Unsubscribes

I’ve been running a weekly Laravel newsletter for almost a year now and it’s been a lot of fun. When I first started, after each send I would watch the unsubscribes, subconsciously using that as a metric to see if what I was doing was any good.

A year later and my outlook is completely different. I now enjoy unsubscribes. When someone leaves it tells me they didn’t care what I had to say or lost interest in the topic and it prevents me from getting bumped up to the next pay grade.

Looking at it from the angle removes so much stress. I’d trade high subscriber numbers for high open rates any day.

Farewell Snappy

A little over three years ago the team at UserScape had the idea to start a new light and simple helpdesk application that would later be named Snappy.

snappy-tear

Today it was announced that we will be shutting it down. For me, this is a sad day. I’ve spent countless hours on the project, but it’s deeper than that. When you and your team have built something from just an idea on a whiteboard, you have a passion for it that others can’t see. It’s your baby.

There is a popular mantra among programmers, “You are not your code” and it’s true. I don’t want to be defined by any code I’ve ever created, but the code and product as a whole are deeply personal. Saying this is the end is sad.

As with all failed projects all you can do now is look back objectively. Try to grow from the experience and keep pressing forward.

My thanks to everyone involved in the project. It was a fun ride.

Twitter Cards for One-Click Newsletter Signups

Last week I moved my Laravel Newsletter off a self hosted newsletter application and over to Campaign Monitor. While I was working on the move I remembered a post by Ryan Battles on how to integrate one-click Twitter signup and decided to set it up.

Integration was super easy and in fact it would even work with the self hosted app Sendy if you have an SSL. I didn’t.

To get started I filled out all the instructions and downloaded Ryan’s free psd template. A few minutes of customizing and I was up and running.

laravel-newsletter

I pushed the Twitter card live on November 28th and have already seen good results. In five days, around a holiday, I added over 100 new subscribers from just the card. I assume that is a decent number.

I am curious to see how it works over a longer time frame or if this is just a short term gimmick.

Verizon iPhone Trade-In Ripoff

About a month ago my two year Verizon wireless contract ended and they had a special trade-in offer. Trade in any iPhone 4 or higher and you could get up to a $200 gift card. I thought this seemed like a decent offer and up until this point I have been satisfied with Verizon.

I filled out the information on 4 iPhones, all in great condition by the way. Removed activation lock and did a full factory reset on each, then sent them off. Tonight I was sent an email with the value of the first phone. They gave me not $200, not $100, not even $50. A $36 credit!

I am upset and just thinking about the run around I’m going to have to go through makes my blood boil.

Apparently, I’m not the only one either.

What also surprises me is that I follow a lot of Apple bloggers and I haven’t heard mention of this.

How Broken Glasses Led to Great Customer Service

Have you ever had those crazy weeks where everything goes wrong? That describes this week for me.

It all started Tuesday night. After dinner I dropped my glasses and the lens fell out. I squinted while trying to fix them but that just caused a massive headache. Concerned about staring at a computer the next day and the ensuing headache, I asked for the morning off so I could get them repaired. But not before fixing them myself:

glasses

Pretty genius right? I think so as well.

The next morning I dropped the kids off at school and went out on a mission to get them fixed. The first place I stopped, a nice lady welcomed me and asked what she could help me with. I told her my situation and she took the glasses back in a top secret room where I can only assume they do really cool stuff.

A few minutes later she came out and had not only fixed the problem, but tightened all the screws and even got the glasses bent back in shape. At that point I asked, how much do I owe you? It caught me by surprise when she said nothing.

I’m not sure if my genius™ fix made her feel sorry for me or if it was just the store policy. (I’m thinking the former) Either way for my future vision needs they have a new customer.

A writer with no head for business isn’t going to make a living with the words they write, no matter how glorious, how well-crafted, how extraordinary they are, outside an incredible run of good luck.

— Kameron Hurley on Writing as a business

This applies to developers as well. Even if you have no aspirations to start your own business, knowing about options, employee contracts, personal finance, and retirement would do you well.