Mail Bag


The results of the 2012 Listener Survey are in! Lea & Emily parse through feedback analyzed by Peter Howley of Empirical Path, provide insight to the responses and how we’ll be using it to move forward, and go through some interesting tidbits about the creation of the podcast itself!


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Episode Transcript

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Lea Alcantara: You are listening to the ExpressionEngine Podcast Episode #73, our listener mail bag. There we will answer your questions and talk about the results from our recent listener survey. I’m your host, Lea Alcantara, and I’m joined by my fab co-host, Emily Lewis. This episode is sponsored…


Lea Alcantara:  You are listening to the ExpressionEngine Podcast Episode #73, our listener mail bag.  There we will answer your questions and talk about the results from our recent listener survey.  I’m your host, Lea Alcantara, and I’m joined by my fab co-host, Emily Lewis.  This episode is sponsored by EE Coder, the EE experts who play well with others.  Do you sometimes wish you have a trusted partner for your projects?  EE Coder brings over 25,000 hours of EE experience to companies with needs like yours.  Let’s chat, contact EECoder.com.

Emily Lewis:  The ExpressionEngine Podcast would also like to thank Pixel & Tonic for being our major sponsor of the year.  Hey Lea, how are things with you?  [Music ends]

Lea Alcantara:  Good.  I can’t believe it’s already July though.

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]  I know.

Lea Alcantara:  Did you anything interesting for the 4th?

Emily Lewis:  I took it a little easy, but I mostly worked.  I’m getting ready to leave for my first vacation in years tomorrow, so I wanted to get everything done and out of the way to make sure I had like a true non-working holiday.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]  That sounds super exciting.  I heard you were going to Montreal, which is one of my favorite cities in the world. 

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  I’m sure you’ll have a great time.

Emily Lewis:  I hope so.  Oh, I’m spending on lots of food and booze and time with my sister, and oh, I’m even going to catch up with some EE devs who live in the area.  Anyways, though, enough talk about how awesome my vacation is going to be.

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  We’ve got a ton to talk about today.  This is actually our first listener mail bag where we are specifically answering listener questions that they sent in by email or posted on Twitter.  We’ve figured it would be a good time to also talk about a lot of the information we got from the survey.

Lea Alcantara:  But before we dive in, let’s talk about the survey itself.  So we had 173 respondents, which meant we had a lot of data, so rather than just us spending time to analyze the data but really not getting useful information we hired professionals.  It was Empirical Path which is a digital measurement firm that does audience research and web analytics.  If you want to find out more about them, you can visit their website, www.EmpiricalPath.com.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, my friend Peter Howley, he works in Empirical Path and put together some fantastic survey analysis for us, a sort of like a side project.  Web and digital marketing analytics are his bread and butter, but he also does analysis for surveys like ours, and after seeing what he put together for us and what sort of action steps we are able to take from the information, I think it’s totally worth it.

Lea Alcantara:  I totally agree.  I remember looking at the summary of results that he parsed based on the answers, and there would have been no way…

Emily Lewis:  No way.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  ... that you or I would have been able to make the conclusions that he did in such clear manner.

Emily Lewis:  Exactly, exactly.  We were serious when we went into the survey.  We weren’t just putting it out there just to get our ego stroked or promote the podcast.

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  We really did want people’s feedback and I figured we really got a sense of that feedback from this analysis so let’s talk about that feedback.

Lea Alcantara:  Sure.  Talking about the survey, we made sure that all questions were optional for really two reasons.  One, to make sure that people didn’t feel bogged down having to answer all the questions because we’d rather have some answers than no answers.

Emily Lewis:  Right.  I mean, it was a multi-page survey.  I think it was about 20 questions.  Is that right?

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.  We were just interested in any type of feedback as long as someone was willing to give feedback.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  So that was great.  But I don’t know if I would call it a consequence, but as a result of having our questions being optional, that affected some of the weighting of the answers which is sort of interesting. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]  Yeah, obviously, if a person didn’t respond to something, whether it was an open-ended question where we ask them to just fill in like a text area field versus skipping a checkbox or radio selection in there, but not factored into some of the percentages that we were able to do so.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  It makes this sort of thing mind-boggling in terms of people who do this for a living, that’s what it does to me, [laughs] who studies data and try and make really hardcore business decisions based upon it. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, absolutely, and I mean, there were so many things that Peter did that I didn’t even think about like the even distribution of IP addresses.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, I’m glad that he mentioned that.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  I met with him yesterday to sort of go over things in person, and it didn’t even occurred to me to think about validation of some kind.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  But Peter brought it up that he said that every single response with the exception of one who had a different IP address which can suggest to you that each survey response was from a single person.

Lea Alcantara:  That’s great.  So it really validates the responses that we get that it’s an actual listener as opposed to someone who just wanted a free tee shirt.

Emily Lewis:  Right.  So let’s talk about those listeners.  I thought one of the things that Peter did for us that was really interesting, and I’m sure I wouldn’t have considered it.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  But he sort of grouped our respondents into two groups:  one being heavy listeners, and one being lighter listeners.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  And he grouped these based upon those who had ranked several episodes versus those who did not.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  So that the people who ranked many episodes, we could presume that they are more heavy listeners, that they’ve heard more episodes they are able to rate each one versus the people who either didn’t rate episodes or only rated a few amongst all of them.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]  And I think that’s a fair assumption to make too.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  Because those that feel they have investment in the podcast would want to let us know what they thought of all the episodes they’ve listened to.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]  So when it comes to those two groups of listeners, one trend that we noticed is that the heavy listeners, they seemed to want topics that were more technical and more detailed, almost tutorial focused in nature.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  Whereas our lighter listeners seemed to appreciate the sort of more – I don’t feel like any of our topics are general but for lack of a way of describing it.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, yeah, sure.

Emily Lewis:  A little bit more higher level, not maybe as detailed or even some of the episodes that are a little bit business oriented like the Selling EE or the Remote Teamsere trying to figure those heavy listeners and what they rated and everything.  So we figured out what were the top rated episodes, and to quickly go through what they were, the number one top rated episode was Selling EE with Brad Parscale and Marcus Neto.

Emily Lewis:  It’s still one of my favorites.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, absolutely.

Emily Lewis:  It’s still one of my favorites.

Lea Alcantara:  But let…

Emily Lewis:  It made a big point for me as just participating in it and it inspired me.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, absolutely.  I totally agree.  It’s one of my favorite episodes, but what was interesting when you brought up the heavier listeners, they didn’t think that Episode 64 was the best.

Emily Lewis:  Right.

Lea Alcantara:  They were more inclined to give the number one spot to EE and Speed Optimization with Jacob Russell or our Time Saving Tips and Techniques episode.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, and I think that just reiterates the heavier listeners, they seemed to want some technical focus. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]  Absolutely, but the overall most popular episode still was Selling EE, so I think that while we will, of course, continue to talk about the technical ExpressionEngine topics ongoing, but there is value and interest in dealing with business-related topics for ExpressionEngine.

Emily Lewis:  Absolutely.  I think one of the things that you and I discovered that surprised us from the responses, and it might surprise our listeners too, we have a really niched podcast. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  We pretty much focus on something related to ExpressionEngine, but within that audience who listens to that topic, our base is really broad. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  It seems we have people who not only in terms of what they want to hear but what they do, which excuse perhaps what they’re most interested in. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  We have designers.  We have developers.  We have managers.  We have business owners, and they are all tuning into the same podcast.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  And each of which have a different level of expectation and interest. 

Lea Alcantara:  Sure.

Emily Lewis:  I totally regret not asking a question about job title in the survey.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  I’m thinking we should do that as a poll for the future, but my gut is telling me based on the responses that we have a lot of people to make, a lot of different types of people to make happy.

Lea Alcantara:  Sure, yeah.

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]  And that’s going to be a real challenge.

Lea Alcantara:  Sure, sure.  I think though that we are trying to strike a balance between the variety of episodes.  That’s why we have that variety of audience members too because there is something for everyone like managers ang business owners or just the developers, but like you mentioned, a lot of designers as well. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  It was interesting to me that we essentially have an equal like request or expectation for both beginner-related topic as well as expert topics, which are complete opposites. 

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Some really insisted on can we have more beginners on the show or speaking more about like really, really beginner level discussion all the way to the need to have a lot more expert, advanced discussion, detailed, get those developers in there, that kind of stuff.


Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]  So it’s going to be a difficult balance to strike.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  But as you and I have been talking, we are going to try and experiment with a slightly more organized editorial format maybe is the way to put it?

Lea Alcantara:  Sure, sure.

Emily Lewis:  So in response to people who are seeking more technical and more developer focus, we are going to aim to have at least two of every four episodes being either a developer guest or a developer-focused topic, whether it’s dealing with an add-on or different add-ons, or something that’s just a little less designery, a little less general.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, for sure.

Emily Lewis:  In addition to those developer-focused episodes, we also want to still provide those, not necessarily beginner level, but more general episodes, and so we’ve come up with these new idea for a series.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  And we are coming at getting to know the EECMS hashtag.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  Is that how it is with college?  Do you call it hash EECMS?

Lea Alcantara:  I don’t know.  I was thinking like getting to know hashtag EECMS.

Emily Lewis:  Right, cool.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  So one of the things, we mentioned that there are listeners who still want sort of general topics and finding out how people work, their workflows, their resources, and things like that.  But there is also a call, people just want to get to know other people.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, absolutely.

Emily Lewis:  It seemed like there were a lot of folks who know people’s names in the industry, especially from the people who actively participate on Twitter with that EECMS hashtag, and they just want to get know them.  So we are going to do sort of like just a strictly interview-based episode format, and we will bring one person on, someone who is very active on the EECMS hashtag stream and we are just going to throw some questions to them about the kind of projects they work on, the resources that they like, their favorite add-ons, and just sort of get to know them as a person.  There will be something to learn, but also just a little bit lighter in topic.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, absolutely.

Emily Lewis:  And we are going to aim to keep these particular episodes at 30 minutes.

Lea Alcantara:  Yes, absolutely.  When we were looking at the survey respondents, it was great to hear that most of our listeners didn’t really care how long the show was as long as it’s good.

Emily Lewis:  Right.

Lea Alcantara:  And that sort of how we’ve been running the show thus far.  We are like, “Well, if it’s going to be short or if it’s going to be long, it really depends on the guest and the topic at hand.”  But there were 30% of respondents that really wanted to have an ideal 30 minutes in length and that really …

Emily Lewis:  Right, and that’s not a small number.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, yeah, exactly, exactly.  So it’s something that we are definitely keeping in mind, and I think our new topic of getting to know hashtag EECMS is going to be a great vehicle.

Emily Lewis:  A good fit.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  For that 30-minute format.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah.  I think it’s important for listeners to know that, especially those folks who want a focused technical topic, tutorial style, a lot of that often lends itself to a longer format podcast.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  And we really don’t want to head in that direction in terms of length, for one thing. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, yeah.

Emily Lewis:  But it’s also just, in my opinion, audio podcast is not a format for tutorials necessarily.  Maybe inspiration to get you started, resources to get you started, but I think, at least, from my perspective, I feel like our podcast should be what I just described, inspiration, resources, and then if people want to take those ideas and write tutorials and write examples and put something on EE Insider that sort of ties in, that’s what I’m sort of looking for.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, and I think that’s already been happening.  For example, when we did the podcast with DRY Techniques with John Rogerson, right?

Emily Lewis:  Oh right.

Lea Alcantara:  And essentially after that, a lot of people got a lot more knowledge about Stash, even though we didn’t go into Stash like in super detailed form.  People that were interested in diving into DRY techniques or alternative ways to set up their templates for optimal speed and maintenance, then they took our podcast as an inspiration to do a lot more research.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  And I saw that there was an EE Insider article that was written by Adrienne. 

Emily Lewis:  Yeah.

Lea Alcantara:  But I don’t remember her last name.

Emily Lewis:  Travis.  It’s Travis.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, and then afterwards, there was this other article that actually linked to our podcast where he goes step by step explaining how he did his beginner approach to using Stash in his projects.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  So that’s how I see our podcast.  Otherwise, I think it would be hard to discuss code topics without actually having a video screen.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  And really turning it into a workshop.  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  And I don’t think that really fits into the podcast format.

Emily Lewis:  Right.  In fact, only 7% of respondents said they were interested in video exclusively.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  But 38% said they would like a mix, and it’s something Lea and I are thinking about.  We definitely wanted to give a sense for what the audience was interested in.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  But maybe for like a special event or a special occasion or a special topic, it’s something that we may consider.  It’s definitely not out of the realm of possibility, but I don’t think we ever see ourselves being an exclusively video podcast, at least for the foreseeable future.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]  And other interesting questions that we ask were obviously guest request. 

Emily Lewis:  Oh right.

Lea Alcantara:  We have regular guests for the podcast.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, everybody wants to hear lots of… there were a lot of the same names thrown out.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, absolutely, and it was interesting to have those names parsed by Peter as well.

Emily Lewis:  Oh, my gosh, and that was so great, and here is the thing.  This is what makes Peter so awesome.  [Laughs]  He did that manually.  Lea had asked me to have him go through the survey results and identify proper names so that we could see what the guest’s names were, and so I accidentally trashed that email.

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  And three days later I found it and sent it to Peter at the last minute and said, “Could you do anything with it?”  And what he did is he manually went through it and pulled out names for us.  So I just thought that was really, really nice for him to go above and beyond because being able to extrapolate those names is really helpful for us to get those people on the show.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, absolutely, and we are definitely hearing your request and a lot of them were already kind of in our radar too.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah.

Lea Alcantara:  But we kind of have to discuss the reality of coordinating schedules.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  And we are trying to get people on, so really we just hope that you are a little bit patient and wait a bit because most likely they will be on, you just have to wait because the people you want on are busy people, right?

Emily Lewis:  Right, exactly.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  And also, we had some requests for international guests which adds an extra level of complexity.

Emily Lewis:  Time zones.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Exactly, exactly.  So that’s definitely on our radar.  We are definitely trying to get more interesting guests and some of your guest requests on there, but there is a reality of the people that you want on are busy people.  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  Right.  So just be patient with us.  As we get those people scheduled, we also think it’s really important to make sure we introduce new faces or let you get to know people behind the names that you see on the internet, which is that get to know EECMS hashtag idea that we were talking about. 

Lea Alcantara:  Absolutely, and I want to add that if you, the listener, wants to be a guest, why don’t you send us an email, and let us know who you are, what kind of topic you want to talk about, and we will get that done because actually, a few of our guests happened that way where there were like, “You know, do you think that your audience would be interested in this?”

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  For example, our number two most popular episode, the EE and Speed Optimization episode was when Jacob actually emailed us.

Emily Lewis:  Right.

Lea Alcantara:  And were like, “Do you want me to talk about this?” 

Emily Lewis:  And we’re like, “Yes.”

Lea Alcantara:  And I said, “Yes.”  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  So if you think you have an interesting topic, or discussion, or micro-tutorial to start talking about, please email us, let us know, and we will try to schedule you in.

Emily Lewis:  In terms of those coming guests, I just do want to sort of tease folks a little bit.  We’ve got Leevi Graham scheduled for Episode 75, which was one of the guests that many of our survey respondents wanted to talk to. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  He also fits the international bill too.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  So two birds at one stone. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yahoo!

Emily Lewis:  And then we’re going to be kicking off our getting to know EE with hastag EECMS with Anna Brown who many of you may already know as @mediagirl on Twitter.

Lea Alcantara:  Very cool, very cool.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, I’m excited.  Those are going to be some great episodes.  Oh, and then, of course, our upcoming episode is going to be the guys from FortySeven Media, Nate and Jon, who are going to talk about membership which they emailed into us as a suggestion. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, absolutely, and if you don’t want to be a guest, please send us topics as well, or the survey … 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]  Or guest ideas.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, absolutely.  The survey sent us a ton of great EE topic suggestions and they are all on our radar, and we do try to plan our episode topics in advance.  So if you check out ee-podcast.com/schedule, you can see at least five episodes ahead. That’s as much as we try to schedule the topics ahead of time.


Emily Lewis:  Right.  So I want to tie up this survey real quick, but before we close it out, was there anything that really stood out to you from the survey or anything that made you laugh or made you scratch your head?

Lea Alcantara:  I think the thing that made me scratch my head the most really was how polarizing some responses were in terms of what some people would give five out of five stars versus one, right?

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  And they are the same episode.

Emily Lewis:  Right.

Lea Alcantara:  That was what surprised me, because I expected certain episodes would get a lot more common responses, but not in that type of variation of response.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, I thought that was interesting, which is why I’m glad that we were able to segment them into heavy listeners and lighter listeners which sort of helped balance that, I think.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]  For sure.  So I think it would be interesting to talk about why we decided to go with Wufoo for the survey.

Emily Lewis:  Oh right.  Yeah, well, I don’t know if you remember, I clearly remember when we were planning this survey, you said something to the effect of, “We really need to try and do something with the EE because someone tried to do a survey and they didn’t use the EE and they got a little flak from the community.”

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, yeah.

Emily Lewis:  So in order to minimize any flak we got from anyone, we definitely wanted to try an EE solution first. 

Lea Alcantara:  Sure.

Emily Lewis:  So basically, the only true survey add-on that we could use, it was the VWM Surveys. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  Everything else is sort of more poll based.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  So for the survey, this was our option.  Ultimately, as you know, if you took the survey, we didn’t go with it. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  But I did spend many hours working with it, and on the plus side, the developer Victor is really responsive.  I encountered an issue and he addressed it within 24 hours.  This isn’t a paid add-on, so I was really impressed with that and it helped me move forward in continuing to evaluate the add-on. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  I also, maybe not necessarily for EE because our needs are a lot more flexible than it might be for an organization.

Lea Alcantara:  Sure.

Emily Lewis:  But I like the idea of having a survey created and maintained right in EE for my clients.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, absolutely.

Emily Lewis:  Like I could see it being useful like when they need to create a survey, they go to the same control panel.  When they need to create a blog post or when they need to create a press release or whatever, and it’s the same sort of interface and that process of adding survey questions and breaking it into pages.  VMW Survey lets you break out questions into multiple pages.  It has some form validation in it. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  The main problem that I encountered was when we got to the questions about rating each episode.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  I wanted to list all of the episodes in groupings of five and then allow a user to rate it on a scale of one to five with an option for N/A if they didn’t listen to it.  With his matrix fields in his survey add-on, you can’t achieve that.  Each item in the matrix on the horizontal, on the X axis, can only have one value on the Y axis. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  So there can’t be an episode, like all five episodes couldn’t receive a rating of five, you know?

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  It was just a limitation, and I tried to like tweak it with CSS.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, exactly.

Emily Lewis:  I thought I was good, but I go blind.  And then it was just sort of, “You know, okay, this is not going to work for our needs.  Let’s move on.” 

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  And so we did give it a shot, and like I said, it has some plusses to it until I hit that need for a matrix of radio button kind of thing.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.  But I think if you have simple text areas and just one question per radio button or several radio button type of thing, I think it will work for most people’s pieces.

Emily Lewis:  I think so.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  I think too the data was nice.  It’s so nice to have your survey just automatically branded.  You just drop it into one of your templates.  It’s so straightforward.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  One little niggling problem which is on his radar, at least according to his support forum, is there isn’t a way to delete out test data.  So that will cause a problem if you’re trying to analyze data, but you, during set up and development, were putting data into it to test.  You can’t delete it.  It’s all one thing. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  So anyways, it’s definitely worth looking into.  I love to see him take it further.  I think it has a lot of potential.

Lea Alcantara:  Agreed.

Emily Lewis:  And I would revisit it if he made some of these changes definitely, because it was also free, whereas Wufoo was 14.95 a month.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, absolutely.  But on the flipside with Wufoo being 14.95 a month, I mean, it’s a form app.

Emily Lewis:  Right.

Lea Alcantara:  So it was pretty quick to set up, wouldn’t you say?  Like just drag and drop, point the question to …

Emily Lewis:  Oh, my God.  I think I spent probably four hours on VMW Surveys, but that includes the templating and tweaking my form’s CSS, everything.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  Wufoo, an hour.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  I mean, it’s all done.  It’s pretty much straightforward.  It’s got form validation.  It lets you set the open and the close date in advance. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  It really bugs me that when you fill out a form and there is the other field where you can select the checkbox or radio button and then you fill out something and then input?

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  Wufoo does not let you have that option for checkboxes, only for radio buttons.

Lea Alcantara:  Weird.

Emily Lewis:  I don’t get that.  So that was really annoying and I sort of had to fudge the form a little bit to mimic that.  I also have no idea what they are thinking for showing results. 

Lea Alcantara:  I know.  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  It is the worst interface I’ve ever seen, unless I’m missing something, but …

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, I agree, because I think that was part of the impetus for us contacting Peter, because once we got all the survey results and then we took a look at it and we are like, “Oh my God, I don’t get this.” 

Emily Lewis:  Right.

Lea Alcantara:  That was the moment we decided we need to get a professional to actually parse this data.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah.  So Wufoo totally did the job.  I’m very pleased with it.  I think it would be really awesome if EE had a great survey solution, and I think VMW Survey is like 75% of the way there. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  Maybe if he decided to sell that and could make some money off of it and therefore dedicate some time to it, it could happen.  It would be nice to have something like that built in.

Lea Alcantara:  Sure. 

Emily Lewis:  Oh, so anyways, that’s pretty much the survey.  It was a really fun experience.  I will say overall I think all of our feedback was 85 to 90% positive.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]  I think Peter wrote that we had an average rating of four per episode, which was actually quite nice.

Emily Lewis:  Interesting.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  I’m happy about that.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, yeah, exactly.  So let’s head on to our listener mail bag questions, the actual emails sent directly to us that wasn’t related to the survey, but just emailed questions or …

Emily Lewis:  Or Twitter.

Lea Alcantara:  Twitter, yeah, @replies, those kinds of things.  So one of the common questions being asked of us is, who does our episode transcriptions?

Emily Lewis:  He’s a magical man.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Yes, yes.  We found Joseph Oliveros, and he’s very, very, very reasonably priced transcriber, and he does it manually.  That’s the cool thing.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  Some people were asking us if we just had something automated or whatever.  Nope, we do all the transcription manually via Joseph, and then Emily or I, depending on which turn it is to review the transcript, we manually review the transcript ourselves to make sure that there is no weird technical errors or like typos or misspelling because it happens. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, well, the reality is we have a very technical podcast, and so for us throwing out names of software or techniques and things like that, it’s not necessarily the easiest things to parse when you’re just listening to it and trying to figure out what did this person will just say.

Emily Lewis:  Right.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  He’s also been really great for us in terms of turnaround.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  Because one of the things that was important to us with the podcast once we decided to do transcripts was to really try and make sure our transcripts went live with our episode as often as possible, and Joseph makes that happen.

Lea Alcantara:  Yes, exactly, because we actually tried a popular transcription service before we found Joseph

Emily Lewis:  Oh yeah, I remember.  Do we ever get that transcript?

Lea Alcantara: We decided to choose the one that wasn’t urgent because they had more expensive option if you wanted it within a day or within a week and then the third option was whenever, right?

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  And I thought whenever would mean at least a couple of weeks or something like that.  But no, it turned out a couple of months.

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, it was one of those things where we paid them and then we were like, “Oh, well, what happened here?” 

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  And then in comparison, Joseph delivers a transcript within the week. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, and sometimes even faster than that like sometimes the next day which is kind of…

Emily Lewis:  Is astounding.

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]  Yeah.  But I guess, after transcribing a few of our episodes, he’s starting to get a hang of our terminology and things like that, so perhaps he’s just able to listen to things a little bit faster or better.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah.  Well, either way, it’s been worth it having taken the time to, like Lea said, we tried something else.  We kept looking.  If you do want to have transcription for something you’re doing, it’s worth it to find someone you can really trust.  I feel like Joseph is a member of the team in a lot of ways.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Yes, yeah.

Emily Lewis:  He can make this happen.  He makes us having the transcripts possible. 

Lea Alcantara:  Exactly, and everything on time. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees] 

Lea Alcantara:  So I mean, it’s great…


Emily Lewis:  Yay deadlines.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  So we’ve also have a couple of questions about the editing of the podcast.  I’m going to let you take that since you kind of decided all of this and I follow along.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]  Well, I’m no sound editing expert.  Basically, we both edit the podcast using GarageBand.  Mostly because GarageBand came with…

Emily Lewis:  It’s free with my iMac.

Lea Alcantara:  … my iMac.

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Exactly, exactly, and it’s pretty straightforward.  The majority of editing is really trying to cut out the uhms, and certain pauses and things like that, and it’s a pretty simple interface.  You just cut things out.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  And then move things around and change some volume levels and that’s where we edit all of our podcasts.  Another question we got asked was, “Well, what mikes do you guys use?”  Well, I personally use Rode Podcaster and Emily…

Emily Lewis:  It’s a Blue Snowball.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  It’s envious of your Rode Podcaster.

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  I’m lucky because this was a throwback from my 5 by 5 days.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah.  You’ve got the real deal.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]  Yeah, and then our music, if you’re interested in buying some royalty free music, PremiumBeat.com was where we got our sound.

Emily Lewis:  I remember, I think it was Greg Ferrell on Twitter who posted something that he thinks it sounds like the intro music to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, because I think it is sort of inspired by that.

Emily Lewis:  Oh.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Because I think the name of the actual music is similar to something Blah, Blah, Blah, Philadelphia.

Emily Lewis:  Oh, okay.

Lea Alcantara:  So I think…

Emily Lewis:  Good of you, Greg.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, exactly, exactly.  Another cool thing is that at EECI in New York, I met Adam Christianson who happens to run MacCast.com, and I asked him for some advice about podcasting, and his best advice, which if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have ever known, is to use a software program which is free called Levelator.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  Basically, before compressing our podcast to MP3 format, we drag and drop the AIF file into Levelator and it magically normalizes our sound. 

Emily Lewis:  And as in normalize, it doesn’t make a sound normal, it just makes the audio sound normal.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]  Exactly, exactly, and for those that don’t know what normalize really means, it really means that if Emily or I sound a little bit far away or a little too loud, it tries to balance it so we don’t sound too loud or too soft or whatever. 

Emily Lewis:  It brings them closer to the same.

Lea Alcantara:  Exactly, exactly.  So what other questions were there from our listener mail bag?

Emily Lewis:  Well, I was going through some and I had also noticed the same thing come up on Twitter a couple of times.  People commenting on the fact that we do not offer a means for commenting on episodes or a forum or a Disqus of some kind on our EE-Podcast.com site. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  So we totally want to encourage discussion about our episodes, but in terms of adding commenting or a forum to the website, frankly it’s just not something I think we feel we have a need for or the time to monitor the way it would deserve to be monitored.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  Especially with spam considerations too.

Lea Alcantara:  Agreed, and in terms of that, I mean, there sort of are many ways to get feedback to our podcast.  The biggest way is to use our Twitter and just reply to us @eepodcast and we usually reply right away. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  Of course, there is email and we can discuss topics or questions directly on that, and we don’t have comments on our site but we do update people on the podcast at Ryan’s site at EE Insider.com.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  And feel free to send your comments through there as well, although Ryan might not like to monitor all of that.

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]  But it’s there that comments are open.

Emily Lewis:  And  in this last thing regarding comments, it’s also sort of true about the podcast in general.  We are committed to constantly improving the podcast.  So if needs arise in the future, whether it’s with regard to commenting or something else, we are absolutely going to consider the options.

Lea Alcantara:  For sure.

Emily Lewis:  We also got a question in from Michael Cohen of Pro Image.  He wrote in to request that we increase the limit on our RSS feeds beyond ten, and this didn’t really occur to me.  Ten has always been a standard I’ve used so that’s just what I threw at it when I put the site together.  But his point was that he doesn’t always have time to catch up on things and he wants to be able to go further back.  So I’ve added this to my to-do list so as my time permits, I’m going to address that, and I believe it would conversely or simultaneously affect iTunes as well since that ties into our RSS, right?

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, yeah, and just to remind listeners.  Obviously, we’ve got an archive of all of our podcasts right on our website.

Emily Lewis:  Right.

Lea Alcantara:  So you just need to go to our website and click on Episodes.  You can click on the tag cloud to see a specific topic, or you can just go through the pagination and see what number or topic or episode that you wanted to listen to.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]  And that was pretty much it for questions.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  And well, I can’t believe we got through all that stuff with the survey.

Lea Alcantara:  I know.  I know.  I’m really happy that we did the survey.

Emily Lewis:  Me too.  Oh, and Lea, you said you got your tee shirts, right?

Lea Alcantara:  Yes, I got the EE-Podcast tee shirts and I’m so happy with them.  I also want to make a notice for anyone who wants an EE-Podcast tee shirt.  Basically, how do you get it?  You should probably attend an EE conference, or an EE meetup, and if you’re running an EE conference or EE meetup, please contact us at [email protected].  Let us know, give us an address and we will send you some tee shirts.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, let’s see, I just sent a package yesterday to DC.  I sent some to Michigan.  They’ve gone all over the world.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, exactly, and I think I’m going to be sending one to LA for the LA meetup and another one I think in Wisconsin too.

Emily Lewis:  Cool.  So just show up in an EE event, there is a good chance there will be an EE Podcast t-shirt there.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Yes, and Emily and I will probably both be at EECI this October.

Emily Lewis:  With the t-shirts.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Exactly.  So if you want one of our super good t-shirts, feel free to tap our backs in person.

Emily Lewis:  Absolutely. 

Lea Alcantara:  So …

Emily Lewis:  So I think that’s it, right?

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, I think that’s all the time we have for today.

Emily Lewis:  Yehey, my vacation is getting closer.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]  All right, [music] so we would now like to thank our sponsors for this podcast, EE Coder and Pixel & Tonic.

Emily Lewis:  We would also like to thank our partners, EllisLab, EngineHosting and Devot:ee.

Lea Alcantara:  And thanks to our listeners for tuning in.  If you want to know more about the podcast, make sure you follow us on Twitter @eepodcast or visit our website, ee-podcast.com.

Emily Lewis:  Don’t forget to tune in to our next episode when we will talk about building membership sites with the KickAwesome duo, Jon Longnecker and Nate Croft from FortySeven Media.  Be sure to check out our schedule on EE-Podcast.com/schedule for more upcoming topics.  We’ve got some great guests lined up.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]  This is Lea Alcantara.

Emily Lewis:  And Emily Lewis.

Lea Alcantara:  Signing off for the ExpressionEngine Podcast.  See you next time.

Emily Lewis:  Cheers.

[Music stops]

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Emily Lewis and Lea Alcantara

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