📻 — YEN.FM in Review: Top 10 Most-Read Issues of 2020

Good morning yenizens!

A lighter issue, especially with yesterday’s 54-minute monster!

Before we jump in, here are a few decent reads around the internet — share one or two with your community and chat through it!

  1. Head of Remote? Is this the new “hippest” role?
  2. The strength of being misunderstood.
  3. Dave Barry’s 2020 in review.
  4. Matt Mullenweg’s State of the WordNearly 40% of the web is powered by WordPress! This isn’t getting enough attention.
  5. Learning from 500 educators — key insights here folks.
  6. Deconstructing Among Us’ Twitter Strategy — Very neat breakdown! I can’t believe they are just a team of… 4!

To infinity & community,

— john


96 days ago I decided that I’d write and publish our first-ever newsletter issue. I had big hopes, clear goals, and a commitment to run the experiment for at least 6 months:

I’ve committed to do this for 6 months and my goals are 100 subscribers by November 1, 300 subscribers by December 1, and 1,000+ by January 1, 2021. I will adjust these goals by mid-experiment.

Although we’re not close to the 1k subscribers that I had hoped for by January 1, 2021 (slightly over half of the way) we are, in every respect, on-track to make this investment of my time well-worth the effort.

And that’s all that matters, right? At the end of the day we all want to simply know with a high-degree of certainty that our work counted; that it mattered. Many of you — my lovely yenizens — have given me comments, tweets, and more that have kept the wind in my sails to keep going.

Here are some of the high-level stats thus far:

  • I have published > 100,000 words across 75 posts, averaging ~1,300 per post. If you were to read every single word it would take you a little more than 6 hours and 35 minutes!

Above is a list of the Top 10 issues by Word Count / Reading Time:

  1. Launch a Startup: Free Course Presented by Alexis Ohanian & Knowable
  2. The Community SaaS Playbook: Building a Modern, Community-Driven B2B SaaS Product Step-by-Step — #COMMSAAS
  3. Hard Lessons Learned from Closing Down a Failed Community (and What to Avoid Next Time)
  4. The Full Stack Founder’s Ascent Follows the Growth of Cloud & Microservice Orchestration
  5. Build, Test, and Launch an Email Newsletter From Scratch
  6. Deconstructing Hubspot’s Culture Code Deck — Notes from 128 Slides
  7. Monica Lent on Community as a Foundation to Kick-Start Your Product and Brand
  8. Halden Ingwersen
  9. Careers & Community with Carter Gibson
  10. Toni Cowan-Brown on Tech, Politics, and Creating for 2 Podcast Communities

If you were to order them by “general popularity” (pageviews / views) it would shake out as-follows:

  1. Build, Test, and Launch an Email Newsletter From Scratch
  2. Building a Paid Community Business for Less Than $1K per Year?
  3. Collaboration, Virtual Care, and Making 6-Figures in 6 Days
  4. How to Launch an Online Community — Lean Community Launch Framework
  5. The Community SaaS Playbook: Building a Modern, Community-Driven B2B SaaS Product Step-by-Step — #COMMSAAS
  6. Aella: Sex Work, Building an Audience, and Monetizing a Community
  7. Hard Lessons Learned from Closing Down a Failed Community (and What to Avoid Next Time)
  8. Building a Community, Step by Step: The Operating System
  9. Don’t Forget to “Start with Why” for a New Community
  10. How Build a Highly-Engaged Community with Slack

Finally, if I were to pick and choose my personal favs; posts that I particularly enjoyed writing, it would be these:

  1. If You Really Knew Me
  2. A Quick Chat with Seth Godin
  3. Don’t Forget Gen-Z
  4. Start with Why
  5. Building Your Community Operating System
  6. Avoid the Traps of Personal / Professional Fulfillment
  7. The Full Stack Founder’s Inevitable Ascent
  8. Permanent vs Ephemeral Communities
  9. Custom Notion + Cloudflare Landing Page (for Free!)
  10. Content and Curation with David Perell

Finally, in the spirit of transparency, here’s our current growth track and subscriber count:

You can see that we started very nicely (not unusual for an early, quick bump) using very simple newsletter optimizations — the goal is to not quit too early:

And then you just keep going, adjusting your goals as you go and as you receive more data and feedback from your readers.

This process isn’t hard; it’s just repetitive and most creative folks find anything remotely repetitive boring which is what sadly kills a lot of projects prematurely, especially when it comes to writing.

Why? Because the ROI of writing is a long-cycle:

https://twitter.com/yenFTW/status/1341863175004639232

But, if you can stick with it you’re almost guaranteed to see results. I’ve done this many times over and I hope you can take this next piece of advice seriously: Start writing.

You will never regret this type of investment. Pick yourself, you’re worth it.

And, my friends in the yeniverse are here to help. This year is going to be the most important year of our lives! Let’s make it count.

🛑 — So, with that… how can I help you? Email me or reply directly to this issue. What are your goals, dreams, fears, anxieties? What would make 2021 even better for you?

I’m listening…