Alta Bits

Short essays on building tech products and companies.

No Employees
Founders Code
Solo Founder
Content
Email Marketing
News & Magazines
Podcasting

I find tons of great insights in various software and tech podcasts. Over time I collected lots of quotes and notes from episodes I listened to, and I finally decided to revisit and compile them into short essays.

March 14, 2020 42% open rate after 12 hours

Following up on my previous milestone about Reddit validation, I published a new issue of Alta Bits yesterday.

The real milestone here is open rate within the first 12h - 42%, which is my new record (it used to be around 38%).

You can read it here:
https://altabits.substack.com/p/vision-and-mission-statements

TL;DR
Having mission and vision statemets from day one is great, but you shouldn't try too hard to figure them out. These things are almost never final.

March 10, 2020 I validated my article idea on Reddit.

Resharing content on Reddit is a common technique to gain extra traction and subscribers.

Yesterday I did the opposite - I wrote an "MVP" of my essay and posted it to Reddit first to see if it gains some interest.

My decision was to try a slightly provoking title
"Don't bother too much with mission and vision statements early on."

I was lucky enough to make it to the top of r/entrepreneur subreddit with 170 points and 50 comments.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Entrepreneur/comments/fftj1s/dont_bother_too_much_with_mission_and_vision/

It didn't result in direct conversion metrics, such as subscribers or visits.

Not only did I validate the topic, but I also received lots of feedback and different opinions, which makes for great research for the upcoming article on
https://altabits.substack.com

February 11, 2020 First Reddit post - 268 points, 14 new subscribers

I have never been a Reddit user before and wanted to give it a shot as many fellow bloggers/newsletter geeks suggest it as a great channel for visitors' acquisition. On the flip side, I was just curious about the result, will they roast me or the welcome will be slightly warmer?

I worked hard to get my 10 comments karma in r/entrepreneur subreddit and be allowed to submit my first post. My goal was to post my content in a way users find it worthwhile and helpful.
Having in mind that direct promotion is not an option- here is what I did:

  1. Took this article https://altabits.substack.com/p/2-pick-the-right-market and copy-pasted its content with minor tweaks (deleted mentions of my previous articles)

  2. Came up with a new title as "Pick the right market" sounds too vague. I went for "A piece of advice that helped me stop worrying that my business idea already exists."

  3. Added the following closing section for authenticity "This piece of advice changed my approach to new business ideas completely. I used to be like "Ohh, something similar already exists" and ditched the idea right away. Now, I don't get discouraged so quickly - I think of the market size and what I could do better than competitors to claim at least a chunk of the right market."

  4. Held my breath and clicked submit

Luckily, the first comment submitted under my post (and eventually most upvoted one) referred to the concept I described in my other essay, so I shared a link in my reply. I thought this is not going to be seen as direct promotion, and I was right. No one complained and got a few upvotes on that comment.

It was Friday around 2 PM CET. Until 6 PM the post received around 20 upvotes, then from 7PM - 11PM likes started flowing in (over 200). Finished with 268 points.

It resulted in circa 350 new views and 14 new subscribers to Alta Bits!

Reddit post:
https://www.reddit.com/r/Entrepreneur/comments/f09b6s/a_piece_of_advice_that_helped_me_stop_worrying/

February 6, 2020 100 Subscribers!

I woke up to receive an email notification that the 100th subscriber has joined my Alta Bits mailing list.

That's an excellent supercharger, especially given it's Thursday, and the new issue will be released today!

A few facts:

  • The previous issue was sent two weeks ago to 68 subscribers, and up to date has scored a 51% open rate.
  • I haven't been doing any advertising since then, just the post on LinkedIn, thread on Twitter, and a milestone on Indiehackers.
  • No Reddit, HN, or crossposting on a different medium.

Let's see how it goes today in a couple of hours, I will keep you posted once I get some fresh stats after sending Issue #3!

------------------------------------
Update: The new issue has just arrived!
https://altabits.substack.com/p/3-you-can-launch-with-less-than-you

January 24, 2020 Sent my first newsletter! 46% open rate

Yesterday I sent my first newsletter to 68 email recipients.

Here is a bunch of stats after 18 hours:

  • Open rate: 46%
  • Unsubscribed: 1

I imported almost 80% of the email list from my other Mailchimp account. If only 20% opted in for Alta Bits, I think only one unsub given the open rate is surprising, I expected at least around 5-10 people unsubscribing :)

What do you think of these stats?

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Update after 24 hours:

  • Open rate: 47%
  • Unsubscribed: 2
  • Click rate: 3%
January 23, 2020 Got featured in the Top Posts on Substack!

Today I published my second essay, "Pick the right market".

Apparently, my subscribers found it useful as showed some love upvoting the issue. Thus, I got featured on the 5th place in the top posts section on the Substack landing page! 🎉
Screenshot
https://i.imgur.com/R0RroMt.png

The issue is available here
https://altabits.substack.com/p/2-pick-the-right-market

January 10, 2020 Hit 20 subscribers!

Got 20th subscriber to https://altabits.substack.com !

I know it's nothing fancy about 20 subscribers, but this was actually my threshold to start working on another essay! Also, this is my first serious newsletter, so it tastes sweet ✌️

The feedback is quite good so far, but I have also received a few ideas on how to tweak the content angle to make it more actionable 🔨

January 10, 2020 Set subsribers goal before publishing issue #2

So far, I shared the newsletter with a few friends and people I met online. I have also submitted it to Hacker News and got one subscriber right away. Other than that, no promotion at all.

The feedback is enthusiastic, and I can't wait to publish another article on market size considerations. Before I will do so, I set my goal to have 20 subscribers on the list before I do so. Just three more and I'm good to go ✌️

January 7, 2020 Published on Substack!

After researching a few options, I decided to give Substack a shot. The user experience of setting up your publication there is just incredible, love it! Another great thing is a suite of built-in mechanisms of growing and engaging your audience.
I'm excited to share with you
https://altabits.substack.com

Your feedback is more than welcome! ✌️

January 6, 2020 Wrote the first essay

I wrote my first essay draft about using existing market momentum based on quotes from a16z and Software Engineering Daily podcast. The feedback I received from my friends encouraged me to publish it. Now I'm researching various publishing platforms.

I find tons of great insights in various software and tech podcasts. Over time I collected lots of quotes and notes from episodes I listened to, and I finally decided to revisit and compile them into short essays.