Now You Know – Happy With Where We Are

Ever since MatPat, the Internet personality behind the ______ Theorists empire of YouTube channels announced his retirement, I’ve noticed two things:

  1. A lot more people than I realized enjoy MatPat’s work (which, given his 18+ million subscribers, I should have assumed);
  2. Maybe channels that serve a similar audience posted “Why is everyone leaving YouTube videos?”

In a lot of those videos, the influencers remark on the futility of serving the algorithm. They employ a logical fallacy that a channel should grow linearly, so if a video of X length released on Y schedule makes Z money, working full time to increase the X or Y should increase the Z. As many full-time content creators discover, there’s a whole other alphabet of variables that need to be manipulated in order to serve the algorithm.

“The algorithm” is often characterized as this unknowable equation that simultaneously demands and suppresses content. While I sympathize with the content creators broadly, a lot of time I find myself agreeing as an audience member with what they complain the algorithm puts them through. If I am used to a channel’s videos being 10-15 minutes long, I’m not happy when I see an anomalous 30-minute video, or the average length creep up to 20 minutes. I base my YouTube viewing around the activities I can do while watching, and changing the pattern affects when I can watch it. Likewise, an increase in content leads to me falling behind, or being selective in what I watch.  My behaviour teaches the algorithm, and enough other subscribers with the same viewing habits then affects the content creators.

Although a lot of these videos feel like the content creators asking existential questions, they usually end with a little “I’m not going anywhere” assurance. I guess I’m jumping on the bandwagon. I’m not going anywhere. However, unlike those channels, many of whom I suspect are on the grow and aspire to MatPathood, it’s safe to say Know Direction has settled into a post-decline stable state.

There was a time when I watched our analytics and I celebrated the channel’s numeric growth. However, that all ended when Perram adjusted our analytics settings. What looked like 60 000 subscribers, he said, was mostly bots, and our subscribers were closer to 2000. I like to think he overtuned the settings and our real numbers were closer to the tens of thousands, but regardless, that day taught me that I don’t understand how these numbers were determined enough to care about them as much as I did. It’s not like we were trying to attract advertisers. That’s a side of running the network I never cared for. Good thing, too. I don’t know what kind of legal trouble we might face if I had to tell an advertiser that we actually had 3% of the audience we originally informed them.

Going back to what I said about the network being in a post-decline state. I did like when we added content to the site. Daily podcasts, many of which were actual plays. Daily blogs as well. I loved having so much content for our fans. However, as Know Direction’s #1 fan, even I struggled to keep up with everything we released. So while we might not be as prestigious as we once were, releasing less content and with spottier consistency, the network feels like it’s back to the days where it was just fun to run. We make the content we like, we put it out there hoping you like it, and try to improve our skills while simultaneously using it as a platform for future opportunities. Sure, I’d like it if I didn’t keep forgetting to update my banner, and if some of my favourite network shows were still putting out content, but overall, the network is a side extension of my hobby that gives a lot of people I admire an opportunity to express themselves, and our audience content to enjoy.

Speaking of network content, here is what the Know Direction Network had to offer last week:

Recap of January 15th to January 19th

What happened last week on and

Monday, January 15th


Now You Know – Year of the Draconequus
By Ryan Costello

I really hope I don’t forget to replace my banner after a year.

Thursday, January 18th


Investing In: Games in 2024
By Rob Pontious

There’s a lot of RPG content out there, with more releasing each year. Fortunately, Rob’s here to tell us what he’s most excited to see.


Preview of January 22nd to January 26th

Block 1 of our 2-block schedule.

Monday, January 22nd


Intrepid Heroes 124 – Diplomacy

Kinda sus that an episode that’s 90% a boss fight is called “Diplomacy”.


Now You Know – Happy With Where We Are
By Ryan Costello

In a world where content creators push themselves beyond their limits trying to make a career, we’re just happy to make a hobby of it.

Tuesday, January 23rd


Game Design Unboxed 81: Pirate Tails

Whitney Loraine, designer of Skybound’s Pirate Tails, has some amazing advice about unexpected ways game designers can improve their skills.


Eldritch Excursion
By Nate Wright

Nate’s Pathfinder and Starfinder designs and musings.

Wednesday, January 24th


Know Direction Beyond 81 Live – Ports of Call

Alex and James attempt to slay their white whale by reviewing the Ports of Call Starfinder hardcover, live on Twitch!

Thursday, January 25th


Digital Divination 101

Oooh, I hope episode 101 is a basics of course.

Friday, January 26th


Essential Builds – My Lillium Falcon
By Ryan Costello

What does My Lillium Falcon even mean? Check out Friday’s Essential Builds to find out!


Now you know,
Ryan Costello


Ryan Costello

What started as one gamer wanting to talk about his love of a game grew into a podcast network. Ryan founded what would become the Know Direction Podcast network with Jason "Jay" Dubsky, his friend and fellow 3.5 enthusiast. They and their game group moved on to Pathfinder, and the Know Direction podcast network was born. Now married and a father, Ryan continues to serve the network as the director of logistics and co-host of Upshift podcast, dedicated to the Essence20 RPG system he writes for and helped design. You can find out more about Ryan and the history of the network in this episode of Presenting: