With more Substacks and newsletters out there, my friend and I realized that we're subscribed to a ton of them that we were excited to learn from, but somehow most ended up just sitting in our inboxes, unread.
It's no wonder that newsletters are more popular than ever before but we would really love to rethink the reading and learning experience.
What's your experience like?
I don't really care what format my reading comes in (I mean shorter form or long essays but not full books) as long as it supports an RSS feed. I use Reeder as my quick reading/triage hub coupled with Instapaper if I want to dig deeper and Readwise if I want to save/learn stuff.
The one that's started to fool by the wayside right now is Evernote and, if I can find a way to get as confident about it, plan to replace it with Roam (that I'm dabbling with at the moment).
One pain point with newsletters is the sheer volume. There's so much great content out there, but sometimes it just piles up in the inbox! Lately I've been using Herald (heraldpod.com) to convert newsletters into podcast audio. It's nice to be able to listen in the background instead of reading in my email app.
I actually recently noticed something weird with my email newsletter reading habits. I'd switched my personal email to [Product|Hey] when it first came out, moved all my newsletters into Hey's The Feed, and for a bit it felt like I had a nice reading list for my newsletters.
Then I started forgetting to check the feed. Out of sight, out of mind. And so, I've now switched to putting my favorite newsletters in my Inbox, and things I just check occasionally in the feed. Then, when I have more time to read say on the weekend, I'll open the feed, but even if I forget I'll still see the newsletters I really wanted to see.
With that in mind, I feel like there could almost be a way to automatically prioritize newsletters based on perhaps total reading time, or how often I've opened their newsletters and read to the end? Almost like how Instagram Stories, say, prioritize the people who's stories you've checked the most, an email app that sorted newsletters by the ones you're most likely to read could be interesting.
Then, perhaps integration with a reading later app like Instapaper. That's where all my other long-reads go; content-rich newsletters would be a perfect fit.
Highlighting is another thing Hey does well, where you can highlight anything in an email and clip it for later. I could see that (and perhaps some other bookmarking tools) being useful to be able to go back and re-learn from the best newsletters.
And then, here's one I haven't seen anywhere yet: Subscription management. If an email app could recognize subscription emails, list total spend and when newsletters will renew before they do, that'd be hugely helpful.
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