Yem Jam (Vol. 1)
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Welcome to Yem Jam - a weekly summary of progress, learnings, and ideas as we build Yem.
Why do this?
We’re inspired by the creators and businesses that are building in public. Especially in the "creator economy". Folks like Lenny Rachitsky and Packy McCormick. Perhaps most of all, Li Jin, who brought a much needed vernacular to a fascinating corner of the internet.
Lenny, Packy, Li, and many other pioneers gave me the encouragement needed to take a leap of faith and start Yem. Even if Yem blows up in smoke, hopefully it shows the worst case scenario isn't all that bad. And maybe that will lead to folks overcoming any hesitations to build things that bring value and joy to others.
One other reason for Yem Jam is to encourage serendipity and collaboration. We're hoping to share ideas, meet new people, and collectively chip away at the future we want. So please provide feedback, and please share this with anyone you think may benefit from it.
Oh, and on a more personal note, I want to create a way to try to explain what we're doing to my parents. (Hey mom, hey dad!) They thought I was crazy when I moved across the country to work at a startup called Hulu. They thought I had lost it when I moved to San Francisco to join Crunchyroll. They now think I'm totally bonkers for starting Yem. Hopefully the occasional update helps them sleep a little better at night.
Now onto the updates.
What’s going on?
Created reporting and subscriber forecast to measure experiments
Conducted user surveys to develop personas
Ran paid ads on Facebook
Tested different landing pages
Experimented with free-to-paid upsell emails
Tested windowing paid-only posts to everyone
We’ve gathered some great learnings. But one thing keeps surprising us: how tedious and timing-consuming it is to bring the data together and measure our efforts. Our initial focus is on building a reporting platform tailored to newsletters. We hope a solid analytical foundation helps newsletters experiment, learn, and grow.
We've built a prototype and are working with 5 newsletters in private beta. The plan is to stay in private beta through at least the end of June. During this time, we're aiming to keep customers to under 10 newsletters. By the end of private beta, our goal is to have 80% of customers buy our product.
We've received some great feedback from our current customers. One takeaway is the reporting is helpful, but there may be room to add more value. Our customers want us to provide more insight on what they should do with the data. And some customers want us to go a step further by actually doing the thing that will help them grow.
What’s the plan?
Nearly all our effort revolves around building the product and talking to customers.
We're looking to accelerate our ability to build, experiment, and sharpen the product. To that end, we're searching for a technical partner. A resourceful problem solver that can help form and build early versions of the product. We’re flexible, but this is likely at least a 20-40 hour a week commitment to start. If you're interested, or know of anyone that may be a good fit, please send us a note by replying to this email!
We're also hoping to gradually onboard new customers. If you're a newsletter operator and would like to join our private beta, please let us know!
I’ve gone way longer than intended... but hey, it’s the first one! Please let us know what you think. And thank you for your early support - we’ll talk to you next week.
PS - thank you to Arlen Marmel for editing and his continuous wisdom.