SF Minute reaches one year 🎉
12.16.21 * Circulation 3,534 * 175 members
Hey there, San Francisco.
One year ago today, I sent out the first SF Minute newsletter to a handful of friends and family. My idea was to create a quick and easy (and fun!) way to stay on top of local news.
Two hundred and thirty newsletters later, the mission pretty much remains the same. There’s just more of you here. Today, the SF Minute is over 3,500 readers strong!
What a year it's been. From vaccine rollouts to recall elections, Ferris wheel drama to City Hall scandals, there is never a shortage of stories in San Francisco. Some of them are incredibly serious. Others are totally wacky. I try to cover both.
Next week, as we wind down the calendar year, I’ll recap what I think have been the most important local news stories of 2021. I’ll also recap the wild and craziest.
Today though (since it is our birthday after all) I thought it would be fun to look back on the last year for The SF Minute.
To start off, some awards: 🏆
The person who’s opened the most SF Minute emails is my wife, Kelsey, who’s viewed 220 of the 230 newsletters I’ve sent out. (Youda best. But what about the other ten days?! )
The person who’s opened the most SF Minute emails (who’s not a direct family member of mine) is Alex K., who’s viewed 213 editions. (Thanks Alex!)
The person who’s referred the most people to The SF Minute through our referral program is Hunter Walk, who’s gotten 170 people to subscribe. (For context, second place in this category was 27 referrals.)
The first person to sign up for an SF Minute membership was Greg Mitchell. (Greg somehow found the signup page before I even let people know it existed!)
The newsletter with the highest open rate (for a newsletter that was sent to at least 1,000 people) came on December 7. The subject line: “Parklet fines looming for restaurant owners / 'Butt divots' are back on Muni trains.” It had a 63% open rate.
The most “liked” newsletter was “The Presidio's 'crowning jewel' set to open next spring” on November 23. Seven people hit the like button for that one.
Now, onto some of my favorite stories that we’ve written.
When I started The SF Minute, I wasn’t sure how much original content we’d create. And to be honest, it’s still a bit up-in-the-air. Writing the newsletter itself takes a good chunk of my days, which doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for original reporting.
Sometimes, though, I am inspired. And, thankfully, I’ve had talented and ambitious freelancers (aka SF Minute correspondents) write some great pieces throughout the year.
Here are a few original stories that stick out:
Back in March, Elena Kadvany, who’s now a star food reporter for the Chronicle, wrote about a husband and wife team who were baking bread out of their Bayview apartment, and instead of selling it, they were making trades with their customers for things like plants, ceramic mugs, and kimchi. Appropriately, it was called Barter Bread.
Not to toot my own horn, but I liked this one from April when I wrote about Dogpatch resident Adam Zolot, who consumed himself with paddleboarding on the Bay early in the pandemic. Zolot started a paddleboard club, then opened a rental shop, and just last week, he told me that he, along with the YMCA and bagel company Daily Driver, won the proposal to set up operations right in the Dogpatch’s Crane Cove Park.
I also thought this reporting back in August on the Great Highway debate from Natalie Mead was really good. Who can forget the person who didn’t want to be named in the story because it’s become such a contentious issue between her and her sister?! The drama around this beachside stretch of road is real, folks.
And if you’ll indulge me just a little bit longer, I thought it would be fun to share some milestones for The SF Minute and when they happened:
December 16, 2020: The first newsletter goes out. Design is lacking (and no emojis!).
February 4, 2021: I floated the idea of creating a “Weekend Guide” at the top of the newsletter and one person got back to me saying I should do it. Apparently, that was enough! The next day I wrote the first Weekend Guide and it’s been a thing since then.
February 9, 2021: Olive Jean (my crazy, German Shorthaired Pointer dog) makes her first SF Minute appearance.
March 8, 2021: The day I got inspired to go outside and pick up trash. Early on in the newsletter, I used to chronicle my trash pick-up adventures more often. One day, I even found what appeared to be a weapon!
April 1, 2021: My friend Tanner put money behind a Google ad for “The SF Second.” He got me pretty good and the tagline was incredible: “Real news fast for those without a minute to spare.”
April 30, 2021: Newsletter reaches 1,000 subscribers.
July 28, 2021: Newsletter reaches 2,000 subscribers.
August 27, 2021: The SF Minute gets Getty Images. Life is good.
October 27, 2021: Referral program launches, and the SF Minute “dad hat” makes its debut. (Fun fact: The referral program has brought in over 450 subscribers since late October, or almost 13% of total subscribers).
November 10, 2021: SF Minute memberships launches. (Fun fact: Of the 175 members today, there are 26 who pitched in extra to become “Founding Members.”)
December 15, 2021: Newsletter reaches 3,500 subscribers.
A huge, huge thank you to you all for reading and caring and helping to spread the word.
It’s been a long year! But it’s been a blast writing this newsletter, and it feels like things are just getting started. I can’t wait to see where we’re at come December 16, 2022.
Now, quickly, onto some top headlines for the day and events that are happening this weekend:
What I’m reading: Links to browse at your leisure
San Francisco Projects First Budget Surplus Since 1998 (SF Standard)
Supes approve new Sanitation and Streets Department to begin in July (Examiner)
Mayor Breed wants to streamline housing production, but will S.F. supervisors approve it? (Chronicle)
What London Breed actually meant with her ‘bulls— that has destroyed our city’ comment (Chronicle)
Keanu Says He Jumped From This SF Building ‘19 or 20 Times’ for ‘Matrix Resurrections’ (SFist)
Boutique 12-room Hotel Castro prepares for opening (Hoodline)
The Most-Read Eater San Francisco Stories of 2021 and Five You Might Have Missed (Eater)
Source: Warriors’ Klay Thompson won’t return until Dec. 28, at the earliest (Chronicle)
Meet the Warriors fan who tweeted about Mexican food and got free tickets from Juan Toscano-Anderson (48 Hills)
Weekend guide: Some things to consider for your weekend ahead
🎄 Watch “Christmas Vacation” outside in Ghirardelli Square / Friday at 7:30 pm / More details here
🎷 Listen to holiday jazz music in Hayes Valley / Saturday from 2-5 pm / More details here
♛ Play chess with the Bernal Chess Club at Progressive Grounds / Saturday at 3 pm / More details here
🎅 Check out the 1st Annual JFK Holiday Party in GGP / Sunday 10 am - 1 pm / More details here
🎼 Attend a candlelight Christmas concert at the Mission Dolores Basilica / Sunday at 5 pm / More details here
🍫 And finally… Check out the maker’s fair this Saturday at Cafe Alma in the Bayview from 11 am to 4 pm. When you’re there make sure to say hello to friend of The Minute and owner of J Street Chocolate, Julia Street. She’ll be selling her bars alongside chocolate chip cookies, which feature her delicious, single-origin chocolate chips.
Alright! That’s all for today. Thanks so much for reading y’all and a reminder that I’ll be out traveling tomorrow. I’ll see you back here on Monday. Have a great weekend and thank you again for an incredible year! - Nick B.