The Pulse #69: Building a social network is hard
T2 wanted to take on Twitter, but has shut down one year later – not before sharing learnings. Also: Replit organizes a tender offer for employees, and the outstanding launch of my book.
Today's topics are:
An update on “The Software Engineer’s Guidebook.” My new book has enjoyed an incredible launch. Right now, it is the #1 most-purchased book across all of Amazon in the Netherlands and Poland, and also a top 100-selling book in several countries. Thank you so much for your support – it wouldn’t be possible without you!
Industry pulse. A roundup of recent events, with commentary. OpenAI keeps shipping at breakneck speed, cuts at Amazon Music, and Hubspot buys a startup for what looks like a bargain.
Building a social network is hard. Two former Twitter employees founded social network T2, as an alternative to X. One year on, the company has shut down; cofounder Gabor Cselle shares his learnings.
Replit offers liquidity to employees. Joining a successful startup can be a great career choice, but a poor one financially – until it goes public. Replit’s valuation has soared over time, and it’s now organized a “liquidity event” for employees.
1. An update about the launch of “The Software Engineer’s Guidebook”
What came first, The Pragmatic Engineer Newsletter, or The Software Engineer’s Guidebook? By some distance, the book did. In spring 2019 when I took parental leave, I began writing the first draft of the book which launched this week. In the fall of 2019, I pitched it to three publishers. In 2020, I finalized the name. It was not until a year later that this weekly newsletter began, in 2021.
Before the launch of this new book, I was thinking what a “good” and a “great” launch would mean. I decided “good” would mean no major issues, like people being unable to order the book in countries where they should be able to. “Great” would mean the book earning a “Best Seller” badge or two. Meanwhile, “amazing” would be if the book broke into the converted “top 100” list in at least in one country, making it one of the 100 most-sold books across Amazon over the past day or so.
But the book has exceeded even the expectations of an “amazing” launch – and then some. Almost immediately, the book has become a bestseller in all 12 Amazon markets, rocketing to the #1 spot for software engineering categories. And it hasn’t stopped there: “The Software Engineer’s Guidebook” is a top-100 seller in several countries, which rarely happens to technology books, which have smaller audiences than some genres. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the book reached these positions in the most-sold lists:
Netherlands: #1 (!!)
Poland: #1 (!!)
Japan: #1 for non-Japanese language books (!)
Australia: #4 overall (#1 for software engineering)
Italy: #14 for English books
France: #1 for internet-related books (no global rank provided)
Spain: #1 for software engineering (no global rank provided)
Of course, how much a book sells and where it appears in rankings doesn’t define it; these are merely indicators of current popularity. The real value is in how much a book helps readers, and provides new mental models and approaches for becoming a better engineer and software professional. If you have purchased the book, I want to thank you for the trust you’ve put in it, and I do hope you see these benefits.