Buttondown in 2021

I haven’t written that much about Buttondown in 2020: scanning through the archives, it looks like a total of eight blog posts (including this one.) That’s not so great!

On the other hand, I have been very busy with doing things on Buttondown that don’t involve blogging. Buttondown has been growing steadily — did you know that newsletters are having a moment? — and my time spent on Buttondown is concomitant with that growth, meaning that my hours are spent more on customer service, onboarding, and scaling than on trying to build out new features or convince more people to write emails (the two ostensible goals of blogging about Buttondown.)

Still, I think it is worth taking a step back and talking about where Buttondown will be going in the next twelve months. As usual, don’t hold me too heavily to any of this stuff — and remember that the roadmap is the best source of truth out there.

Things I am excited about

  1. Making common operational requests self-service. Importing archives, importing subscribers, setting up DNS, and using the software before registering are the four most common pain points for folks acclimating to Buttondown, and thankfully all four are things that I can solve with software engineering!
  2. Improved features for paid newsletters. Support for non-USD subscriptions, pay-what-you-want (and tier-based) models, and stronger subscriber management tools are all on the way as paid newsletters graduate from “fun feature” to “major component of Buttondown’s value proposition.”
  3. Internationalization, which is 80% done and, as the prophecy goes, only requires another 80% left to be ready to ship.

Boring business stuff you probably don’t care about

  1. Improvements to the conversion funnel. Mostly this will be coming in the form of moving a lot of my content marketing & public resources (like that roadmap, and the FAQ, and the running costs) to be under the buttondown.email domain rather than a random Notion page.
  2. Performance & operational costs improvements. I’ll likely be moving some or all traffic off of Mailgun and Heroku; both are wonderful solutions but I’m now at the event horizon where it’s worth spending some time building out lower-margin solutions.

Things that won’t happen in 2021

  1. Support for activation sequences / drip campaigns. Sorry, y’all, I know this is the most common feature request out there, but it requires a lot of real estate, thought, and investment for something that I am not particularly interested or excited about!
  2. SSO and teams support. I am holding out some hope here that I figure out a way to work on more enterprise-y/teams-y features, but it’s just not in the cards.

As always, if you have any feedback (or thoughts on what I should be working on next!) — email me! Beyond that, happy new year and I’m excited to share more with y’all soon.

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