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Skrift presents: Year One in Review

We Made it to One!

by Erica Quessenberry

We had a little snafu this month, but we're still here, and part of me is surprised we made it, the other is ecstatic we made it. As with most things, it wasn’t all peanut butter cups and unicorns, but aside from wishing I had more time to devote to the project, and that it paid for itself, I wouldn’t change much else.

I interviewed myself to give you all insight on what the first year has been like.

What was the impetus behind this project?

It all started with a very secretive time where Kyle and I whispered and batted around ideas of how to keep uWestFest, the North American Umbraco Festival, initially started and run by Mindfly Studio where we both worked at the time, at the forefront of people’s minds year round, so the ramp up to the event wouldn’t be so arduous. From there, it morphed into an online Umbraco magazine where we could promote community and learning for the world at large, and not just the North American community.

Enquiry emails were sent to source Issue No 1’s authors. An artist who graciously donated some time was acquired, a name and domain were chosen, a site was designed and built in record time, and we took the community by surprise and storm on our first launch.

Phew.

Riding a high.

How did you come up with the name?

It started with a Google Doc and a brain dump. I really like Medium - the concept of the name anyway, so that was the basis of my inspiration. I looked it up in a thesaurus and wrote down any word that came to me that was similar in concept, but I didn’t really like anything. So I switched to Danish and did the same. Then I explored names in the hardware realm, as Umbraco means allen key in Danish.

At uWest15 in Orlando, Janae and Kyle cornered asked Anders Burla Johansen to confirm Google’s translation of Danish words and bounce around some more ideas for our list.

When time started running out, I switched to looking for available domain names. On that round, Skrift really stood out to me, and not just because there was an available .io domain, but because of its meaning: font, type, manuscript, writing. We came to find out later that the verb skrifte means to confess, which just makes it all the better.

How do you source your authors?

This has actually been one of our biggest struggles, which caught us off guard. In the months following launch we thought more people would be stepping forward to contribute, but that has not been the case so much. Most people have been willing to write if we approach them, but we only know or are aware of so many people. While we’d like to be able to extend personal invitations, it’s not realistic or sustainable for us to do so. Plus, we’d love love love to have authors from all over the world, but there are definitely regions like Africa and Asia where we don’t know of anyone to ask, so it’s still our dream to have people step forward and submit articles of their own volition. Any takers?

What happened to your artist?

Life. We’d love to be able to pay for art, and even our authors for their time, but we are self-funded at the moment, and don’t have the resources to do so. Stacy, the artist helping us out when we launched was gracious enough to donate some of her time and talent to the project, and while we miss her, she’s moved on to other opportunities. If there’s anyone out there that wants to fill in the gap, do feel free to let us know, though I’ll be honest, sometimes knowing what the article is about is incredibly last minute, so not a lot of turnaround time for the art.

What’s been the hardest part of starting up the magazine?

Definitely sourcing authors and then the follow through. We know it’s a huge time investment to research and write an article, and we understand that people are busy with their day jobs, families, and other commitments, so we greatly appreciate those who have committed and written for the magazine. It’s not something we’d like to admit since we’ve been able to pull off every month so far, but we have been in some binds some months, and it’s been a scramble to try to get the issue together. Those are the times I question the project and feel like throwing in the towel.

What have been some of the best parts of the last year?

It’s those months where everything goes smoothly - the authors are excited, we get the issue out on time or prepped early, there’s great interaction and feedback on the articles. Those are the times I think, this is why we do this. We’re providing one more way for the Umbraco community to connect, and when I see that connection, it makes it all worth the stress.

There’s also the social aspect of it when we go to CodeGarden, uWestFest, or the couple of meetups we’ve had in Seattle - finding and talking to potential authors. It’s a conversation starter for us to meet and connect with new people in the community. Not only does it make us more excited about our day jobs, but it allows us to help new people get plugged into the community. For us that’s huge, as being part of the community has been invaluable to us personally and professionally and we’re excited for others to experience that as well.

When all’s said and done, the pros definitely outweigh the cons for sure.

What’s in store for year two?

Well, due to our day jobs and my traveling schedule we’ve not actually had a chance to sit down together yet and map it out, but there are a couple things on the docket we’ve been batting around including a redesign that’s in the works that will hopefully provide a little easier navigation to previous issues / articles. We’ve also been brainstorming ways to get a little funding so we’re able to do more, or perhaps even start paying our authors a little for their time. That’s on the dream list anyway. We’ll have to see what actually plays out this year. We’re always open to suggestions and feedback! Hit us up any time at hello@skrift.io or @skrift_io on Twitter.


Erica Quessenberry
Co-founder & Creative Director of Skrift
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