Swift by Sundell turns five years old today! Here’s what’s next for the website and the podcast
Today it’s been exactly five years since this website first launched, and what a journey it has been! When I started this website after having published weekly articles on Medium for a few months, I honestly had no idea what to expect. I wasn’t even sure if anyone would even find the site to begin with, let alone be interested in coming back week after week to read my new articles.
But now, five years later, and with over 550 articles and 115 podcast episodes published, this website has been visited by over a million Swift developers from all around the world, and hundreds of thousands of people come back to read new articles and listen to new podcast episodes every single month. To see this website grow like that has been absolutely incredible, and I’m eternally grateful for all of the amazing support that you — the Swift community — have given me over these first five years.
During these first few years, the amount of time that I’ve been able to spend working on my articles and podcast episodes has varied quite a lot. In the beginning, I was simply working on Swift by Sundell during my spare time, as a hobby project, and I had no plans or intentions to ever scale the project much beyond that. But at the same time, the website kept growing, and so did my ambitions, and at the start of 2019 (two years after the initial launch) I made the rather bold decision to turn Swift by Sundell into my full-time job.
In retrospect, I’m incredibly happy that I made that decision, not only because it enabled me to produce a much larger number of more detailed articles, and spend more time on podcast editing to make each episode sound great — but also because it led to the creation of Ink, Plot, and Publish, and the current iteration of this website which uses those tools to produce a fast, easy to use, statically generated site that I’m super proud of.
Working full-time on your own projects, as amazing as it in many ways is, also comes with quite a few downsides, though. In particular, I really started to miss working with other people, to be a part of a team, and to do actual iOS and macOS app development. Building Publish and my other open source tools was a lot of fun, and involved solving a ton of interesting problems, but it just wasn’t the same as working on complex app projects with dedicated co-workers.
So in 2020 I decided to start freelancing again, part-time, while still keeping Swift by Sundell as my main, full-time job — which worked out great. In fact, it worked out so great that I started taking on more freelancing work throughout 2021, and for a while, I was incredibly happy with how my work was progressing. Business was great, with income from both this website’s sponsorships and from my freelancing work, I got to work on some incredibly cool projects, plus those projects gave me such a huge amount of inspiration for both my articles and podcast episodes. It all turned out to be one big, positive feedback loop.
However, towards the end of 2021, I started to feel that something was wrong. I very often felt incredibly stressed, and sometimes even deeply disappointed in myself for not writing enough articles, for not publishing podcast episodes frequently enough, for not reviewing open source pull requests fast enough, or for not working enough hours on a given project.
Looking back, it’s quite obvious what had happened. As I kept constantly expanding all of my projects and client work over time, I had ended up with more or less two full-time jobs, and it became clear that I was at the edge (or, some may say, even past the edge) of being burned out. Something had to change.
So, at the beginning of this year, I sat down and started making a plan. I knew that I didn’t want to stop doing client work (I still work on some really nice projects with incredible teams), and I also knew that I didn’t want to quit working on this website, the podcast, Stacktrace (my other podcast), or my open source projects. So I just needed to come up with some kind of compromise, a schedule that would let me keep working on all of those things that I’m super passionate about, while also making that schedule much more sustainable and healthy.
What I’ve come up with will likely disappoint some of you, since it does involve a reduction of the amount of time that I’ll be able to spend on Swift by Sundell going forward (and the number of articles and podcast episodes that I’ll be able to make as a result), but I want to make it crystal clear that I’m making these changes because I want to keep working on Swift by Sundell for many more years to come. I love this website and the wonderful community that exists around Swift and Apple’s platforms, and I want to continue contributing to that community as much as I possibly can far into the future.
So, what changes am I making? First, I’m removing all sorts of publishing schedules, and will instead post new articles and podcast episodes on a more infrequent basis. While I’m aiming to publish at least one new article and one podcast episode per month, there might occasionally be some periods of time where not much is happening on this website, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve abandoned it, I might just be busy with other work. I’ve always prioritized quality over quantity, and I’d much rather take my time writing a really great article than rush one out just to meet a specific schedule.
Next, I’m removing all ads from the website, starting next week, on the 9th of May. That’s right, you’ll soon be able to enjoy all of this website’s hundreds of articles and all of my Discover guides completely ad-free, all free of charge. While I might occasionally publish a (clearly marked) sponsored post, and there will still be sponsorships on the podcast, I want to turn my articles back to what they started out as — a way for me to share my thoughts and learnings with the community without any kind of commercial motives or pressure.
I truly appreciate all of the sponsors that have advertised on this website over the past three and a half years, and I’m not saying that I’ll never do website sponsorships again, but not having to book, schedule and manage weekly website sponsorships is going to free up a lot of time (and remove a ton of stress), so it feels like the right move to make at this point.
So, to sum up, Swift by Sundell is here to stay, and while you’ll see new content published on a more infrequent basis going forward, you’ll be able to freely access all of this site’s huge collection of articles completely ad-free. I truly believe that this is the best path forward, both for Swift by Sundell and for me personally, and I hope you’ll keep joining me on this journey for a long time to come.
Thanks so much for reading, happy fifth birthday to Swift by Sundell, and here’s to five more years of articles, podcasts, and more!