Occasional thoughts on how to build a successful one person business. Husband & father of three.
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If your product is pre-launch and you find yourself saying, “Our competitors have this feature, so we can’t launch without this feature, because otherwise everyone will choose our competitors…”

Uh oh.

If your product has just launched and you find yourself saying, “The three potential customers I talked to this week say they need these three features before they’ll signup, so let’s build those three features and then they’ll signup and we’ll have three new customers…”

Oh no.

And if the way you explain your product to friends and pitch your product to potential customers is “It’s so and so that doesn’t suck” or “A better so and so”. …


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Every modern email client — especially the ones that put an emphasis on privacy like Fastmail and ProtonMail — blocks loading images by default.

Why? Because of the rampant use of tracking pixels in email marketing over the last two decades.

With this post I’ll quickly go into:

  1. What tracking pixels are
  2. The new rules under GDPR and CCPA
  3. Some thoughts on how inaccurate email tracking data is
  4. How shifting views on internet privacy mean your audience/users/customers probably want you to use a more ethical solution
  5. How Groupy’s privacy-first approach to email newsletters is different in more ways than one

What are tracking pixels

The GDPR working group says email tracking is anything that lets the sender…


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Rob Walling had a back and forth on Twitter recently about the idea that you need to have already built an audience before you launch a product:


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I love the idea of the iMessage App Store. I love Apple’s focus on privacy. I love building on top of an app I use all day everyday. But not only is the iMessage App Store dying —I’m afraid it might already be dead.

“Where are my stickers?”

5 months in, normal people still have no idea where the iMessage App Store is, how to access it, or how to use it.


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For 8 straight days, Phoneys was the #1 paid app in the iMessage App Store. On the 9th, while still #1, Apple pulled it.

At least it went out on top.

Last Friday, when I first wrote about Phoneys, I said I was faced with a difficult decision and wasn’t sure what I was going to do. But, really, the best choice was always pretty obvious. By not updating Phoneys before yesterday’s deadline and forcing Apple to pull it, everyone that bought the stickers will still be able to use them as is until they decide to delete them.

But, even though Phoneys is as dead as all those predictions that 2016 would be “the year of the bot”, the iMessage App Store is alive and thriving. And at not even 4 weeks old there’s a lot we still don’t know about it. So, I thought it’d be useful to publicly go into Phoneys’ numbers and see what they can teach us about the current state of the iMessage App Store. …


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If you can dream it, you can do it.” — Walt Disney

Wednesday night of this week, John Gruber wrote, “This is very clever, and I can see how it could be damn funny, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Phoneys gets pulled from the App Store.” Shortly after John’s post — I mean, you can’t buy press better than that, a post from Gruber about $.99 stickers so clever that Apple was sure to pull them? — Phoneys, the stupid little sticker pack I’d launched just a few days before, climbed to #1 Top Paid and #1 Top Grossing in the iMessage app store.

Thursday night, last night, Bill from Apple called me. …


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Yesterday’s news that WhatsApp was going to start sharing user data with Facebook reminded me of the worry I felt a few months back in the lead up to Facebook’s launch of its Messenger platform.

At the time we were in “peak bot”. Folks were saying chat apps were the new browsers, bots the new websites, and that we were at the beginning of a new internet. And I —one of the roughly 1 in 3 people in the U.S. …


It’s been a rough couple of years for us former Fireworks users.

First, Fireworks CS6 happened. The bugs. Oh god, the bugs. Zero new features. And you had to put out a search warrant to find the damn thing on Adobe’s website.

At the time, it was just the latest step in Fireworks’ long, sad death march since Macromedia’s acquisition by Adobe in 2005. We all knew how this story was going to end. But we held out hope that maybe — just maybe — Adobe’s recent reawakening would include a renewed interest in our favorite UI design tool.

Then, about this time last year, the end finally, mercifully came. Adobe announced Fireworks was going into maintenance mode with a post cruelly titled The future of Adobe Fireworks (and they’ve fallen short of even maintenance mode, because as of right now I can’t open the app). I’d guess either sometime later this year or beginning of next they’ll kill it outright. …

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