🔵 The Futureproof PM is dead! Welcome to Carl's Newsletter

Why I rebranded and what it means for you (it's good stuff)

Look a bit different around here? 🔵💡🔵

Welcome to the rebranded "Carl's Newsletter"!

I know it's been a while since my last newsletter - almost 2 months ago. We now have close to 4000 subscribers, with over 800 new subscribers since my last post. So for many of you, this is your first email from me - welcome! You’re getting in right at the start.

As we head into 2024, I’ve been thinking a lot about where I want to go with newsletter and have come to the inevitable conclusion that for me to be successful in writing this newsletter, I need a rebrand and change of focus.

The Futureproof PM is a good concept, but some of my own questions about it have made it hard to write:

  • Is it really possible to completely futureproof yourself?

  • I felt too narrow and pigeonholed into AI content. Not everything I want to write about needs AI integration.

  • A major aspect of futureproofing is overall career development, which is not a topic I feel qualified to write about.

So I set off in search of a new newsletter concept. The two goals were:

  • Flexibility to explore different ideas and topics I think are interesting and provide a lot of value.

  • Still differentiated from the sea of other product content out there.

Some newsletter names and concepts I tried (and domains I purchased).

  1. PM Power Up: Kind of cringy.

  2. Good PM Bad PM: Great name, but I learned form talking to people that this conveys a relatively basic newsletter for new PMs. I cover more advanced content.

  3. Product Playground: Again, sounds like it’s too basic.

And every concept had these drawbacks:

  1. How validated are these specific concepts? They might pigeonhole me into a concept I don’t like that much again. While I might be able to validate what performs well through my social channels, social media posts are much different than long-form newsletters. I haven’t written enough long-form content to have a feel for what people find valuable yet in this format.

  2. How excited will I be writing these week after week? The content creation game is all about consistency.

Over the last year, I’ve proven to myself that differentiating from that sea of content is relatively simple (but not easy). Lenny’s said that 99% of content just isn’t very good, and I agree (which is why I started creating content to begin with).

I’ve been successful in the product content space by having good sense of:

  1. What’s interesting: Not covering the same thing everyone always covers, and especially looking at negative examples of what not to do

  2. What’s high quality: Not generic, not patronizing, and always specific

  3. What’s funny: This matters a lot! Almost all successful content these days is edutainment.

So what name encapsulates all these strengths?

By using my name for social media and putting it on all my content, I’ve been building the exact association with the words “Carl Vellotti” with my content that I would want.

Carl’s Newsletter was really the only option.

Still, you probably want to have some idea of what this newsletter is going to cover going forward. Some examples of content you can expect to see:

  1. AI for Product Work: Tactical guides on using the latest AI tools for product work. Similar to Futureproof content – it’s still important.

  2. Good PM / Bad PM: In-depth reviews of a PM concepts, followed by specific examples of how good and bad PMs would implement it.

  3. Good Product / Bad Product: Similar, but focused on specific product or UX concepts, with in-depth breakdowns of products that do them well vs poorly.

  4. One to Zero: Looking at companies or products that seemed destined for success and what caused them to crash and burn.

These will be supplemented with expert interviews and, of course, lots of memes. Should be fun!

Am I sure Carl’s Newsletter is the perfect name, and that going with a more specific concept wouldn’t be a better idea? Definitely not. If you look at Substack’s highest grossing newsletters, you see that, besides Lenny’s Newsletter up there at the top, all of them have a “real” name not tied to a specific creator.

While obviously I’m hoping Carl’s Newsletter is a runaway success, if a more specific concept emerges as a clear winner for what I enjoy writing and you enjoy reading, I'm open to pivoting again. I am a PM, after all.

Ultimately, maybe a name doesn’t even matter that much. The biggest PM newsletter in the world is called “Lenny’s Newsletter” and the most popular consumer app of all time is called “ChatGPT.” Most newsletters don’t have great names, especially in the product space.

What really matters is the quality of the content, which I promise to always strive for.

Okay, if this rebrand doesn’t sound good to you, you’re more than welcome to book an appointment with your ear doctor unsubscribe.

A few requests and final notes:

  1. Broken links: Unfortunately, this rebrand will break all the past links you may have bookmarked. I’ve created a new page to easily access all my resources here.

  2. Collabs: I’d like to start incorporating more expert interviews to this newsletter. If you’d like to collaborate with me on a piece, please let me know! You can reply directly to this email, or DM me on X.

  3. Sponsors: I am looking for newsletter sponsors in January. If you or your company is interested, I’ve posted sponsorship information on this snazzy new sponsorship page.

Let me know if you have any suggestions or feedback on the rebrand! I'm excited to see where Carl's Newsletter goes in 2024.