As of February 26, 2021

Thoughts about math and me, systems and software, Twitter and thought leadership.

A photo of a clear sky from a bridge over the river and a town

That’s right, a blog post from the past! But I guess all blog posts and all content for that matter are technically from the past.

These are some thoughts I wrote at the top of my Now page over the past month, a place I’m seeing as kind of an incubator for evolving ideas and writing. Remember, content from the top of the Now page is “uncut” – these ideas are imperfect and they will change.

Feb 12, 2021:

I started reading How to Bake Pi by Eugenia Chang and it’s SO GREAT. I’ve been thinking a lot about math since my self-study of programming languages has veered into discrete mathematics. As a child, I hated math, and I subsequently avoided math and math-related things at all costs well into my late 20s. Now, in my early 30s, I’m discovering what math really is and I’m like, THIS IS AWESOME AND I HAVE ALREADY BEEN DOING THIS FOR A LONG TIME!!! I hated math when I was young because art kids and rebels were supposed to hate math, at least in my mind, and I wanted to be an art kid and a rebel. In fact, when I think about a couple of specific math classes from childhood (esp. Geometry with Mr. Leighty in fifth grade), I think I actually enjoyed them! But then high school came along, and that was a different story. I hated a lot of things in high school, but especially math class. Of course, at the root of this is probably THE LIES media and culture still tell us, one of which is THE LIE that girls are bad at math. WRONG!! I wonder, what would I be doing now if I was free to realize early in life that I was a math lover?

Feb 14, 2021:

Started a not-for-profit Monster Shop for stickers! It was so easy!

Feb 19, 2021:

I wonder if distinctions within software engineering end up creating a hierarchy that mirrors our larger, social hierarchies, where “software engineer” is the majority, and more specific types of software engineering are kept at the margins with less access to resources (e.g. published research about the technology, testing methods, architecture, knowledge of computer science, salary). While engineers at the fringes are certainly software engineers by definition, their identity is primarily with their specialization, not with the majority, which further reduces access to the resources enjoyed by the majority.

I feel like there should be some academic theory out there that describes fractal-like social systems – where, when you zoom in on a piece of the system, it’s a repeat of the system surrounding it. It sucks, but I’m thinking that is what our world is like. TBD. This thought is heavily inspired by Tatiana Mac’s 2019 talk, System of Systems.

Feb 26, 2021:

I am feeling pressure to contribute to tech Twitter again. I feel like I am off on my own island, learning a lot of cool things and coming up with ideas, but that it’s happening in a vacuum. I feel like I have lots the status of “thought leader” that I gained from conference speaking. I’m also not sure that it matters. Who or what determines “thought leaders” in the first place, and who is benefiting from the idea of “thought leaders”? Maybe there is freedom in not seeing myself as a “thought leader”.

I’m going to try out posting to Twitter via Buffer, and try my best to avoid looking at the performance of tweets which, for me, is equivalent to judgement of me as a person (I know it’s not that, but I am very susceptible to feeling that way and it is crippling). The purpose of doing this Buffer thing is to “get it out there”, to practice informally expressing thoughts. I guess? I’m not sure those are the “right” reasons, but I’ll try it and see.