Stratechery 4.0

Five Years ago last Sunday, I launched Stratechery 1.0 with a picture of sailboats:1

A screenshot of Stratechery 1.0

A simple image. Two boats, and a big ocean. Perhaps it’s a race, and one boat is winning — until it isn’t, of course. Rest assured there is breathless coverage of every twist and turn, and skippers are alternately held as heroes and villains, and nothing in between.

Yet there is so much more happening. What are the winds like? What have they been like historically, and can we use that to better understand what will happen next? Is there a major wave just off the horizon that will reshape the race? Are there fundamental qualities in the ships themselves that matter far more than whatever skipper is at hand? Perhaps this image is from the America’s Cup, and the trailing boat is quite content to mirror the leading boat all the way to victory; after all, this is but one leg in a far larger race.

It’s these sort of questions that I’m particularly keen to answer about technology. There are lots of (great!) sites that cover the day-to-day. And there are some fantastic writers who divine what it all means. But I think there might be a niche for context. What is the historical angle on today’s news? What is happening on the business side? Where is value being created?

Since then I have written 308 Weekly Articles and 659 Daily Updates (and recorded 159 podcasts) answering exactly those questions, and, thankfully, have managed to create some value of my own: in 2014 I launched the Daily Update and have been supported by subscriptions ever since.

For a long time, though, I have wished Stratechery did a better job of providing value not just through daily emails and posts, but to the new user stumbling across the site for the first time, or the long-time reader hoping to find that one post they remember reading. This update is all about those two use cases — and yes, a new logo and visual refresh.

Explore Stratechery

There are now three ways to explore Stratechery:

Concepts: The Concepts page distills Stratechery’s archive into seven categories:

  • Aggregation Theory
  • Disruption Theory
  • Incentives
  • Media
  • Strategy and Product Management
  • Technology and Society
  • The Evolution of Technology

Each category has five or so sub-categories, each with a selection of relevant Stratechery articles from the last five years. This is the best place to start if you are new to Stratechery.2

Companies: The Companies page lets you quickly jump to a specific archive page for every company I have written about on Stratechery (there have been 309 of them!). Full disclosure: this section isn’t completely finished — soon every company will have featured articles that I consider my most important work about the company (right now the top eight by post count do). For now, here is what Apple looks like:

Topics: The Topics page is just like the Companies page, but about, well, topics! Things like earnings, or cryptocurrencies, or Taylor Swift (and Kanye West!). Right now there are 121 topics in Stratechery’s taxonomy.

Search Stratechery

The second major addition to Stratechery is dramatically improved search, powered by Algolia. Better indexing is certainly the most important feature, but there are others:

Autocomplete: The search box in the side-bar will now auto-complete as you type, taking a first crack at getting you the exact article you were looking for. In addition, you can quickly jump to the relevant Concept, Company, or Topic page:

Instant Search: Once on the search page you can get results instantly, helping you quickly iterate on your search terms without waiting for a refresh, all with typo-tolerance and synonym search.

Facets: You can filter search results (or simply all posts) by:

  • Category (Articles, Daily Updates, Podcasts)
  • Company
  • Topic
  • Concept

This should make it far easier to find that post you remember reading way back when.

A New Logo and Visual Refresh

I am tempted to say this is the least important feature, but after all of the time I just spent reading through my archives, I know that little things like logos and look-and-feel matter just as much as the words on the page. To that end, I am extremely excited about Stratechery’s new logo:

Designed by Brad Ellis of Tall West, the new mark represents Stratechery’s emphasis on writing, the focus on technology, and, of course, my drawings.3 The Archer type-face is a call-back to Stratechery’s original Courier, and the feeling of a type-writer. I’m extremely excited, and hope you are as well.

In addition, there are now related articles under posts, the all-caps headlines are gone, and the sidebar (drop-down menu on mobile) has been reconfigured. Frankly, I remain very happy with the rest of the site: that is how good of a job Philip Arthur Moore did when he re-built my original version from scratch in 2015; he did an equally fantastic job on 4.0.

New Email

In addition, today I am launching a new template for Stratechery emails. The most apparent change for readers will be a new logo (of course), and a general clean-up of the layout. What is far more important, though, is what readers won’t see. Allow me a quick backstory:

For the first few years of the Daily Update I used a modified MailChimp template; it was functional, and most importantly, it was very easy to prepare and send emails. Unfortunately, those templates didn’t work so well in Gmail on mobile; that’s why I launched a new template last summer. It rendered correctly everywhere, but preparing each email was a laborious process that took as long as 30 minutes a day. Worse, it introduced multiple opportunities to make mistakes.

That is when Yellow Brim came to the rescue. The just-launched company built not just a template, but rather a converter and template combo that renders perfect emails with nothing more than a push of the button. I am very pleased at how much better it is going to make my day-to-day life. What was most impressive of all, though, was the way CEO Jacqueline Boltik took the way to deeply understand my workflow and needs, and only then came up with a solution. I can’t wait to see what she and Yellow Brim build next.

Thank You

Normally I would close this post by thanking all of you, my readers, for making this possible. That is absolutely true, and I am more grateful for your support than you can know.

On this occasion, though, I need to save my final and most fervent thanks for Daman Rangoola (warning: excessive amounts of Lakers talk behind that link). Stratechery 4.0 has been months in the making, and Daman has shouldered the biggest load by far, particularly the rich taxonomy applied to those 1,128 pieces of content. As you can tell by looking at the new features above, it is plain fact that without Daman, Stratechery 4.0 would not exist.

For now, though, I hope you enjoy the new site: explore the Concepts, Companies, Topics, and play with Search, and do let me know (via Member forum or email, not Twitter) if you find any bugs. We’ll be fixing things up for the next little bit I’m sure.

Here’s to five more years!

  1. Please, ignore the terrible pronunciation decisions; it’s Struh-TECH-er-ee, as in the industry that I cover 

  2. I want to give recognition to Sonya Mann who came up with the original outline for the Stratechery Conceptual Framework nearly two years ago. 

  3. A gallery is coming in 4.1