6 Feb 2023
In defense of recommendation
Recommendation doesn't have to be just a tool that big tech companies use to make a number on a spreadsheet go up. How can we develop algorithms that serve the interests of individuals?
31 Jan 2023
I'm going to delete most of Yakread's features
I'm starting to have a hunch that I should focus entirely on people who already subscribe to newsletters. All the other stuff is nice to have, but I worry that it complicates Yakread and dilutes the value prop.
24 Jan 2023
Funding software innovation
What if there was something like "going to grad school," but for open-source developers? Could it be scaled up enough so that people can actually get in without applying 8+ times?
17 Jan 2023
TikTok for reading
Should I structure and describe Yakread as a "smart newsletter reader" or as "TikTok for reading?"
10 Jan 2023
You can help unbundle social media
Big Social Media is dying, and from their ashes we can begin anew. Here are a few simple, practical suggestions for anyone who wants to be part of the movement.
3 Jan 2023
Replies and referrals
Emails in Yakread now have a reply button, and you can get ad credit for referring new users.
26 Dec 2022
Advertise your newsletter in Yakread
Last week I finished the last essential piece for growing Yakread: the advertising system. It's similar to the paid-forwards system that I built for The Sample.
20 Dec 2022
Cross-platform RSS recommendations on Yakread
If you select a few of your favorite blogs/newsletters, you'll get a spiffy recommendations page you can share with all your friends (wink wink).
13 Dec 2022
How to rebuild social media on top of RSS
We should look for ways to make reading, publishing, and community services all play nicely together. I'm calling this model "the unbundled web," and I think RSS should be the primary method of interop.
5 Dec 2022
Discord is a decent place for forums
With a bit of custom code, Discord can be turned from a closed silo into an open information paradise thing.
28 Nov 2022
What's better, chronological or algorithmic timelines?
You can think of Yakread's timeline as two separate timelines, mashed together: a regular chronological timeline, and an algorithmically-driven "in-case-you-missed-it" timeline.
21 Nov 2022
Designing the perfect timeline
I'm going to try switching Yakread to a traditional scrolling timeline instead of the current fixed batches of five links.
15 Nov 2022
Substack can fix their lock-in if they want to
If Substack actually cares about preserving writers' independence, they should provide a way for writers who switch platforms to continue delivering their newsletters to the app.
15 Nov 2022
Healthy, low-prep information meals
How can Yakread give people a healthier media diet while providing the same level of convenience as traditional social media?
8 Nov 2022
Introducing Yakread: a simple reader app for the unbundled web
My largest personal motivation for building Yakread is that I wanted to spend more time reading long-form content. I wanted the same effortless experience of scrolling through Twitter, but with more meat.
31 Oct 2022
Discord could almost replace Twitter
With all the uncertainty around Twitter's future now that you-know-who has taken over, could Discord be a promising destination for refugees?
25 Oct 2022
Join the tools-for-online-speech community
I want this to be a place of collaboration for anyone interested in making the web a better place via tools for online speech; a space for both makers and early adopters.
17 Oct 2022
It's Working [Anakin emoji]
My reading-thinking-writing workflow has improved a lot over the past six months or so.
10 Oct 2022
I figured out a practical way to replicate Substack's recommendations feature across different different newsletter platforms.
3 Oct 2022
Queuey queues for chewy chewing
Last week I got sucked into re-architecting some behind-the-scenes stuff for Yakread: job queues.
26 Sep 2022
I added "discovery recommendations" to Yakread a few weeks ago.
19 Sep 2022
Merging Findka Essays
I recently launched a new product called Yakread, and I'd like to eventually merge Findka Essays into it.
19 Sep 2022
The Sample algorithm update; upcoming Yakread features
I made a small update to The Sample's algorithm last week. It will now do a better job of distributing forwards to different newsletters more evenly, without decreasing the total number of 1-click subscribes that occur.
12 Sep 2022
What's your favorite email provider?
Yakread is pretty easy to get started with now! I probably spent too much time fiddling around with different email providers, though.
5 Sep 2022
Sharing and notifications in Yakread
I took a short break from working on Yakread so that I could make some updates to Platypub, my publishing software. This week I'm back on Yakread.
29 Aug 2022
Read your tweets and books in Yakread
I've finished implementing all the essential features for Yakread. The ranking algorithm is in place, you can upload you DRM-free ebooks, and you can connect your Twitter account.
22 Aug 2022
Yakread is live
Last week I described my plans for a reader app that I've started building, called Yakread. On Wednesday it reached the point where I decided to go ahead and let anyone sign up. You can do so at yakread.com. Think of it as an open beta.
15 Aug 2022
The time of Yakread is at hand
Last week I started building a reader app. I'm calling it "Yakread."
8 Aug 2022
Flexible themes in Platypub
I spent most of my time last week making a large update to Platypub, my publishing platform. I overhauled the data model to make it extensible by themes.
1 Aug 2022
Newsletter directories, subscriber import integrations, and you
Updates from last week: - Finished merging the newsletter directory into The Sample. The publisher console now has a "Directory" tab, and as you can see I've added a "Directory" section to these emails. ...
25 Jul 2022
Some publisher console updates
Submitting newsletters to The Sample is now completely automatic! At least, it's automatic for me. I guess what I really mean is, people who submit their newsletter to The Sample now have to do the work instead of me.
22 Jul 2022
Demo: submitting a newsletter to The Sample (silent movie)
A screen recording of me adding a newsletter to The Sample.
18 Jul 2022
I'm in the middle of implementing the fancy new submission/onboarding flow.
11 Jul 2022
Reader app, automation, more about Substack recommendations
The publisher report is a day late due to reasons completely out of my control, mainly that the day ended before I sent it out. So here we are at last, me typing words into this announcements section, and you reading them.
11 Jul 2022
I can't believe I'm about to build another dumb web app
It is with great exasperation that I must announce... I think I'm actually going to build another product and keep being a full-time founder. 🤦♂️.
6 Jul 2022
Tech and democracy
If we can make tools that give people more power on an individual level, then maybe that'll add up enough to make a real improvement in our ability as a society to achieve collective action.
27 Jun 2022
Substack recommendations, paid acquisition, consulting
Big-ish announcement for people on Substack: you can now use Substack's recommendations feature to cross-promote with The Sample.
21 Jun 2022
The Sample updates for 20 June 2022
We made several small-but-important updates to The Sample last week.
13 Jun 2022
We need better tools for online speech
We can improve the information environment by thoughtfully designing, building, and distributing better tools for online speech.
11 Apr 2022
Now you can read your bookmarks with The Sample
The Sample is expanding into a read-it-later service.
2 Nov 2021
How The Sample drives thousands of newsletter subscriptions
Last month The Sample hit a big milestone: we've generated over 10,000 new subscriptions for other newsletters via our "subscribe in 1 click" links.
4 Oct 2021
Why I changed my mind about advertising
I used to be very anti-advertising. Fast forward two years and several pivots, and my slightly-less-early-stage business is doing $900 per month in revenue... from ads.
29 Sep 2021
Curating the Curators
Should you let a machine help you decide what to read?
Practical steps towards a better internet.
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