I Wasn't Answering Your Most Important Question

Why I'm changing this newsletter's name, and how you should think deeper about how to communicate your value.

Who are you for?

Equally important: Who are you not for?

These are important questions. I’ve thought about them a lot lately. And the result is this: Today, I’m changing the name of this newsletter and refining its approach.

I’ll explain why, and also hopefully inspire you to refine how you approach your own work.

First, the change:

This newsletter is now called One Thing Better. It has a very straightforward mission: Each week, I’ll send you one way to improve your work, so you can build a career or company you love.

Why this change? Well, many years ago, this newsletter began as The Feifer Five. It contained five things that interested me (aka, Feifer). This was a terrible conceit. The name told you nothing about the newsletter — or, more importantly, why it would be relevant to you, the person signing up to receive it. Unsurprisingly, growth was slow. I topped out at about 5,000 subscribers.

In 2021, I changed the name to Build For Tomorrow. This was meant to focus the newsletter — to evoke an excitement for the future and attract people who wanted to take more control of their own futures. It also aligned with the name of my book. And it worked: I grew to 20,000 subscribers.

But growth was still slower than expected. Then I realized a problem: The name and mission were still too vague. Too abstract. I found it hard to summarize the newsletter in a single sentence.

Which reminded me of something I learned from a sales coach…

His name is Myron Golden. And he’s developed a formula for how he believes everyone should describe themselves.

It has four qualities, he said:

  1. It must be measurable—it must contain an exact, quantifiable thing.

  2. It must be stateable—it should fit into a short sentence.

  3. It must be understandable—clear language, avoiding any confusion.

  4. It must be desirable—containing something people already want.

“A lot of people will say, ‘I’m a doctor’ or ‘I’m a mechanic.’ That doesn’t mean anything,” Myron told me, when I interviewed him for my book. “People can only decide whether or not they want to do business with you based on the fact that they hear what you say, and then they think, ‘I need that’ or ‘I don’t need that.’ You want to be one of those two reasons—it’s like, hate me, or celebrate me. But whatever you do, don’t just tolerate me because I’m confusing.”

I have thought a lot about that. Because of course, it made me wonder: Am I explaining myself this clearly? Do people understand that I am for them?

Then, just recently, I was talking with Lenny Rachitsky, whose newsletter about product development has more than 325,000 subscribers. I asked him how he built it, and he echoed something Myron said: It was all about clarity of purpose.

“I think it's really important and really powerful to be focused,” he told me. “I think the broader you are, the more incredible you have to be for anyone to care. When you're super narrow, the bar is a little lower because that group is like, ‘Oh wow, look at this content for me!’”

So I realized: I needed to clarify my mission.

I started with what I’m best at. I help people with the personal side of work. It’s not just tactics; it’s also thought process. It’s about the way to think smarter about what you’re doing, and see doors where others see walls.

Then I thought about what people want. I’m reaching a busy, ambitious audience. They want things that are predictably useful. They need to see value.

Then I thought about the format. A newsletter arrives in your inbox. You’re probably reading it on the go, and it competes with 147 other incoming emails. So it should be to the point — just one great takeaway. A thing to do better.

Then I had it: One Thing Better.

It’s quantifiable, stateable, simple, and desirable. I asked you above: “Who are you for? And who are you not for?” Now I can answer those questions for this newsletter.

The newsletter will still be full of voice, but it will now be more focused. I’ll experiment with format. I’ll keep you posted on growth. We’re on this journey together, and I’m grateful you’re here.

For today, that’s my One Thing Better: I clarified my mission, and how I express it. And I hope you’re inspired to do the same.

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