illustration for Exploring Concepts and Teaching Using Focused Zines with Julia Evans

episode 31

Exploring Concepts and Teaching Using Focused Zines with Julia Evans

Julia Evans, is a zine author and software engineer at Stripe. She joins us to talk about teaching specifics as opposed to high-level overviews, using zines to show that things that sound hard aren't hard in practice, the longevity of Julia's zine empire, and the impact that monetizing her zines had on her audience and the way she approaches working on them.

Julia writes zines, short tutorials in comic form for software developers. She recently starting monetizing them, it had an impact on her audience but not as much as you would think. Monetizing even had the unforeseen side effect of her zines getting taken more seriously, a college professor even made then required reading in his class.

She tries to keep the zines focused, with the topics breaking down something very particular. High levels talks often have the problem of not imparting anything useful. The specificity respects people's time and also can give greater context than a high-level overview. It's also much easier to be motivated to start a twenty-page zine as opposed to a three-hundred-page book.

Julia has many ideas for her zine empire. She wants to continue to collaborate with other developers so she can deliver content that isn't entirely in her wheelhouse. She also wants to start getting into some non-programming concepts, statistics in particular at some point. The possibilities with the medium are pretty much endless.


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