We recently celebrated the fundamental aliveness of Readup, as a business, on the heels of the biggest and most successful product update in Readup’s history.
For five years before that, Readup was free. But then, suddenly, we introduced a hard paywall. It was a decision that we knew would be impossible to reverse. Thank heavens, people started paying. And so the new-and-improved machine whirred to life.
Soon after that, writers began to arrive on Readup. There was a one month delay, because that’s how long it takes for money to go from reader to writer on Readup. (For more info on that, check out this article). That gave us some time to prepare, but it was still a shock to the system. Readup was built for readers. Making Readup work for readers and writers is a whole different ballgame.
Day in and day out, I’ve been talking to writers - via email, phone, and zoom. The conversations have been mostly positive and full of surprises.
Compared to previous writer outreach campaigns, we’re getting a much more positive response. Surely that has everything to do with the fact that Readup is now offering a cash incentive to participate. Still, overwhelmingly, the writers that I have spoken with are way more interested in Readup’s business model and long term plans than they are in cashing out for twenty or fifty bucks right away.
My favorite thing about Readup life right now is that we’re responding to feature requests from top writers as soon as they come in. There’s something super satisfying about this kind of rapid feedback cycle. I love telling writers, “Hey - you know that thing you asked for yesterday? We already built and shipped it. Enjoy!” To that end, here’s a tiny subset of the stuff that we built in the last few weeks:
- Streamlined writer verification. Writer verification is still a manual, human process, but it no longer starts with “send an email to Bill.” Instead, it kicks off with a short form that’s built into the app. And it can be expedited with a tweet from a verified Twitter account.
- Writer payouts via Stripe. Our initial plan (which was not a good plan) was to cash out writers via Venmo and Paypal, manually. What a nightmare that would have been! Thankfully, we invested just enough time (and right in the nick of time!!) to integrate with Stripe so that writers can connect directly to their bank accounts and receive automatic monthly payments.
- We’re linking up with EFF: The Electronic Frontier Foundation. Earlier this week, we announced that all money earned by deceased writers on Readup (Toni Morrison and Ernest Hemingway, for example) would go to EFF. Their work aligns with our mission, so we’re proud to support them. Also, living writers have every right to decline payment from Readup (for legal, ethical, or personal reasons) and that money will also go to EFF, unless the writer specifies a different 501c(3) charity.
- No more usernames. On Readup, you are not a user. So, we no longer have usernames. Now we have reader names. My reader name is bill. All copy in the app reflects this change.
- Readup is on social! No further comment on this just yet. Complete and utter torture so far. But also, it’s working. So, yeah. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
- I did the Credder podcast! It was super fun! You can watch it here.
- IP update. We finally got something called a Notice of Allowance from the USPTO, which means: We got the patent! The whole process took several years and a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but now it’s done. Now we own our unique invention. We’re just waiting on the certificate in the mail and you better believe that it will be hanging on Jeff’s wall.
Thanks for reading! As always, I welcome your feedback in the comments.