Getting started

I first started blogging in 2002. Back then the medium was new, informal, ill-defined, a bit “Wild West.” At the time, blogging was straightforward and easy; I simply wrote down whatever I thought about any topic I that I felt was worth my energy, which was usually some amalgam of personal life and various learnings in software engineering or web development. (I cut my teeth writing a lot about Flash and ActionScript programming in the early 2000’s back when Flash was “cool”, when it was pushing the edge of design and interactivity on the web. Despite lack of standardization and openness, Flash was perhaps responsible for the web’s most creative era.) Blogging back then was fun. It helped me build relationships and strengthen my personal network. It also helped me launch my career in software, ultimately landing me my first job at a large software company.

I have always found value in writing as a practice. There’s much to be said about collecting and organizing your thoughts in a way you can share with others. It strengthens your ability to think critically, which is of course an invaluable life skill. But over the past few years I failed to maintain the discipline to keep it up. Thanks in large part to life changes — getting married, starting a family, and other such time-consuming but worthwhile personal endeavors — the volume of my writing output fell off a precipice.

This blog is an attempt to start exercising my writing muscles again.

One of my great weaknesses is probably my tendency to avoid the vulnerability of sharing what I think until I feel absolutely sure about myself. I also tend to be a perfectionist. These two attributes sometimes make writing a slow and painful process. I often edit, then re-edit, then re-edit again while in the middle of a first draft, sometimes on the very first paragraph or sentence. And I often second-guess myself repeatedly, until I’m unsure of what I even wanted to say.

So I expect — and will aim for — writing here to be a bit unpolished, like a good blog should be. Something longer than a tweet, but shorter than an essay, and unedited by anyone other than me. A collection half-formed thoughts on things that interest me, which, at least at present, is mostly engineering management, and improving the culture and practice of software development, particularly on the web. Software on the web is often driven by economic models that disincentivize basic privacy protections, incentivize consolidation of power due to network effects, and do nothing to improve the glaring lack of diversity and inclusion in the industry. I care a lot about fixing this.

“But, you already have a blog!” you may retort. It’s true, I do. But, I’ve only written one post on that blog in over 3 years, and something about the psychological inertia of it has made it difficult for me to start it up again. Much of that blog was historically about the art of programming. These days, I don’t write much code; I lead engineering teams, and the disciplines are related but fundamentally different. Better to start fresh, anew, tabula rasa.

Let’s just see how it goes.