Your CAC is my Free Lunch: Adventures in Sports Betting

A look at paying customer acquisition cost directly to the customer.

Philip Kiely, First of His Name

How I systematically improved my ranking on search results for my own name.

Short-Cycle Recurring Revenue

Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) is the lifeblood of many successful indie online businesses. But today, we turn our attention to shorter cycles of recurring revenue and their niche applications for digital businesses.

How I Format and Publish Ebooks

After publishing several ebooks, I have a process that makes the relatively tedious exercise of formatting a document for publication into a repeatable set of steps that helps me generate ebooks quickly and without formatting mistakes. Until today, that process has lived in my head or in scattered to-do lists. I hope this documentation helps other independent authors in their quest to create beautiful books.

The Undergraduate's Guide to Becoming a Professional Developer

The skills needed to get and succeed at a software development internship or job are somewhat different than the skills that most computer science classes teach. In some cases, classes teach exactly the opposite of what you need for a job. In my opinion, the job skills are substantially easier than the class skills and you can pick them up quickly.

Reviewing Expert Networks like GLG, Guidepoint, and AlphaSights

Expert networks like GLG, Guidepoint, AlphaSights, and dozens of others connect clients with subject-matter experts for ad-hoc work. These calls are facilitated by full-time network associates in a high-touch business model that is refreshingly retro.

Friendship Cards

I passed out business cards to much of my college's freshman class during my first month of undergrad. I called them friendship cards.

Who Will Write your Company's Technical Content?

If the best strategy for mixing in-house content with various outsourced options was the same for every company, this article would be a lot shorter. However, your company's resources and goals determine the best content strategy.

I Hired College Students to Run My Business (PK&C WINternship 2020 Report)

December 2020 marked the first winter after I graduated from college. I wanted to build the winter break internship that I wish I'd been able to experience myself and offer it to current Grinnell students.

Notes for Devs Talking to Designers

These are notes from a conversation I had with a designer that helped me get more comfortable and effective working with designers.

Modeling the Obligatory Late November Sale in the Creator Economy

Black Friday and associated late November sales are collectively a neutron star warping the gravity field of the annual consumer spending cycle. Depending on your model, this can be a good or a bad thing.

Gumroad #14DayProduct Challenge

The #14DayProduct Challenge, run by Randall Kanna (Head of Community at Gumroad), is a two-week structured challenge that guides participants through creating a product start-to-finish.

How I Became the Head of Marketing at Gumroad as a New Grad SWE

On Friday, September 4th, 2020, I logged into my job as a software engineer, flattened some bugs, received a strong first-sixty-days performance review, and ended the workday at a reasonable hour, gently entering a long labor-day weekend. Four days later, I resigned from what was my first SWE job out of college after just twelve enjoyable weeks to take a role in marketing making even more money. What happened?

Writing for Software Developers Financial Performance

This post reports income and expenses from creating Writing for Software Developers. I update the post as merited.

Building the Writing for Software Developers Landing Page

This post outlines the decisions I made while implementing the landing page for Writing for Software Developers and logs changes to the page over time.

Marketing Writing for Software Developers

I sold $15,000 of Writing for Software Developers in its first 24 hours with no pre-existing audience. I sold over $23,000 of the book in its first month. This post details everything that I did to make these sales.

The Writing of Writing for Software Developers

I wrote my first book, Writing for Software Developers, in six months. This post details every step of the process. Read about the initial idea, the interviews, the writing process, the editing stage, and putting it all together for publication.

Notes on running a Technical Consultancy

Corey Simmonds and Alex Mitchell, who do technical consulting with 0260 Solutions, generously gave a friend and me an hour of their time to discuss the business and technical aspects of running 0260. I've prepared notes from our conversation with their insights in the following areas

Defining Technical Tutorials and Topic-Based Articles

I write technical content. My work appears in programmer-focused publications and on technical corporate blogs. After writing more than twenty pieces, I have come up with a useful, if somewhat arbitrary and nebulous, distinction between two types of technical content. A Project-Based Tutorial has sample code as its main focus, while a Topic-Based Article develops a general idea.

Improving Technical Tutorials by Providing Sample Data

Let's say you're writing a technical tutorial. If you have a sample application in your article, you should also include sample data. In Django, you can distribute sample data using fixtures.

Transcribing Audio without Automation or Outsourcing

Recently, I had tens of thousands of spoken words that need to be transcribed into written text. Here is what I learned about manual transcription.

What I Learned about Style and Writing from Watching Bruce Lee

Style has a triple meaning in martial arts. Lee cut this knot by describing the "style of no style." To Lee, everyone practiced a different art, thus everyone practiced the same art

Generating Topics for Technical Articles

A couple of weeks ago, I was minding my own business on a Sunday morning when I received a cold email from an editor to write for their online publication. I opened up my trusty ideas.txt only to find it devoid of topic suggestions, so I developed an exercise for developing quality ideas that helped me generate 20 solid pitches to use over the coming months in a single planning session, and I hope it will be useful for you as well.

How to Write a Technical Article

Every great writer writes stories, and so do all of the good ones. Technical writers are not immune from this requirement, nor are we barred from the tools of the craft. Stories have conflict. Our writing has characters, these characters have motivations, desire outcomes. Despite this legacy and these tools, technical writing is often held to a lower standard than even the humble blog post...

Black Belt, White Belt

When I was five years old, my family moved to Des Moines and my parents signed me up for TaeKwonDo. In college, I practiced with friends as the facetiously named "Grinnell Fight Club," a mostly boxing-based organization. This summer, I have been practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu three times a week. I have taken powerful lessons from the integral similarities between martial arts that this range of experience has revealed to me.

My First Open Source Contribution

I put almost every line of code that I write outside of work on GitHub. Anytime I make a public repository, I make sure to stick a license on it so that people can actually use the contents; usually I use MIT, sometimes Apache 2.0. Thus, I could say that I have published thousands of lines of open source code across dozens of projects. However, most of that code is pretty useless to other people, so I don't go around saying that...

How to Succeed and Thrive at a Hackathon

What to expect at a college hackathon, how to have a good time there, and how to accomplish your goals.