Why You Should Make Internet Friends

Talking to your newsletter subscribers can be a great way to build a valuable network of Internet friends. How Derek Sivers (who made $22M from the sale of CDBaby, btw) answered my email and inspired me to ask about my own subscribers.

I have subscribed to many personal newsletters. These are people who I find interesting.

For example, I occasionally read Justin Jackson and Yongfook. They are both bootstrapping an online SaaS business. And this is my area of interest.

Some newsletters have a "what do you think" part in the end and so I sometimes answer with my thoughts. I never get a reply.

I now stumbled upon Derek Siver’s blog. As I found it extremely interesting, I signed up for his newsletter.

And then I received an email with a subject line “thanks, but who are you?”. This got my attention.

I replied to the email with a feeling of "okay I’ll do it, but he will never read it". 

And I was very surprised to see that not only did he read my email, he also replied to it in a meaningful way.

Use your followers to build a valuable network of Internet friends

I later found out that it’s a cool thing he does, so there wasn’t anything special in my email that caught his attention. He has answered 200k emails from 86k people in the last 10 years. 

While it’s interesting to hear what people are doing all around the world, it’s also useful for your business. You may find people to discuss your startup with. Exchange advice. Maybe business partners, future team members or even best friends and great loves like Derek have. I imagine how many valuable connections he has made through these intros.

They are real people

At least mostly, I think! Probably some robots too. And it can sometimes feel like you’re writing to some anonymous internet people or just because Google would rank you better, but these are actual real people. 

Wouldn’t it be fun to know who they are and why they’re reading you?

Inspired by Derek, I’ve now implemented a similar welcome email to RemoteHub’s newsletter.

Initial results about a month later (Feb 2020):

There are 183 emails sent and 37 answers received, which means 20% answered my email.

Most of them are developers looking for a full-time remote job in a company that has a good remote culture, although there was a trial lawyer who realized after 3 years that litigation is not her vibe and now would love to use the experience she has in management, sales, and marketing while not being stuck in one particular city.

Rauno Metsa
Founder of RemoteHub
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