Now that The Free iPod Book is done – at least in its current form – I wanted to share a couple of behind-the-scenes thoughts with the few of you who might care to hear such things.
The first is “whew.” Have you seen that thing? Imagine working on it every day for a while, wanting to tell everyone about all of the cool stuff inside, and not being able to do so until it was all done. And also doing podcasts and working on the site full-time while it’s going on. Even by crazy month standards, it’s been a crazy month.
The second is “crunch.” If you’ve worked in an industry where crunch is part of the work cycle, you probably know how we’re feeling right now. For those unfamiliar, crunch is that time leading up to the close of a project where people work unusually long hours in order to bring everything to a close – if it’s started early enough, amongst other factors, the project finishes on time and everyone gets comped a few days or weeks of vacation to compensate. If it’s not, the project still winds up late and people either demand comp time or quit.
I have fought to prevent crunch time in organizations whenever possible – I’m a big, big fan of managing work and resources so that it’s not necessary. We’ve never missed a self-imposed deadline for one of our Guides, but we’ve always had a bit of crunch time near the end. This time, because we’ve learned from our previous efforts, the Book required the least crunch time of all of our publications, despite being 40% bigger and probably 60% more demanding than either of them.
Some seriously excellent work was done this time out, too. Larry & Bob’s iTunes tips are wonderful and light. Dennis’s visuals (and numerous other contributions) are sublime. And Jerrod + UK Bob’s Directory is great as well. Please check it all out if you haven’t already. And feel free to ask questions here. I’ll try to answer them – as soon as I wake up.
Edit 8/16/05: Forgot to mention this, but for frequent readers of Backstage, The Free iPod Book is the Delta Project I mentioned here many months ago, after finishing the first Buyers’ Guide. And it’s not finished yet.