Conversation on Why I am building Stackblocks

Banner image for Conversation on Why I am building Stackblocks

Couple of days ago, I had a conversation with Reddy where we talked about why I'm building Stackblocks on the side, the progress and the future of this product.

You can listen to it here - https://racket.com/reddy2go/rG58n

Or directly delow

Aravind: And that's what I am trying to not solve completely but at least move in a step towards that goal to have everything on your website, which is your digital home.

Complete transcript

Reddy: Aravind, Welcome on board. How are you doing?

Aravind: Thanks for having me again today. I am doing great. How are you doing?

Reddy: I am so happy and excited to know that you're launching your product and but before we jump in on that, let us keep the supplies a little while longer and you can introduce yourself in the meanwhile to our listeners.

Aravind: My name is aravind, and I am a software developer.

Aravind: I like solving problems jumping in and finding hacks and solutions for things that are not really there yet, but can be done.

Aravind: So, that's my forte.

Aravind: I have been on this racket before. So if you're curious you can go check that episode out.

Aravind: So yeah, what I am building right now is called Stackblocks, which it's a, it's a tool that allows people who write Substack newsletters embed the archive, in their websites.

Aravind: I have seen a lot of people, just have a subscribe box wherein they ask for an email and then just there is a button but there is no way to know what that person has sent before or has written before.

Aravind: So this tool will allow the visitor to see the archive like last posts or last five posts or even the top performing substack posts on the website.

Aravind: Even before they give you the email ID email address, so that's what I am trying to solve.

Reddy: That's really cool.

Reddy: So, in a way, because I personally hate putting myself stack, embed form anywhere because it just doesn't fit into the design and I will probably change the design of my website five times in the last five months.

Reddy: But not one says, it's kind of like harmoniously fitted in to the overall design aesthetic of the website.

Reddy: So I usually, I am just like, you know, just at the most Dropping a link and I say ho follow this link and go there and subscribe. Like I hate embedding that form because it just doesn't look good.

Reddy: This is really cool.

Reddy: Because if you have done this, this can love me to not just present that singular form, which says, hey, this is op stack, and we can connect.

Reddy: But also, like you said, it drops draws people in with some sort of Snippets, not only of the latest issue but even the best issues.

Reddy: So how do you see this? You know, like do you see this as something that Can be enabled on anyone's website regardless of the platform?

Aravind: Yes. Right now it supports normal HTML code. I mean if someone has used Jekyll or writes in markdown and built website using Gatsby NextJS all this modern tools, then HTML should suffice and then I have a tab for Webflow how to do it on Webflow, how to embed it in Notion because I've seen a lot of tools these days are built on top of Notion, and we have a lot of site generators which use Notion as the CMS.

Aravind: So it supports Notion, which means it supports a whole lot of stuff out there.

Reddy: This is so good.

Reddy: Like you're tempting me to actually go back to using sub stack as a medium because I am always looking for the next new thing.

Reddy: You know, old and boring sub stack, at least to me.

Aravind: So as you talked about the styling thing, so what I am trying to do now, like right now is to allow people to customize the background color and the font color of the embedded.

Aravind: So that it looks like it's in your site and not just a piece of paper that is stuck out in your site.

Aravind: I want it to blend in into the users web sites. That's what I am working on right now.

Aravind: The next would be to add support for custom fonts if that's possible so that it has the same aesthetic.

Reddy: Wow, looks like you're offering more customization than sub stack itself. Yeah, but this is cool because I think, you know, one of the things that's missing because I have always been looking around on this.

Reddy: You know what, I call like a Holy Grail? This quest for you know, finding us a unified space where I can have some sort of website or web presence and also a Blog specially to garden and a new salon.

Reddy: The closest had come to Was Ghost which offers me to write in the same space and essentially send out the same things that I write on the website to someone's inbox.

Reddy: And I think this is taking a step further in that direction because people coming to my website, if they see the page where all my substitute posts are, they can get a feel of my writing, which is on sub stack, without leaving my home page. And I think that's very valuable to keep people because it's easy to lose an audience.

Reddy: You know, you have one Platform. And then there's another platform you use for sending things out. So it's difficult for people to know exactly where you decide.

Aravind: Yeah, and guess what, not just substack I am planning to like extend the features for other services, like Revuew or Tinymail or all these modern, things buttondown email and I figured out how to do that for a few providers. So after I build things for sub stack end-to-end, then it should be easy to add in.

Reddy: Look for other providers as well was also incredible news and think a lot of people were very happy about this cuz I think especially does the idea of having two separate spaces is so difficult to reconcile with on the internet today because otherwise everything kind of like fits in, right?

Reddy: We have this whole concept of apis and everything is connected with Zapier over the integral method Etc. And yet we have to like run around to different URLs just to access the content from a single person that seems so counterproductive to me.

Aravind: And that's what I am trying to not solve completely but at least move in a step towards that goal to have everything on your website, which is your digital home.

Reddy: Nice.

Reddy: So what's what do you see in the future for this particular product? And you already have some sort of another project in the making which you have already started ideating brainstorming about now.

Aravind: This project actually I started ideating it in January or February, but it took me this long to know that it's a valid problem and start work on it. I wish I should have talked to people earlier and then figured out that this is a valid problem. And I wish, I wish I started early.

Aravind: And right now I don't have anything else in mind, but as I do things and as I progress in my life, I am sure I will find some other problem, which I can provide a small solution to.

Reddy: Yeah, and do you, do you work on all of these entirely alone? Or is there some sort of team or you like working with someone on this project?

Aravind: It's completely me. It's just me completely.

Aravind: It's me who is designing the pages. It's me who is writing the code me who is setting up the emails. It's all just one person team for now, but I would love to get someone to Do things that I know how to do. I mean that just makes the process a little easier for me. But right now I am a single person team.

Reddy: Yeah that's cooler. Is this what people call the full stack developer where you do everything yourself?

Aravind: Yes, full stackdeveloper is basically a person who knows front-end and back-end and but this involves design and ideating and marketing as well. So, I don't know what this is called.

Reddy: Okay. Well, I wish you all the best.

Reddy: Thank you for hopping on and wish you all the best in the next project for the coming up with, and we would love to share this link. So just tell us how, you know, there's no scan find that URL fine, how to sign up for this etcetera.

Aravind: The website is called stack blocks and the URL is stack blocks and Dot app. That's where you can go to sign up and hop into the Early Access list.

Reddy: Sweet. So you heard it here and all the best elements you. Thank you.

Aravind Balla

By Aravind Balla who is a friendly human, building things for himself, and sometimes for others. You should hit him up on Twitter!

Get letters from me 🙌

Get a behind-the-scenes look on the stuff I build, articles I write and podcast episodes which make you a more effective builder.

Read the archive 📬

One email every Tuesday. No more. Maybe less.