Newsletter April 30, 2018

Other Newsletters

  • Ed’s Vacuum Newsletter for 2018-W17 – lots on local politics, which these days is basically all about the building (or “not building”) of places for people to live. Also, he talks about how to subscribe to the newsletter and the problems therein.
  • Patti Smith has a newsletter too! Newsletter 4/29/18 – Ann Arbor Archives – She has a great roundup of what local breweries are up to and some fun stories from Ann Arbor’s history. I liked this a lot, “Michigan Argus, April 29, 1864 – E. Ketchum of Ypsilanti would send you a small treatise on Ice Cream & the Philosophy of its Manufacture if you just send him your address.”
  • CivCity has its May Day for Local Civics! with a reminder that there’s a local election on May 8th!

Are you writing a newsletter? Let me know about it so I can include it!

Ypsi-Arbor D&D Gazette Update

Technically my self-imposed deadline ends at the end of the day and the zine is ready to go, but I’m going to take a few more days to add some polish. Shooting for closer to the end of the week. Layout was mostly roughed in yesterday and then I had a Thought™ and started over. I’m happier with the switch and how it’s coming together. There were 6 or so submissions plus a few other things I wanted to include. Shorter than I’d envisioned, but still quite fun. In retrospect, I wish I’d set my “release schedule” to earlier in the month to maintain momentum from when submissions came in. Oh well!

The absolute best way to hear about when it comes out is to sign up here:

If this is the first you’re hearing about it you can read more about it here:

Ypsi-Arbor D&D Gazette

Making Sure Someone Sees It

Two of the other newsletters this week mention a problem that anyone who creates anything runs into: how do you make sure that everyone who should see it actually sees it? Marketing at its best is essentially finding an answer to this. A market for whatever niche content you’re producing exists. Finding the market and delivering the content to it constitutes a very hairy problem.

A poorly timed tweet or Facebook post means it vanishes in a sea of inattention. For example, I posted a link to last week’s newsletter on Facebook and almost nothing came of it. My first tweet about it garnered some interest, but as I remarked:

11am-ish on a Monday seems to be the perfect time to bury a tweet so it doesn’t get seen that well. Let’s see how 4:40 does.

4:40pm did a lot better.

The thing of it is though, that could just be for my followers, yours are different and might LOVE an 11am reminder. Chances are you need to do multiple nudges though due to the way that social media works right now.

This’ll be my sixth newsletter when it’s published. How many of you knew there were 5 others? I’m guessing some, but not all. And I’m also guessing at least one of the others would have been interesting to you (even if this one is not).

This is why despite the annoyances of it email is still very good at getting you a direct line to your tribe (in the Seth Godin sense). It’s one of the last places where we demand that it work as close to our mental model as possible. We don’t want the computer making every decisions about what to surface up at the top or remove from the list. From there, everyone crafts their own workflow for email to make sure they see what they want to.

Strongly linked to this is RSS. An RSS feed makes email marketing easier. This blog has an RSS feed and as of today I’m using mailchimp to send out new post updates over email. This should have been setup forever ago, but everything takes time!

Sign up in the sidebar if you’d like to get future updates! I’ll report back in a few weeks about which method is “working” in terms of making sure people who want to read this are able to read this.


We moved into a house last summer that is farther away from work and daycare than our apartment was. I love the location; however, we used to bus and bike and walk almost every day. Due to the location of daycare in relation to the bus routes we’ve ended up driving essentially every day since we moved. I’m committed to figuring out how to make that not our reality so this past week I biked the kid into daycare and myself over to Workantile. My wife biked in one of those days too and then we caravaned back home down Washtenaw. It was delightful and we went almost 24 hours without using a car on a workday for the first time in about 8 months.

Time from our front door, to dropping the toddler off, to sitting at my desk ended up being about the same amount of time as driving, parking, and walking from the parking spot to my desk. Add in the fact that they’re doing construction around daycare that is causing parking issues and I could see it saving time on certain days.

I wasn’t expecting that at all. Without optimizing anything about our route, or bike setup, there wasn’t a giant measurable time cost and, frankly, I ended up getting to my desk in a great frame of mind to start the day. Whenever I bike I end up smiling. Whenever I drive I don’t.

Sam is going to let me try out his cargo bike to see how that goes. My thought right now is that an electric assist bike could cut the commute down a few minutes while making the hills slightly easier to take on. Getting in shape will help too.

Who should own a website?


Everyone would do well to have that place on the internet they can put the thing. I’m a broken record, but twitter and facebook are not that place if you want it to exist in perpetuity (for certain values of perpetuity).

My favorite parts of the internet are the far away places. The clear passion project niches. Take this site for example:

Welcome to the one-stop destination for images and information about Action Transfers and Instant Pictures, and the home of SPLAT (the Society for the Preservation of Letraset Action Transfers).

You don’t know you need this site until you need it.

It also doesn’t map well to a series of facebook posts, tweets, or an instagram story. It likely doesn’t map well to most CMSes either. Yet the care that went into organizing it means that it can exist as a resource and a delightful thing to stumble on.

For the Ypsi-Arbor D&D Gazette I needed to match the fonts on the original D&D boxes (yes, needed). has already done the legwork here and has a fantastically compiled list of links for it:

TSR Fonts

On the homepage for that site is this statement:

”Couple of interesting facts. The site has averaged 120 unique visitors a day. ~1200 portraits were submitted to the Baldur’s Gate image gallery.”

Number of visitors is all relative. Some people would be thrilled with 120 visitors a day. Others would be panicked at how low the number that is. Your reach and your success is something you get to define. There’s a blog post on my website that I don’t care if anyone ever visits, but I’ve used it a few times while standing in Home Depot and found it extremely important:

Paint Colors · Chris Salzman’s Website

Having a URL for the paint colors for our house that I can call up on any device with an internet connection is an amazing ability. I think more people should have the ability to do that without getting flummoxed by technical jargon.


This week’s newsletter was written at Workantile and Sweetwaters in Kerrytown. Drafted in Bear and published using Hugo.