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March ’24 Newsletter

Dear TuringTrader Member,

It is March, and – as announced before – we are ready to unveil yet another site update. This one is massive – our biggest update since spring 2020. This raises the question of why. Well, there are a number of good reasons:

  • Improved usability
  • Improved aesthetics
  • Pay off technical debt
  • Better utilization of key resources
  • This sounds rather abstract, so let’s go into some more detail.

Improved Usability

When we transitioned our authentication and billing platform to Outseta in fall 2023, we were mostly intrigued by two features: a database to store our member’s metadata and a CRM system with mass email capabilities. These features allowed us to simplify our tech stack, improve our ability to interact with members, and reduce operational costs.

But Outseta can do more than that: the platform also includes a help desk, that simplifies browsing support documents, searching for answers, and filing help tickets. However, we felt that we first had to restructure our support documents for that feature to make sense. In particular, we made the following changes:

  • we split the FAQ and help pages into smaller pieces, and moved them into the help desk
  • we introduced a blog section, and consolidated our in-depth articles and newsletter archive there

We are confident that these changes will make it easier for our members to find content, reduce the overall support volume, and bring the site into closer alignment with web best practices. My lovely wife, Birgit, deserves a ton of credit for her hard work on the help desk.

TuringTrader.com: November 2019

November 2019

TuringTrader.com: January 2022

January 2022

TuringTrader.com: January 2024

January 2024

Improved Aesthetics

Looks do matter. They set the overall mood of the site, and they have a substantial impact on how visitors consume the content. Improving the aesthetics makes the site more pleasant to use, and increases perceived quality, and retention. We feel that this change was long overdue.

But what took us so long to address this? Well, there are multiple reasons. For once, I am an engineer, and while I am good at laying out code, I don’t share the same talent when it comes to UX design. But more importantly, this delay is owed to technology… more on that further below.

In any case, we’ve been able to hire an external consultant to help us with the design and implementation. A big shout out to Aaron Newman aka The Website Architect, for his beautiful yet functional design!

Pay Off Technical Debt

Anybody involved in R&D knows that dealing with legacy is one of the hardest things to do. When bootstrapping a small business, the sole focus is on making progress. We try to maximize the time spent on research and new features – and we sometimes cut corners when it comes to doing things right, and refactoring when we should.

This works surprisingly well for a few years, but ultimately this debt comes haunting us. It becomes increasingly harder to add new features, or fix bugs, and the productivity advantage from the early days negates into a burden that is harder and harder to carry.

When we started the site, I didn’t know much about JavaScript, Node, React, and cloud computing. I learned all of that on the fly – while making all sorts of poor decisions and mistakes on the way. Now it was time to rethink the overall architecture of the site frontend.

The interesting part is that we came full circle. We started the site on WordPress in 2019. We then migrated to React, mostly because of the more software-centric flow, front-end rendering, and demands for interactivity. Now, close to five years later, we return to WordPress. However, we integrated it with a suite of custom widgets coded in React.

Better Utilization of Key Resources

I love small businesses. Throughout my career, I felt uncomfortable when the businesses grew larger than 100 employees, and I never felt at home in big corporations. My career is quite non-linear, and I have experience in many facets of engineering: software, electronics, chip design, production engineering, business, and finance.

It’s great to have a broad skill set – but it can also become a curse. Because I can do all of these things, I didn’t see much of an issue designing workflows that required my technical knowledge. And in the early days this indeed wasn’t much of a concern. But as the business grew, this led to an inefficient use of key resources, with me becoming the primary bottleneck.

The new site significantly reduces these issues. Adding help content, writing blog posts, sending a newsletter, or collecting billing information can now be completed by individuals without technical expertise. As a result, we can use the resources we have at our disposal in a much more efficient manner, making the work more productive and enjoyable.

It’s Not About Looks

So ultimately, this site update is not at all about looks. Instead, it is about becoming more professional in our operations. And a big part of that is freeing up my time – so that I can spend more time doing what I enjoy doing the most: researching new strategies. I am sure you members will appreciate that.

We will be having a soft-launch of the new site. You can reach it at https://wp.turingtrader.com, and we will also put a link in the production site’s header. There are still a few minor kinks, but we hope to have it all finished up April, when we will make the new site the default, and keep the old site as a fallback for another month or so.

As always, I want to thank everybody who reached out over the past month with questions, comments, and suggestions. It is an honor to have you on our site. If you like what we do, support our growth by sharing with your friends how TuringTrader adds value for your investing.

Stay tuned for further updates,
All the best

Felix

Felix Bertram
Founder of TuringTrader.com

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