Packy McCormick writes the popular newsletter Not Boring, which is all about strategy and investing, from big companies to small. Packy was the VP of experience at a company called Breather, but when he left that role to start another startup he ended up creating a blockbuster newsletter instead! Not Boring has grown to over 30,000 subscribers.
Packy’s newsletter is generating fantastic revenue, and his business model is a little different from the paid subscriptions that are popular right now. He dives into all the specifics. If you’re curious just how much you can make from a 30,000-subscriber mailing list, don’t miss this episode!
In additional to business models and why he chose his, Packy also talks about the tactics that worked to rapidly grow his newsletter past 30,000 subscribers, the difference between being a writer and being an investor, and more.
Links & Resources
- Prof. Scott Galloway: Overhauling Twitter
- Breather – Unique Meeting Rooms, Hourly Offices & Workspaces
- David Perell – Write of Passage
- Roam Research – A note taking tool for networked thought.
- Benedict Evans
- Clubhouse: Drop-in audio chat
Packy McCormick’s Links
It is about sitting at your computer for hours and hours and hours every week. And making sure that you’re getting it right. And then you’re finding the right angle. Find something that you actually care about if you’re not interested by the things that you’re writing in. So you could probably bake it for a little while, but I think it really comes through when the writer is really interested in the things that they’re writing about.
In today’s episode, I talked to Packy McCormick who writes a really popular newsletter, Not Boring. Packy was the VP of experience at a company called Breather. And then he left that role to start another startup and then decided to start a newsletter instead. And Not Boring has grown to over 30,000 subscribers.
He’s got some pretty fantastic revenue. He dives into the specifics. So if you’re curious how much you can make off of a 30,000-subscriber mailing list, we talked about that. One of my favorite things is we get into business models. Paid subscription, is that best, or selling products or sponsorships?
And so we dive in Packy shares why he chose the model that he did and why he thinks that’s the best for his audience. So it’s a really fun, wide ranging conversation. I think you’re going to enjoy it. Packy, welcome to the show.
Great to be here.
Thanks for having me. So I want to just dive in and hear a little bit about what are your, some of your favorite things to write about?
Yeah. So my favorite things to write about, and I actually, it took me a while to kind of get back to my favorite things to write about. I was writing about community and sleep and like just kind of all over, just doing the, I think the normal early newsletter thing of like thinking that you’re a fantastic curator of the internet.
And what I really loved writing about recently is as business strategy companies, big companies, small, and mixing that with finance, that’s taken a couple of years, but I think I’ve kind of hit this sweet spot where it’s a more fun approach to these topics that are kind of. Not super fun normally, which is business analysis and finance and the stock market.
So I’m just trying to, you know, make it approachable, fun, and enjoyable while you’re learning something. Yeah.
So what’s an example of one of those, of like a business strategy for a particular company that you’ve, you’ve enjoyed.
So I, this past week I wrote about Twitter, and, and wrote about, you know, how Twitter is this company that has been, you know, that I think a lot of us use and are on all the time, but it’s done.
An absolutely horrendous job of monetizing. So talked about it through the lens of professor Scott Galloway wrote a piece. And so what was wrong with that piece? And then what I thought that Twitter should do and why I think that Twitter is actually undervalued and this idea of like, you know, once things start kind of changing for Twitter, there’s so much love for the company that I think people are just gonna pile into the stock.
A lot of this is about being lucky. I wrote this on Monday, they reported earnings on Tuesday and it’s up like 27% since I wrote about it. So just got super lucky on timing there, but there’s a lot of that like kind of combining how they should think about business strategy and then how that parlays into the market.
So it’s less really quantitative and more like, here’s kind of what everybody’s saying about this company. Here’s what they’re doing. Here’s what maybe they should be doing. And if they do that, here’s what it might look like today. For example, I wrote about, Y angel at early stage valuations are not as crazy as they seem based on the fact that Amazon and Apple and Facebook and all these huge companies have grown actually way faster than the average startup valuation has round by round by round.
And so just kind of walking through that, but then weaving in. The movie up as an analogy and, you know, the four minute mile. And so just try to like, make it super fun and approachable.
Yeah. I like that one. And I have to say, I, on Monday, last week, I read your Twitter post, especially as you know, you’re diving into the creator economy and all this stuff that.
It’s just so much fun. and then I was like, this is a compelling case and I’ve owned, you know, Twitter stock for years, but not very much. I bought more, after that article, so you’re already making me money.
That’s, that’s amazing to hear that scares the hell out of me. So I wrote about Slack a couple of weeks before they, before they got acquired and, had this, like really this, this case of like, I love this company.
They’re just being mistreated by the market, all these things and, and made a, I think a fairly compelling bull case. And then they popped for totally different reasons. Something that I did not write about, but people came out of the woodwork and were like, Oh, thank you so much. I bought Slack because you said to buy Slack and bill.
And I got a little bit scared, frankly, because I was like, I’m not a professional, I’m not a registered advisor. I’m not like. Amazing. If you like, then go do your own due diligence, I love that you’re investing, but it’s scary now that the audience is big enough that people are actually putting money behind the things that I’m writing, which is why.
Yeah. You don’t want the like yep. I put my kid’s college fund in there. Like it’s going to be fully funded to whatever school now. Thanks to your advice. And you’re like, please, no!
Exactly. It works through, I mean, like the whole thing. And one of the things that I’m nervous about, frankly, is that the way that I write and the things that I write about work really, really well in this ridiculous bull market that we’re in the middle of where every tech stock is just totally up and to the right where I could throw a a dart at a dartboard and then pick a stock in that way.
And probably it’s going to go up a little bit and then I can look smart. It’d be really interesting to see just kind of what general. Reader interest is at a time when the market is a lot more boring or flat or down or X, Y, or Z thing when the market changes. I feel I’m lucky that we’re in this spot right now that the thing that I care about and enjoy writing about the most is also the thing that is doing the best in the market.
Well, I think it would be interesting because if I’m, I might be reading into this too much, but you’re trying to write about the longterm. Things that make the company and the business model and the strategy interesting, rather than like what the stock is going to do this week or this month, or even quarter this year.
And so that would be like, you don’t want people taking away that like right about on Monday, it’ll make money on Tuesday. That’s the wrong thing. It’s more of like, Hey Twitter as a whole over the next year. Five 10 years is probably undervalued because of all of these things.
A hundred percent. Yeah. And that’s the way that I approach it.
And then what ends up happening? I think particularly because there have been things like the Twitter or Slack or whatever else, what ends up happening is that people just buy the next day. Cause we’re like, cool. I mean, if it’s a long-term and so did up by big caveat always is that I have no idea what’s going to happen in the next month, day, year, week, whatever but term, I think these companies are in a really good spot and I think.
People in the markets are just not used to companies with as massive a Tam or a massive, a potential market to address as a lot of these companies have and the business model that these companies have. And so if these things do well, and I don’t think they’re constrained necessarily by even, Apple’s kind of current $2.2 trillion market cap, I think there’s massive upside and a lot of these companies, but yeah, for sure that will take a long time to play out.
Yeah, that makes sense. I want to go back to. You know how the newsletter has changed over time. And maybe before that, what made you start a newsletter in the first place?
Yeah, so I actually, so it was a company called Breather, which did kind of on demand meeting and workspace loved it, but was there for, you know, I was in year number six when I started the newsletter.
And so I think after you’re at a startup for that long, it gets a little bit stale. We brought in a professional exact team, which made it a little bit staler and I was like, man, I need to like. Exercise my brain a little bit, because I’m not getting that at work right now. And so I took David Perell’s Write of Passage course and loved it as part of that.
You know, one of the assignments was just go start a Substack. And so at that point I probably had 300 followers on Twitter. this was April, 2019, so 300 followers on Twitter and. you know, nobody obviously subscribed to the newsletter. I had to beg the first time I set up my stuff at Substack I sent out a tweet please, just like, I need to get 20 people to subscribe to this.
Like, please just sign up. So I don’t have to ask people individually. And so that’s, that’s kinda how the whole thing started and really it was this exploration for the first year or so where I was just sending links. And sometimes I’d go a little bit deeper on something, but it was things that I was listening to and reading.
I think it’s a really good way to start doing that and kind of summarizing other people’s work and getting that muscle. In the beginning. I was petrified. Every time I hit send, but like there was this text chain going on among my friends. They were like, what is Packy doing? He went to a good school.
He worked in finance for a while and now he’s like, he’s sending this newsletter every Sunday, just random internet links. Like what the hell is going on here. but did that for a awhile while it was in the middle of starting a company, never thought that it was going to be my, my full-time thing.
Company was like Bri, they’re kind of a physical place base thing, left breather kind of at the end of 2020, or the end of 2019 to start that. and then COVID it. And so I was like, Oh man, all right, I’ve grown this newsletter to like 350 people now. And that is like the asset that I have professionally because this company is at least on pause and maybe dead.
And so let me just see if I, you know, reading this thing from per my last email, which was called to Not Boring and start writing some essays, like. Could this be enough that it at least pays rent and gives me time to figure out if this company is going to be the thing that I do, like pretty much anything to help me avoid getting a job.
And so set a couple of, kind of short-term goals for myself. Like, all right. Hopefully I can get to, I think my goal on January 1st, 2020 was let’s get to a thousand people by the end of the year, then COVID hit and it’s like, let’s get to 5,000 people I’ve ended the year. And then the goals kind of kept falling and it kept growing.
And so then like at some point in the summer, I realized that this is probably what I want to do full time. So I was like, you need to start monetizing this thing. And so then I figured out, like, could I, you know, should I go paid or should I get a sponsor? And if I get a sponsor, how do I do that? So just put together a deck and tweeted that out and got sponsorship interest.
And so it’s been a series of like, none of this was intentional and I never set out to be a professional newsletter writer, but. Each step along the way. I think even as kind of the list grows cooler and cooler opportunities open up. And now I feel like I’m in a spot where I get to do this thing that I really liked doing and have all this serendipity with no real plan.
Yeah. I love it. It’s fun to see how that’s grown. It’s crazy that, so what, in, in 10 or 11 months, you’re up 30,000 subscribers. Is that right?
Something like that. Yeah. Up to 33,000 now.
Yeah. Okay. It’s, it’s crazy how fast, newsletters can grow. And we were talking about our mutual friend, Mario. Who’s going to come on the podcast a little later and you know, he’s grown incredibly fast and, and just sort of this thing of when you’re putting out great content, then there’s not really a ceiling on how, how fast or how high the newsletter can grow.
Totally. And I think Mario is such a good example of. One of my favorite, like kind of meta hacks, which is just experiment a ton over the past year he has tried so many different formats has brought in a bunch of different collaborators. You know, sweat made the switch before a lot of people, which I think is coming from Substack over to ConvertKit He did all of these things first.
And I think more than even actually what you try, just trying new things is such a valuable thing to do in growing and growing a newsletter. So he’s been so much fun to watch.
Yeah, that’s great. In that process, right. We’re talking about adding 33,000 subscribers in a year. What are some of the things that have worked?
Yeah, I mean, it’s really, frankly, most of that has just come from people sharing the newsletter, which has been great. Like my main two toolkits are spending a ton of time writing and then tweeting about it and that’s like, Really most of the plan in the beginning when I was at like 500 and figuring out how to get to a thousand, I made a list of a hundred different things that I wanted to try.
I tried a few of them actually had a friend who was leaving his cushy job, come and help me for a little while. And we did a few things like put together a referral program, which is good, but a lot of effort, We launched on product hunt, which was huge. I was at a thousand subscribers. Then we launched on product time, just put together like a very simple landing page, just as an excuse to go on product hunt that got to, I think 2000 plus people in a few days went from 1200 to 30, 200, just from that product, something.
And then. From there. The biggest thing was, you know, even when it was, I think 200 people probably I started saying like, all right, I’m at 200 people. Here’s the chart. Like next week, I’d love to be at 210 people. And I think just being that kind of open with everybody from the time that it was very small, has just built this feeling that we’re all in it together, which is totally true because none of this growth happens without people.
Responding giving feedback and sharing and all those types of things. So that’s really been, frankly, the big thing I know, community is an overused word. And certainly like, this is more, I guess, technically an audience and a community. Cause they don’t have a Slack, but I don’t have any of that. But all of the growth has come from people reading and talking about it and sharing.
Yeah. That makes sense. I love the way that you’re inviting people along for the journey. Like so many people. Take like a, I am the expert. I will teach you things as the audience, you know, or, or that sort of thing. And I’ve just always loved it when someone says like, Hey, I’m a guy I’m trying to get from here to there.
You know, if you want to subscribe, that’d be great. If you’d tell your friends that would help me hit this next milestone. And I mean, I did that in the very early days of ConvertKit where. it actually started with what I called the BA the web app challenge, which was trying to get to from zero to $5,000 in MRR in six months, and like blogging the whole way along.
It didn’t hit the goal, you know, in the short term, but it worked out in the long run. and I just think that more creators could bring their audience along for the journey.
Totally, and I think a huge part of this too, is like, you know, I saw people that I thought were just these, like, gods, right?
Gods and goddesses who had big audiences. And, you know, we’re always in the conversation on Twitter and got hundreds of likes and everything they did. And I was like, I doubt I’m ever going to get there. But in case, like, let me just kind of timestamp all of this stuff, because if it works, then, you know, I can show people that I’m a random idiot sitting in a basement, somewhere writing a newsletter.
Like you could also be a random idiot doing this thing that you want to do, whether it’s writing a newsletter, doing something else. I think it’s so cool to be able to just kind of timestamp everything. Along the journey to show that this is not some like mystical thing that happens. It’s just about putting in the work over time and having fun with it and finding something that you really like doing, I think.
Yeah. And I think the approach that you’ve taken with the content of, you know, making the switch from just like, here’s the things that I’ve read recently to actually doing, you know, long form essays, trying to make them Not Boring. I think that’s, that’s. Paid off really well. Are there, I want to hear more about your writing process, right?
So you’re publishing twice a week. Is that right?
Oh, usually twice a week. Now that was kind of accidental at some point I was. So I write every Monday I read kind of like my feature essay of the week. Typically it’s about a big public company, sometimes about a broader trends. So today’s piece on valuations was about a broader trend, but last week was Twitter.
There’s a Slack piece of Facebook. There’s a bunch of just deep dives on a company. And then on Thursday, Probably yeah, six months ago. I was like, maybe it’d be nice if I do go sponsored at some point to have a second spot. And I want to be able to bring other people into the process and they want to experiment and all of these different things.
So I opened up a Thursday that I really thought was going to be like, maybe once a month I have a guest or something else. And those that filled up. So Thursdays, I do. investment memos on startups that we’re investing in through the syndicates. So Not Boring now has a syndicate that invests in startups together, or a sponsor deep dives, which is a company will pay me money to write up the company.
And that’s a fun one to dive into too. And I think goes pairs nicely with kind of letting people in on the process the whole time and, and my thought process on. Like, obviously I could be writing something that I don’t believe in here or whatever, because they’re paying me a lot of money. So you need to really trust that I’m only choosing companies that I actually would write about anyway, even if they weren’t paying me and then I’m writing honestly about it and all of that.
So Thursdays are mainly those two things, and then sometimes I’ll have a guest post. So this past Thursday I had Dan Tran, who was the CEO of manage my Q a, write a piece on third-party food delivery and, and. Kind of like the impact on restaurants that we’ve seen over COVID from restaurants having to pay 30% of their profits to third party delivery companies or their revenues, I guess, and what that does to their economics and what a better way forward is.
And so Thursday still is kind of this experimental thing, but mostly is, you know, the best memos and, and deep dives. So, yeah, so it ends up being a ton of writing. It’s like, you know, I’m writing probably 10,000 words a week, which is not. Something that I thought I’d ever be capable of.
So. Yeah, well, I mean like this, the first thing when people talk about, Oh, I want to, I want to start a newsletter.
You know, maybe they want the Twitter engagement. Maybe they want to be one of those gods or goddesses that they look up to. And I’m always asking them like one that’s amazing Two you’re totally capable of it. Three. Do you know just how much writing is involved in that? Like just to set the stage, like you’re signing up To be a writer as your profession. And sometimes they’re like, yes, absolutely. I have this background in journalism or whatever else, like. I can nail it. And other times they’re like, Oh, okay. I thought that the polished thing was just what you, you know, like that was the process.
Totally. Yeah. You remember essays that you had to write in college, like imagine doing like that final paper twice a week now.
And that, that’s what it is. I was talking to somebody, on Twitter the other day, somebody that I quoted in my piece today and we were talking and he had to write something for a job interview. And he was like, man, like I really thought this newsletter thing was cushy until I had to write one thing for a job interview. And I was like, Oh man, this is really, really hard to do. Yeah.
It’s, it’s fun to see how, like so many people develop that muscle though. because it is just a muscle. I think, you know, we put a lot of great writers on pedestals and that’s because, they’ve done the work.
They’ve learned how to do it. It’s it’s, you know, it is really difficult, but at the same time, I think it’s pretty approachable. And I, I think people like you and I prove that. Look, if you’re going to sit down and put in the time. You can put out content, you know, I’m not going to win a Nobel prize for it, but a lot of people are going, yeah, sorry. I didn’t mean to cry.
That’s my goals. Now I think that the Nobel Nobel prize was, was really what I was after with this, this whole thing. But I think you’re absolutely right. Right. Like it is about sitting at your computer for hours and hours and hours every week and making sure that you’re getting it right.
And that you’re finding the right angle. I think so work is the number one piece of it. I’d say the other thing that you need to do. Is find something that you actually care about writing about and not fake it, because I think it’s impossible to put in the work if you’re not interested in the things that you’re writing in.
So you can probably fake it for a little while, but I think it really comes through when the writer is really interested in the things that they’re writing about.
Yeah. That makes sense. What’s more of your process on researcher stories that you put together? You know, I talked to someone with, I’m asking purely for myself because I’m trying to figure out even more of my system.
Right. I hang out with someone like Ryan holiday and he has this crazy like note cards, you know, in folders and all, you know, as he’s writing all these books and I’m like, I have Apple notes with an assortment of random ideas that I jot down in there. And sometimes they make their way from like, Idea to rough draft and on from there, but I’m curious what, what your process is.
Yeah. You’re more organized than I am. So I, I use, I use Roam because I think that you’re supposed to, and that at some point, like all of my backlinks are going to start coming together and like, My mind is just going to start working like humming my second brand. I guess it’s going to start humming here once, once my room starts working together, but frankly I have like something called Not Boring ideas where I put in a new tag.
Whenever I have an idea. I think maybe once I’ve gone back to that list, it’s probably like 35 ideas long. And so I’m like, okay, cool. Like I have this backlog of things that I might want to write about. And then every week on call it Wednesday for a Monday essay, I’m like, All right, let’s go look at the list.
Like, what should I write about this week? And they all end up kind of seeming stale. And so every Wednesday or Thursday, I sit there like panic thinking. I have no idea. I’ve written about every company that I’m interested in. I’ve written about a return that I’m interested in. Like, I think Monday is the day that like, I’m just not going to have anything to say.
And so at some point there, I spent a lot of time on Twitter. I see something that interests me or reading something else. I see something that interests me. I wonder if I have a unique angle to take on that thing. And then if I do. I had set up to kind of a Google docs. I set up like the, you know, V1 draft doc.
And I said at the outline doc, And I’d probably dump a few links in some, some in Rome and then some in the Google backs than there are all over the place. And there’s nothing kind of special about it. And then I’ll try to do an outline and I’ll probably get like four bullets into the outline. And then I’m like, I’m just gonna start writing.
And then I started kind of just writing the piece and hammering it out and doing a lot of the research kind of on the fly exactly how you’re not supposed to do it. If they were teaching this in college where they’d say like, look at all the evidence first and then like figure out if there is an argument to be made there.
They’re not like. Certainly looking for confirmatory evidence, but also I’ll ask like smart people around me who know more about the subject than I do. Like if I’m totally crazy on this, or if there’s actually something there and really look for, you know, things that will disconfirm what I’m thinking as well.
And certainly just cause I’m maybe a coward, like we’ll caveat the hell out of things that I’m not certain on as I’m, as I’m writing them, then, you know, like there’s this panic and ecstasy and whatever the whole kind of Wednesday through Sunday. Again, if you, if you want to. Really get a newsletter writing.
Like I have not, I’ve taken one day off, I think in the past year that I’ve been doing this full-time cause every Saturday, every Sunday, I’m just kind of like sitting there writing. and then, you know, at some point I’ll have a draft that I don’t feel terribly embarrassed sending to my brother and my wife, my wife, her job as editor is to kind of say like, you know, this was interesting to read or like you do not have this yet.
And my brother is, is to be a younger brother and just totally rip apart. What I’ve written and tell me when I sound like I’m too full of it or whatever, throughout the paper. And then also like grammatical stuff, or things that I’ve missed or different things. Like, luckily he’s also, he works at a company called Parade.
So he’s also kind of in the startup space. And so he like knows also the material and the conversation that’s going on. And so it can really help there he’ll do that. Meanwhile, like half the time I’m probably in Figma just making terrible graphics because they help me think through things as well. I throw it all together, dump and stuff, stack.
On Monday morning, I do another read. I’m like, ah, this is good. Or this is terrible. I don’t know. Try to make some last edits, record an audio version of it and hit, send and violent eight 55 in a cold sweat every, every Monday morning. And then do the same thing on Thursday.
And then just rinse and repeat every week.
Every week. Yeah, I’m actually 12, but I look 34 because it’s aged me.
What do you think about like, there’s this thing with newsletters that I think everyone should be aware of is sort of this hamster wheel you can get on and you have to be, I don’t know if it’s careful of, and but maybe just know what you’re signing up for.
You know, we always talk about the incredible upsides of growing a subscriber base. We’ll get into revenue and business models in a second. and, and the upsides are phenomenal, but one of the downsides is that. You know, you are showing up, you’ve spent all of your weekends, you know, or at least consistently every weekend for a while.
Right. Of working on these posts. And so I’m curious how you think about those trade-offs and if you’re looking towards systems to try to improve that in the future.
Yeah. I mean, thankfully I have an incredibly patient wife, we just had a baby, so that adds another level of complexity and, and happiness and all the great things to it as well.
But. I don’t know. I mean, I, I really genuinely enjoy doing this, so I don’t mind it. It’s more about thinking about the other people in my life and being like, I wonder if they mind that I’ve been in the basement for the past seven days, just writing and chances are they probably do. But the good thing is, you know, there are times throughout this process that I have nothing, you know, like I’m just sitting there and I’m blank. Then I can go hang out with the baby for three hours in the middle of a Wednesday, which is really, really cool. Or, you know, go to dinner with my life and not kind of have a set schedule knowing other than the fact that I know that Sunday, I’m going to be totally panicked and spending all day writing throughout the rest of the week.
It can be a little bit more all over the place. My wife and I keep having this debate about. Whether or not, I’m inefficient. And like, certainly like she’s an operation. She’s the most hyper-efficient person in the whole world. Whereas I’m like certainly spent a lot of time just kind of scrolling Twitter.
But I can, I think when you’re a writer, you can really justify an awful lot. It’s like working or research or whatever else. And I, I lean on that and I’m like, what do you expect? I’m an artist. Like, I can’t just sit down at a keyboard and just type on ton demand. So, you know, there’s a little bit of that.
And so I never feel like, Oh man, I just worked. I was in investment banking out of school. I’d never feels like that where I’d feel like I’m just stuck to something and I have to be there, but in the daytime, it’s really like, I really liked doing this and it’s a little bit flexible. It’s all on me. You know, it’s all on yourself, which is is one of the good or bad things about this. It’s like, there’s no one else to blame. There’s not a boss making you do anything. The downside, obviously, is you can let that run away in terms of systems, I keep making excuses for myself there too, where I’m like, I don’t know. I’d love to hire an intern.
I think it’d be really fun to have an intern, but I don’t know what I would have them do because like, like I said, I sit down on Thursday with no idea what I’m going to write about. And so I can’t tell somebody to pre-research. So much of the research happens in the process, or if I get an idea as I’m in the middle of the sentence and I go look something up, so it’s really hard to plug somebody into that.
So I I would love to put systems in place around this. And at some point I’ll have to, but for now I kind of like, you know, just the rawness of going through it every week.
Well, I think it comes through like the rawness combined with the interest and excitement comes through in the writing, you know, and that’s what makes it exciting.
And I think there’s probably a version where you can be like, We have planned out our content schedule three months ahead. And you know, all of these things and every article was perfectly researched and all of this, you know, and whatever else and people would be like, Packy I don’t mean to say anything bad, but this latest one was a little bit boring, you know?
And then you’d be like, Hey, you know, this way we can guarantee, that it lives up to the name.
Totally. I mean, doing it this way, at least you can piggyback on a lot of the things that are happening. And so I think that’s part of the growth thing too, is, is just being in kind of the conversation and knowing Oh, wow.
This week, people really care about Twitter because they acquired Revue and they’re launching spaces and they’re like maybe making this play for the creator economy. I wrote that they should do this a bunch of months ago. now it feels like a time for me to jump in and do this, this piece.
And so having that flexibility allows me to Do something people, are going to be interested in because they’ve been talking about it a lot that past week. Yeah.
That makes sense. another side effect that we see. Well, so, um, another newsletter author. Who’s, she’s going to come on the podcast later, Legion, she had this line about, how her paid newsletter, is her, is her like LP update list, right?
I’m talking about how, as an investor, you know, she has this newsletter that, is generating. You know, deal flow and revenue and all of that. I just loved the line. but I’m curious how, you know, as you’ve been investing in starting a syndicate and all that, how the newsletter has played in.
Yeah. So Lee and I were actually just having this conversation a couple of days ago about how investing and writing are just like two antithetical processes. They work really well together. The results work really well together, but the processes are so different, right? We’re writing. You want to be sitting down with a bunch of time to just think and not have a bunch of meetings. And then the investing side, you always want to be meeting people and helping those companies in any way that you can, once you have invested.
And it’s like this very kind of unstructured time where if somebody is like, Yeah, we’re, we’re racing around and we’re closing on Friday and can you meet and diligence it and put it up on AngelList and do all of this. And the next three hours, it’s like, I’m going to figure out how to make it happen, but it totally jams that like kind of two day window that I’ve given myself for the writing.
So from a process perspective, they do not work together at all, but from a results perspective, like I have no business being an investor, having anybody kind of trust me on my startup investing ideas. I’ve probably done between the syndicate and personal investments over the past six months. 12 investments.
Like I’m not an experienced venture investor, but because I’ve been writing for the past year, twice a week, and like putting my thoughts out there, people have a pretty good kind of corpus of the way that I think about things. And so they can think. All right. Packy, like probably has thought through this in a similar way to all the other things that he’s thought through.
And so either I think that’s stupid and I’m not going to invest with him because it’s out there. And I think he’s an idiot or, you know, at least like, know the way that he thinks. And I appreciate the way that he thinks. And so I’m sure that he’s thought through this one, the other benefit of this for the company is because we’re Not Boring.
I’m pretty nakedly commercial about the whole thing. It’s a little meta where we write about business, but then like really building this business and. I hate to use billing and public, but building this thing in public where like, like I said, I can write these sponsored deep dives and people actually really enjoy them because I try to write them the same way that I read a normal piece, write an investment memo where 90% of the value that I’m probably going to add to a company that I invest in comes on day zero before I even put any money into the company.
Cause I’m like, look, I’ll send out. An investment memo on your company. If I’m excited about it to a list of 33,000 people who are all in tech and finance. And so you’ll probably find some hires, you’ll probably find other investors. You’ll definitely find customers. And that’s a huge part of the value is just being able to help the company tell their story upfront.
So from that perspective, I wouldn’t get into half the deals that I’ve been able to get into. If I weren’t writing and path is maybe being. Generously, maybe I wouldn’t have gotten into any.
Yeah. I mean, it’s fascinating to see so many, angel investors, venture capitalists, see writing and building a newsletter as like one of the most effective forms of deal flow and like online, a lot of what we’re doing is just trying to, to gather attention, right?
So we’re, we’re putting out articles, we’re putting, you know, essays, Nike’s putting out ads, all of these things, right? We’re, we’re putting out our best version of content so that we can get attention. And then it’s what, what can you channel that attention into that has, you know, the most enjoyment for you and the highest return and like, you know, that’s where people joke that Nike is an advertising company that just happens to sell shoes.
Because they found out that was more profitable than, you know, like being the next Wieden+Kennedy and just making ads for other people. Now that’s apocryphal. That’s not actually how Nike came to be, but you know, that’s how I think about it. And so w when you have this attention, you could monetize it through sponsorships, through paid products.
Or as, a lot of investors, I I always read to Tomasz Tunguz from Redpoint and he’s had this newsletter going for a long time. It’s totally free. All these things. He’s not launching a paid newsletter because he’s like the deal flow into Redpoint is the highest possible return that I can get.
And so I think it’s amazing to see, you know, like angel investors like you and I be able to do the same.
Totally. I mean, it’s, it’s been fascinating to where. But that’s one of the main reasons that I want to keep this open is because it does just kind of create this surface area for opportunity and for new people reading it, who might be starting a company, or want to share a deal that might be interesting or all of those things.
But even the sponsorship itself has helped me find investment. So companies that have sponsored deep dives Daenerys around, and now I know the story and I’m really familiar with the company. And I know the people on the team because we’ve worked together on the thing. And so either I try to get the syndicate in, or if I can only write a personal check, then I’ll do that.
But yeah. Even just like that the sponsorship piece is also great at generating deal flow. So the whole thing just seems to work together really nicely. And I don’t want to think too deeply about the business model beyond this because what’s happening is working and I’m sure other things that feel natural.
And, you know, I think the number one thing is like, keep the audience’s trust and keep them engaged and keep writing good stuff. And if I can find other ways to monetize that fit with that. Awesome. But I don’t know, we can talk about the sponsorship thing versus paid, but one of the most fascinating things to me is that like consumer sponsors have come, like let’s call it a hat brand and that’s not a natural sponsor, but if a hat brand comes, I’ll actually sell.
Fewer units or get fewer clicks to that hat than I would to a $2,000-a-month SAS product, like just by number of actual orders that have gone through. And so figuring out kind of like what people actually care about then allows me to kind of build a monetization around. The content that people want to read.
Yeah. Well, I want to dive in. There’s more because, for a long time, people have monetized newsletters by selling products, and sponsorships. but then in the last say 18 months or two years paid newsletters have really had this rise. And, you know, you were on Twitter last week talking about like, yeah, sure, that’s awesome. But I think sponsorship is a really underrated, method. And so as you think about it, like you could launch a paid newsletter right now, it would do very well. you would have that recurring revenue. and so I’m curious, you know, like make the case, why, why are you staying with sponsors?
So I ran the math when I was thinking, when I kind of hit 5,000, which was like, my I’ll get to 5,000 and then I’ll figure out monetization. So I started thinking about it, then didn’t monetize till 10,000, but I was like, all right, cool. So the 5,000. Substack says that you can probably get 10% of your audience to convert.
I’ve never met anybody. Who’s converted 10% of their, their readers to paid. So let’s say it’s five. So if I get 5% that I’m at 5,000 times, 5%, I have 250 people subscribing. And if they pay me, I don’t know. Even if generously, they pay me $10 a month, then I’m at $2,500 a month. And all of a sudden, either I need to find like three more days in the week to write that paid piece.
Or I’m putting something behind a paywall. And so this growth that has been like the most fun part of this newsletter from, you know, it was more of like a game kind of than a business. When I was just trying to grow it from a thousand to 5,000, I never thought I’d actually make money on this thing. so at that point I was like, what am I going to shut off the growth or not sleep and write it there.
Another piece. And the count, the quality of all of them will probably suffer from adding anything more. So we’ll be in a spot where I’m making $2,500 a month growing more slowly. Not having people to share and talk about it, not opening up that surface area to other potential opportunities. It just like, you know, it’d be maybe a nice side thing if I weren’t putting as much effort into it, but that’s not, I can’t feed a family on $2,500 a month.
Whereas you know, the 10,000 I, I sent out a deck on the sponsorship side, filled up. This was end of August, pretty much from a tweet thread filled up the rest of the year, in terms of sponsors. And like didn’t know sales efforts. And like, that’s one of the downsides of doing sponsorships is that if there’s not that kind of pull, then you have to like go out into the market and cold email people.
And that takes more time. It’s a painful process. And I really like marketing, I guess, more than sales. I like just putting something out there and seeing what comes back versus having to ask anybody for anything I’m not petrified of, of that. so, you know, filled up to the end of the year, I was like, cool.
I’m at least like making money and can prove to my wife that. There is a path here. If I start bringing in some money and then that started working really well and sponsors started telling other sponsors. And so this year, you know, there’s really like three formats that, that I do for sponsorships. I have my kind of Monday top of newsletter sponsorship.
I have my Thursday, top of newsletter sponsorship, and I do different rates for the two of them because Mondays typically get shared a little bit more than Thursday pieces. Do. And then as I mentioned, I have the Thursday deep dives. And so with the three of those I’m now, you know, at least my run rate is more than I was making as an executive startup that raised a hundred million dollars and also have the investing piece of kind of like recreated a really good startup comp package through the syndicate and through the sponsorships.
Well, that’s interesting. I hadn’t thought that you have both the salary replaced and then of course you, you know, you own a hundred percent of. You know, your, your new immediate business. but you also have the equity side covered because you’ve got the syndicate and the other investing.
Exactly. And again, this was like, you know, it could seem in hindsight that there was some plan where I was like, I’m going to synthetically recreate a startup compensation package, but it was really halfway through.
I had spoken to a friend of mine who was launching a company. and trying to raise money and wanted to help telling his story. And so we experimented with me sending out an investment memo and sent the demand to somebody else and it worked. And so, you know, decided to start the syndicate and then halfway through, I’d probably three deals.
Then I was like, wow, this is actually kind of like, I have equity and I’m making money on the sponsorship. This is kind of like, you know, what I was making before. And so now it’s kind of there, which is, which is great. And the fun thing about it is there’s not. Upside thing. I don’t have to go to my boss in a year and say like, all right, you know, it’s, it’s the new year.
Can I get a 3%, 8%, whatever raise it’s. It is a direct result of how quickly the newsletter grows and how effective it is for sponsors.
Yeah. That makes sense. So what are you charging for those different sponsorship slots?
Yeah, for Q1 Mondays or 5,000. There’s days are 3,000 and ER, Thursday kind of top sponsorship is 3,000 and the deep dive is 20,000 because that’s a ton of work and I think really good exposure for those companies.
Yeah. That makes sense. Okay. So you’re pulling in a significant amount of money from this.
Yeah. I mean, like I’ll, I’ll do I’ll, you know, I’ll do package discounts on some of the stuff and all that, but you know, a good month would be. 30 so far, a good month is like 30, 40. and like I said, growing, so that, that part is awesome.
Now there’s, you know, it’s also no cost, but there really should be. As I said, I should probably hire somebody and build an actual website and do all of these things and there should be the cost side, but right now it’s kind of like, The only cost is the fact that I’m spending 60 hours a week writing and then doing the other stuff on top of it.
I love it. So that part’s great.
Yeah. So, I mean, it’s just like a startup job in the fact that you’ve got the crazy long hours and then, you know, a questionable boss just in this case, the crazy boss.
Yep. Yeah, exactly.
That’s interesting. So I think you’re underplaying the numbers that you would get from a paid newsletter.
Like, I think there’d would be higher than what you, what you threw out there, but I don’t think they’d be higher than what you’re making off the sponsorships.
I, I think I agree. I think I’m more competent. I think it’s 20,000 recurring, 20,000 recurring, I think. Yeah. I think at this point with 33,000 people, I, I could, I could also do like a more premium price point now because like, I get the comment a lot, which is like, Yeah, like you said, I made money on some of the things you’ve written.
This is, I’d rather read this than an equity research report and all of those types of things I could do, maybe a hundred dollars a month sponsorship that a few people decided to subscribe to. There’s a bunch of different ways to take it. But again, the big bottleneck right now is time. And the main source of enjoyment is having people kind of share and discuss the things that I’m writing and like have this conversation happened around the things that I care about and get to talk to smart people about them.
So, yeah. I think the combination of the fact that it would be a little bit less than I’m making on the sponsorship side. and the fact that it would slow growth. I think those two things combined just make me want to lean away from that and then did a sponsorship plus because of stack charges that are cut on sponsorships and not on sponsorships, because they don’t want to, you know, they, they want to ignore the fact that sponsorships exist.
It’s actually from, from a cost perspective. Pretty good.
Yeah. I mean you’re saving 10%. yeah. Plus plus drive fees. Yep. That is true. it’s something else that is interesting with your sponsorships is a lot of people when they start entirely free and then go into sponsorships there. Like weirdly apologetic about it, of like, Oh, we’ll get to the content really soon.
Like, I’m sorry that, you know, like, sorry for this interruption or whatever else. And you’re just like, boom sponsor right across the top. Let’s start with sponsor, you know? And like you’re not apologetic at all. and you’ve built that into the, the brand. Was that intentional?
Yeah. I mean, I think that comes with this whole thing of like, I don’t know, guys, you want to, I’ll see if I can grow this thing together and like help out.
Maybe if you want. And then the next one was like, I do have a baby on the way and like a family. And so like, I’d love to make money on this. And so sent out, you know, before I, I got the first sponsor, I sent out the survey and said, I’m doing this because I want sponsorship and they want to know about you.
And so that works. I chosen sponsors for the most part, for the entire part that they actually think. The audience would care to know about. And so, like, I got really lucky that public was one of the sponsors that the trading app, and then they’ve had this meteoric rise over the past few months. They were all over the Robin hood debacle, like the whole thing.
So such a fun sponsor to get, to be associated with. They keep sending me cool gear that I’m like very proud to wear. And so, I don’t know, like as long as I’m choosing sponsors that I think the audience actually cares about, then I don’t feel bad about it. at all. And I’m trying to write, copy that, you know, that, that, the sponsors happy with, but the people actually enjoy.
And so put it kind of in the same voice as the, as the newsletter. so all of that kind of works. Well. The one that I was a little bit apologetic about was the deep dives cause like that is really just like. Yeah. If I, I never pretended to be a journalist. I don’t want to be a journalist, but like I went to journalism school, they would pull away my diploma for saying like, yeah, you could pay me $20,000 and I’ll write a piece on the company.
But I’m like from day one on those, I was like, here’s how this works either. I do a CPM where they essentially pay me because there’s a bunch of you here. Or I do a CPA where. They pay only if you click on something and sign up for something. and so like each time I do it, I’ll tell you which one it is.
I’m not going to pressure sell you into anything, but like, just know that this is how I’m getting paid on this one. And then a couple of days, or one deep dive ago, I’ve just wrote up my process and put it in a Google doc and share it with everybody on how I choose the companies and what I’ll write about and how the writing process is with them behind the scenes and what I will, and won’t say, and like that I won’t just.
Get paid to talk shit on competitors or like any of those things that it’s really like, please don’t tell these sponsors that I’m writing about something that I care about and would write about anyway. And they’re paying me all this money for it, because like that’s what I wanted to come across that.
So I’ll do you know, I I’m bad and I I’d love tips on how to just manage my own email as someone who puts a lot of email out into the universe, like between email and DMS, like. I get a ton of inbound requests, particularly for the deep dive. That’s another one where even though it’s a higher price point, I get more demand for that than I do for a Monday or Thursday sponsorship.
But I’ll just, if it’s a company that I don’t think people are going to care about, I’ll just kind of ignore them and then it, you know, it would just bad. but I just like, I I’m overwhelmed by the, by the inboxes and all sorts of different places between Twitter and mail and text and whatever else. So one screen is just that I’m an asshole and I’ll, I’ll just not respond to people.
If I don’t think the audience is going to be interested. And then two there’s plenty of conversations that I’ll have with companies where I’m like, frankly, I think like you’d be a really interesting Monday or Thursday sponsor, but is your company doing anything like. Different that would be cool to write about.
And it would be worth three or 4,000 words. And some companies are like, no, totally like we’re very straightforward business. And I completely understand that you wouldn’t watch her write 4,000 words on what we’re up to. And like, maybe we’ll come back and talk if you have a product launch or something coming up.
But otherwise I think that’s helped that they’re very clearly companies that I would have written about anyway. Like you’re not going to see a state farm insurance. Sponsorship probably sponsored deep dive in anytime soon. And they’re probably on the more interesting side.
Yeah. That makes sense. Well, I love kind of bringing things full circle.
They like working in public, sharing the journey, bringing people along for it. And then that allowing you to actually generate more revenue because then your audience is like, I love that he’s got these sponsorships and that, you know, he’s putting them front and center. I love these brands are supporting, you know, my favorite newsletter and, and it’s completely the opposite of like, What a lot of people get of like, Oh, he’s a sellout or any of these other things.
And it just goes to show you, bring the audience along for the journey. Then they’re in your corner a hundred percent.
A hundred percent like this one, and I’ll give them a plug, even though it’s not gonna this, this might not air until after I read it. But I’m writing about this company. Also IRA on, on Thursday.
Yeah. Essentially that you set up a self-directed IRA, which means that you can do all sorts of things. Like I know that people who read not were in care about, which is take your 401k money, which is just sitting in like a mutual fund somewhere and invest it through Angeles, invest it into crypto, invested into masterworks, which I’ve written about and invest into all of these different things that I’ve already written about.
And so like, That one is an absolute no-brainer because we have a syndicate on angel list. We’ve written about mastery. Like all these things just kind of like come together. And so I think that’s the other fun part about writing about things even on the sponsor side that I care about is that that then attracts other kind of like companies.
So, you know, they came in when they saw a piece on masterworks. And so it all just feels, I think very natural because it is very natural.
Yeah. Does that make sense? Something else that you’ve been doing, that I find interesting is you record the audio version of each article and you, you release those in separate posts.
And that’s, I guess I’ve seen a few people doing that, where they have, you know, a related podcast or something. when did you start doing that? And, and what, what drove that?
So my pieces are really long, right? Like compared to a normal piece, the main feedback I got when I was doing these, like. One to 2,000 were links pieces.
It was like, Oh man, these are really way too long. You should cut down. Even from one to 2,000. And then I went the total opposite way and I, I wrote, I think a 9,000 word piece on Facebook and the average length is like 6,000 words. And so I think it’s only fair to people who want to consume the content.
That there’s an easier way where you can just throw some AirPods in and listen to it for half an hour, instead of like. Trying to schedule time in your calendar on Monday morning to read enough worrying. So that’s, that’s the Genesis of it. It is truly painful that most Monday mornings I’m getting up right now.
I’m in Miami. We have our own place. I woke the baby up to kick them out of his room and recorded in here this morning. But normally it’s in my in-laws basement where we’ve been living for the past few months since we had the baby. And like, I’m just praying that like the water heater doesn’t turn on or that like somebody doesn’t run the water upstairs or like.
That something doesn’t mess, mess up the audio. So it’s like really painful to wake up at six every Monday morning and do this, but it’s also open up this thing now where, like, I just kind of have a podcast and it’s like this thing that seemed hard to do before that, just because I hit plane published an anchor.
Now I have like kind of descript anchor. I got my Yeti microphone over here. Like I have a little setup. And so now, you know, if I’m writing about a company, I can invite the CEO or somebody on the team on, and just have a quick conversation. I really liked that about audio, that it’s so easy to just kind of work with, I think, for the podcast, the audio version and for the writing itself, like part of the reason I’ve been able to do it is that.
I don’t care about it being perfectly. I want it to be right, but I don’t care about it being perfect. And so like the audio quality sucks. Like if you listen to the audio quality on my podcast compared to anybody else it’s terrible, but I’d rather just kind of get started. And then at some point, like I’m starting to talk to audio editors now who can help fix that.
Maybe they can’t fix that, you know, the hissing from the water heater, but can picks a lot of it and professionalize it. But I think the biggest thing is just like getting over the hump and getting started. And a lot of that stuff is easier than it would seem to just dive in and do.
Yeah, I think that’s the right approach of whether it’s writing or audio is to start and then improve over time because the hardest thing is showing up and doing it consistently.
And then everything else is like optimizations on that continual effort. Totally. Yeah. Okay, what else should we talk about when we get into platforms? You, I mean, you write about platforms all the time, so I’m, I’m curious for your take on the newsletter platform space. I’m obviously, you know, full disclosure to come into the conversation.
I’m a little bit biased in that. I own one of these platforms. you know, you and I both talk on Twitter extensively, they now own review. I’m, I’m curious for your take on, on newsletter platforms as a whole and where all this is going.
Yes, I’ve been on sub stack the whole time could not be more grateful to Substack.
Like I said, because I do a sponsor model and they ignore sponsorships. I paid $0 for the platform it’s free. I paid $0 for the platform on top of which I’ve built this business, which I am eternally grateful for. I now have my own custom domain and Not Boring.co. So like, like they’re making improvements and, and it’s.
It’s nice. I think from a, like putting my analyst hat on perspective, they’re in such a tough, tricky spot. They have so many different types of writers on the platform who all want different things and who are all looking at the other types of writers. And so obviously with the past year, they’ve made a big push to bring on people.
Who are journalists or NBA stars or who have kind of existing audiences and bring them onto the platform and do all sorts of sweetheart deals, where you’re getting, you know, libel insurance and maybe health insurance. And you’re getting a legal staff and you’re definitely not paying 10% if you’re coming on and they’re pulling you over from the New York times or somewhere else.
And so there’s these like bespoke deals happening that the next class of people, which I’ve kind of put my self in, which are like people who have kind of built an audience there who are more like the business. Analyst type who are annoying and loud and like, like me kind of pontificating on what some stacks should do, even though I’m not there building the company.
And like, we all see that that’s happening. And so always kind of gripe about the fact that there’s this 10% fee and that everybody’s going to leave, but I think that’s true. And I think another really interesting wrinkle there is that. In a Ben Thompson’s written about this. I think Benedict Evans has that, that you know, what they need to do is solve for discovery and help people build their audience.
If they want to keep them a platform and keep people from leaking, once they’ve hit, you know, 10,000 paid subscribers or whatever that number is, or the math no longer makes sense. And I think that’s really tough because I don’t think, and you know, this better than I would having more of a bird’s eye view, but I don’t think people necessarily want newsletters.
Right? Like, I don’t think people very often go to. Sub stack.com/discover. And they’re like, I’d love to find a new newsletter to read. Cause my, the 37 that I get right now, like aren’t quite doing it for me. I’m looking for that 38 that I think it’s going to do it. And so I think they’re in a tough spot in terms of bringing in new demand.
And so that otherwise what you’re doing is like kind of pulling the, you know, the limited hours and attention that each. Reader has to different places. If you’re trying to solve discovery for the readers that you have on your platform. And so in the beginning, when I had 2000 followers or subscribers, like I was like, yes, I would love if stack helped me solve discovery.
And now I’m kind of like, I think I’m in like the top 10 free, like, do I want them sending attention to other people? Cause like they only have so many hours in the week and don’t maybe, maybe they don’t solve this discovery thing and I’m happier that way. And so I, I think they have like all of those kinds of tensions up and down the stack that are going to make it really, really tough.
They’re doing an amazing job. Obviously they reported numbers that are great and people are making a ton of money on the platform. And so all of that’s great. They’re hugely responsible for this boom and for what I’m doing myself into, like really, really grateful and have enjoyed writing on it. But. I think they’re in a really tough spot and I’m interested to see how it works out long term.
Yeah. It’d be interesting that the discovery thing is fascinating because I agree with, what you were saying or, you know, quoting Ben Thompson and others talking about like, I think that’s where they have to provide value in order to retain people long term. It’s a problem that like, I have my notebook right here of like lots of time spent on.
Is how can you solve this? Is it a way that it can be solved? Like looking to companies like Shopify and others that have found this balance between you own your brand entirely, you know, all of this. Oh, but you want a network effect with Shopify pay or shop pay, you know, and they’re pulling off some of these little things and that’s what I’m fascinated with of like, could we do that with ConvertKit?
Also, You know, just playing around with clubhouse the last week or so seeing the audience sizes and that people are generating, like, you’ll see someone on a clubhouse who has an audience 20 times the size of their Twitter following. And they’ve been building Twitter for like 10 years and then clubhouse for five weeks or 10 weeks, you know?
And how is that possible? Is there a mechanism that you could create in newsletters that could allow for audience growth of that size and. And I just don’t know. So it’s fascinating to look at.
I mean, I wrote about this last week, I think Twitter is in, you know, please Twitter product team, get this one right. But I think Twitter is in a really interesting spot here where they actually have a lot of people. I I’d say probably of their, you know, 190, monetized daily active users or whatever they call them. Like a hundred million of them probably actually want to consume newsletters. Like it’s a very kind of intellectual, da you set.
And so they have this like thing where they know the tweets that you like, they know who you follow. They know all of these things, they know what topics you’re interested in. They made a big push around topics. And so could they push you to another newsletter or could they do a better job of alerting you that somebody that you follow actually wrote this longer form thing?
And I bet you’d like the last 10 of their tweets. I bet you’d love to read their, their thing and subscribe and all of that. Who knows if you can trust the Twitter product team historically, I think it’s actually, it seems like it’s better now, but historically you would not have been able to trust the Twitter product team to get this right.
Maybe now you can, but then to like turn those people into, you know, Twitter spaces, people, so you can have the conversation. I really do think they have this really interesting ecosystem. That’s not zero sum discovery wise, but I think, you know, I think otherwise it’s tough. I mean, I’d love to hear how you’re thinking about it, but you’d probably have to spend money to bring people in as ConvertKit you have to spend money to bring people in or convince writers to cross promote other writers, which is tough because there’s limited newsletter space.
And it’s like, it just feels like, unless you have a lot of that audience, they’re already looking for new ideas, it feels like a really tough behavior to like force people into.
Yeah. I mean, it’s so interesting because. I w I think I’ve done 10 episodes of this podcast, or so, and probably eight out of 10 people I’ve said that Twitter is their primary channel for growing their newsletter.
I certainly had writers cause I was thinking about a newsletter related fund back in the day. I think everybody who’s written a newsletter goes through this where they’re like, these are recurring revenue businesses. What if you just took on some debt and bought the things and whatever. So was thinking about that for a little while.
And so, and survey people, and I think it was out of 40 writers, 9.5 out of 10. Twitter as their main channel.
Yeah. And it’s wild. And so Twitter now in that and saying like, Oh, we are everyone’s distribution and discovery method and there are other channels, like, you know, I think you’ll see search KickUp over time as your newsletter is around for, for longer.
And, and things like that. It’s driven. My newsletter is about 25,000 subscribers and, and probably a third of my subscribers come from search that long table over time. But still like, Twitter is massive and in there for everyone. And so Twitter saying like, great, we own the distribution channel. Why don’t we own the newsletter channel as well?
So it’d be fascinating. Like, you know, from ConvertKit perspective, I’m like, are you going to make that open to more newsletters or is it going to be like, no, just review newsletters. And then does that become. In the same way that a lot of creators, like James, Claire for example, would write on his own site and then re-publish to medium and Quora like, is review going to become this place.
Or something that people are republishing on to get favorable rankings in an algorithm.
And it’s easier. That’s the beauty of Medium. And even the beauty of something like Ghost as like probably the number one thing that I’m looking for in the next platform is the ability to take something from a Google doc and dump it into something which is actually one of strong points.
The ability to take a Google doc, dump it somewhere else and have it pretty much show up the same way that it was in the Google doc and right. Review I tested when, when Twitter announced they bought it and I was like, I can’t do that on review yet. So I’m not going anywhere quite yet.
Yeah. Yeah. That makes sense. I’m curious, maybe just as we start to wrap up who are a few of the other newsletters that you look to and who do you follow both for content and then also like for ideas on how to grow your audience.
Yeah. Oh man, this one’s so tough. Cause the newsletter community is, you know, is like. This very tight thing where I’m in a chat mood, a bunch of newsletter writers.
And like they’re all my friends written really depends often on the topic. Like they have to save Ben Thompson. Oh, G has influenced a lot of, uh, you know, the way they write, but then, you know, Mario who we talked about, but then there’s like, they’re really, I think I probably subscribed to like, 60 newsletters.
And depending on the topic, we’ll open each one and I’ve really tried to start going more niche into different things. So like, if I was writing about NFTs and web three, the other day, I subscribed to like three newsletters on that. So. I can see, you know, even if it’s just a skin what’s going on in that space, that I’m now becoming more and more interested in, or, you know, if somebody writes really, really good at it really, really well on social media and I’m interested in Twitter and Facebook, then I’ll subscribe to something very specific.
So I have the people that I’ll just pretty much read whatever. And then I happened to my 40 newsletter friends, so I read a lot of their stuff. And then I’m starting to try to find more niches. And again, if somebody is. As disorganized as I am. This is as you would imagine a total nightmare, but I do manage to pull some good stuff from that.
I like it. That’s good. Well, where should people go to, to follow your newsletter and all your musings on Twitter and everything else?
Yeah. So it’s NotBoring.co. That CO, which I just put live. that’s the newsletter. And then @packyM on Twitter.
Sounds good. Well, thanks joining me.
Thanks for hanging out. And everyone just goes, subscribe to the newsletter and follow you on Twitter because I am quite entertained. It’s definitely Not Boring. And, It’s fun to watch your growth.
Appreciate you saying that Nathan and grabbing me on this was a blast.