Welcome to Stratechery 3.0! Stratechery 1.0 was the launch of this blog in March 2013; Stratechery 2.0 the launch of the Daily Update in April 2014. Stratechery 3.0 is perhaps less transformative from a business perspective, but it’s a substantial reworking of the technological underpinnings of Stratechery that should put the site in a good place to both scale more reliably and support new initiatives down the road.
There is no traditional Daily Update today, but wait! Don’t go! There are some really important things for you to know — and to do. It won’t take long at all, so let’s jump into it:
What You Need to Know and Do
I have ripped out the entire (decrepit and buggy) membership system that was previously underpinning Stratechery and switched to a managed solution from Memberful (I’ll talk about why I made my choice in a bit). What that means for you is the following:
- Everyone needs to reset your password here. After that you will receive a link in your email that will allow you set your own password. Going forward, you can login to Stratechery, manage your account information, join the forum, etc. with your email address and password (you will no longer use your old username)
Your email delivery should continue uninterrupted (note: some corporate accounts and gifts are a little behind in the transition; they should be fixed by tomorrow). In addition, if you previously unsubscribed from emails, you are now resubscribed. My apologies, but it couldn’t be avoided — kindly unsubscribe if you choose to receive the Daily Update through RSS or on the web
If you receive the Daily Update through RSS, you will need to change your feed address. To retrieve your new feed address, please sign in; your feed address will be in the right column on the desktop, or in the drop-down menu on mobile. Unfortunately, as I write this email the RSS functionality has a bug and is not returning XML. I believe I have a handle on this and will have the feed fixed shortly; in the meantime you can go ahead and add the new feed
That’s it! After this transition you should have a significantly better user experience on Stratechery, including cookies that actually work and don’t log you out randomly, email notifications of missed charges or canceled credit cards, and most importantly a significantly improved experience on mobile.
In addition, I have moved the forum to Discourse, a relatively new piece of open source forum software that is both mobile and touch friendly. The forum is directly connected to Stratechery, so once you have logged on to one you should be logged on to the other. And, if you have the time, please do head on over to the forum and update your username; the current usernames are anonymized to protect those who would prefer to not publicly participate, but are a bit of a detriment if you want to join the conversation.
Why Stratechery 3.0?
I had three motivations for taking this relatively significant change:
- The top reason was to improve the Stratechery mobile experience. While Stratechery featured a responsive design from day one, it was mobile unfriendly in a few important ways:
- Site navigation was in the sidebar on the desktop, but buried all the way at the bottom of the page on mobile, requiring a long scroll to do simple things like log-in or view the latest Daily Updates.
The new design moves site navigation to the top of mobile into an easily accessible drop-drown menu. In addition, on the homepage there is a link to the latest Daily Update on the top for easy access to subscribers (in an article view, however, which is usually arrived at via Twitter or similar, the Daily Update headline is moved to the bottom of the page). Moreover, by shrinking the logo, the amount of readable space on initial load is actually greater than before.
- The purchase experience for the Daily Update was very poor on mobile, due in large part to the software I was using to power my membership experience. In fact, I had already customized it heavily to make it passable, but it wasn’t great, and I know many people struggled with it
The previous discussion forums were nearly unusable on mobile, both because of their desktop-presumed layout and also because of a number of maddening touch-related bugs
The second reason was to improve the membership experience. My old software suffered from a number of bugs around the logged-in/logged-out experience, and constantly had problems keeping the various pieces of my business in sync (Stripe, the website, MailChimp, etc.). In addition, there was very poor and inconsistent handling of Stripe errors, especially around cancelled credit cards.
I am very confident that Memberful will address all of these issues. For one, my experience with the team has been excellent, and the quality of their work to date has been very good. More importantly, at least to a business geek like myself, Memberful is a software-as-a-service, a critical difference as compared to my old packaged software solution.
I wrote in Ello and Consumer Friendly Business Models that SaaS was a big win for customers because it aligned incentives: Memberful is eager to earn my ongoing business, because they profit when I profit, and for my part, I can expect — and have already received — significantly more attention and support. That is well worth the added cost.
The final reason was to rebuild the Stratechery theme into something much more modular and more easily expandable. Philip Arthur Moore of PressBuild, my former Automattic colleague, did a wonderful job in that regard. Why that’s important to me I can’t say know, but suffice to say I have lots of plans about where to take Stratechery in the future, and I now feel I have an underlying design and architecture that can both free me to pursue those ideas (primarily by reducing support time) and enable the realization of those ideas on the web.
There is a category on the new Stratechery Forum called Meta that is specifically focused on feedback about Stratechery, and not just the design. Of course you can always email me, but that is a great place to initiate a discussion about the look and feel of Stratechery both literally and figuratively. I greatly value and appreciate your feedback.
I appreciate your patience with today’s non-tech news update. This has been a big undertaking that I very much hope will make for a better experience for you all going forward. And, if it’s not, or if there’s things I missed or bugs you found, please let me know — and a big thank you to the Stratechery members who uncovered some big ones overnight.
Don’t forget to reset your password if you haven’t, and have a great day!