How do you read your email newsletters? For many people, reading newsletters is a part of their morning routine. Instead of being active on social media, they prefer to catch up on the latest news and updates through their inbox. There are different ways to read newsletters, and it often depends on individual preferences and habits.

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Jul 31, 2023

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How do you read your email newsletters? For many people, reading newsletters is a part of their morning routine. Instead of being active on social media, they prefer to catch up on the latest news and updates through their inbox. There are different ways to read newsletters, and it often depends on individual preferences and habits.

One common workflow is to add email newsletters to Instapaper. This can be done by opening the newsletters in Gmail's web app and saving the page, or by clicking the "View in Browser" link in the email and then saving the page. This method is reliable and ensures that the content is saved for later reading. Some people even use Chrome extensions to automate this process.

However, not everyone finds phones or laptops to be the best way to read long-form content. Some prefer to read on e-readers like Kindle, which provide a more comfortable reading experience. To cater to this preference, there are services like Newsletters to Kindle, which automatically send newsletters to your Kindle device. This eliminates the need to manually save newsletters to Instapaper and sync them to Kindle.

Another approach to managing newsletters is to have a separate email address dedicated solely to newsletters. This helps to keep the main inbox clutter-free and allows for better organization. By snoozing irrelevant emails, archiving those that are not of interest, and skimming through newsletter emails, one can effectively manage their inbox. Links that are worth reading later can be saved to services like Pocket, which acts as a reading list to be accessed when there is time.

For those who want to stay updated with the latest content from their favorite sources, setting up a Python script to skim RSS feeds and add them directly to the Pocket feed can be a great solution. This way, the process of discovering and saving content becomes more automated and efficient.

To further streamline the newsletter experience, some people use a trick with their email address. By adding a "+" sign and a specific identifier when subscribing to newsletters, they can filter and organize incoming newsletters in Gmail. This ensures that newsletters are easily accessible when intended to be read, without cluttering the main inbox.

Moving on to the topic of defensibility and competition, it is important for startups to consider how they can differentiate themselves and create barriers to entry for competitors. While some startups may have inherent defensibility from the start, most need to add defensibility over time.

Network effects are one form of defensibility that can arise immediately upon launch. When a product or service benefits from network effects, it becomes more valuable as more users join. This can make it difficult for competitors to attract users away from the established network.

Certain SaaS or operating system companies benefit from a platform effect, where other companies integrate with their product. This bundling and cross-selling of products can prevent competitors from finding a way to compete effectively. Superior interoperability, pricing, or procurement processes can also give a company a competitive advantage.

Early access to APIs, data, or other unique assets can provide a competitive edge. For example, OpenAI has provided some companies with early access to their advanced AI models. This exclusivity allows these companies to leverage the technology before others, giving them an advantage in the market.

Sales can also act as a moat for SaaS or enterprise companies. Having unique or proprietary data, owning a customer's data, or being a "system of record" can create defensibility. Additionally, speed of iteration and execution, responsiveness to customer requests, and efficient hiring processes can all contribute to a company's competitive advantage.

It is worth noting that many successful startup ideas initially seem small, niche, or even toy-like. Only those who are willing to take the risk and build in these areas, which may appear too small for large incumbents, have the opportunity to disrupt the market. Sometimes, the most obvious ideas are not the best startup ideas, as they lack the element of novelty and differentiation.

While defensibility is important, serving customer needs well should be the primary focus. Understanding and addressing customer pain points is often more critical and challenging than simply trying to build defensibility. In many cases, defensibility emerges over time as a result of building a proprietary data set, becoming an ingrained workflow, or creating defensibility through sales or other moats.

To ensure long-term defensibility, it is crucial to continue building and expanding the product even after the initial launch. The more a company can iterate, improve, and add value to its offering, the less vulnerable it will be to competition and commoditization. The pace of execution and ongoing shipping of updates and enhancements play a significant role in building defensibility.

In conclusion, reading email newsletters can be personalized based on individual preferences and habits. Whether it's using tools like Instapaper or Pocket, automating the process with scripts, or reading on e-readers like Kindle, there are various approaches to managing newsletters effectively.

When it comes to building a defensible startup, it is essential to consider different factors like network effects, proprietary data, customer relationships, and speed of execution. While defensibility may not be immediate, it can emerge over time through continuous improvement and addressing customer needs. By focusing on providing value and staying ahead of the competition, startups can increase their chances of long-term success.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Explore different methods of reading newsletters, such as using tools like Instapaper or Pocket, or reading on e-readers like Kindle. Find the approach that suits your reading preferences and helps you stay organized.
  • 2. Consider incorporating automation into your newsletter management process. Use scripts or services that can skim RSS feeds, save articles to reading lists, or filter and organize incoming newsletters.
  • 3. Prioritize understanding and addressing customer needs. Focus on providing value and improving your product or service over time. This will not only attract and retain customers but also help build defensibility against competitors.

Remember, finding the right balance between personalization and defensibility is key to a successful newsletter reading experience and startup journey.

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