Lionel's Blog

I'm an engineering manager at Braintree. I write about politics, psychology, and software.

I've worked on a few open-source projects and infrequently blog.

Recent blog posts:

The Computer Boys Take Over by Nathan Ensmenger

Who by Geoff Smart and Randy Street

High school blues

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Starting A Blog

17 September 2012

I spent the last few months thinking about whether I should start a blog. Tonight, I was finally convinced by a great essay by Steve Yegge. Yegge’s argument is straightforward: everyone should start a blog, because blogging is good for you and all the reasons not do it are crap.

I’m sure plenty of people would raise their eyebrows at the idea that blogging is somehow instructive or good for you. Yegge means something more than posting a sentence to Tumblr every couple of days; when he says blog, he’s usually talking about a 500-word essay. Because of this, he’s probably right: writing one’s ideas down helps to clarify them, gives a person inspiration, and generally helps keep the “writing” part of the brain sharp. That is, in part, why we were all asked to write so many essays in college. But what about the reasons not to blog?

Yegge identifies four main reasons why a person wouldn’t want to write a blog:

  • They don’t have time.
  • They’re afraid of putting their thoughts into a public space.
  • Nobody will read the blog.
  • Blogging is inherently narcissistic.

Most of these objections strike me as pretty weak: I’m not that busy, I’m not afraid of my own ideas, and I don’t care if anybody reads the blog (it’s for me). But the last objection strikes a chord with me. If I’m going to write a blog, I want to try to write about ideas. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that if I don’t stop myself, I would just write about myself and my own life – turning my “blog” into a sort of public diary. Publishing your diary on the Internet is really narcissistic.

So, I’m going to use this first post to make a promise to myself: I will use this space to write about ideas. Not events or people - ideas.

I’m going to write about things that I find interesting. I’ll try to write well – emphasizing brevity, clarity, and simplicity. I’ll try very hard not to rant. I hope anyone who stumbles upon it enjoys themselves.

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