State of the Shakeout | 2018

By Mario Fraioli |
Predictably unpredictable: You can count on the morning shakeout showing up in your inbox every Tuesday, even if you’re not quite sure what you’ll find once you open it. Photo: Dan Cruz

Arbitrary a milestone as it may be, I’m proud to share this 150th edition of the morning shakeout with all of you. It’s still crazy to me that this itch I felt the need to scratch almost three years ago is still going, growing, and evolving week in and week out.

This once-every-50-weeks update, which I like to call the State of the Shakeout, is my version of an annual shareholder letter, intended to provide all of you, my loyal readership, with a look back at the past year and a peek at what (hopefully) lies ahead.

In short, things have been going really well. My enthusiasm for working on this weekly missive is as high as it’s ever been and it’s exciting to know that it’s reaching more and more people every Tuesday morning. Two years ago, my first State of the Shakeout (Issue 50) went out to 2,085 subscribers. Last fall’s annual update (Issue 100) hit 4,809 inboxes. This morning’s email—drumroll please—is being sent to nearly 7,900 of you! Almost all of this growth, with the exception of a couple unexpected mentions by bigger media brands like Outside and letsrun.com, is by word-of-mouth recommendations from readers like you, which is incredibly important to me. The newsletter’s open rate is north of 61 percent and the click rate just under 20, which, 150 issues into this thing, is still almost triple every known industry average. A sincere thank you for the continued interest, encouragement, and support. It means more to me than I could ever properly put into words.

Making good on the promise I made 50 issues agothe morning shakeoutpodcast finally came to be last fall. I published the 30th episode (deets below!) yesterday and have been putting out three a month on average. Still trying to find that weekly rhythm and am slowly but surely getting there. I’ve been fortunate to bring on a wide variety of guests—some very recognizable, others not so much—from different corners of the sport and I’ve enjoyed getting to hear—and share—their stories, insights, and life lessons. A majority of the conversations to this point have been recorded via Skype but more and more of them of late have been conducted in person, which I’m trying to make standard practice moving forward. Everything is better when I can sit down in front of someone face-to-face, from the depth of the conversation to the quality of the audio. The production of the show has matured too, thanks to a lot of help from my audio engineer John Summerford of BaresRecords.com. He’s been making edits and smoothing out sound levels for me since the first episode and recently helped bring a brief but formal intro into the mix with the addition of some original music. As of yesterday morning, the show had amassed over 285,000 downloads in the first 29 episodes, and on an almost daily basis I hear from new listeners who have recently discovered it. It’s pretty wild that less than a year ago the podcast didn’t exist and now I couldn’t imagine the morning shakeout without it! It’s been a great complement to this newsletter and I’m excited to put even more time, effort, and attention into it each week. Keep an eye open for more live shows in the coming months along with full text transcripts of each episode (including archived ones)!

What started as a fun little side project in 2015 has grown and evolved into an even more fun—but also slightly more involved, not to mention expensive—professional pursuit that occupies an increasing amount of my time each week. Fortunately, soliciting direct support from over 100 readers and listeners earlier this year through Patreon (which you can still contribute to if you want, FYI)—along with monthly sponsorships from brands that I believe in and think will be of interest and value to you—has helped cover my operating costs while allowing me to continue scratching the aforementioned itch. I’m incredibly grateful for all the assistance and honestly couldn’t continue doing this without it, so thank you.

Looking ahead to the next 50 weeks, it’s my mission to continue providing informed commentary, engaging conversations, and smart curation about running and other worthwhile topics with a level of consistency, quality, personality, and authority that’s hard to find elsewhere. If I’m not delivering on those primary objectives, please don’t hesitate to let me know. In addition to all of that, I hope to 1. produce a small selection of branded merchandise (finally!); 2. host more “live” shakeout runs (deets on the next one below!); and 3. figure out just what in the hell I want to do with this dormant Instagram account (any ideas?). Otherwise, I’ll keep things predictably unpredictable: you can count on the morning shakeout showing up in your email every Tuesday, even if you’re not quite sure what you’ll find once you open it.

I think that about covers it for this year’s State of the Shakeout. Thank you for welcoming me into your inbox and letting me be a part of your weekly routine. Here’s to the next 150!

Filed Under: features

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