Well done - you've got through another week! It's Friday!
Seren yr Wythnos #5
Spenny (or @ianspencer as he's more properly and less commonly known) isn't on the forum all that often these days - which makes him a particularly good example of how I'd like this thread to recognise all the people in the SSiW ecosystem - especially the ones you might otherwise not have known about their contributions.
Now, it would be easy to choose Spenny as Seren yr Wythnos for his courage in facing up to the very first ever Bootcamp with only about 10 sessions under his belt - and for surviving the week by miming 'sunny' and 'hat' any time he wanted to say 'syniad da'...
Or we could choose him for his long-standing friendliness and consistent, calm support and advice - Catrin and I have always enjoyed catching up with Spenny when he's over in Gwynedd, and it was an absolute delight to see him again recently at the Llandrindod reunion of The Magnificent Saith (our first Bootcampers).
But, no, it's going to have to be Seren yr Wythnos to Spenny for...
Actually Making SSiW Possible
Yes, I'll explain.
Back in the day, when we had about one or two thousand learners, and Course 1 and the beginning of Course 2, all of which were free, we also had quite a few people telling us we ought to be charging for the course.
Spenny was one of the clearest of those voices (I'll never forget his 'banging head against wall in despair' tone when I told him we were going to charge £95 for the week for our first Bootcamp!).
But we had a problem.
We didn't like the idea of charging lots of money for SSiW - it was clear it was working, but we want to help build a successful future for the Welsh language, and that doesn't mean turning people away because they can't afford to learn.
So the only pattern that looked okay to us was a very low monthly subscription - but then surely that meant people would subscribe, download the Course 2 lessons, and then realise that they were subscribing for nothing, feel a bit silly, and cancel the subscription?
We needed something that would be new and valuable every month, or every week.
And then I got an email from Spenny.
It went something like this:
'These recordings you make. Would you like me to build a tool that would put them all into a database, so that you could take less time stitching them up into lessons? And then you'd be able to pull bits of them out at random for revision purposes...'
And that was the beginning of the Spennyware - a gigantically brilliant software tool which is the base of everything we've done - donated, for free, by a superb software engineer (the guy who literally wrote the book on C++) just to say 'thank you'.
It made the daily practice sessions possible - and that made the subscription approach possible - and that lead a few years later to the point where Ifan and I are full-time, and the Spennyware has grown via the Jennyware (more later) into the SSiBorg, and started moving online, and opening up all sorts of interesting new possibilities (more later!).
If I had to choose one moment when the fate of SSiW genuinely rested in the balance, I think I'd choose the moment Spenny sent me that email, and landed himself with a moderately enormous software project on the side.
Heaven alone knows how much we would have needed to find if we'd tried to get something like that done on the open market - far, far more than we could ever have afforded.
So, you lovely folks of SSiW - if you've ever used any of our lessons (and not entirely hated the process!) now would be a good time to say thank you to Spenny...
Seren yr Wythnos #1
Iestyn ap Dafydd
Seren yr Wythnos #2
Catrin Lliar Jones
Seren yr Wythnos #3
Seren yr Wythnos #4
Seren yr Wythnos #5
Seren yr Wythnos #6
Seren yr Wythnos #7