Thursday, May 5, 2016

Puzzle and Problem-solving videos [Doublet edition] – now slightly less beta

First the usual caveats. These videos still aren't all that pleasing to either the eye or the ear (which doesn't leave a lot of senses to engage). The plan is still to focus first on concept then on specific content while hopefully keeping the production values at least adequate. For example, recording the audio in a relatively quiet closet-sized hallway to get a reasonably clean track and ignoring the weird acoustics and stilted, choppy delivery that comes from wrestling with a jury-rigged arrangement while trying to narrate.

The concept is a series of math video (initially concentrating on puzzles) that focus less on specific problems and more on problem-solving. The video embedded here talks about analyzing problems to see what makes some easy and others difficult, then seeing if we can use that information to suggest strategies for tackling the more challenging ones. In the follow-up ("turn GRASS GREEN" -- also from Carroll), I talk about flipping problems and working forwards then backwards then forwards... In the Kakuro video I discuss finding footholds. In a couple based on Dudney puzzles, I cover mixing algebraic and trial-and-error solutions to be better guessers. You get the picture.

I'm more or less satisfied with the concept and content (or at least with the direction they're headed) but production and promotion still have a long way to go and I'm not entirely certain how to proceed. A few years ago, if you found a good niche and posted some videos of acceptable quality, there was a decent chance that you'd find an audience through organic search. Based on conversations with people who've worked with SEO, that's very difficult now between the competition and Google changing its algorithms to crack down on people gaming the system (which creates a lot of collateral damage among small players).

I'll be exploring other ways of promoting the videos starting here.If you're interested in the approach I outlined earlier or just in puzzles in general, please check this out (feedback is always appreciated) and keep an eye out for future installments. If you like what you see in terms of content, spread the word around. I'm getting advice from some acquaintances who work in video production so the quality on that side should definitely be improving.

1 comment:

  1. I suggest talking about string length. That is you see CVC as the pattern that doesn't transform into CVV or something else. The solution could be this long, whatever that is. But the solution for a transform from CVC to VCV, which is all 3 places, suggests a longer string answer and that suggests the approach you bring up. Expectation shapes response and if you give a person these two puzzles they will tend, I think, to assume they need to solve the second as fast or with as short a string, and that is in many ways the obstacle you are trying to teach around.