Happy Labor Day!

August 30, 2008

Just a reminder to those of you outside the US (or those in the US who don’t work for the federal government), Labor Day is on Monday (September 1).  As this is a US postal holiday, all weekend orders will go out on Tuesday instead.

Enjoy the BBQs (or whatever else you have planned)!

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Like many websites that utilize Amazon’s storage services, we’re experiencing some technical difficulties.  Amazon is working on the problems and we expect a resolution soon.

In the meantime, the key thing to note is that none of your letters are lost.  They are held and will be processed as soon as Amazon’s services are back online.  Our system is designed to avoid losing messages in the event that even large portions of our service go down (no failover system is perfect, but this has been a high priority for us).

We’ll update here as soon as the situation changes.

UPDATE: Things seem to be back online.  We’ll be monitoring closely to make sure this is a stable fix.

API Videos

June 4, 2008

Eric Lee of CounterPunch Software has posted some great videos on using the Postful API. Definitely worth checking out!

For the last few decades, the “desktop” metaphor has dominated computing. We treat information like paper documents, software as pencils, pens, staplers, all designed to fit a single human hand. That metaphor is eroding as we move towards web-based systems. While no new metaphor has yet replaced the desktop, the best candidates seem clustered around the concept of conversations.

This change is obvious in much of the online world. It’s a cliché to refer to blogs as conversations. Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, and others are really only definable in terms of these new metaphors (what precisely would constitute a Facebook document or a Twitter desktop?).

Even the humble word processing document is adjusting to these new concepts. With online office suites, multiple users can work at the same time, link data into dynamic sources, and connect to external tools and outputs. Its no longer about the pile of papers (which may be odd coming from a company which produces precisely that).
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The USPS recently announced that mail volume was down 3 percent in the first fiscal quarter of ’08. This is great news for us.

First, let’s look at the details. This was a decline of 1.7 billion pieces for the quarter, largely attributable to declines in mortgage and financial services mailings.

Now, why do we think this is such a good thing? The answer is that the pressures of decline opens more room for competition and new ideas.

It’s common wisdom that you want to be in a growth market because growth exposes opportunity. The unlikely corollary is that being in a contracting market opens up just as many opportunities, as long as the market is large enough to support the decline. Print and mail are gigantic markets which can easily absorb decades of continued contraction (as they will have to).

But this is good for these industries. Competition in the print world has focused increasingly on price rather than innovation. Contraction makes that strategy dangerous and generally leads to a dramatic contraction in the total number of firms.

Given that, firms are forced to look for new ways to compete. Faced with change or extinction, many firms will stumble towards the later. But enough will attempt innovation to break down institutional barriers. The net result is a more uncertain and fluid market for all players.

And this is just what we’re positioned to take advantage of. Postful is built on a new model for print and mail focused on integration with digital tools and information. This is perhaps the most important growth area within this overall declining market.

All of this puts us in a great position to take advantage of the dynamics of change and build out a strong position to expand from here. It should be interesting to see how the rest of the market responds.

Lower Minimum Payments

June 21, 2007

Previously, due to credit processing fees, we required funds to be added in blocks of $5 or more. We’re now in a position where we can lower that to $.99.

This is a great option for people who just want to send a single letter (or if you’d just like to try us out before using us more extensively).

Of course, you can still add larger blocks of funds to your account so that you don’t have to deal with payments each time. But now the option is yours.

This is a slightly delayed announcement (I’ll be catching up on these over the next couple of days), but you can now add funds to your account using PayPal.

In combination with Google Checkout and our previous support for all major credit cards, most of you should have enough options at this point.

Payments via barter and indentured servitude must still be handled by contacting us directly.