Hello World, 2020

2020-07-24 | 001

Welp, I've finally done it! After 5 start & stop versions over the course of just as many years, I'm publishing a new version of my site. It's long over due but no use in wringing my hands over the delay. Onwards and upwards, as they say - eh?

It's kind of funny why I decided to restart the effort. 2020 has been a real bear of a year, for loads of folks. In a world where it feels like an individual has increasingly less control, I thought it was about time I got around to finish the redesign of my site that has been in some sort of progress for a couple years now. I'd never been really motivated to set up my own soapbox, being content with "renting space" on various social media & online services. But, that mindset stops here. The idea is, gaining control over a part of your life helps offset the existential dread that 2020 is really hammering everyone with. It's the same idea with victory gardens.

But, as any engineer-minded person, if anything is worth doing, it's worth over-doing. My goals for this redesign:

  1. Take ownership of digital footprint
  2. A place where I can experiment & catalog that exploration
  3. Hone my technical writing and share interesting techniques

Own my own content

I first fell in love with the web because of stark indepedence of the platform. Regardless of your option on privacy and data ownership, there have been certain web companies that have turned their backs on the spirit of what makes the web great. Openness, freedom, implicit connectedness. Instead, they look for any opportunity to monetize every aspect of their community's lives. In response, I want to scale back my activity on platforms that are counter to that philosophy. I'll offset that with labs and my own writing, which I'll cover more in the next two sections.

Experimentation & exploration

One of my favorite parts of the technology industry is that it's always in a state of perpetual discovery. There's always something to learn, always new methods to try. I'm notorious about "closing the loop" on my little tinkerings. I've got a directory on every computer I own, ~/projects/personal that is chock-full of little ideas. It is great for exploration -- a no pressure area to make mistakes without reprocussions but it has always bugged my that it lacks a few key things.

  1. It's a random smattering of dead ends. They aren't organized, cataloged or even distributed across my machines. So, there's no way for one idea to coherently build upon existing learnings.
  2. They're locked up, only on my machine and in various states of consumability.
  3. They're never synthesized into articles for others to learn from and remix.

Honestly, I feel I'm selling myself (and the web community) short since it's just scattered mess of experiments. I'm still thinking through my priorities and needs are, so this is an active area of development, but there will be a dedicated space on the site for this purpose. Stay tuned.

Hone my writing and give back

I've never been especially good at "marketing myself". I'm hoping to make intentional improvements in this area. I'd like to leverage my personal site as a place that I can be found professionally. I've been working for nearly a decade and a half in the web/technology space but because the past few years all my work has been closed source. Which means, that isn't really explicit anywhere on the internet currently -- I'd like to change that.

The most obvious way here is to make sure I have a good about page that showcases past projects and select clients. The other way, is to write technical posts where I can share whatever cool new technique I've come across or used on a project. I'd like to mix in some non-techincal articles as well, I've learned a lot leading teams and that content could be useful to some folks.

Tech Stack

For now, the site is built on:

  • theme-ui
  • mdx
  • react
  • nextjs
  • vercel
  • react-spring
  • react-three-fiber

It's a humble start and is still in active development, but I'm excited to have something I can constantly refine and control. I'm a tinkerer at heart, so one thing I know I'll have to remain vigilant on is balancing my efforts on content vs. build out. I haven't decided on a cadence for publishing posts yet, but I'd like to do a few a month - we'll see how that shakes out. I've spent a lot of thought and effort to make sure the initial design of the application is as low friction as possible to deploy so publishing is dead simple. The idea is to remove or minimize any blockers that impact my willingness to deploy.

One of the greatest revelations was that it's never going to be done, which automatically removes the pressure for perfection. It's a work in progress, like everyone, and that's totally ok.

That's all for now, thanks for reading - I'm exciting for what this will turn into!

Photo by Billy Pasco on Unsplash