If you’ve come here from somewhere else and want to subscribe right away and don’t care to read about the whole “why” context, here’s a form for this (otherwise, keep reading further below; the rest of this blog post explains why I’m offering this, and answers various questions you might have):
Note: if you’re interested in articles specifically about successfully building/growing a business, you might also be interested in my articles on Regento, where you can subscribe there too (it has its own mailing list, because it’s a very specific topic, and I only write in English on that site)
What started this?
As I have been resurfacing in public in 2019, looking at my writing backlog and seeing over a dozen blog posts to finish and publish in the coming months, I thought it would now be a good time to offer readers a way to be notified of new publications without having to manually check my website all the time or to use specialized tools.
So, I’m now offering a notification mailing list (a.k.a. “newsletter”) you can subscribe to. Below is why I’m doing this instead of just sitting on a beach sipping margaritas.
What kind of topics will be covered?
In the past, my blog has mostly been about technology (particularly Free and Open-Source software) and random discoveries in life. Here are some examples of previous blog posts:
- Économiser 1000$ par année en éliminant Bell et Vidéotron (for QC readers)
- The longest debugging: the journey towards a reliable Linux workstation
- Painting two old friends: Tintin vs Sephiroth
- “SmartEco” projector lamp power saving modes are a trap
- Capturing the essence of a cool symphonic orchestra through video
- Surviving a fire and plane accident
- Fix it thrice: test-driven development, the importance of user data integrity, perceived accuracy through imprecision
- Reducing our Core Apps’ software inventory: “lean” production and management applied to bug tracking
- Staring into the Axis’ Abyss: the Railgun map: an old piece from 2012 to help GNOME revigorate its developer ecosystem and remain competitive
- Don’t make me scroll
- Desktop in the Shell: the irrelevance of icons on the desktop in a modern graphical environment (that article was cited in the making of Nautilus 3.0)
- The ton of stuff in the Pitivi category
In the future, I will likely continue to cover technology-related subjects, but also hope to write more often on findings and insights from “down to earth” businesses I’ve worked with, so that you can see more than just a single industry.
Therefore, my publications will be be about:
- business (management, growth, entrepreneurship, market positioning, public relations, branding, etc.);
- society (sustainability, social psychology, design, public causes, etc. Not politics.);
- life & productivity improvement (“lifehacking”).
“Why go through all that effort, Jeff?”
The idea here is to provide more convenience for some of my readers. It took me a long time to decide to offer this, as I’ll actually be spending more effort (and even money) managing this, going the extra mile to provide relevant information, and sometimes providing information that is not even on the blog.
Why bother with this? For a myriad of reasons:
- It allows keeping in touch with my readership in a more intimate manner
- It allows providing digests and reminders/retrospectives, from where people can choose to read more, effectively allowing “asynchronous” reading. If I were to do blog retrospectives on the blog, I think that might dilute the contents and get boring pretty fast.
- It gives me an idea of how many people are super interested in what I’m publishing (which can be quite motivating)
- It lets me cover all my publishing channels at once: the blog, my YouTube channel, etc.
- It gives people the opportunity to react and interact with me more directly (not everybody wants to post a public comment, and my blog automatically disables commenting on older posts to prevent spam).
“But… Why email?!”
I realize it might look a bit surprising to start a newsletter in 2019—instead of ten years ago—but it probably is more relevant now than ever and, with experience, I am going to do a much better job at it than I would’ve a decade ago.
In over 15 years of blogging, I’ve seen technologies and social networks come and go. One thing hasn’t changed in that timeframe, however: email.
Email certainly has its faults but is the most pervasive and enduring distributed communication system out there, built on open standards. Pretty much everyone uses it. We were using email in the previous millenium, we’re using it today, and I suspect we’ll keep using it for a good long while.
“Don’t we have RSS/Atom feeds already?”
While I’m a big fan of syndication feeds (RSS/Atom) and using a feed reader myself (Liferea), these tools and technologies had their popularity peak around a decade ago and have remained a niche, used mostly by journalists and computer geeks.
- Nobody around me in the “real world” uses them, and most people struggle to understand the concept and its benefits.
- Even most geeks are unaware of feed syndication. Before I fully grasped what the deal with RSS was, I spent some years creating a GNOME desktop application to watch web pages for me. Ridiculous, I know!
- And even then, many people prefer not having to use a dedicated application for this.
So, while I’m always going to keep the feeds available on my blog, I realize that most people prefer subscribing via email.
“What about social media?”
Social media creates public buzz, but doesn’t have the same usefulness and staying power.
- As a true asynchronous medium, email provides convenience and flexibility for the reader compared to the evanescent nature of The Vortex. An email is personal, private, can be filed and consumed later, easily retrieved, unlike the messy firehose that is social media.
- Social media is evanescent, both in content and in platforms:
- Social networks are firehoses; they tend to be noisy (because they want to lure you into the Vortex), cluttered, chaotic, un-ordered. They are also typically proprietary and centralized in the hands of big corporations that mine your data & sociopsychological profile to sell it to the highest bidder.
- There is no guarantee that any given social network is going to last more than a couple years (remember Google+? Or how Facebook used to be cool among youngsters until parents and aunts joined and now people are taking refuge to Twitter/Snapchat/Instagram/whatever?).
- FLOSS & decentralized social networks? That doesn’t help reach normal people; those platforms barely attract 0.0125% of the population.
- Instant messaging and chatrooms? Same issues. Besides, there are too many damned messaging systems to count these days (IRC, Signal, FB Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, Discord, Snapchat, Slack, Matrix/Riot/Fractal, oh my… stop this nonsense Larry, why don’t you just give me a call?), to the point where some are just leaving all that behind to fallback on email.
Like my blog and website, my mailing list will still be useful and available to me as the years pass. You can’t say that “with certainty” of any of the current social platforms out there.
What’s the catch? 🤔
There is no catch.
- You get a summary of my contents delivered to your mailbox every now and then, to be read when convenient, without lifting a finger.
- I probably get more people to enjoy my publications, and that makes me happy. Sure, it’s more work for me, but hey, that’s life (you can send me a fat paycheck to reward me, if you want 😎)
I won’t email too often (maybe once a month or per quarter, I suspect), because I’ve got a million things on my plate already. We’ll see how it goes. Subscribing is voluntary, and you can unsubscribe anytime if you find me annoying (hopefully not).
Questions? Comments/feedback? Suggestions? Feel free to comment on this blog post or… send me an email 😉