Overactive Vocabulary

When In Doubt, Ameliorate


Do Things, Tell People

I’m not sure where I first heard this little ditty, but I guarantee it’s tobi’s fault. They have this saying right at the entrance to the Shopify offices, and while I haven’t made the pilgrimage to Ottawa yet, I have seen pictures.

For me, the “do things” part is easy. Well, easy is grossly oversimplifying my relationship with creating, but suffice it to say that if I’m not regularly making something I start getting depressed. I am wired to derive satisfaction from the act of creation, and so I have inbuilt feedback loops that ensure I return to “doing things” with regularity. I still struggle to make sure the things I’m doing are on the whole worthwhile - the occasional diversion into writing a Lua script to run a Minecraft bot are fun but can easily be overdone - but accumulating a list of things I’ve done isn’t hard.

It’s the “tell people” that I so easily neglect. As I’ve worked on Spreedly over the years, not talking enough about what we’re up to is far and away my greatest failing. Thankfully Justin now does an awesome job of getting the word out, but that doesn’t mean I can slack off, just that I can focus in on talking about the technical side of what I (and Spreedly) are up to, which is the part I’m best equipped to talk about anyhow.

And so after we got the new spreedly.com out the door and I needed some time to decompress, I decided to spend the next week taking all the cool things I and the team had done over the preceding weeks and start writing about them. It actually beats taking time off in a lot of ways since it actively calms the brain down by taking all the stuff it’s full of and putting it down in words.

And with a week of posts under my belt, and dozens of topics queued up (it’s been too long!), I’m getting the “tell people” ball rolling again. I hope if you’re reading along you’re enjoying the posts, and I’d love your feedback on app.net, via email, or any other way you can get to me (there are quite a few). And a submission or upvote on Hacker News is always welcome; much as it can be a distraction, I still love participating in the HN community.

For now my plan is to keep the weekdays pretty technical, and publish less technical posts (such as this one) on Saturdays. Of course, my goal is that it doesn’t stop with the posts I already have written and waiting to publish; while I don’t plan to keep up daily posts, I’m doing my best to build a habit such that “tell people” is one of the “things I do”. Writing is an act of creation I enjoy, and the more consistently I do it the more I enjoy it and the better I am at it. So expect to hear a lot more from me in the coming days!