3 min read

Supporting Member Update, April 24 2021

Hello, good people who have supported On Management financially!  Thank you for inviting me to your inbox.

This is a bit of an update as I kick the tires of my new email provider, Buttondown.  Priority one is charging you correctly, and only once.  I have checked and re-checked, and things look good on my end.  That said, please watch your next credit card statement, especially if you’re a monthly subscriber.  Send me a note if anything looks untoward.

About 3 years ago I made a bet, and switched from Mailchimp to a brand new company.  Substack was initially positioned as a cool tech product for writers.  Since then, they’ve grown their investor base and the pressure is on to grow big, quickly.  Currently, they're positioning themselves as a sort of media company.  Some of their growth decisions have become, functionally, editorial.

My one-person business has a very small “newsletter division” lol.  I don’t have the bandwidth to continually monitor someone else’s editorial choices.  Nor do I have the stomach to keep an eye on whether their choices are harmful, interesting, repugnant, weird, aligned with my values.

I’ve made bet on another scrappy startup.  Last year Jason Li gave me a heads up about someone he knew who was making newsletter software, Buttondown’s owner, Justin Duke.  This felt like social proof.  But I've been doing my own analysis, too.

Justin’s day job is with payment processor Stripe.  So he knows what he’s doing when it comes to payments.  Since a Stripe powers Buttondown’s payment functions, imo it also means that Justin has skin in the game.  He has to do right by all of us, and his employer, too.

Justin’s goal is to grow sustainably, like a garden and not a business, and he does not have editorial aspirations beyond enforcing Buttondown's ToS.

And, important to me:  Justin is an email nerd.  This means he's building for elements like deliverability, segmentation, spam scores, GDPR, metrics, and privacy and more.  Stuff to increase the chances On Management will land in your in-box, or at least “promotions.”

A couple of years ago, I made a weird slide deck about product features I wanted in my newsletter tech.  I was looking for a programmer to build it.  Socializing my deck showed me that what I wanted wasn’t easy.

Today, Justin has built much of I’ve been looking for.  He is the person I wanted to hire.  That’s why I’m making a bet on his one-person side project.

There’s more coming, like enhanced privacy options for you.  I’m also excited about experimenting with pay-what-you-wish pricing options.

On Management’s tech transition is in progress.  Links in the new archive still go to Substack, which we’re figuring out how to fix.  Though today you still have an On Management account at Substack, they will no longer process your payments.  After the archive transition is complete, I will delete everything at Substack.

There were good things about Substack, and some things work beautifully.  Nonetheless, it was time for me to make a change.


These articles both offer critiques of self-management within the structures of capitalism/neoliberalism.  Ok, yes.

However and (warning) this is a hot take:  imo it's more practical for most of us to think about the specific power structures in organizations and relationships where we're encouraged to engage with these tools.  I may come back to this with cooler reasoning.

Even though this is not, technically, one of my Warm Takes, I did write it sort of unscripted and loosely, using a new tool that I hope will work.  Please forgive my typos and editing challenges.  And as always, please send me your questions, comments and suggestions.

May you and your loved ones be safe, healthy, and free.

Anne Libby