Last month, after over two years of blogging about startups, tools, and tips for the web, I let Sssimpli readers in on a secret: I was getting bored. Sssimpli began as a way to document my interests: I loved what I was writing about, and I wanted to share the interesting things I found.
At some point, though, posting to Sssimpli began to feel like work. I believe that there are only two justifiable reasons for a side project: love or money (sometimes, miraculously, both). Sssimpli was never a money-maker, but it was a labor of love. If it started to feel like work, then, what was the point?
So I gave it up for a bit to gain some perspective, ,and this is what I've found: I started Sssimpli because it was a blog that I wished had existed, but didn't. The problem is that, in 2014, it no longer fits that description. The tools and processes that I documented were, for me, an exploration, but now my tools and methods are largely set, so there's little need to explore. Every now and then, a startup or a tool catches my eye, and excites me. If I require myself to write about one every weekday, though, I sometimes find myself writing out of commitment, not excitement.
So the question became: if Sssimpli started as what I wanted to exist, what did I want to exist now? The answer was in Sssimpli Links, an end-of-week digest of tech reads that became Sssimpli's most popular feature. Perhaps not coincidentally, it was what I most enjoyed about maintaining Sssimpli- highlighting great reads.
There are so many great things to read on the web — literally, too much — that we're drowning. What I wanted to exist, then, was a place that I could go each morning to answer one question:
What should I read?
Every morning, I go through my Instapaper queue, check my Twitter feed, or the emails that whittle down the day's news into bite-sized nuggets, trying to find something to read. Always, there are great options, and that's fine for an evening, but sometimes I just want someone I trust to hand me an article and say "Here. Read this."
So that's what Sssimpli will be: one great technology-related read that I think will enrich my readers in some way. At the end of each week, I'll package them all up in a Readlist.
That brings me to my second point. I am still very much a geek. I still get a kick out of stumbling across some new browser extension or startup or mobile app that pushes the web forward. When I posted those findings to Sssimpli, though, it felt like the proverbial tree in the forest- other than my site statistics, there was no indication that anyone cared. What was missing, I think, was the conversation that stems from community. I'd always thought of Sssimpli as a community, but the reality was very different, and perhaps the form had something to do with that- Sssimpli was, after all, just a blog.
That led me to another thought: what's the best place on the web for conversation? To my mind, it's Reddit. So in that space, Sssimpli will exist in another, supplemental form: as a community of people who like to share and discuss great tools. You can find it at /r/sssimpli. There, I'll post those things I find that excite me, or that I find useful, and I encourage you to do the same. My hope is that we'll foster the community that's been missing. Besides, I'm not the only one who finds cool things on the web- if we all participate, there will be that much more to geek out over. So head on over, join the subreddit, and share your latest find.
So this is the evolution of Sssimpli, but it's not set in stone. I'll fiddle, I'll experiment, I'll play. For now, though, I hope that by creating the thing I wish already existed, we'll create a unique and useful little corner of the web.
PS- some may still find the old Sssimpli posts useful, so I keep the archive at old.sssimpli.com.