It's Been a While

-- and Yes, I'm Still Here!

Producing content on the internet is a strange beast.

In the real world, a person continues to exist by virtue of…existing. Ask any person who’s old enough to pass the peekaboo test, object permanence is a thing.

On the internet, this is not the case. On digital forums, blogs, YouTube feeds, one only “exists” if they continue to produce. This can cause undue stress and leads people to chase crap metrics like number of digital red heart buttons clicked or time eyeballs stayed glued to your jump-cut Youtube video for more than 38.354 seconds.

The thing is, I don’t believe there is one size fits all solution to this problem. Many people make their living off of the internet. A small percentage of that group does exceptionally well. That group would feel no obligation to change internet hiatus-ing (if it ain’t broke…). The other much larger group on the internet is readers/lurkers, many of whom use the internet as a pastime instead of a value producing device.

Perhaps the tradeoff of potential infinite reach is that for many, the reach is zero. When you don’t post, you don’t exist.

Anyway, I digress. Here’s what I have been up to in my content producing hiatus.

I Made a Business

The most important thing in my life has been Stenography. I find that most of my waking hours are wholly consumed in solving the problem of creating code that can speak for itself. I could write many a paragraph about my journey with Stenography, but allow me to offer up the cliff notes:

  • solo-founded and operated, bootstrapped from my own wallet

  • full stack application using many of the greatest technologies the 21st century has on offer: Stripe, Cloudflare Workers, GPT-3 + Codex, FaunaDB, Auth0, Render, etc…

  • live to the public (you can try the API for yourself here)

  • an API that transmutes code → simple human readable explanation

  • an API that automatically parses code files and finds complex but not too complex code blocks to explain in parallel. Think auto documentation of codebases in 30 seconds or less

  • a VSC app that I’m building that I want to be a must have for developers

  • got cofounder dumped

  • raised money (~$300k), and turned down all of it

and so much more.

Stenography has been a journey, much more stressful than the weekly projects I took on last year, but the depth has been much more rewarding. And in fact, I created Stenography for the express purpose of making creative coding projects easier by automating the narrative-explanation layer using super powerful machine learning technologies.

I’ve Been Teaching

I’ve been giving talks. And, I’ll be doing some live trainings for O’Reilly in 2022. Stay tuned for that!

I like speaking. It’s a good opportunity to reach a wide net of people, and mine the brain for new nuggets of information.

I Never Stopped Posting

The difference between likes and follows also helps us understand when maintenance costs matter. A viral YouTube video doesn’t necessarily have ongoing costs if its creator doesn’t plan on making more videos. But if the creator aspires to become famous for their work, they also become, in a sense, a maintainer, because they need to keep producing more content in order to maintain their reputation. We can think of a creator’s reputation as a “battery,” or store of value, for attention. More followers mean more attention in the bank, but when people follow a creator they do so because they expect to receive more content. If creators don’t produce anything new, their followers will eventually get bored and leave. Reputation, like software, requires maintenance over time.

Working in Public

I deleted my social media. I’m so glad I did. Social media is a bad place.

But the thing is, I never stopped posting. I exclusively post now on a website that I own, with content that doesn’t give random strangers the ability to ruin my day with a trolly comment.

Obsidian has been an enormous boon for my mental health, my project creation workflow, and at risk of sounding facetious, has literally brought my IQ up multiple points.

If you’d like to go down a rabbit hole that is my own personal knowledge wiki, you can check out my Zettelkasten here or see how I post project post mortems here.

Obsidian is a game changer. Download it today, and start working on it yesterday. Tomorrow, you’ll be glad you did.

Back to work on Stenography for me.

Ars longa, vita brevis