I was relatively sunny and awash with optimism last week. I owe a lot of this to a new strategy I was trying out to preserve focus, which was to ignore my inbox except in the mornings and evenings: rather than keep the inbox open in a tab all day and respond reactively (and get randomized) by emails, I was going to just batch-respond twice a day and ignore my email otherwise.
This was working very well until Thursday morning, on which I awoke to....72 emails, what I think is a new record. These weren’t all bad emails — some were pleasant compliments, some were error notifications, some were interview requests. But a lot of them were serious and required work, and it was all a little overwhelming.
And for those of you reading this email who might have been in the cohort of 72, I promise you: I love you, and don’t bedrudge you at all! This is a me problem, not a you problem.
But it was a me problem. I think a lot about the “support tax” I pay: with two hours or so a day to work on Buttondown, a flat tax of spending an hour every day on customer support hurts much more than if I were working full time, and this threw that calculus into sharp relief.
I’ve talked previously about entertaining the notion of temporarily suspending Buttondown’s free plan and requiring a $4/mo-or-so entry fee to use it purely to tourniquet the support burden (with everyone being grandfathered in, of course), and that seems more appealing than ever.
I have been doing a lot of interview-y things lately! This has been fun for a couple reasons, most of all I love any excuse to opine and navel-gaze. (I’m writing this, after all, aren’t I?)
The most recent version of this is an interview I did with Medialyte (and no, the irony of this being a Substack is not lost on me), and I spent two hours recording two separate podcast episodes last week as well.
I’ve not enjoyed marketing work in general, but I enjoy doing interviews and press-oriented stuff much more than I enjoy, say, writing blog posts. I think part of that has been the immediacy of the impact: I can quite literally trace that Medialyte interview to three ~$50 MRR conversions each, feels better than shoving off an essay into the ether and hoping the SEO gods end up liking it.
A customer emailed me a while back rightfully pointing out that it was sort of weird that Buttondown’s newsletter and Weeknotes itself are pretty bare-bones on the subscribe page front. I enqueued some work to improve them at some point but it made me realize that Buttondown’s public API documentation is also pretty dang ugly, especially relative to how much emphasis I place on the usefulness of the API relative to my competitors.
This also made me realize that I…don’t know of any particularly well-designed API documentations (my employers’ excluded, of course). I’m using Redoc, which is a useful-but-not-super-customizable rendering layer for the documentation, and it led me down a rabbithole of finding other Redoc users which have made it a little more aesthetically pleasing. The best I’ve found thus far is Zuora’s.