Tiny Improvements recently passed the 400 reader milestone - thank you so much to each and every one of you for letting me into your inbox each week. It's a privilege I don't take lightly. Seriously, thank you.
As you might imagine, this has caused me to do a bit of reflecting -- I've been thinking about why I enjoy writing like this, and the things I find rewarding about being a part of the developer and creator community.
On supporting others
I love the idea of building a community that I want to be a part of, and having the opportunity to support other people in building their dreams. There's something really special about being able to connect with people who are doing interesting things, and I'm grateful to be able to do that.
When I think about the people who I follow and really connect with, a few patterns stand out:
- some have done exceptional things or worked on exceptional projects
- some loudly support exceptional causes
- some just seem like they're incredible people
I have many reasons for being a fan of my friends and colleagues. One thing that has stood out to me lately, too, is how easy it is to amplify someone else's work -- and just how amazing that can make someone feel.
I've been writing for a bunch of years now, and I can remember a good handful of instances where someone shared my work unexpectedly. For example: we recently relaunched apisyouwonthate.com, and quietly added a feature that lets subscribers there pay for a membership. Right now, there's little difference between a paid and free membership, apart from "you're supporting us financially, and we love you." Within days of the feature launch, we had our first paying member, who skipped the $1/mo supporter tier and went straight for $5/mo.
I was floored.
A call to arms: support your friends
I'm not writing this to ask for money, or to ask you to buy anything from me - if you're reading this, I'm already feeling the love. I'm writing this to ask you to support your friends.
Think about your friends who are working hard to build something. Maybe they're building a product, or a service, or a community. Maybe they're working on a side project, or a personal project, or a passion project.
Whatever it is, take 30 seconds out of your day, and share their thing with your network. Let them know that you're a fan. It's small, it's free to do, and I can't tell you how much it means to the people you're supporting.
Small gestures of support can have enormous butterfly effects, too - I've made a good number of serendipitous connections in the past as a result of someone sharing my work with their network, or from times when I've shared and supported someone else's work.
Go, support your friends! You'll be glad you did, and they'll love you for it.
Some friends whose work I admire
- Phil Sturgeon is the tree-planting madman who I work with on APIs You Won't Hate. He's an exceptionally knowledgeable API developer, and has spent the past few years building his charity, Protect Earth. His organization has cleared land and planted tens of thousands of trees all over the UK - an astonishing accomplishment, and he's just getting started. Go follow Phil, he's a wonderful person.
- Rizèl Scarlett is a developer advocate at GitHub. She's been all over the tech conference circuit for the past few years, where I've been lucky to bump into her from time to time. Rizèl is an amazing people connector - I've met and followed so many wonderful people as a result of her work.
- Colby Fayock works as Director of DevX Engineering at Cloudinary, and is a really talented designer and developer. He's published countless articles, videos, and tech tutorials on his site, SpaceJelly.dev. Colby is genuinely one of the nicest people I've met, and does a great job of elevating the people around him. I'm always impressed by the work he's doing.
- Lazar Nikolov is a developer advocate at Sentry, and has started publishing a great newsletter called Lazar's Tech Musings that I've been enjoying. I stumbled across Lazar's work recently, and I'm really glad I did - our work has a ton in common!
On building a following
📚 Fanocracy: Turning Fans into Customers and Customers into Fans is a book that is always high on my list of recommendations. I come back to my notes on it regularly, and I think it's a great read for anyone, whether you're actively building a following or not.
I've written a bit about nurturing your network before, and I think it's a topic that is worth occasional revisiting. If you're looking for more reading on the topic, you might enjoy these:
- Imperfection is part of the brand, and people will love you for it.
- Today is your day to start building and marketing your product, even if you don't have the faintest idea what that is.
Some of my recent work
- Building in public growth report: 400 readers - As I mentioned above, I recently passed the 400 reader milestone. I'm really grateful for the support and I wanted to share some of the things I've learned along the way.
- Add custom fonts to Next.js sites with Tailwind using next/font is a quick tutorial inspired by a post on Reddit. I've been trying to be helpful on /r/nextjs and /r/reactjs lately -- this post is adapted from a response to a question that I thought was worth sharing more widely.
- 🎙️ An interview I did recently for APIs You Won't Hate (the podcast): Learnin' about webhooks, with Tom Haconen from Svix. If you're building with webhooks, this is a great episode to check out.