I’ve been doing an Apple-related newsletter since 1989. Somebody gave me an Apple Fax Modem, and as a test, I thought I’d send a “Mac*Chat” newsletter to a client. More clients wanted a copy, and I kept adding more people. That got really unwieldy, and as soon as that newfangled “email” thing arrived, I switched everybody over.
Around 1991, a subscriber in Texas offered to host the newsletter on a Listserv, allowing me to quit using my AOL account to send out newsletters to an ever-increasing number of people.
This caused my readership to EXPLODE. At the peak point, I had just-under 100,000 readers in 72 countries, on every land-mass except for Antarctica. It was the ninth-largest newsletter on EARTH, on any topic whatsoever. This wouldn’t have been any problem at all, except, I’m too nice:
Imagine getting an email, saying “Hi, you don’t know me, but I’m overwhelmed here, and nobody else can help me with this one, teensy problem. Could you please help?” Being a nice guy, I’d try to help, but by the time that I was getting around a thousand of such messages a week, the stress was wiping me out.
The obvious reply is “Great! Paying clients!” Nope. This was in the days before micropayments (such as Paypal), and long-distance screen-sharing. These subscribers were in Malaysia, Lithuania and Siberia. There was no way to get any payment for each “teensy question,” and believe me, they NEVER ended with just one answer. There were always follow-up questions.
So, I ended the worldwide newsletter, and shifted it to JUST my clients in San Diego. The postings here are just the ones that have remained reasonably relevant, so I’m not excavating anything earlier than this.
Welcome to the newest version of my newsletter!