Stephan Schmidt

I love Unsubscribes

Learn to love unsubscribes and churn


I hated unsubscribes of my CTO newsletter. They felt like personal defeat. Someone doesn’t like my content. Someone doesn’t like me. Every unsubscribe felt like rejection.

What I would need to change to prevent unsubscribes? Change my tone, change my topics? The tone is often sarcastic. Or biting. Most of my opinions are outside the mainstream. I don’t like microservices, I’m not a cloud person, I love HTMX, I think developers need to become creators again instead of implementors of other people ideas. I think many product managers don’t do their job and should be ignored.

My newsletter is like my conference talks. If I talked about something that is important to me, ten people showed up. If I’ve talked about something mainstream, the room was packed. How to change the content of my newsletter to reduce unsubscribes, to reduce churn?

Then I gave up. Why am I writing the newsletter in the first place? I do think CTOs create their problems by following the mainstream. By doing what others seem to do. I want to help CTOs. Even if the opinion that helps them is not part of the groupthink.

I love people reading my newsletter. Looking back, I always felt better in a room of ten talking about things that are important to me than in a packed room when I felt this does not make sense. I’d rather write a newsletter for ten readers that like what I write and that helps them with their job, instead of having thousands of readers with topics I just grab because I think it will generate more subscribers and which I don’t believe in.

We need to do more things that we think are right and that we enjoy. Instead for fame go for the things you like and think are important.

Like me - I’ve Learned to Stop Worrying and Love unsubscribes.

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