I'm excited to finally be able to introduce you to Changelog 2.0! This might seem like a simple visual update, but trust me when I tell you this is literally the biggest launch we’ve ever done.
tl;dr — We launched a new brand and CMS to power the future of our digital media company.
The New Logo
There is so much in a logo. It carries the weight of all you do. It goes before you to set the tone for how you will be perceived. It represents you when you can't be directly involved. It's what people attach their feelings to. It's the sticker on a laptop representing an affinity or belief.
For 7 years, we have been primarily known as "The Changelog podcast" and our album art is that sticker on a listener's laptop — so we couldn't just carelessly make changes to our logo. We needed to seek out the right help and guidance through the process.
Nearly one year ago we began the process of rebranding The Changelog. But before we get to that, more than two years ago we purchased
changelog.com for $1,000 in hope of one day taking the advice of JT to drop the "The." It’s cleaner.
We are now simply, Changelog.
To guide us through the process of a rebrand, we called on our friend Jake Stutzman and crew at Elevate. We began with a 2-day brand workshop. My wife Heather and I flew to Omaha, Nebraska — Jerod's home state and city. Heather was also pregnant at the time with our son. We sat in a room for 2 days straight digging deep; examining all we are, what we think we are, and what we aim to be to the people of this great community we have the privilege to serve.
What we realized is that regardless of medium — podcast, sponsor read, blog post, newsletter, film, tweet — what we're about is getting to the heart. We're driven by relationships and our desire to enrich the lives we touch.
Before long, we came up with "Hacker to the Heart" and that became the cornerstone of every idea from that point forward. We riffed back and forth on phrases we've said over the years that have come to define who we are and what we do.
You can see a few of those phrases below and in the footer.
It was always the plan to develop and produce more podcasts. But every time Jerod and I talked about those ideas, we'd come back to the need for a CMS. We'd talk about what a CMS might look like to support more podcasts, then we'd inevitably get stuck talking about how to scale the brand. Yak shaving at its finest.
What we needed was a solid understanding of who we are before we could make that happen. That's exactly what Jake and Elevate helped us to gain. That 2-day brand workshop was pivotal in getting to the place we are today. It helped us to completely focus — no phones, no computers, just us in a room, face-to-face, figuring out who we really are and what we wanted to be.
August 2013 we started a weekly email called Changelog Weekly. A year later we kicked off our first films project at Keep Ruby Weird. Five months after that, I resigned from my job to become our first full-time employee. We expanded the Changelog Community. The Changelog was consistent, growing, and attracting sponsors. We were ready to develop more podcasts.
We were in a good place to grow and expand, but we weren't in a good place with a brand that could scale. We needed a solid brand foundation to build upon.
This all began with our desire to produce more high quality podcasts.
This year we launched Go Time, thanks to the help of our awesome hosts Brian Ketelsen, Carlisia Campos, and Erik St. Martin. We also launched Request For Commits with the help of Nadia Eghbal and Mikeal Rogers.
We're not done. We have a few shows being developed for early next year.
The New Website
Along with the rebrand and new logo, we're also launching a full redesign of our website. It's written in Elixir and Phoenix, and it is FAST. The new Changelog.com is a massive step forward to deliver an even better experience.
We'll be sharing more of the technical details about the CMS behind it all in the coming weeks.
While most of the new features of this new site are backend and non-public facing, I want to share a few that stand out:
- Sticky audio player — When you click play on any podcast, it loads super fast thanks to our CDN partner Fastly and plays in a sticky player that lets you continue to navigate the site with uninterrupted listening.
- Under one roof — All of our podcasts are now hosted at changelog.com. No more SoundCloud for Go Time and Request For Commits, and no more 5by5 for The Changelog and Founders Talk.
- Master podcast — If you're like most of our listeners and you love all the shows we produce, you can now subscribe to Master to get all the Changelog podcasts in your podcast client
- Episode page improvements — The new episode page features images of our guests, logos for our sponsors, cleaner show notes with guests, sponsors, and show notes and links clearly separated.
- Homepage featured quotes — We now share pull-quotes from the shows and feature them on the homepage.
- Better Films page — In our previous design the videos on the Films page were stuck to a small size unless you took them fullscreen. Now they expand wider so you don't have to go fullscreen.
As you may know — our roots are in open source. We 💚 open source. Over the years, we have been looking for more ways to give back. We all take so much, but never get the chance to give back as much as we'd like to.
Our CMS will be open source.
We've collectively invested thousands of hours and many thousands of dollars to build it — and we're going to give it away for free and share it with you and everyone else.
Sure, it's our secret sauce, but we feel it's more important to level up the community and give back.
We're still polishing things up, writing the README, etc, but it won't be long now. Subscribe to Changelog Weekly to be notified when we open source it.
Over the years we've been able to work with some of the best companies out there — Toptal, Fastly, Linode, Codeship, Rollbar, DigitalOcean, GitHub, UserTesting, Code School, Compose, Gopher Academy, Minio, Heap, DataDog, ElixirConf, Equinox.io, Clubhouse, imgix, Koding, Runscope, The Linux Foundation, Sentry, Opbeat, Harvest, CoreOS, ThoughtWorks, PagerDuty, and more. Join the ranks.
Each of these companies have played a role in getting us to where we are today.
The backbone of any CMS like we've built is the CDN that delivers your content. We partnered with Fastly to provide our real-time CDN and worldwide bandwidth. So when you click play onsite or download our podcast in your podcast app, it's fast because of the speed of Fastly's real-time CDN.
When it comes to high performance Linux servers in the cloud, Linode offers something truly remarkable. We partnered with Linode to provide high performance SSD Linux cloud servers to host everything we build. We've got an interesting CI/CD setup we'll share more about in the near future.
I couldn't be more excited for this new chapter of Changelog. I'm grateful you are here to take the ride with us. We have many more ideas we're working on, and we're always improving what we do to be the best it can possibly be.
Thank you for being a part of this journey and for supporting us as we enter this next step.
Founder & Editor-in-Chief