Just use Buttondown, stupid
A happy user, I was about to hit a subscriber number threshold and I thought I could save a tiny amount of money.
I also thought it’d be simpler if I managed my email list myself.
As we say in Australia, ‘yeah nah’.
I started managing the list manually in Airtable. To send mail I have a clunky shell script which calls Amazon’s Simple Email Service. Running this script is terrifying: I’m always sure I’m going to send something out twice, or to the wrong group of addresses.
To get on or off the list you fill in my web form and that goes to Netlify Forms: a fine service, but it turns out it costs money over a certain fairly low number of submissions and that the difference is more than I’d just have given Justin for the higher-subscriber-level plan! 🤦
And then I still have to take that submission and manually add it to Airtable, making sure I don’t add duplicates,3 that I properly remove unsubscriptions, and so on.
I soon came to a stark realisation: I am an idiot.
2024 is the Year of Simplification
As per my previous posts, I’m starting over. This includes everything: and therefore includes the systems by which I manage my email lists.
It’s too early to say for sure but I’m pretty certain that ‘simplify where possible’ will be a theme for the year.
To that end, I am returning to the warm embrace of Buttondown. I never should have left. I’m sorry, Justin.
Will be adding a bunch of addresses
If you’ve signed up to the list since the start of December, I’ll be adding your address to Buttondown some time in the next day or so.
I’ve turned off the ‘welcome to the list’ notifications, so you shouldn’t actually notice. But if you do, and you ask, I’ll point you here for an explanation.
Update on JD’ing JD
Nothing much has happened since the last post. January in Australia is like August in Italy: everyone is on holiday.
Lucy’s family have been here and so we haven’t really started work properly yet. They pop in again tomorrow for the last time, so Wednesday might be the day we switch our brains back on.
Discuss this on the forum.
That’s a referral link. Per Buttondown: “For every paying customer you refer to us, you get a 25% lifetime commission on their payments to us, and they get $9 off their first month of Buttondown.” ↩
Now owned by Intuit, of tax software fame, who bought them for TWELVE THOUSAND MILLION DOLLARS for the love of god. I mean when sending email is worth $12bn you need to wonder where your data is going. ↩
A feature curiously missing from Airtable: the ability to show duplicate entries in a table. Trivial in Excel, so I ended up copy-pasting my entire database in and out to do just that. I mean seriously. ↩