Apologies for the late weeknote. This has been a low-energy, high-email week, where I would look at the end of my to-do list, see “write Weeknote” alongside three other things, and sigh to myself as I opt to do precisely none of them. Sometimes you need to have low-bandwidth weeks!
I’m reminded of one of my favorite pieces by Patrick McKenzie, my coworker:
Through sickness, health, and mind-numbing tedium, I’ve woken up every day for the last four years, checked email, gone through the day, checked email, and gone to sleep. This is the single best guarantee that I would deliver on the promised level of service to customers — almost all questions answered within 24 hours. There have been many, many weeks where this is literally all I’ve done for the business.
I’ve tried a vast number of tips and tricks over the years to account for the weeks when I have relatively low energy, and some of them work for a little but I don’t think there is a lifehack that solves for sometimes you have more energy and sometimes you have less, and that is okay.
Thankfully, I’m feeling rather bouncy at the moment! I pushed the last bit of configuration needed for sending out from SES and flicked on a handful of initial test newsletters (including, of course, this one), meaning that I’ll start having a decent cohort of traffic to compare delivery and open rates as measured against Mailgun.
Unfortunately, this work got stymied a bit the past few days due to, well, the low-energy thing, but also the emergence of bad actors on the platform. This is something that I dealt with a fair amount last summer and hoped had disappeared:
This is exactly what it looks like: sign up, import a bunch of subscribers, send out a spammy email.
On one hand, it’s a blessing that I don’t have to deal with it too much. I have some pretty naive defensive mechanisms: any audit greater than 500 subscribers (what a coincidence) with a certain mix of emails triggers a manual review, and certain keywords and links get automatically flagged as well. But still things get through.
This is probably a realm where I need to just straight up do more research. Even as I write this, the obvious gaps come flooding in:
And it’s hard, you know, to be tactical about what is the most important thing to be working on for the business and simultaneously rigorous with these things.
But the good part is that I have spent the past three years being deeply untactical and yet the business is … doing well. MRR is back up this month; expenses are, too (thanks, Mailgun!) but SES will help with that.
I just want to not have to deal with bad actors, you know?
In the meantime, though, more research.