Many people have the dream of being a successful writer. There’s an allure
with having one’s work read by others, but the business of writing has changed.
One no longer seeks a publisher, but instead traffic and results on search
engines. One no longer expects royalties, instead revenue is generated from
advertisements and affiliate links.
The language of the web is now monetization. If that were my goal
there’d be advertisements on this website. But there are none. At least, not in
the form you’d expect.
Imagine the future. Not as it is next week, next year, or even in a
hundred years hence. Imagine the future as it exists in ten thousand years
time; and imagine that’s a future where things have gone right.
It’s a graph showing the performance of children after they’ve been praised for
their intelligence (“you must be smart”) versus their effort (“you must have
put a lot of effort into that”), and then given a series of hard problems to
try to solve. The kids who are taught that effort is important increase in the
number of problems they can solve. Those who are told that they’re smart show a
A few years ago, the server on which I hosted my personal website suffered a
hardware failure and died. It had been running for over a decade
and the design had not changed once
during that time.
I’m very glad to say that I’ve now resurrected the site, along with the over
ten years worth of writing I had there. However what I’m really excited
about is the technology and philosophy of how the new site is constructed.
Open source software is great. You don’t have to worry about the owner deciding
to discontinue it, because someone else can always take over. If there’s a bug
that really annoys you—or a feature you really want—you can add it. If you’re
concerned about what the software might be doing, you can open it up and take a
look. And even if you don’t have the skills or inclination to do all these
things, other people will.
While I’ve always known open source software is great, I’m increasingly
starting to appreciate that open source developers are also great. Many
people in open source not only have a tremendous amount of experience with
software, but also community management. They’ve seen a lot of the same
problems arise many times, and so they have a good idea on how to get code, and
people, to work together productively.