Before I joined Google in 2006, I wrote an occasional blog. I won’t link to it here, largely because – like most of us I suspect – I just find some of the writing cringe-worthy (which may be the fate of this blog, we shall see!). You can find it if you care to, such is the gift of publishing publicly on the Web.
“On the Web”… a phrase which once seemed new and very specific, but is now like “on the table” because it’s just a ubiquitous thing that most everyone has and can put something “on”. And so I had some sort of not like it used to be, back in my day moment where I decided to fire up my own hosted server and install my own MySQL and PHP and WordPress and run my own blog with my own damn get off my lawn hands! By God! Hruumph! And so on.
I’m reminded of the near endless parade of questions in social media prompting older people like me to prove just how salt of the Internet they are. Say when you started using the Web without saying what year or whatever. “Why, I remember playing Zork from a cassette tape on a PDP-11 and having to sing into the phone coupler to read Phrack!” We love to share and wear our merit badges with pride – I am no exception. It’s fun and maybe gets us some Internet points. Granted, my self-hosted blog using a free off-the-shelf theme probably doesn’t earn me many.
After 15 years, I left Google in June 2021. It was a good run. Someone even took my tweet and my LinkedIn profile and cobbled together a whole article about it for those sweet, sweet pageviews. It probably didn’t earn them many. As is documented there and elsewhere, for much of my career I’ve been a designer. But most of my time in my final years at Google was spent writing. One definition of design is gathering input and then showing how things ought to be. At the beginning of my career, that was mockups. At the end of my Google career, words.
And so here I am again. With a blog. (That’s a terrible word, by the way, with the buh and the law and the guh. 🤷🏼♂️) How often I will write and publish here is a mystery to me. In these waning (hopefully) days of the pandemic, I’ve learned to lower my obligations. I need to make the time and space to just be, and if that being becomes writing, so be it. But maybe not. At any rate, hello.