YouTube Ads at war, stopping procrastination and running groups – freelancers meet 1st Nov 2023

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Nine people gathered around a table chatting

On the 1st November 2023 our freelancers meet up was in the Battle of Trafalgar pub in Brighton. There was a weather warning out for stormy weather, but 15 freelancers joined in, as we’re a contrary lot by nature.

Here are some of the topics we talked about:

  • Brave and UBlock and the war on YouTube ads
  • Working from home when home is nice
  • Brighton Py meet up
  • Optimising a process from 72 hours down to 3 hours of runtime
  • dApps programming
  • The awful weather
  • Keeping projects on track
  • Some ADHD symptoms are also “normal”, it’s a matter of degree and combinations
  • Stopping procrastination
  • Making your phone display black and white
  • Use WordPress and let the project be a mess or learn something new?
  • Paying for storage or just buying new when you need it again
  • Pumpkins and trick or treaters
  • Disappointing your pen testers is a massive achievement
  • Simon Willison and LLMs
  • “Tom Jones is a national hero”
  • Keeping a meet up running over a long time
  • Advertising your group
  • vs Eventbrite vs both
  • Knowing when to change tech platform
  • When to learn a different programming language
  • Earning independent income


Sam’s talk at Brighton Py

Sam gave a talk at Brighton Py before bringing a few Pythonistas to the Farm with him. You can see his talk here.

Brave and UBlock and the war on YouTube ads

YouTube is having a crackdown on ad blockers, it wants to show ads to everyone watching videos. This means the browser Brave, which has an in-built ad blocker, and uBlock, a popular ad blocking extension for Chrome and Firefox, are going all out to defeat the changes YouTube are making.

This is a tricky topic for me. The ads fund YouTube, YouTube funds the creators of the videos. WIthout ads, where is the money going to come from? But, ads also mean privacy problems as there’s tracking in with the ads, and frankly, most video ads are very annoying. Personally, I don’t run my ad blocker on YouTube as I do appreciate the small video makers I’m subscribed to. That said, I can completely understand wanting to skip the ads. If I watched a lot of YouTube, I’d probably stump up for a subscription, which will remove the ads.

For now, it’s interesting to see how the ad blockers and anti-ad blockers are going.

Stopping procrastination

When you’re self employed, not getting on with work is death to your business. If you’re getting distracted from work, you need to find a way to be able to concentrate.

Advice from people at the meet:

  • Vary the work you’re doing to keep yourself interested
  • Get enough sleep
  • Switch off distracting apps and browser tabs
  • Make your phone display black and white to reduce its appeal (this is deep in settings)
  • Make sure you schedule in holiday time and stick to it!

Running groups

Milo who runs the Brighton Blockchain meet up and I had a chat about running groups.

The Farm has been running for 20 years, I’ve been running it roughly 17-19 of them, depending on how you count (I had a long time of not quite admitting I was running the group, more I was ‘just’ advertising the group to help keep it going.)

Personally, I think a group that gives talks is the hardest kind of event to keep running. Even if several organisers are involved, being able to keep putting on interesting talks after running through your main contacts is really hard, I know this from experience in helping with the Worthing Digital talks. The Async group is a fantastic exception to this.

Milo uses for his group. I tried advertising the Farm on Meetup, but found although we got quite a few people sign up to say they were coming, only one ever did in the year I had the group on there. I know others have run groups on there for years, but for us, it just didn’t work and I found the higher subscription rate I was paying for our group a complete waste of money. It is working better for Blockchain Brighton, than it did for us.

I’ve been trying Eventbrite for advertising the Farm and that has been much better for us than Meetup was, and as we’re a free to attend event, it is free for us to list there.

We’re both sad to see Wired Sussex go into voluntary liquidation, they’ve done a huge amount to promote groups in Brighton and Sussex over a very long time. Milo gets help from Silicon Brighton for his group, I’ve not needed the venue help they give, but I should perhaps see if they will list the Farm within their events.