March 18, 2014
White Guys


In the midst of the latest discussion on discrimination in the tech world, yet again I see derisive comments about white guys effortlessly tossed in by the very people advocating for fair treatment of others. Without commenting on the rest of the situation surrounding Julie Ann Horvath leaving GitHub, let me simply ask people for some empathy here.

I happen to be white and male. I didn’t choose to be either. Have they conferred privileges on me in life? I suppose, but I can’t be certain. I’ve always been a white guy. Everyone’s experience is unique, and I’d rather people know me and treat me like the singular person I am.

When I see “white guys” or some variant of it used in such a context, I’m immediately reminded of one thing: I’m not welcome here. My opinion and perspective aren’t welcome in this discussion. Because of factors completely out of my control, a whole boatload of things are assumed about me, and anything I try to contribute that doesn’t conform to prevailing opinions will be discounted or even rejected wholesale. Sadly, this has actually been my experience time and again, both face-to-face and in the oft anonymous, harsh world of the Internet.

So often when I think I might have something to add, I instead shirk back and say nothing, thinking to myself, “Nevermind, I’d rather not get shouted down again just because of my sex and skin tone.”

It’s worth asking yourself what it is you want out of your involvement in these brouhahas. To “win” the comment thread? To be proclaimed right and have your rhetorical opponents beg for mercy? To have the most retweeted blog post? To make a name for yourself? Or do you actually want the world to be a better place?

I hope the whole purpose of conversations like this is to more fully understand others from a diverse background; that’s an admirable goal. We shouldn’t box people out of those discussions merely because they’re part of some group. Even (and especially) when it’s become socially acceptable to sneer at that group.

Which is pretty ironic.

March 13, 2014
March 03, 2014
February 22, 2014
February 14, 2014
February 06, 2014
The Hallowed Power of the Majority

Timothy Sandefur, in a talk given at the Cato Institute, responding to the political class’s tireless desire to strip individuals of their rights in pursuit of the common good:

​Who is this “we”? The elevation of the power of the majority over the rights of the individual—the basic assumption that people are not free unless “we” say so—is now so commonplace that we hardly notice how extreme a proposition it really is. It is contrary to the foundations of our constitutional system; it betrays not only the principles articulated by the founders but the constitutional rebirth that was announced in the Fourteenth Amendment. It assumes that no person is born free, but that freedom is a gift given to each of us by the government’s whim. It ignores the conscience of the Constitution.

Yet it is so prevalent an assumption today that government routinely restricts the individual’s right to use private property to run a business, to ingest drugs, to possess a firearm, to support political candidates, to choose their own cars, their own schools, their own spouses, their own medical insurance, and even their own lightbulbs… all in the name of democracy.

In short, it is the same political philosophy that was argued by the pro-slavery crowd 150 years ago.

January 31, 2014
The Next Adventure

Almost two and a half years ago, I wrote that going to work for EllisLab was a dream come true. This company, filled with people I deeply respected, made software that opened up a whole world of possibilities to me. As I said in that post, it was as if I’d been asked to join my favorite band.

In one way or another, EllisLab has been a crucial part of my livelihood over the last six years. I was part of small web agency building client sites with ExpressionEngine for several years before I went to work for the company itself. It’s no exaggeration to say that I am who I am because of EllisLab. The people here have inspired me.

Today is my last day with my favorite band. It’s bittersweet to say goodbye, but I’m incredibly proud of the work I’ve done here, honored to have been part of the important changes going on at EllisLab, and so thankful for the many brilliant, thoughtful people I’ve met here.

EllisLab is a talented, intentional, lively band of makers, and I believe in them now more than ever. The work they’re doing is foundational, powerful stuff; I’m eager to see where they take ExpressionEngine in the years to come.

For me, the road ahead combines my work in building for the web with the reason I moved to Music City in the first place: my love of music. I’m joining a small team here in Nashville to help make something really great for the music industry, and I’m thrilled with the possibilities.

Here’s to the road ahead. I do love an adventure.

January 29, 2014
January 28, 2014
Our National Worship Service

​I won’t be watching the State of the Union tonight, and Kevin D. Williamson at National Review Online has perfectly captured the reason:

When the moment comes and the sergeant-at-arms utters the sacred words — “Mr. Speaker! The president of the United States!” — the chamber will erupt, as though the assembled have entirely forgotten that the mysterious entity that is the object of this curious act of national worship only a decade ago was an obscure legislator in a destitute and corrupt state, a man whose most prominent legislative accomplishment was the passage of a bill requiring police to videotape confessions in potential capital cases — in a state in which there were as a practical matter no potential capital cases. (Illinois had not carried out an execution during the century in which the law was passed and was on its way toward abolishing capital punishment categorically.)

But they will listen, rapt, and the media mandarins afterward will evaluate each promise with great sobriety, ignoring entirely that the central promise made during the same charlatan’s first State of the Union address was subsequently labeled “Lie of the Year” by the great man’s own frustrated admirers. That an entire class of people should be so enthusiastic about being lied to, serially, is perplexing.

He goes on to say that it’s not about Obama himself, and he’s right. It’s a show put on by every president from Wilson on, and the whole spectacle gives lie to our notion of separation of powers.

Read the whole thing. It’s worth it.

January 21, 2014
January 15, 2014
January 13, 2014
Google Buys Nest for $3.2 Billion

​Well, this makes me sad. Yet another personal data metric for Google to get their hands on. And since it’s actually hardware installed in my home, it’s a little harder to remove from my life.

Can’t wait until Google forces you to merge your Nest and Google Accounts.

January 11, 2014
January 10, 2014
December 30, 2013