My new book, Big Enough, arrives on September 15th and I can't wait to share it.
Big Enough tells the Common Craft story over a decade, with a focus on the experiments and decisions that helped us create a thriving two-person business that doesn't require an HR department. The book is for anyone interested in saner, healthier approaches to building a business that supports their values.
Pre-order the Book
Big Enough is available for pre-order in both ebook and paperback, using the links below. I hope you'll consider pre-ordering because you'll be the first to receive it and pre-orders help the book earn attention when it launches. The 90-second video below will make it clear.
Note: You can also pre-order from the book's home page and I'll send you free stickers and maybe Big Enough socks. :)
Explainer: Why Pre-Orders Help to Authors
From the Back Cover:
An eye-opening antidote to the endless-growth mindset, Big Enough offers an alternative path to career success
In this illuminating book, entrepreneur Lee LeFever gives an inside view of building a scalable, product-focused business—while never compromising on quality of life. Lee and his wife, Sachi, responded to the promise of the internet by building a home-based business, Common Craft, that was profitable yet small enough to pivot and innovate.
Lee takes you through the multiple business models they pursued—marketplace, digital product licensing, subscription services, distribution partnerships, and more—and offers his best tips for how you, too, can build a lightweight business that supports a life you love.
A must-read for anyone interested in entrepreneurship, business strategy, and e-commerce, Big Enough arms you with insights into how technology and innovation are changing the face of business—and how the science of happiness and the pursuit of values can help redefine what it means to be successful.
Thanks to the internet, a different kind of meeting is possible. Instead of attendees having to travel to meet, they can now participate in web conferences or webinars from anywhere with an internet connection. This type of meeting is becoming more popular and understanding it is an essential 21st-century skill.
Meeting face-to-face is great, but it can be expensive and difficult to plan. That’s why web conferencing is becoming more popular. These systems allow a group to connect and share information using only an internet connection. This video explains the basics, It teaches:
Why face-to-face meetings are cumbersome and expensive
How web conferencing can be used to accomplish the same goals
How to create a web conference and invite attendees
What features are often used in web conferences
Why web conferencing can be more effective than normal meetings
Our video that explains plagiarism is one of our most popular and we saw an opportunity to improve the video's quality. Recently we created a cleaner, clearer and easier to understand version of the video. If you are a Common Craft member, you might consider switching to using the new version.
Recent Common Craft Videos
We now have 108 explainer videos in our library. Each video is designed to explain a subject so you don't have to. Common Craft videos can help save time in your classroom, course, training session or presentation. Here are the most recent additions:
Using technology often means having a relationship with a company or organization. Accepting their Terms of Service agreements can be a required part of using the service. This video covers why these agreements exist, and how they can impact users. It teaches:
How Terms of Service agreements are easy to overlook
How lack of awareness about these agreements could cause problems
Why Terms of Service agreements exist
How Terms of Service can be used to understand a company’s policies
What you can do if you disagree with a Terms of Service agreement
We now have 101 explainer videos in our library. Each video is designed to explain a subject so you don't have to. Common Craft videos can help save time in your classroom, course, training session or presentation.
What if completing your goals felt more like a game, with points, competition and awards? That’s the goal of gamification - to motivate and engage people by making the completion of tasks feel like a game that you want to win.
What it Teaches
Gamification is becoming a bigger part of our lives and for good reason: it works. This video explains the concept of gamification and how game mechanics are used to motivate people to accomplish personal and professional tasks and goals. It teaches:
Why data and measurements are not enough to motivate people
Why products, services and organizations are using gamification
How an internal team uses gamification to complete a project
Why gamification is becoming a part of everyday life
Back in 2007, Sachi and I had an idea. YouTube was just getting started and we wanted to make videos that explained technology. After a few failed attempts, Sachi suggested pointing a video camera at a whiteboard and recording human hands moving paper cut-outs and markers on the screen. This was the birth of Common Craft videos and our first video was RSS in Plain English, what many consider the first explainer video of the YouTube era.
Sachi in 2007 with out 1st generation whiteboard setup
Since then, a lot has changed, but the basic format of Common Craft videos has remained the same. The 80+ “ready made” videos we license to educators all use live-action, stop-motion animation with paper cut-outs. For each video, we print, cut-out and animate every piece of paper that appears.
We film the video over 3-4 hours and then Sachi edits it all together with a voice-over. It’s all very time-consuming.
And now, we’ve made a decision to adjust our method. Common Craft is going digital. Let me explain...
Finding a Better Way
We love our work and there are two big things we love to do:
Produce explainer videos that help educators
Create resources (Cut-outs, Explainer Academy) that help professionals become better explainers
In reviewing our time and priorities, we saw that the video production method we’ve used since 2007 is complex and involves extensive time, equipment (lights, camera, software) and know-how. Unlike so many other parts of our work, the process had not evolved to be more efficient.
We started asking ourselves what really mattered and what could change after nearly ten years. We considered questions like:
What if we experimented and developed a new, more streamlined method for making Common Craft videos?
What if the method we develop is focused on simple, inexpensive, DIY tools (like presentation and screencasting software) that almost anyone can use?
In the end, we gathered feedback and agreed that our work as explainers is grounded in our process for writing and refining scripts, and developing visual stories.
While stop-motion animation and on-screen hand gestures served us well, they were not required for creating the same compelling explanations that our fans and members love to use.
So, we started experimenting and developed a simpler production method over the last year that’s all digital. In fact, this method was what we used to create the 60+ videos in the Explainer Academy and is the exact same method we teach in the DIY Media Maker Course. It's known as "Common Craft Style".
Starting immediately, future videos for the Common Craft Video Library will be created in digital format. We’ll be developing the same scripts, storyboards, visuals and voice-overs as before, but the visuals will be animated with software instead of edited video footage.
With this new efficiency, we're excited to create more videos and hopefully continue to inspire others to become explainer video creators.