Looking back at 2020 – Simplanations

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The big bang.

It started off as a whim in May this year. Work was relatively light due to business slowing down. And I had been locked up in a studio room alone for more than 45 days. I was writing threads on Twitter, and so was Azhar, when a Twitter friend suggested we start a newsletter. Why? Because everyone else was.

A week later, our first post went out. Within a week, we were at 200 subscribers. Four months later, we had crossed 4,000 subscribers.

Our hypothesis that there was a dearth of business writing in simple, no-jargon language was validated. More importantly, we learnt long-form content need not be laborious to read. With the right combination of engaging narratives & visual support, you can make long-form, as one of our readers put it, “a breeze to read”. The fact that our most-read pieces are also our longest pieces supports my point.

Our most-read pieces

  1. What makes Jio different?
    17 minutes read | 37,500 views

  2. How VC works – A Beginner’s Guide
    14 minutes read | 26,400 views

  3. How did Dream11 become India’s first gaming Unicorn?
    14 minutes read | 9,400 views

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In comparison, all our other long-form pieces averaged 5,400 views for an average read time of 8.5 minutes.

The big blow.

But enough of the positives. We had our fair share of lows too (who didn’t in 2020!!). We lost our momentum in September, after 4 months of sprinting. Burnout is real. Being unable to whip up even 100 words after an hour of screen-staring is de-motivating and surprisingly exhausting.

We learnt that consistent long-form writing is difficult. Putting in 20+ hours after office every week can get really tiring. So we put a hold on writing for 3 months before picking it back up (slowly) this month.

What was heartening to see though, was the engagement on our website despite not being active for 3 months. During the inactive period (Sep-Nov), we gained 2,000 subscribers and registered 27,000+ page views.

The big promise.

The reward that we get out of churning out a well-researched post plus all the reader love that we got the last few months is too good to leave. Burnout slowed us down but definitely did not stop us. We have a few exciting pieces in our drafts and we cannot wait to send them to you in 2021.

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However, to keep things sustainable, we will be pinging your inboxes (email/whatsapp) every fortnight, instead of every week.

We wrote 16 posts this year (10 long + 6 short) and are closing 2020 at 6,800 subscribers and 142,000+ cumulative page views. We hope to better this in 2021.

Thank You and Happy New Year 😀

One last thing.

A lot of our readers also call us “Simplinations”. No complaints. We love it! So we ended up buying the domain and setting up a webpage. Do check it out here.



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Vivek Raju

Vivek Raju

Vivek does research, storyboarding & visualization at Deck Rooster where he helps entrepreneurs create and articulate their investor/sales narrative.
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