Serious Tech News: Breaking It Down

Behind-the-scenes of the latest articles

Serious Tech News: Breaking It Down

Hey there, and greetings from Taipei! Hope you’re having a rad week so far. If not, at least tomorrow’s Friday.

In my last email (or post), I mentioned that I’m going to send you an email with the latest post every Monday. But now I thought about it, why every Monday?

Instead of treating you as an “audience,” I really do prefer to be friends with you, and friends don’t send you well-scheduled emails. Your best friend never ONLY texts you every Monday at precisely 3pm PST. They send you cool stuff at random times.

I won’t send you any “u up?” emails, so don’t worry about that!

This week, I wrote two pieces for Serious Tech News, and want to share with you about the background, subtexts, and the (messy) creation process. Think about it as a bit of behind-the-scenes.

Before you continue, I would recommend reading the articles first to keep the surprises and humor intact:

Done? Let’s go to the first one then!

Indie Maker Sent to Rehab for Product Hunt Launch Addiction

This piece is inspired by the running joke (or criticism) in the “Indie Maker” (or Indie Hackers) community. Some indie makers—usually technical people—fall in love in the act of continuously launching new products on Product Hunt, while lacking an arguably vital point of indie hacking: making actual money.

My personal favorite quote from the piece:

"He went too deep into the rabbit hole three days ago. He launched a B2C mobile app, and genuinely believed he could make some money out of it. That's when we know he has lost his marbles. As fellow digital nomads in this cheap tropical island, we need to take care of each other, so we dragged him to rehab."

Here I was exaggerating the fact that most indie hackers don’t like doing B2C, which is understandable if you’re doing everything solo.

The kicker for this piece:

As of press time, Le-Pierre was reported to have been subdued and put in a straitjacket after he tried to escape from the rehab facility while repeatedly screaming about updating his "Indie Hackers Milestones."

I tried to end the piece by elevating the craziness of our protagonist Le-Pierre by using “straitjacket” and adding another reference: Milestones section of Indie Hackers where makers can post their progress in building their business.

Also, Product Hunt retweeted this article, so that’s nice. Shoutout to the coolest Product Hunt Community Manager Aaron O’Leary, who’s also a subscriber (AARON PLEASE OPEN THE EMAIL)

Underperforming CEO Executive Assistant Demoted to Chief Operation Officer

This article is basically me subtweeting this:

Honestly, while I had a fantastic source to start with (sometimes I wonder why I’m writing a satire of an industry where the Teletubbies launched their own crypto), I struggled to find the precise headline to highlight the ridiculousness. In the end, I went with the “demotion” angle. I still think I can do better than the current title, but I want to get it out as soon as possible while people are still talking about it on Twitter.

My favorite part:

"If the EA is not performing, our CEO won't be able to attend her private windsurfing lessons, do transcendental meditation after lunch, or write her weekly company leadership Substack. That mental capacity isn't going to free itself."

The idea of putting something associated with fragility and gentleness (“mental capacity”) inside a phrase usually found in thuggish, aggressive scenes (“That [_] isn’t going to [_] itself.”) is really hilarious to me.

The quote from the EA herself is in my opinion the weakest part of this piece.

"I have to admit, it was pretty shocking at first, but I believe it's for the best. Maybe the company thinks I need to have less stuff on my plate to get my mojo back. As an EA, I already handled important tasks such as investor emails, fundraising pipelines, and company product roadmaps, so I just don't think there's much to do in the COO position. No offense to COOs everywhere."

I had trouble deciding the EA's personality, so you can kinda see the uncertainty here (Is she arrogant? Should she be likeable?) — This also leads to another question: what's her attitude upon hearing the news? So it's all a bit shaky here.

I did, however—I think—managed to pick it up a bit in the end.

At the same time, I also need to preserve my mental energy to work on projects that energize me, and if that requires me to not doing day-to-day CEO responsibilities, it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make."

Here I tried to make fun of CEOs who talk (or tweet) about mental energy, the importance of clear thinking, yada yada, but just didn’t walk the talk. There’s a bit of Silicon Valley stereotype here too.

That’s it for this week’s new format! If you have 5 minutes, I’d love to hear from you. Is this even interesting? Would you want to read more breakdown like this?

If you enjoy it, please do share the newsletter and the website itself.

Thanks and see ya next week! Better times are coming!