One year of updates

I restarted blogging a little over a year ago. After a long hiatus, I finally decided that I had enough things to say that I’d try putting them on the internet again and see if anyone wanted to read them.

Just a little while after that, I also restarted my old email newsletter, but with a different format. Eschewing the term “newsletter,” which I think is sort of dated at this point, I called it my “email update,” which is more accurate. I took the old list I used to use, cleaned out a bunch of bad addresses, and sent out a “hey, here’s what I’m doing” message about the new site.

Since last year, my distribution list has grown by 80%. We’re now at a few hundred people. It’s not a huge list, but I’m still really happy with it: there’s <1% churn, >5% month-on-month growth and good click-throughs (see below). When I think about how each subscriber has personally granted me permission to send stuff right to their inboxes, it’s really pretty flattering. (I barely subscribe to anything!) So if you subscribe, thanks a lot. I take it seriously.

My reasons for doing the updates are these:

  • Distribution of my own writing. Even if you were to follow me on Twitter, which is my social network of choice, you probably wouldn’t see my blogging unless you were looking for it. (No one uses RSS anymore.) So for people who are picking up what I’m laying down, it’s a way to make sure folks see it.
  • Not everyone likes Twitter, or is ever going to connect meaningfully on there. I think of my email distro list as sort of a private social network. Some of y’all reply back to me after these updates with your feedback and thoughts, which is a huge treat.
  • I run across a lot of interesting writing that I want to share. I try to focus on articles/threads that aren’t the ones that go viral, which everyone has seen. Based on the CTRs, y’all like these.

Speaking of clickthroughs, let’s talk about those!

  • Most update clickthrough rates are in the low 20% range. A notable exception was this one from early May, when Nassim Taleb, true to form, threw a tantrum and blocked me on twitter. Taleb is trash and you shouldn’t listen to him.
  • The most-clicked-on pieces I’ve shared thus far are: Phil Klay’s outstanding essay, “The Warrior at the Mall” (I highly recommend his book, Redeployment. Klay is making a strong case for being the Tim O’Brien of his generation); the announcement of “Building Products for the Enterprise” being published; my blog post “Ten Things I Wish I’d Known in My 20s.”
  • You guys love the twitter threads I’ve been including for the last few months. They are consistently some of the most-clicked-on inclusions in the email. I’ll keep doing those.

The frequency of these email updates is basically dependent on whether I have any new blogging and/or great found content to share. That has worked out to about every 2-3 weeks, just as I predicted when we began.

So anyway – if you’re subscribed, thanks. If you’re not, that’s okay too! I have the full archive of old updates here, so if you’re curious, check ’em out. More to come.


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