> I did a course on lifecycle emails for SaaS businesses recently. That did pretty well - a few hundred sales.
A more professional-looking video on training.kalzumeus.com would've probably helped your conversion rate quite a bit. And avoiding the use of your internet handle on the site would've kept it from sounding cheesy to those outside the HN community.
> The question remains unanswered whether a "more professional" video would not have turned out cheesy.
I don't see how it would have. The whole point of making it more professional would have been to make it less cheesy. If you fail to do that, then you've failed to make it "more professional".
> IMHO success proves Patrick right.
Patrick's success has primarily been in the written word. This is his first foray into selling video-based content, and I think he has quite a bit of work to do on his presentation. Like most nerds, he's quite awkward on camera, but it's nothing that can't be fixed with some elbow grease.
Of course people will cite his Business of Software talk as a counterexample, but that was highly rehearsed (something he mentioned on HN) and consequently felt polished (yet still a little awkward), but the video on training.kalzumeus.com doesn't feel that way. Moreover, having to heavily rehearse every presentation you give does not scale very well when you're creating a series of them to sell online.
Some things that could've been easily improved in the intro video include wearing a proper suit (or at least a collared shirt) instead of a red tracksuit, properly styling his hair, wearing contacts instead of glasses (due to the reflections on them), not wearing an enormous geeky headset, removing the audio "booms" that frequently occur in the video, not being in a 和室 (Japanese-style room) and dropping the super-tacky gimmick with the $100 bill.
I don't think that Coding Horror article is very good. It is too hand-wavey and drawing an analogy that is stretched a little too far, without giving it a sufficiently hard background.
I think what he is trying to say is that Phil didn't test the higher order interactions enough, i.e. he didn't check that the effect that some pair of action have when done together (and the effect of triples, etc.). This is very important to note, and a good point. (I think one should preferably run a fully crossed factorial experiment, so that every combination is tested.)
But it is just saying "don't do A/B testing wrong", which is obviously true. I think a lot of problems with A/B testing are caused by people who don't have much statistical knowledge missing some of the subtleties that comes with any experimental design.
(On that note, there are many articles about why one needs to be careful using A/B testing, which do have the backing of statistics.)