February 18, 2022
I think that one of the first web apps I ever created was an app for sending email newsletters. I stitched together Google Sheets and Google Apps Script to create an “app”, which would allow people to send email newsletters to subscribers.
I think it came out of me wanting to start an email newsletter in middle school (don’t judge) and not being able to find a simple app where I could just write and send super easily.
I’ve made more than a half-dozen attempts at building apps for sending email newsletters. The first name I attached to it was Dispatch in freshman year of high school, and in the next couple years that became Underline.
I’d made a couple half-built versions of Underline before landing on one that I was happy with. I submitted it to a couple websites, tried to self-promote it, and got a couple people to pay for it.
Nobody really stuck with it though, and eventually everybody stopped using it and cancelled their subscription plans. After a while, I decided that I didn’t want new people to sign up since it was more trouble that it was worth. I closed signups in early February 2021.
Then in mid-February 2021, Underline was featured on the Dense Discovery newsletter! I guess they didn’t notice that I’d closed registrations, and I got a couple dozen emails from people asking whether they could sign up.
So I started working on another iteration of the same idea; I called it Cornflakes. I essentially just wanted a clean start with the code, and I had new ideas of how to not die under the weight of huge email lists (my apologies to early users of Underline).
I built a working version of Cornflakes in under a week (I’d done this a lot of times) and I was pretty satisfied with it! I put it on a really cheap pricing plan, since the actual cost of sending emails isn’t very high.
The dashboard of Cornflakes.
Sending an email to your email list’s subscribers on Cornflakes.
I emailed back all the people who had emailed me about Underline, and I actually got a couple people to subscribe! But the subscriptions were extremely cheap (starting at $3/month), and I only made $23.49 on subscriptions before everybody cancelled.
Sidenote: my payment provider doesn’t allow me to cash out amounts less than $100, so I can’t get those $23.49 out. Whoopsies.
So in June 2021, I closed signups to Cornflakes as well. Neither Underline nor Cornflakes have any users anymore, and the domain
cornflakes.app actually just expired today.
But I’m glad that I gave the idea a good whack. That idea’s brought me from first getting into programming, to finding a framework that I really enjoy using (Laravel), and to now having the opportunity to work on Buttondown. So all in all, it’s been very good to me. Thank you, Dispatch, Underline, and Cornflakes.
Building an e-ink picture frame that displays an iCloud photo album
Jan 9, 2024
2023 in review
Jan 5, 2024
5% of things go wrong
Dec 23, 2023
Subscribe to my newsletter for a monthly round-up of new blog posts and projects I’m working on!