I returned from Florida on April 16th, exhausted from an intense 2-day shoot for TrueFire. My calendar told me that Texas Blues Alley was supposed to launch in two days, but my body was telling me ìuh,.... no.î
Iíve released lesson series 25+ times in the past 6 years. I launched new versions of the StevieSnacks site twice, and made major upgrades to my store more times than I can remember. But the memory that haunts me the most is the day I released Essential Fretboard in April 2009.
I worked myself to exhaustion finishing that course. At that point I still had a full-time job as a programmer, so much of that work was done after 6pm. I made nearly half my monthly paycheck in 36 hours after releasing that course. Party time, right?
More like, numbness time. I had worked so hard with so little margin that when the day finally came to celebrate my biggest success, I felt dead inside. Iím great at finishing things, but not great at celebrating them.
As I sat in the Philadelphia airport, wondering how I could finish TXBA in two days, I had a moment of clarity.
ìThis is the biggest project Iíve ever done, itís taken me a year to dream it, plan it, and build it. If I rush through this without taking time to celebrate, Iím going to regret it for the rest of my lifeî.
Without a second thought, I pushed the launch date back one whole week to the 25th, and then tried to answer a simple question. ìWhat would make me happy about this launch?î
Thatís when I had the idea to hold a big gear giveaway. Giveaways are fun to promote, they draw a huge amount of attention, and a few people get a chance to feel incredibly lucky when they win.
So..... one week to go. There were a lot of loose ends to wrap up. In additiona, I now had a giveaway promotion to plan. I had made an already tough project even more difficult by attempting to celebrate how tough the project was. Donít think about that too long, itíll make your head hurt. So I began emailing my gear friends, even contacting some new companies (who donít know me from Moses). And they delivered some awesome prizes.
But I was in a hurry.
Shipping small things in the US is simple and cheap. Shipping small items internationally is complicated and expensive. When Iím trying to meet a deadline, simple wins. So, in a rush to make this giveaway as simple as possible I decided that Iíd only award gear prizes to people with a US shipping address. That made the whole process easy, simple, and as it turns out, very disappointing for a lot of my viewers.
International folks have played a bigger role in the Texas Blues Alley story than most people know. Thatís a topic for another day. So it made me cringe to hear their unvarnished disappointment when they found out they werenít eligible.
So the TXBA launch happened without any major crises. And I got some sleep. And I had time to think. And more time to think. And after all that thinking, I had another moment of clarity.
Shipping pedals internationally is an inconvenience, but only for me. I made this decision for myself, because it made my life easier, but at the expense of a decent percentage of my audience. I made that decision hastily because I was feeling rushed. I chose simple and easy. But simple and easy is sometimes the wrong decision.
So today, because Iím the owner of this site, and because I donít have to justify my time, or prove ROI to anyone, Iím changing the rules. Because I can.
The updated rules are on the giveaway page :-)