I’m taking a break from cron.weekly

Mattias Geniar, Saturday, January 13, 2018

A little over 2 years ago I started a weekly newsletter for Linux & open source users, called cron.weekly. Today, I'm sending the last issue in what is probably going to be a pretty long time. I need a break.

Here's why.

tl;dr: I've got a wife, 2 kids, a (more than) full time job, 2 other side projects and a Netflix subscription. For now, cron.weekly doesn't fit in that list anymore.

The good :-)

I started cron.weekly out of a need. A need to read more technical content that I couldn't seem to find in a convenient form. So I started reading news & blogs more intensely and bookmarking whatever I found fascinating. Every week, that turned into a newsletter.

It was good timing for me, too. A few years ago my role at Nucleus, my employer, shifted from a purely technical one to the role of being a manager/management. It meant I was losing my touch with open source, projects, new releases, ... as it was no longer a core part of my role.

Writing cron.weekly forced me, on a weekly basis, to keep up with all the news, to read about new releases, to find new projects. It forced me to stay up-to-date, even if my job didn't directly require or allow it.

The bad :-|

What started as a hobby project quickly grew. At first, a handful of subscribers. After 2 years, a whopping 8.000 monthly newsletter readers. And a couple 1.000's more that read it via the web or the Reddit posts. I'm proud of that reach!

But my initial mistake became worse by the week: I called it a weekly newsletter that I send every Sunday.

That was my tagline: "cron.weekly is a weekly newsletter, delivered to you every Sunday, with news & tools tailored to Linux sysadmins.".

Weekly implies a never-ending-commitment and Sunday implies a weekly deadline. In the weekend.

In short, in the last 2 years I've spent at least one evening per weekend -- without a break -- writing a cron.weekly issue. At first because I loved it, but towards the end more because I had to. I had to, because I also found a way to monetize my newsletter: sponsors.

I won't lie, running cron.weekly has been my most profitable side business to day. Factor 10x more than all the others. But it's no passive income, it requires a newsletter issue every week, on the clock. And, it's a lot of writing & thinking, it's not a 10 minute write-up every week.

Having sponsors meant I had money coming in, justifying my time. But having sponsors also meant I had schedules, deals, commitments, ... that need to be upheld. Some sponsors want to time their new software launch with a big campaign (of which cron.weekly would be one aspect), so I can't just shift them around on a weekly basis. Sponsors -- rightfully so -- want to know when they get featured.

Adding sponsors turned it from a hobby to a job. At least, that's how it feels. It's no longer a spontaneous non-committal newsletter, it's now a business.

The ugly :-(

I all honesty, I'm burned-out from writing cron.weekly. Not Linux or open source in general, nor my day job, but I'm tired of writing cron.weekly. I'm just tired, in general. I had to force myself to write it. Toward the end, I dreaded it.

If I couldn't get it done on Friday evening, I would spend the rest of the weekend worrying that I couldn't get it done in time. It would keep haunting me in the back of my head "you need to write cron.weekly".

I did this onto myself, it's my own bloody fault. It should have been cron.random or cron.monthly. A weekly newsletter is intense & requires a lot of commitment, something I can't give at the moment.

So here we are ...

Among my other side gigs/hobbies are DNS Spy, Oh Dear, a newly found love for cryptocurrencies, ... and cron.weekly just doesn't fit at the moment.

As a result, I'm going to stop cron.weekly. For now. I don't want to say I completely quit, because I might pick it back up again.

But for now, I need a mental break from the weekly deadlines and to be able to enjoy my weekends, once again. Life's busy enough already.

If cron.weekly returns, it will give me the ability to rethink the newsletter, the timings & my commitments. Taking a break will allow me to re-launch it in a way that would fit in my life, in my family and in my hobbies.

I hope you enjoyed cron.weekly in the last 2 years. Who knows, you might receive a new surprise issue in a couple of months if I start again!

PS; I will never sell cron.weekly, nor the email userlist behind it. I appreciate the faith you had in me by giving me your e-mail address, that information remains closed and guarded. You won't be spammed.



Hi! My name is Mattias Geniar. I'm a Support Manager at Nucleus Hosting in Belgium, a general web geek & public speaker. Currently working on DNS Spy & Oh Dear!. Follow me on Twitter as @mattiasgeniar.

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Comments

Richard C Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 09:38 - Reply

Thanks for the awesome newsletter! It was great. Hopefully you can find a way to bring us the same level of high quality tech news, in a less demanding way, in the future!


Evan Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 10:07 - Reply

We’re all definitely sad to see this end, but all the sysadmins out there definitely understand why.

Thanks for all you’ve wrote, and best of luck with your other endeavors!


Pieter Carette Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 10:52 - Reply

Hi Mattias,

Too bad my sunday tech overview dissappears, but I was already wondering how you found the time to do all that.

Thank you for the last two year and I’m sure we’ll see you on other interesting things.


Evan Volgas Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 10:55 - Reply

Totally understand where you’re coming from, but also sad to hear the news. Fwiw your efforts were and are much appreciated. Cron.weekly was the highlight of my weekend for the past year and a half. You’re doing the right thing taking an indefinite hiatus. You also did an amazing thing that you should be extremely, extremely proud of. If ever we meet, drinks are on me.


Utkarsh Bhatt Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 10:59 - Reply

Oh no. I just subscribed to this newsletter a few months back and it’s going to end. :(

No problem though. I know how bad burnout and deadlines feel. Thank you for all the knowledge your showered your 8k subscribers with.

I wish you luck.


Suscriber Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 11:35 - Reply

Thanks for the newsletter. It was good until the end. Nothing else to add.


SvennD Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 12:10 - Reply

Thanks for all the amazing content, the only “newsletter” I actually read every week. Good luck with your next projects.


Haddo Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 12:35 - Reply

Hi Mattias,

Been looking forward to your newsletter, every week the last year or so. The only one I really wanted to read instead of having to.

Too bad this ends, for now. But I totally understand what you mean; family, hobbies, demanding job but most all, deadlines!

Respect what for you have accomplished with Cron.weekly, but even more for your decision to take a break!

Succes in de toekomst!


Paul Galow Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 12:37 - Reply

Thank you for all of your hard work week after week. As others mentioned I too was looking forward to it every week. And to be honest: More often than not it took me days to sift through all the valuable information despite me being only a consumer of your newsletter. So if you ever decide to bring it back: I’d be more than happy to reading a condensed version of it, say 3 items per section max and only once per month. All the best!


Tibor Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 14:37 - Reply

Thanks for your hard work, Mattias!


Jorge Repetto Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 16:16 - Reply

Mattias! Thanks for the excellent work you’ve donde writing this weekly newsletter!!! I enjoyed it and learned A LOT. Fortunately all the articles, knowledge and information are still there. There aren’t many newsletters so informative and usefull out there so I’m going to miss reading your newsletter every Sunday. Anyway, congratulations for your work and hope you somhow keep in touch with cron.weekly community. Best Regards


Shane Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 16:21 - Reply

Thanks, really enjoyed your newsletter. I hope to read about your k8s explorations on your blog!


Aric Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 18:08 - Reply

I am really sorry to see you go! Let us know if you do decide to do a monthly or random version because I would love to see it!


Kevin Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 19:45 - Reply

I’ve enjoyed cron.weekly and knew part of my Sunday was going to disappear in one of the best ways — reading good geek content. While I’ll certainly miss it, I also understand the production burden and wouldn’t want to perpetuate the dread. :-)

Thanks, Mattias, for all your time and effort to date.


Ankit Gaur Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 19:49 - Reply

Thanks for the great content over all these two years !!.


Steve Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 23:12 - Reply

Hi Mattias, thanks for all your hard work with the newsletter. All the best for the future!

Steve


Idaho Monday, January 15, 2018 at 02:39 - Reply

Thank you for cron.weekly. I will miss it A LOT!


Curtis Monday, January 15, 2018 at 05:48 - Reply

Great publication – that I actually read each Sunday. I understand the effort of a weekly publication – that had to be sent weekly. Thanks for you efforts – I hope the publication can return in the future (in a less labor intensive labor of love.).


Chris Monday, January 15, 2018 at 10:50 - Reply

Too bad Mattias, this was one of the few newsletters I was really looking forward to every week!
But family/health goes first, thank you for all the time & effort :-).

I’ll buy you a beer next time!


Miguel Monday, January 15, 2018 at 10:57 - Reply

Thank you very much for your effort totally worth it. I hope you can return on a monthly basis, keep doing what you are doing!!


Allen Monday, January 15, 2018 at 11:25 - Reply

So long, and thanks for all the fish! Really appreciate the time you put in to make the newsletter happen — I always enjoyed reading. Hope this lets you get a bit more balance in your life. :-)


Koen Van den Wijngaert Monday, January 15, 2018 at 11:57 - Reply

Hey Mattias,

I truly hope the freed up time will make you discover new ways to enjoy life a bit more and bring you closer to friends and family. Good luck! :)

Koen


taihen Monday, January 15, 2018 at 13:13 - Reply

Thanks for all the good work.


Conor O Monday, January 15, 2018 at 13:43 - Reply

Dang. I just found about this newsletter. The old content looks really good from my first dip. Oh well I’ll keep checking that out and hope that some day you will return.


Peter Monday, January 15, 2018 at 17:57 - Reply

To bad i love cron-weekly. I wish you all the best and hope you gonna miss it sooner than later.
Regards


Marc Geniar Monday, January 15, 2018 at 18:01 - Reply

As Mattias’s father, I am extremely proud to see my son having such a great success and it takes guts to leave the scene at the moment of a highlight. I must admit that I have understood only 10% of what he was writing but his commitment to all his readers and his sponsors shows a great sense of responsibility. It is that sense that made him make this decision and I support him completely. Hope he will find the time and rest now to take some quality moments with his wife, 2 adorable children and his family. Great job done son, so proud of you. Thumbs up!


Bartholomew P. Buttstuff Monday, January 15, 2018 at 19:41 - Reply

We get it man. Thanks for the good times and thanks for the explaination. Wish ya the best.


Kevin Friday, January 19, 2018 at 16:46 - Reply

Thanks for all the hard work you have done! We will miss it.


Tom Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 19:24 - Reply

This was the only one mailing list I read carefully. Always nice things found.

Thanks for what you did! It was a journey.


Cezar Monday, February 5, 2018 at 09:20 - Reply

Thank you for your perfect work with the newsletter!


Panagiotis Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 00:43 - Reply

Mattias, I have been reading your newsletter for some months now, and I have to say I find the selection of articles just amazing. I got hooked and read almost all articles on each issue since subscribing, and it took me some time, because everything was so interesting that I just had to browse through all of them. So I can only imagine the time and effort it takes to write these, if I had to spend a considerable amount of time just to read them!

I have felt burnout in the past, and it’s not a nice feeling. When the thing you do stops being fun and becomes an obligation, then is the best time to refrain from doing it anymore. So even though I am sad that I wont have your great newsletter to read with my Sunday morning coffee, I am glad that you’ll stop doing something that’s become cumbersome to you and embark on new adventures and enjoy more quality time with your family!

Thank you for the two years, hopefully you’ll find it in the future to start writing the newsletter again :)

Best regards,
Panagiotis


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