All Posts Filed in ‘Thoughts

authenticity
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The desire to produce something authentic

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One from the archives, here’s Marco Arment on the pitfalls of becoming a well-known blogger & his determination to avoid gaming the system:

I don’t need to be an authority on anything. I don’t need you to agree with my arguments. I know this is probably too long, too broad, and too egotistical for the mass market to read, and you most likely skimmed over it. I wrote this just now, and I’m going to publish it now, even though it’s Sunday and it won’t see peak traffic. I don’t want to write top-list posts 10 times a day. I don’t want to be restricted to my blog’s subject or any advertisers’ target demographic. This site represents me, and I’m random and eccentric and interested in a wide variety of subjects.

Marco Arment

I couldn’t agree more.

Check the publish date on that post – 2009. The more I put my mind to writing, to collecting and sharing things here with you, the more I become aware of two competing desires. The first is the almost unspeakable, yet omnipresent desire for people to discover & enjoy the things I write. The second is the desire to produce something authentic, genuine and ultimately a close representation of my thoughts, even as they change.

These two desires work against one another.  Let’s simplify the matter by calling it a battle between pleasures immediate and long-term.

I would be lying if I denied enjoying the little thrill surges that come with views, likes and that sort of social feedback. Yet the desire to produce something of substance, something that doesn’t simply pander to the click-bait culture we see in Facebook & Twitter, a piece of written work that would stand up to scrutiny in the years to come – is by far the stronger desire. I’ll admit, it can be tempting to look at the stats, to see who’s on my site in real time, to become addicted to the dopamine rush of immediate gratification. But that pleasure is short lived & in the cold light of morning, it’s not hard to see which of the two is more fulfilling.

I fully expect to be embarrassed by my writing here in the years to come. In fact I’m already embarrassed, by what I wrote just months ago. But that’s not a problem, rather I consider this a source of pride. It means I’m growing, that my tastes are improving, my standards are being raised. If you don’t look back on your old work and cringe, it usually means one of two things: either i) that your previous work was genuinely inspired & you should be proud of it, or ii) that you’ve slowed growing, maturing and learning.

In short, you’re stagnating.

Only a handful of my projects fit the first description — projects I’ll be proud of for many years, perhaps even until I die. The rest of it, though? Yeesh. If I ever reach the point where I can look back at my writing, my design, my creative work without embarrassment, I’ll be gravely concerned.

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★ An announcement: upcoming changes

This is a short note to let you all know that there are going to be a few changes around here. Frustrated by the results of some of the writing I’ve seen fit to print here, primarily poor quality link posts or low value lists, I’ve decided to do a serious spring clean and bring this site back up to scratch. I’m going to go through the archives and delete a lot of clutter. I’m going to tidy up the way I differentiate between links and posts, and – most importantly – I’m going to commit to dramatically improving the quality of the writing here.

This change will affect mostly the back-end of this site (much of which is now hidden from the front end) and will take effect immediately. I do thank you all for patiently sticking with me, as I learn the craft and patience required to create something truly special.

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★ Pumped!

I just finished a pretty decent set of updates to BrightHearts, all over Skype/Basecamp/Dropbox. Tomorrow morning we take off to go spend a week in the Galapagos islands – life is really amazing right now!

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★ Gimonster

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Jase and Chris at electronic music festival, Medellin

Wicked. That’s me on the left, circa last Saturday night in Medellin (former drug capital and present day hipster hangout in Colombia). Next to me is Chris (aka Gimonster), an incredibly interesting, passionate, gentle-minded Venezuelan guy we met, over a game of pool. Chris made my birthday just that much more awesome! I’m looking forward to catching up with him again in Europe, in only (shudder) 6 weeks time. Wow, time flies!

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★ Kuna Yala (San Blas Islands)

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Want to know where I’ve been, for the past week? Take a look;

Kuna Yala (San Blas Islands)

On the way to Colombia

On the way to Colombia

On the way to Colombia

That’s right, we’ve been on a boat. Braving the Caribbean coast, spending two days in the beautiful San Blas island archipelago, then across open seas to cross from Panama to Colombia. Suffice it to say that I well and truly have my sea legs firmly attached, bounding around that boat like I’d been born on it!

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★ Sunburnt And Loving It

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Who knew that lazing about on an island in the Caribbean could be so much fun? We left Guatemala today intending to take a left hand turn towards Tulum in Mexico, only to make a right hand turn (and hop onboard a small boat) heading to Caye Caulker off the coast of Belize. We’re literally in a tropical Caribbean paradise, purely by circumstance, chance and accident.  What next? Apart from snorkelling with sharks and sea turtles tomorrow, who knows!

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★ Learning another tongue

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After one week of spanish lessons, I commented to my maestro that Spanish seems to be entirely focused on a few simple things; eating, sleeping, walking, along with wanting, being and having.  After three more weeks in friendly, beautiful, hot Guatemala, I’ve concluded that this is mostly true.