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Reflecting on 5 Years of Skeptoid

by Brian Dunning

October 3, 2011

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Donate Today is Skeptoid's 5th birthday.

In the last five years, I've done278 podcast episodes, 19 inFact videos, 3 books (#4 is almost out), 1 TV pilot, 1 web series pilot, several dozen conference talks, and more TV docos, radio, and guest podcast appearances than I can even count, on three continents.

I vividly remember five years ago today, when I saved Skeptoid #1 "New Age Energy" in Garageband and set about trying to figure out how to tag and upload it. It was about a year and a half, and 80 episodes, later that I got a surprise $2500 bill from my hosting provider for exceeding my 2TB/mo bandwidth limit. I'd made it onto the front page of iTunes science podcasts, and gone from 13,000 weekly listeners to 40,000 overnight. Wow, I remember thinking, this might turn out to be more than just a hobby.

Well, it has become more than just a hobby. It's a full-time job, squished into a few hours a day, compressing my actual income-producing full-time job into the other half of each day. And really, Skeptoid alone could be three full-time jobs even without growing. Only about a third of my time is spent actually working on Skeptoid episodes. Another third is community engagement: emailing, social networking, signing and sending books, managing subscriptions, writing newsletters and blogs. The other third is all the back office stuff: web programming, event planning, bookkeeping, working with volunteers.

Would I have done it all over again if I'd known the extraordinary impact it would have on my life? Absolutely. All this round-the-clock work is the most personally fulfilling thing I've ever done (second most, after my family). These five years have taken me from being stuck in a going-nowhere software consulting career, to getting a dozen emails every day from people who tell me I've changed their lives for the better. I still say "Wow" every time I get one of those.

I have a strong business plan now, and I know exactly where Skeptoid is going. It's getting the tools it needs in order to grow, in the form of a conversion to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. This will take control of Skeptoid Media out of my hands and put it into the hands of a board of directors, for whom I'll work. That board will bring in new fundraising resources, and I'll bring in new talent and new programs, with all the material being available for free along with teaching aids and lesson plans. Skeptoid Media deserves to be more than one overworked dude, and so it shall become.

Why? Because you've been listening.

Each one of you who has listened to the show, shared it with a friend, posted a link to a transcript, written a review on iTunes, contributed to a discussion on Skeptalk or on the comment pages, or become one of the 1 in 155* listeners who supports the show at 99¢ per episode, has been part of the reason the show exists at all.

Lifelong friends are the other aspect of this that can't be ignored. Not only have I been fortunate enough to get on friendly, slap-5 terms with a number of really extraordinary science celebrities that I had never thought I'd get to meet, I've become great friends with hundreds of other folks who are just as extraordinary. I see many of you at conferences, pub nights, and other community events.

Raise your glass and join me in wishing Skeptoid Media another five years. More friends, more shows, more lives changed, and a more skeptical world.
* - Yeah, that's the real number, by this morning's calculation. Just imagine if it was 2 in 155: I'd already have the help on board and be producing the new shows! :-)

by Brian Dunning

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@Skeptoid Media, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit








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