Until now, this newsletter has been completely free. There was no incentive to pay a subscription. In spite of this, a dozen people chose to pay a subscription as a way of rewarding and promoting all of the work I was doing every week for free. I wasn’t giving any additional value to them: they were getting the same publications and the same attention free subscribers were receiving. Heroes.
One of the goals I set for the newsletter in 2021 was to start monetizing in some way all of the work I was putting in it. With my current availability, it is getting increasingly harder to write high-quality publications every week. I was afraid that without the right motivation I would stop writing. Maybe, if I started making some additional money with the newsletter I would be encouraged to be there every week for my subscribers. What better external motivation than a few additional bucks (or crypto, of course I always accept crypto as payment) by the end of the month? This was the rationale behind this goal.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the best way of monetizing the newsletter without depriving it of its essence, and I realized that the best way to achieve this is by giving additional value to paying subscribers. Why would someone be encouraged to promote my work, if they can get it for free? But writing exclusively for my paying subscribers was not an option. I also enjoy writing for a broader audience, actively interacting with it, and having insightful discussions in the process (this is why I started writing in the first place: to build a community and long-lasting connections). So what could I do?
After some thought, I feel I’ve found the perfect compromise. Welcome @adlrocha newsletter v2.0 (if this works, in the next major release, I should change the name of the newsletter, as it won’t be @adlrocha’s exclusively, but of everyone else supporting it).
Release v2.0 🚀
I am really excited to announce this new release of the newsletter. This release includes big changes for paying subscribers, some minor changes for free subscribers, and some constraints for non-subscribers.
Content now expires! 😱
The big change for all readers of my newsletters is that, from now on, publications will expire for non-subscribers. Everyone on the Internet will be able to read my articles in the first seven days since their publication. After these seven days, only subscribers of the newsletter will have access to them, i.e. The full archive will only be available for subscribers.
I usually share my publications in social networks and HackerNews. It is a great source of new readers and subscribers. Unfortunately, the usually end up being “one time readers”. If I want to build a community around my newsletter, readers should feel part of this project, and have some incentive to subscribe and become part of this community.
My rationale behind this feature is that readers that enjoy my work will subscribe to avoid content from expiring so they can read at their own terms. Once subscribed, if they feel like it they will join the discussions and interact with the community, if not, at least they’ll have the content available any time in their inbox. You’ll come for the content and (if this works) stay for the discussions, the ideas, and the relationships.
New perks for paying subscribers 💸
Paying subscribers have received a significant upgrade in this new release:
They can now influence my backlog by adding new topics to it. Is there anything you’ve been hoping for me to write about? Now is your time to make it happen. Suggesting a new topic is simple, the only thing you need to do is to fill in this form adding your subscriber email address, and a brief description of what you want me to write about. Easy peasy. My subscribers backlog is a FIFO queue. As topics start arriving I will be writing sequentially about them until the queue empties, that I’ll come back to my own personal backlog. I am considering making the subscriber’s backlog public in order for subscribers to be able to vote topics in it promoting them to the beginning of the queue, but I’ll leave this for the next minor release (2.1). I will wait for some additional feedback about this feature before jumping into new things.
I am also adding a new feature that I called the “Monthly Ask Me Anything Webinar”. Every last week of the month I will share a new form to all paying subscribers asking their availability and willingness to hold an AMA webinar. In this form, I will suggest different formats for the monthly session. The sessions will range from:
Traditional AMA and open discussions about any topic of interest of the audience.
Live presentations and demos about any new technology or something I may know about and of the interest of the audience.
“Reading parties” where I will share a list of papers and I will read and make a presentation of the most voted one.
Any additional session/format subscribers may come up with. The subscribers form and my DMs are open for anyone to suggest and give feedback.
And of course, paying subscribers have access to my full archive. For them, content never expires.
A new class of subscriber: The sponsor 🤴
I honestly don’t expect anyone to become this new class of subscriber (at least for now), but I wanted to start experimenting with the idea of having a top class of subscribers.
In this release, sponsors are paying subscribers with the ability to book an hour of my time for a 1:1. Is there anything you think I can help you with? Book that hour. Do you think I can help you design your next decentralized system? Use the hour. Do you want my opinion on some matter in the crypto space I may know about? Do you want to share ideas, or for me to share with you some of my crazy ideas to see if we can build a company together? That also works for this hour.
Sponsors will be earning additional benefits in future releases, but I need to think a bit more deeply about it. Something I am considering is making sponsors part-owners of the newsletter, sharing a stake of the profits with them, but this is still under design. This is why, instead of having a fixed price for sponsor subscriptions, new sponsors are allowed to name their price in this release (this will be revised in future releases).
Sponsored publications 🗣️
Last but not least, I am quite transparent about the metrics of my newsletter. Someone looking to sponsor their project, product, technology, open positions (you name it) is able to know the reach a sponsored publication on my newsletter would have, and the kind of audience it would reach. This is why I’ve decided to leave a space in every publication for anyone to sponsor whatever they want in it. Do you want to give it a try? Fill in this form.
A brand new design 🖌️
Do you see anything different? The newsletter has gone under a slight redesign.
The first release of (hopefully) many more
This is the first major upgrade of the newsletter in two years. From now on this newsletter will follow development and release cycles analogous to those of software products. These past two years I’ve been focused on building an audience and a way to unleash my passion for learning and writing. During this time I’ve learned a lot, had insightful discussions, and met a ton of incredible people… but I want more for this newsletter.
I don’t want an audience, I want a community of learners, creators, and restless. Will we make it? We’ll see. I will track your engagement throughout the next few months and decide if to make new releases or downgrade to v1.0. Whatever you like the most. In either case, see you next week!