The Sanctity of the Inbox and the Work-in-Progress Web
Two pairs of founders this week. The first set is building a newsletter advertising marketplace. The second set are brothers enabling website creators to build & own remixable "blocks" of the web.
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We’re having Abe Choi come on the show to talk about launching an Africa-focused venture fund. It will be on 11/16 at noon EST. Reserve your spot at lu.ma/abe - should be a great episode!
🎧 Episode #34 | The Sanctity of the Inbox with Swapstack’s Jake Singer & Jake Schonberger
A few weeks ago, our show carried a special announcement that On Deck had raised a $100 million fund to fuel the next generation of entrepreneurs. Swapstack, cofounded by Jake Singer & Jake Schonberger, is the first company to be accepted into an ODX cohort and receive a check for $125k check from the fund.
The inbox is sacred. Brands salivate over the opportunity to use leverage creators’ relationships with audiences for ads.
Swapstack is positioned to be the premier newsletter advertising marketplace, connecting brands with writers to help the latter be able to become full time creators. The inbox, as the Jakes claim, is an intimate space. Newsletter creators want to make sure that they choose advertisers that align with their content so as to not pester their audience and risk losing carefully cultivated trust.
This was a well timed conversation. It follows our discussion with Josh Kaplan about Creator Operators and builds off of last month’s discussion with Nathan, who runs a newsletter bundling company. We get into the nitty gritty of the newsletter business specifically. Swapstack wants to build the backbone for creator monetization and is well timed to assist a booming newsletter industry. We chat about the incentives of feed-based ads, how paywalls can lock creators into a restricting cadence, and about the metrics that matter most when writers are first getting started.
In addition to sharing a first name, both Jakes also are former On Deck employees where they were working on Swapstack as part of On Deck's creator offerings. Through that lens, we chat about intrapreneurship as both Jakes are able to lean on past innovative experiences they have had at other tech companies, including Facebook and Amazon. For more information about ODX, please visit beondeck.com/x
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🎧 Episode #35 | The Work-in-Progress Web with The.com’s Jeff & Clarke McKinnon
What if website elements could be remixed just like samples in a song?
Recently, many of our guests have been pioneers in the web3 space. Patrick Rivera provided a particularly helpful framework for understanding different eras of the web when he was on the show. From him, and other guests like Cooper Turley, we've learned that web3 is special because it enables users to have ownership of their different networks. Today's guests share the optimism of our past guests, but also note that the web3 is still in its infancy and is very much a work in progress.
Those guests (Clarke & Jeff McKinnon) are building what they call "the reusable web." Like past guest Peer Richelsen, they believe that the internet works best when it's open-sourced and composable. To that end, yesterday they launched "The.com" to make it simple for website builders to create, 'remix,' and launch websites while getting paid and earning credit for their work.
This is one of our favorite episodes we have ever done. We were struck by the balance that the McKinnon brothers are able to find between practicality and optimism. We'll be following along closely as they strive to live up to the ubiquity of their new domain.
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The ethos for why the.com was built.
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See you next week!
- Jackson (Producer of The Deep End)