Monthly Archives: July 2016

Pinboard at 7 years

Maciej Cegłowski of Pinboard has always been open about his stats for the service. Now, on the 7th anniversary, he also shares that revenue has grown to well over $200k/year:

I’ve added revenue this year because I’m no longer afraid of competitors, and I’d like to encourage people who are considering doing their own one- or zero-person business. The site costs something like $17K/year to run, so you can make a good living at this artisanal SaaS stuff.

Congrats to Maciej on his success. I’ve been a happy Pinboard user for pretty much all of those 7 years, and — as someone who also aspires to build a profitable web platform — I’m inspired by Pinboard’s consistency and growth.

Speaking of 6-figure income, I’ve also just finished reading Shawn Blanc’s write-up about launching The Focus Course, which had first-week revenue of over $100k. He describes the planning process and his strategy for using a mailing list to build awareness about the product.

Mullenweg on Medium and the open web

Matt Mullenweg comments on whether choosing Medium is a good long-term bet:

In making the decision to hitch their horse to Medium’s wagon while fording a river, they’re probably betting on Medium not going out of business, which I agree there’s only like a 10% chance of happening. However I think there is a 97% chance that Medium’s business model will change in the future because the path they’re on and these publishers are dependent on will not sustain their current costs or the investment they’ve raised.

10% chance of going out of business compares poorly to Matt’s Automattic itself, which as I’ve written about before is one of only a couple web publishing companies that I think could last 100 years. If your goal is to write something that many people can read for years to come, why risk it on an uncertain platform?

There’s a longer video interview with Matt from WordCamp Europe last month, where he goes into more detail on the role of Medium and WordPress. Highly recommended if you’re interested in the open web, or just curious how progress is made in the WordPress community.

Warriors going all-in on “small ball” for next year. Durant might be their tallest player. Throwing away half their bench. They’re beatable.

→ 2016/07/08 11:28 am

Domain names can always redirect

Just noticed this blog post from Fabian Steeg on the value of personal domain names:

So the mere decision to use a custom domain for my blog many years ago made it independent of the actual hosting location (wordpress.com or self-hosted) and publishing system (wordpress or my own software). In a way I’ve been referencing a system for years that I only now created. Your own domain and URLs really give you a lot of control over your content, even if that content is actually stored elsewhere for years.

Strongly agree with this. Having your own domain will future-proof everything you publish.

Tagging WWDC microblog posts

I didn’t post as much as I hoped to during WWDC 2016 — just a couple full posts related to the conference, a half dozen microblog posts, and one photo. But nevertheless I wanted to collect them together since I didn’t have a full wrap-up post like last year.

One of the advantages to hosting my own short posts — and only cross-posting to Twitter as an afterthought, not the primary location — is that I can easily tag all the posts in a series. This worked out really well while visiting coffee shops earlier this year.

For WWDC, I’ve used the tag #wwdc2016. I probably won’t go back to tag previous conferences, but I’ll use this format going forward for attending events where I publish a series of microblog posts and photos.

Building on Jekyll

If you were to build a weblog publishing system, would you start from scratch or build on an existing tool? There’s a healthy market for WordPress-powered hosting, for example, from WordPress.com itself to WP Engine. People know and trust these tools.

I was faced with this question for my microblogging platform. My requirements were pretty simple:

  • The published site needed to be 100% static, so that I could host it anywhere.
  • The template system needed to be widely used, so that I could draw on existing themes and provide customization for users later.

Jekyll looked like a great choice. I’m so happy with how well this has worked that I mention Jekyll in the marketing and footer of published sites. It’s a brand that can help give users confidence that this is built on something solid, and that if they need to migrate to self-hosted, there’s a path.

On top of Jekyll, I built a web interface for publishing and deleting posts, changing themes, and I added XML-RPC support so that you can use external blog editors like MarsEdit. Plus there’s a native iPhone app for posting.

All of this enables another feature that I’m very excited about: full mirroring to GitHub Pages. When you publish a microblog site, you can have it upload all the Markdown and HTML to a GitHub repository. This is a great way to export or mirror your content.

I think it’s a good foundation. Publishing is actually a small part of the overall microblog platform I’ve built, but it’s an important one. I can’t wait to share more and keep building features up around Jekyll.

I’m writing a short e-book about everything I’ve learned, and I’ll have news soon about early access to the platform. You should sign up on the announce mailing list before next week.

Rumor that Ray Allen is considering a return to the NBA and that the Spurs are in the top few teams he would join… I don’t know. San Antonio is a welcoming town, but difficult to ever forget that game 6 shot a few years ago.

→ 2016/07/06 9:02 am

“Sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.” — FBI Director James Comey. (Not really. But I’m glad this is over.)

→ 2016/07/05 11:10 am

Good news with Pau Gasol, but it’s bittersweet if the Spurs lose both Tim Duncan and Boris Diaw. Rooting for Diaw and Tony Parker this week to qualify France for the Olympics.

→ 2016/07/05 10:30 am

Didn’t expect I’d spend July 4th reloading NBA news sites. But after an incredible fireworks show in the neighborhood last night, feels a little like July 5th right now. Getting some design/marketing work done on my long-delayed microblog platform.

→ 2016/07/04 3:52 pm

Kevin Durant to the Warriors. We knew there was a chance, but I’m still surprised. Hopefully we’ll get the Spurs vs. Warriors western conference finals I had wanted this year.

→ 2016/07/04 10:58 am