Product Party - a Year in Review.
We've been up and running for a year. Let's retro on the experience.
I started the Product Party newsletter in December 2022. I originally wanted to find a creative output focused on something I’m passionate about. I also wanted to give back in some way to a community I care deeply about.
Over the years, I have spent countless hours consuming and learning from others on the topic of product management. I decided the way I wanted to give back was to start writing about my experiences. I hoped that product people - either new to the life or those who have been around for a while - might be able to find some useful nuggets of info from my writing to bring along with them on their own journey.
Now that I have been writing for a year, I want to do a retrospective on how things went, how things could have been better, and where I would like to go in 2024.
What went well?
Through writing on the Substack platform, I was able to find and connect to some amazing product people and be a part of watching their followings and work grow. Newsletters such asby Elena Calvillo has been an incredible resource for many, and I have learned a lot from reading their work.
I used gen AI tools to spark some ideas and interest early in the year, just as things like ChatGPT started to explode. I had tons of fun brainstorming projects, using these platforms to create the project, and then writing down how the experience went.
I’m looking at the collection of posts I’ve made as a bit of a window into my personal experience as a product person - almost like a portfolio of sorts. It has been great to reflect and boil down the successes and failures and put them in writing.
What could have been better?
Keeping the motivation to write consistently is way harder than I thought. I had originally started posting 1-2 times a week and eventually fell back into bi-weekly. Life also got busy, which chipped away at the frequency, but I would have loved to write more in the last few months.
I like the ease of using Substack but have found that some of the changes to the experience, such as the ease through which e-mail delivery can be turned off, really chipped away some of the appeal of the platform. I also realized early on how difficult it can be to use standard tools such as the Google search tools on the Substack platform.
Although I have engaged with many product folks with large followings, I did it inconsistently throughout the year. I believe more time invested here could have helped me build more relationships and find additional people interested in sharing their experiences with me and my readers.
Next, let’s cover how the metrics stack up over the year.
Total subscribers in the last year = 342.
I have seen a steady increase in the volume of amazing readers over the course of this year. My two largest jumps in subscribers came by way of the great newsletter,, written by Amy Mitchell (Thank you, Amy!) Hopefully, I can continue to bring more people into the community so I can connect them to hers and all the other amazing newsletters I read daily.
My most read newsletters include:
California, New York, and Michigan have the most subscribers within the US.
Most Product Party readers live in the US, but there are quite a few folks in India and the UK.
What’s next for Product Party?
The past year has taught me much about what goes into writing a newsletter and, more importantly, the benefits of investing more time in communities you love.
Based on how things went this year, I have a few things that I would love to focus on with Product Party in 2024:
I want to connect with at least three other content creators in the product space. Specifically, I would love to bounce ideas off of and determine how I can offer additional benefits to product people who are mid to late in their journey.
I want to create a roadmap and list of topics - possibly within a specific subtopic niche - that I can continue to grow/maintain in advance. Unless something big and newsworthy happens, I will always have something in the queue to write about.
Lastly, I would like to follow the lead of the other amazing product folks mentioned above and establish an easily navigated writing repository.
That’s all I have for the year. I will take the next few weeks off, enjoy the time spent with family and friends, and start back up refreshed in 2024. Until then…all the best.
Mike Watson @ Product Party
PS Do you have any ideas on how we can make Product Party better? Are there any topics you would love to read more about? Leave a comment below and let us know!
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