Digital media’s swift path to profitability

“A swift path to profitability tends to come from brands that own, rather than rent, their audience. The majority of recent deals have involved highly-focused, subject-specific verticals. New acquisitions are quickly tucked into the margin-sensitive organization’s wider office space, ad-tech stacks and other back-office functions. Overlapping costs are largely stripped out, rather than continuing to operate the assets as separate, adjacent businesses.”

The age of the operator (Digiday)

Feels like digital companies, from SV-based startups to NY-based media brands, are coming ’round to practical business models. We’re finally seeing some sticker shock from “growth at all costs”.

The context of search queries

“Knowing that a term is informational only gets you so far. If you miss that the content desired by that query demands a list you could be creating long-form content that won’t satisfy intent and, therefore, is unlikely to rank well.”

Query Syntax (AJ Kohn)

Understand what people want when they enter a search query, lest you waste time on creating things that don’t solve for what they need.

A few thoughts re: Substack

“If great writing were to flourish on the internet, the media world needed an alternative to online advertising. We believed that direct payments between readers and writers provided a better way forward. With subscriptions, the emphasis is placed on an ongoing trust relationship between reader and writer. The reader – not an advertiser – becomes the primary customer. A writer of a subscription publication can only do well if the reader feels well served – and if they succeed with that, then even a relatively small audience is enough to support a lucrative business.”

Two years of Substack (Substack)

Substack isn’t an email marketing platform. It’s a publishing platform for writers. Email is the primary delivery mechanism, but you gotta jump to the Substack site for comments and discussions.

I’m bullish on Substack because I like the product, I like the model, and I like the experience as both a subscriber and a creator.

I’ve subscribed ($$$) to a few newsletters so far because I follow the writers and want to support their work, and a few cups of coffee per month feels like more than a bargain to do so.

Read more…A few thoughts re: Substack

The rise of “no code” tools

“These tools are reducing the amount of time and coding expertise required to translate an idea into something people can use. You no longer need to become a programmer to build things on the internet, empowering a new wave of makers from different backgrounds and perspectives.”

The Rise of “No Code” (Ryan Hoover)

I dropped a similar tweet a few weeks back:

“Growing code-free services bringing software creation to the masses = finally crossing the chasm. There were some earlier attempts, but with the likes of site builders, Airtable, Zapier, Notion, Coda, etc… there are more options than ever for tech-savvy, non-coders to DIY.”

@andymci on Twitter

HTML + CSS is remarkable

“There is something remarkable about the fact that, with everything we have created in the past 20 years or so, I can still take a complete beginner and teach them to build a simple webpage with HTML and CSS, in a day. We don’t need to talk about tools or frameworks, learn how to make a pull request or drag vast amounts of code onto our computer via npm to make that start. We just need a text editor and a few hours. This is how we make things show up on a webpage.”

HTML, CSS and our vanishing industry entry points (Rachel Andrew)

HTML + CSS is the output of everything we build on the web. It’s what we create by proxy through JS frameworks and the like. Yet an understanding of HTML & CSS is disappearing as a common starting point for new web developers.