Here’s what I learned about remote content production.
I’ve worked with Envato for four years and done the most challenging, inspiring work in my entire career—all while being remote. I’m the biggest proponent of remote work and collaborating on remote teams that you’ll find. I believe it’s a viable and growing way to get work done, by the best people for the job, anywhere.
But 18 months ago, when a Tuts+ manager approached me to discuss this new product idea she had, I was skeptical. I thought I’d finally found the project we couldn’t accomplish outside the office.
The idea was to produce sophisticated video courses for Tuts+ Premium. These courses would not just merely be screencasts. They’d have the highest production standards, tackle complex ideas, and teach in-depth skills in creative and technical topics. They’d include on-camera teaching, motion graphics, eventually interactive quizzes, responsive Q&As with instructors, even projects and code challenges.
And since our team is located in 5 time zones, we’d do it all remotely, with instructors located all over the world.
It’s a challenge that hadn’t really been accomplished well in the on-line education field before. Many services go one of two ways, either they take responsibility for the quality of the product and do it all in house—build a studio, maintain equipment and experts, hire instructors or fly them out, etc. Lynda flies in some excellent instructors to their recording studios and their quality shows it. Other services hire and maintain instructors in-house. Alternatively, they would crowd-source the content, allow anyone to submit, but not maintain too much control over the quality or teaching. Uneven quality, but lots of it.
I was asked to develop a third option with the new Tuts+ Premium team. Hire the best instructors, wherever they are, let them teach in their own environment, and still demand the very best from them. And produce a lot of it.