This initiative is part art project and part science experiment. The selection of the articles that Mel, Tim and I made is the art; our commentary explaining why we selected them is the science.
The most interesting part of creating the first issue was its design. Kro, my website developer, designed the template from rough drawings made in Powerpoint. He also added layout and design elements. Mel, Tim and I made revisions the same way we do on our consulting assignments - quickly, building on each other's thoughts.
We selected MailChimp as the vehicle to create, send and track our newsletter. It was Kro's program of choice. Also, I remember Michael Hyatt, an excellent business blogger, recommending it. MailChimp's website boasts 6,000 new users a day and we decided to become one of them.
MailChimp is powerful, flexible and easy to use, at least when you use it correctly. I had neglected to fill in the first and last name fields in the distribution database which resulted in blank salutations during our test run. It was an easy fix that required two hours of typing. It didn't feel easy at the time.
I really appreciate the feedback we received. Most of the notes were sent the day of distribution. There were many thanks, good ideas for future issues and offers to forward it to friends and colleagues. Some people even noted the articles they read.
Like all ongoing, repeatable projects, I am intrigued by how it will evolve. Will we make any immediate design changes, what articles will we select next time, will the tones of our commentary change? I know that each issue will be shaped by our interests, experiences and learnings, like all art and science.