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I've moved to a new platform. Here's what it means for me and you.
You may notice that this email looks a little different than all the others you’ve gotten from me. That’s because I’ve moved my operation to a new platform: Substack. You’ve probably heard of Substack. You probably subscribe to other newsletters on Substack already (there are a lot of essential ones on the NBA side). It may seem like a small change, but I’m very excited about what it may mean for the future of my work, and I think it’s going to lead to a better experience for my subscribers, too.
Here’s a bit about why I made the switch, and what improvements you can expect going forward:
A better user experience on the app
One of the most common complaints I've gotten from readers over the past 18 months is that my website is hard to navigate and doesn't keep subscribers logged in every time. I’ve heard you, and I agree.
Not only is Substack's platform much more user-friendly in that way, they also have an app (available for iPhone and Android) that makes it even easier to read, share and comment on posts. You can also turn on push notifications to be alerted every time I publish something, if you're into that sort of thing. It's just going to be a better experience for you across the board.
Another thing about the app: ever since the current owner of Twitter (which we are now obligated to call "X, The Platform Formerly Known As Twitter" when referring to it in print) took over, that platform has become more useless by the day. I'm still on "X," and will continue to be until it actually dies, but I'm always looking for ways to lessen how much I depend on it to get my work out there to people.
Over the last few months, their algorithm has intentionally buried any posts with links in them, as well as taken headlines off of link previews. I held out on principle for as long as I could on paying the $8 a month, which is now required to make it even usable, but it hasn't helped much. Historically, I've gotten a lot of my traffic and new subscribers from Twitter, but that's not going to be sustainable with how volatile that platform has become.
One of the things I like about Substack's platform is the "Notes" feature, which I'm going to use to post shorter updates from practices and things like that, that may not warrant a full post. Right now, Twitter/"X" is my only option for posting that stuff, so it will be nice to be able to do that somewhere else. If it gets enough traction, maybe I'll be able to actually transition over there entirely.
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More community involvement
I mentioned "comments" above. Yes, there's a comments section now. On most posts, those will be for paid subscribers only, which I'm hoping will limit some of the normal pitfalls of “the comments.” I'll do my best to engage with you there. I really love interacting with my readers directly, but it's not very fun to do that on Twitter/"X" right now, for obvious reasons. Hopefully this will be a better way to do it.
Substack also has a chat function, which I plan to use as another way to engage directly with you. I haven't exactly figured out what that's going to look like—I might do live chats during road games I'm not at, or fold it into the mailbag columns I already do. Either way, becoming a paid subscriber now comes with more than just access to all of my work—there will be a lot more interaction.
A note on pricing
Now, we get to the caveat for some of you, and the reason I didn't go with Substack from the time I started this in June of 2022. For all of the advantages detailed above, Substack takes a larger cut of subscription revenue than the platform I was on previously.
I'm not going to raise the price for new subscribers again. I already did that once, in the middle of last season. Where it is right now is what I’m comfortable charging, and I haven’t gotten much feedback that it’s too expensive. This is what I wrote at the time:
When I started this venture back in June, one of the first things I had to figure out was how much to charge people. I settled on $6 a month or $50 for the year, which is a bit lower than others doing this sort of thing are charging, because a) I don't like charging people that much, and b) I thought that keeping the price low would lead to more people signing up.
Through the first half-season, I've seen enough growth to feel confident that eventually it's going to get where it needs to be, but with some trips coming up that cost money (whichever of the play-in or playoffs ends up happening, plus the draft combine in Chicago in May and Summer League in Las Vegas in July), I've begun to realize that I was probably not charging enough to make the math all make sense.
Starting on the first of the month, I'm going to raise the price slightly for new subscribers. Not a huge amount—it's jumping to $8 a month or $75 for the year—and I still think it's a really good deal for the amount and quality of content I've been giving you thus far. I hope those of you who have been subscribers would agree.
When I announced the price change back then, I said I was going to keep the price the same for subscribers who had already signed up at the old price. Now, in order to offset the greater cut of money I'm giving up to move over to this platform, I've decided to bump everyone up to the current price. If that’s a dealbreaker for you, I totally get it. But if you’ve been with me for this long, I hope you’ll understand it. Going forward, all subscribers will be charged $8 monthly or $75 yearly, which I still think is a fair price for the amount of content I’m giving you.
If you’re already a paid subscriber, thank you. And if you’re not yet, this is a good time to get on board.