Opportunity is abundant if you’re an internet archaeologist.
Substack is brilliant: paid email newsletters for writers to finally own their audience and revenue.
But they weren’t the first platform to do this.
If you were on Twitter in 2011, you may remember that Letterly was all the rage.
Bloggers converted their email newsletters from free to paid and monetized their writing on their terms, without gatekeepers, for the first time.
Letterly burned bright, but, as is with all products ahead of their time, it fizzled out.
Half a decade later, Substack launched with a superior product, of its time, that not only delivered on the promise of paid newsletters, but used the social graph to great success by giving writers the discoverability that they need.
Was Substack influenced by (or did they even know of) Letterly’s existence? Probably not.
But that’s not the point.
You may think that everything’s been done. That there’s nothing new to create or to explore. That “it must be nice” to have had so much opportunity in early web2.
But there’s a treasure trove of countless defunct products, just waiting for someone to uncover and reimagine them for today’s market.
All you need to do is a little digging.