Micro Matt

Micro thoughts and mini posts.

Slowly finding motivation — it involves setting goals. Fame and fortune are boring; I can’t wake up for “growth.” I tried in 2019-20 and it didn’t make me happy. Now I get out of bed and joke with my friends. I spend a whole afternoon setting up an online forum for my offline photography group. I say I’ll shoot a one-night art event for free this week. I log into my business inbox and I sigh, even as I email real-live people; so separated by the gaping void between us — business serves customer, customer pays business.

So I set a goal. Make my open source software more widely known and used. Do it for the next 10 years and see what happens. Don’t change it that much in that time, just make it better at that one thing it does, and see what happens. Keep the traditions of the old and open web. Don’t really shout about it, just calmly tell those who wander by and wonder. Hang with the curious ones that like to give in return.

I don’t know the total addressable market of my business. There’s no market share percentage to aim for. I don’t need to make the #1 best blogging newsletter publishing platform on the internet. I just want some more people to see it, and for them to tell others about it ‘cause they like it. Maybe someone will throw some money at me along the way. That will do the trick. That’s it, that’s the goal.

#business #motivation

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Recently read a tweet pondering that maybe most software we've built could just be a “temporary apparition,” instead of needing to be long-lived societal infrastructure. I find that idea incredibly freeing, and the clearest lens to see the tech world through right now, as someone building it.

What if we took social media a little less seriously — even the “better” solutions like the #fediverse? What if we didn't worry about “changing the world” with some new startup idea, and instead improved life for a few people? What if we just made cool shit online that could help pay our bills and then we do something new when that gets old? What if we forgot the 1990s-2020s delusion that the information superhighway was going to elevate humanity to some brand new plane above our own humanity?

I think we'd arrive at viewing the internet mostly as a fun, silly little thing we use sometimes — and that, like TV, it is useful but only ever parasocial. That it can never replace a meal with friends and family, a real-life community, making love, a face-to-face conversation, or hearing the birds outside your window. Maybe we could continue building cool digital things without all the pressures of being the best, conquering the world, getting it absolutely perfect for everyone, everywhere in the world.

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Here’s the workshop I’ll be teaching this Saturday at Photodom in Brooklyn, on how to create a website / portfolio without social media. Really looking forward to it, and hopefully it’ll be the first of many to come.

Portfolio Workshop, October 15th at 1-3pm, Photodom Studios, 1717 Broadway, No. 205

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I’ve started settling back into shooting black & white. Right now, Kodak Tri-X 400 is most consistently giving me the look I want.

This one was shot on Lomography Lady Grey 400, which I also like a lot:

#photography #film

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Looks like the workshop I wanted to start is moving forward! I talked to the camera shop where I get all my film developed about doing it there, and they liked the idea. Will be talking through the details on Monday, and doing the first one in mid-October if all works out.

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Inspired by the news of Starbucks getting into Web3 yesterday, I made a bot that generates news about other companies getting on the bandwagon, using an old list of Fortune 500 companies and buzzwords from Wikipedia.

You can follow the bot on Twitter and in the fediverse: @web3pavestheway@botsin.space

#web3 #bots #fediverse

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I'm thinking of teaching an in-person class on how to start a website, aimed at writers and artists. The goal would be to teach people the basic building blocks of a website (domain name, DNS, website host), so they can go out and choose whichever platform they need to accomplish what they want.

I think this is the missing piece for anyone who knows they want to create their own site — whether it’s because they don’t want to use social media, or they want to start something bigger, like a store. Basically, even when you use a website builder like Squarespace or Wix, they act like they’re the only game in town, instead of being part of the wider ecosystem that is the World Wide Web. So even as you escape the walled garden of social media, they just pull you into their own; you’re not only stuck there through feature lock-in, but knowledge lock-in.

This course would try to bridge that knowledge gap, so once you make the move to the independent Web by setting up a site, you can get the most out of it by choosing the exact tools that fit your goals — and knowing you can move / change them at any time.

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As I’ve started doing film photography again, I’ve also been looking for avenues to publicly share my work. This summer, I was excited to see that three of my photos were selected for a group exhibition at Atlantic Gallery in Chelsea. Last Thursday was the opening reception, and some good friends came out to support me — it was a great night.

Those photos are listed on Artsy, and will be in Atlantic Gallery through August 28th.

#photography #nyc

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A couple weeks ago, I started working on a personal marketplace for selling JPEGs — or NFPs (Neat, Fun Pictures), as I jokingly call them, to poke fun at web3.

Today, I finished the basic application and added it to my site on baer works. Basically, anyone who buys a photo there gets both a high-resolution version for personal use, plus some recognition on the storefront as a patron (listing your name is optional).

In that spirit, I’m calling the tiny application powering it “Fund Your Friends” and I’ve created a GitHub repo for it — I’ll release the source code once I’ve cleaned it up and made it easier to manage.

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This summer is an experiment in finally taking some time off from work, as someone running a one-person company. Here's how it's going so far. 🧵

I've been spending a lot of my time these past few months making friends and finding community in a new home. I've settled in with creative people — writers, photographers — and started doing those things more seriously as purely creative pursuits. It's been wonderful.

Now I'm organizing a regular photowalk around NYC. Some of my photos will be part of a group exhibition at a gallery next month. I've never felt this personally fulfilled — but also guilty for neglecting the business that supports me.

It normally runs fine without my full attention. There's very little critical product development needed on Write.as — it's mostly just marginal improvements. Normal customer support takes maybe 8 hours per week, tops.

But, just yesterday I saw some automated systems I have in place had started to block people out of Write.as. And it'd been doing that for a month 😞

It suppressed new sign ups, new customers, and locked out existing free / trial users. I fixed it quickly once I sat down to figure out what was going on. But it's been difficult finding the motivation to actually sit down and focus on the work lately.

At least it pushed me to do that, and get back in this mindset. Yesterday I mostly cleared the support backlog. I patched some things, and today I'm feeling motivated to knock out a few requested features.

The week before, I decided to abandon the 9-5 schedule I've kept for the last three years.

Especially with new pursuits, no full-time employees, and no major clients for the summer, I don't need to adhere to normal business hours anymore. I only procrastinate, anyway.

So now I feel like the work (running my business) can finally blend with the newly-found vocation (making art, etc). Fortunately enough, that vocation can also inform the work, since I'm building software for artists.

It's all just a process to find the balance. And stepping back far enough from the work, even as a solopreneur, has been key to finding it for me.

#threads Original Twitter thread.

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