Monday, November 3

autumnal notes

So I gave notice at my job on Friday. No one I’ve talked to much since September will be overly surprised by this.

It’d be hard to overstate how important SparkFun has been to me, or how much I’m going to miss everyone there, but it’s time and past. The last useful thing I have to contribute to that scene is probably just signalling the people in it that, for me at least, it’s over.

It’s been seven years just about to the day. I’ve never worked so hard on anything, and whatever else comes along in life, I don’t expect to have another experience like it. A thing like SparkFun is a thing that happens once, and then only by some weird alchemy of luck and frenzied effort. For a long time I thought I’d write a book about the whole thing. Now — well, I don’t know. There’s a lot I’ll try to get down in words before the memories all fade and shift, but for now I’ll leave it at that.

I really don’t know what I’m doing next. I’m looking for jobs in the usual places (though it’s been so long that I don’t think I know what the usual places even are any more), and making myself do the exercise of putting bullet points on a resume, and talking to people. That last will probably be the most important.

The other thing I did at work on Friday, besides quit, was give a lunchtime talk on the basics of the Linux command line while wearing a half-finished wizard costume. I was nervous, and I didn’t prepare enough, and I probably should have bombed, but the truth is that it went pretty well. Afterwards I gave some more people accounts on squiggle.city, which is itself a project I can’t help but feel good about.

I used to experience this fear so overwhelming that it was like a form of physical paralysis every time I tried to do any kind of structured public speaking. I don’t exactly know when I lost that, but I don’t miss it.

Whatever this thing is with trying to make the technical world legible to people, I want to work on it more. It’s a small thing so far, and I don’t know if it will ever get enough traction to be more than a kind of ritual exercise on my part, but it feels good.

I can sense a lot of people who share some of my defining experiences having a similar impulse right now. I hope we all follow through on it. I hope there are some things we know that’re worth helping other people to know, some class of knowledge that’s worth re-examining and re-integrating as something a little more humanely and inclusively understandable. A class of knowledge about the future we are occupying that can grow to encompass some of the other decent things we’ve learned and built in the course of arriving at that future.

There are a lot of thoughts I appreciate here:

A lot of the internet that feels useful and decent to me lately has been tildes and TinyLetters. I don’t think this is happenstance.