May 11, 2009

Five Years On

Five Years On As of this past weekend, I’ve been blogging on OnlyOnce for five years.  My main reflection as I was thinking about it during this morning’s run is that blogging is different.  I started blogging to try out what was at the time the “new, new thing” (there were almost no CEO blogs at the time), just like I have tried out lots of other new technologies or web services from time to time over the years — from Skype to Facebook to Twitter to about 50 others. You’ll never see a tweet from me about an anniversary of using Twitter.  Or any other comparable from that above list.  Blogging has ended up being fundamentally different.  It’s not just another expression of my status updates or another way to connect with friends and colleagues.  It’s become a core part of my business operating system, although I suppose that’s the case for many other tools as well.  I think the main difference is that OnlyOnce has become a true form of creative expression for me.  It’s like (I imagine) writing a book or composing a piece of music. I’m not suggesting it’s high art, but I view it more […]

April 28, 2009

Vertical (Dis)Integration

Vertical (Dis)Integration A couple years ago, Dave Morgan wrote one of the best thought pieces on the future of the newspaper business in his Mediapost column.  Essentially his observation was that newspapers are an outdated vertical integration, and that to survive, smart papers would disaggregate into 5 separate companies and run each one as a separate business, taking on a new life unshackled from the newspaper:  local ad sales (they could own that franchise for the Yelps and Yodles of the world), local content (who better to syndicate local content?), local distribution (no other companies drop something on every doorstep […]

April 2, 2009

I Don’t Want to Be Your Friend (Today)

I Don’t Want to Be Your Friend (Today) The biggest problem with all the social networks, as far as I can tell, is that there’s no easy and obvious way for me to differentiate the people to whom I am connected either by type of person or by how closely connected we are. I have about 400 on Facebook and 600 on LinkedIn.  And I’m still adding ones as new people get on the two networks for the first time.  While it seems to people in the industry here that “everyone is on Facebook,” it’s not true yet.  Facebook is […]

April 1, 2009

Senders No More

Senders No More February marked the official end of Return Path being in the email sending business, even a little bit. Of course we still have corporate email servers, and we still have basic retention email marketing programs for our customers and prospects (with explicit permission of course!), but after a 9 1/2 year run, we no longer have direct consumer email-based relationships. As we announced last fall, we recently divested all of our businesses other than our deliverability and whitelisting business — Postmaster Direct (list rental), Authentic Response/ (surveys), and ECOA (change of address). Those were great businesses, but […]

February 25, 2009

New Email Blogger Extraordinaire

New Email Blogger Extraordinaire My good friend and co-founder George Bilbrey, Return Path’s President, is now blogging. His blog, Monkey Mind Labs, is aptly named in part after Return Path’s long-standing but little-known corporate mascot. His first few posts are up.  My guess is that his blog will be a bit like mine in that it will cover topics about email marketing as well as entrepreneurship, but I can almost promise that George will be both wittier and more insightful than I.  At least, that’s what he tells me. Take a look!  Subscribe. Enjoy.

February 24, 2009

More Useful Than I Thought

More Useful Than I Thought I’ve had a Twitter account for a couple years but only started using it in earnest in the last couple of weeks.  And while it is to some extent yet another distraction and flow of information, it’s proving to be much more useful than I thought.  Here are some nuggets from literally less than a week of heavy usage: – Nice quick exchanges with three existing customers who I otherwise wouldn’t talk to – Already have over 200 followers, at least 50% just in the last few days – One set of direct messages, and […]

February 12, 2009

Less is More

Less is More I have a challenge for the email marketing community in 2009. Let’s make this the Year of “Less is More.” Marketers are turning to email more and more in this down economy. There’s no question about that. My great fear is that just means they’re sending more and more and more emails out without being smart about their programs. That will have positive short term effects and drive revenues, but long term it will have a negative long term impact on inboxes everywhere. And these same marketers will find their short term positive results turning into poor […]

February 4, 2009


TwitterA small administrative note…I changed my Twitter name to mattblumberg from its more obscure predecessor.  Not sure I'll tweet a lot more, but I may give it a try.

October 30, 2008

Charting A New Path: Focus is Our Friend

Charting A New Path:  Focus is Our Friend When Return Path turned six years old a few years ago, I wrote a post on my personal blog (OnlyOnce) titled You Can’t Tell What the Living Room Looks Like from the Front Porch. The essence of the post is that flexibility is a key success factor in starting and growing a business, and sometimes the business turns out different than what you thought when you wrote that business plan. At the time, I was commenting on how different Return Path turned out – operating five businesses – than we did when […]

September 19, 2008

Why The Rules Have to Be Flexible

Why The Rules Have to Be Flexible We have clients ask us all the time – how much email should I be sending out to my subscribers? One a week? One a month? And usually, we give the same advice – it depends on what you are sending, and on what expectation you set with your subscribers when they sign up. This week is a great example that proves the rule “it depends.” I get the Wall Street Journal’s email alerts of major headlines. I think I’ve subscribed in two different categories, maybe three – I can’t remember, since I […]

September 8, 2008

I Can’t Tell If I Like This Or Not

I Can’t Tell If I Like This Or Not I am blogging at 35,000 feet, using American Airlines’ new GoGo in-flight Wi-Fi service. I am definitely having mixed feelings about it. On one hand, it’s nice to download the 47 emails I just wrote before two-hours after landing (sorry, team!). It’s also nice to be able to clean out my Inbox so it’s not overflowing when I get to our California office. On the other hand, it has the potential to destroy one of the last few places in my life that’s completely free of connectivity. That kind of makes […]