August 2019

Hi there!

This is the 23rd full month that I worked on Listen Notes full-time. 

You can read past issues of this monthly update.

Product updates

1. Open-sourced a spammer repo on Github. It contains csv files with disposable email domains, IP addresses, email addresses, and other info used by spammers who tried to create accounts on Listen Notes.

2. ARCHIVED Listen Later playlists. What problem we tried to solve? Some of you may create dozens of Listen Later playlists. This makes it difficult to save an episode or a podcast to a specific playlist, because you have to scroll past tons of unwanted playlists to locate the right one. The fact is, many playlists won't be updated forever. So, you can archive those playlists and they won't show up in the SAVE list. Example

3. Added a new EMBED tab for episodes / podcasts / playlists. Previously, the embed code is hidden under the SHARE button, and users have difficulty finding the code. Now, we make it more obvious.

4. Use Google Tag Manager to manage all the js tags.

5. Users are able to delete their accounts now.

6. Podcasters are able to delete their own podcasts now.

7. Optimized a lot of Postgres SQL queries. This probably saves me ~$500/month from upgrading to a more beefy EC2 instance.

8. Increased visibility of Podcast Academy, Classified Ads, and Podcaster Interviews through the whole website.

9. Added more internal tools to better manage Best Podcasts and fight spammers.

Company updates

My wife and I took one week vacation in Peru. We visited Cusco, Machu PicchuMorayMaras Salt Mines, and various spots in the Sacred Valley. We learned a ton of knowledge about The Inca culture.

It is said that Machu Picchu was the blueprint of Castle in the Sky made by Hayao Miyazaki -- like many Chinese kids growing up in 1980s/1990s, we watched tons of Hayao Miyazaki films. And Che Guevara visited Machu Picchu as well. This is Machu Picchu in the eyes of my iPhone --

Our tour guide told us that The Incas built things not in years, but in generations. Amazing!

Although I took one week away from work, it seems that I was pretty productive this month :) Maybe the outcome of working 40 hours/week is not much different from working 30 hours/week (or even 12 hours/week, thanks Jack!)...

I also did some paid marketing campaigns in August. Specifically, I ran a few Facebook ads and sponsored a podcast, mostly for branding purpose. Engineering is deterministic. If you want to build something, you can definitely build it. But marketing (or business in general) is nondeterministic. I'm still learning how to do marketing.

I plan to do a lot of improvements on Listen Later (or/and Listen Alerts if time is allowed) in September. Stay tuned! 

Some numbers

  • Database: 762k podcasts; 51.2 million episodes 
  • Website: 1.55M page views & 650k unique visitors in August

Blog posts & articles

Go to
Thanks for reading! Drop me a line and tell me what you think about Listen Notes -- just reply this email or :) 


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