Orlando Arzola is a Senior iOS Developer at X-Team. Based in Santiago, Chile, Orlando has a long history of entrepreneurship and programming. He recently started a YouTube channel and I spoke with Orlando to better understand what inspired him to start his channel, where he gets his ideas, and more.
Let's start with an introduction. Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Orlando Arzola and I'm originally from Caracas, Venezuela. I have a Spanish YouTube channel called Autodidacta Dev where I talk about programming, entrepreneurship, and lifestyle. Apart from that, I'm interested in martial arts, languages, board games, and videogames (currently PS5).
Why did you decide to start a YouTube channel?
Programming and entrepreneurship are some of the most important things in my life. They've given me the opportunity to lead an amazing life. I started a YouTube channel because I wanted to share my knowledge and experience with the people who are just starting out as programmers, so they can avoid some of the mistakes I made in my programming past.
Tell us a little about your programming past.
At university, I started out in Physics but quickly realized that wasn't for me, so I switched to Mechanical Engineering after one semester. There, I started learning about programming, C++ more specifically, and I really enjoyed it.
After Mechanical Engineering, I pursued a Master's in Innovation in Scotland and Hamburg where I mostly forgot about programming. When I graduated, however, a friend and I started brainstorming crazy ideas to start companies. I realized that almost every idea required either a website or a mobile app. So I started learning about iOS so I could eventually build apps.
For years now, I've walked this path of programmer/entrepreneur. The knowledge and experience that came from walking that path are what I want to give the people who watch my videos.
Sounds great! So how do you come up with ideas for your videos?
They happen suddenly. Inspiration often strikes while I'm programming or working together with my team. I also look at previous experiences in my career and takes notes of what have been the most important elements. All these ideas I put as cards on a Trello board that I browse when I need to create my next video.
Once you have an idea, what's your process to get to a polished new video?
I'm pretty informal when it comes to this 😀. I go to my Trello board and take the subject I'm most comfortable with. Then I write a script where I break the topic into three or four parts. Once I have that structure in my head, I start talking. And voila! I have my raw video. Then I edit and 'prettify' it until it's ready to publish.
What were some of the challenges you had that you didn't think you would have publishing videos on YouTube?
Mostly being good in front of the camera. I'm an extrovert, but whenever I stood in front of the camera in the beginning, I was very serious and talked like a robot. It wasn't until I had a few videos in that my personality came out and I started feeling more comfortable, making jokes, being more expressive, etc.
Do you have specific goals for your channel? Like a certain number of people you want to reach?
The main goal for my channel is to monetize it via mentoring, projects, classes, etc. The bigger the audience, the better. But I want a high-quality audience too. With that, I mean that I'd like my viewers to watch my videos because they solve one of their problems.
How do you market your YouTube channel? Are there places or communities where you post your videos?
This is a tricky one. I always start with friends and family, but they're not really my target audience. So I try to find groups related to my topic. Facebook groups are good, but I also try to follow people on Twitter who are interested in this topic. Also, if you have good SEO for your videos, your following should grow organically. That takes time, though, so you need to be consistent and patient.
What kind of equipment do you use to shoot your videos?
For most of my videos I use my MacBook Pro's integrated webcam. You just have to make sure you have good lighting, otherwise the image quality won't be good. I use a cheap Chinese mic with an M-Audio 2*2 interface to amplify the sound.
I also make sure my background looks nice and bright, but not too distracting either – otherwise your followers will pay more attention to the little thing behind you than to you 😀
Finally, what's the one piece of advice you'd give to someone who wants to start a YouTube channel?
Be yourself, be consistent, and make videos about topics your audience will be interested in.
Great advice, thank you Orlando! Best of luck growing your channel.