XYDO - Simple email newsletter creation tool

by Cameron Brain


XYDO was a tool used by small businesses to create email newsletters. The idea behind this service was that if you (as a business/organization) regularly sent your subscribers something they'd actually be interested in opening and clicking on, that (among other things) the open and click rates for your other emails would improve as well. As Neil Bainton, the COO of MailChimp put it: "It's about training your subscribers to open your future emails."

For around $200/mo you could use XYDO to aggregate content, build and send email newsletters, and get analytics on your campaigns. We recommended our clients generally follow these simple rules of thumb:

  • Send a newsletter once every two weeks (if you've got something worth sharing, don't be afraid to share it)
  • Include enough content so that the recipient always finds something of interest (typically 8-12 pieces)
  • +80% of the content shouldn't be yours; include great stuff published by someone else that relates to your business or market

When a business followed these simple best practices they'd typically see a big (4x) increase in click rate right off the bat. Assuming they kept up w/ it, they could also expect to see a nice improvement (10%) in open rate over the first 6mo. As shown in the video below, using XYDO you could create and send an email newsletter that included a nice mix of curated and original content in a couple minutes.


CoverNote - Your favorite notebook an the iPad are having a baby

by Cameron Brain


Some friends and I sought out to produce an iPad folio/notebook that matched the qualities and form factor of the iPad and iPad mini. As you may know, the market for these types of products has been full of bulky, generally useless options (e.g., what you'd see a real estate broker carrying). Even as people who use mobile computing devices, we still enjoy taking hand written notes and do so on a daily basis. This was our solution to having to carry two separate items: a tablet and a notebook.


RedditRecap - Weekly newsletter highlighting some of Reddit's most interesting submissions

by Cameron Brain


RedditRecap is a once-weekly, human-crated email newsletter featuring some of the most interesting submissions from across Reddit.com. The idea was simple: we all enjoy interesting stuff and Reddit is where that kind of stuff exists.

Every week (typically on Sun nights) I'd comb through some of my favorite subreddits to find a 10-15 pieces to include in that week's edition. Click the image below to see a full email from Oct 2012.

There wasn't a business goal associated w/ this project, however I did want to substantiate that I could build a subscribership and that they would enjoy the emails. Below are stats for the email featured above. Opens in the +40% and clicks in the +50% ranges were typical.

Open and click stats for a RedditRecap email.

XYDO Reader - iPad news reader app

by Cameron Brain


An iPad news reader app powered by the same back-end aggregation platform used by XYDO, Curate.me, and EveryoneSocial. Unfortunately the app hasn't seen the light of day; we were just nearing completion of it in late 2011 when we decided to pivot the business away from B2C.