I go through seasons trying out different foods. That said, the basics are consistent. I’ve been a pescatarian for over fifteen years. That’s the right balance for me. I do stints of food journaling. The longest I’ve lasted was logging every that I ate or drank (excluding water and unsweetened tea) for 2.5 years — never missing a day. It never feels like work. I love to gamify these things. I always learn something from those stints. My current exploration is eliminating as much seed oil and highly processed products from my diet as possible. The downside is that Impossible Meat is now out. I never enjoyed Beyond Meat (except for their hot links). I love the taste of Impossible beef. Regardless, both contain highly processed and inflammatory vegetable oils. So they’re out. It also means many of the convenience snacks at Whole Foods are out. There are so many unhealthy products at Whole Foods that it is pitiful. One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that when restaurants closed, I realized I didn’t like the experience at most restaurants. I was just being lazy. I started cooking more at home. I’m now at a point where I actively avoid most restaurants. I don’t enjoy the experience. A great sushi restaurant is still on the figurative table. But not much else. When restaurants started opening back up, I rushed to support them. One by one, I just kept getting disappointed. At my peak eating out phase, I was spending about $2K per month (no alcohol) eating out. I’m now at around $150 per month (primarily Thai or Vietnamese takeout). Even the takeout options have shifted as I try to avoid more fried food (and the oil they’re cooked in). Still, catch me on the wrong day and all the rules are out the door. Like with many things in my current season of life — I’m just opting to be happy. So if you see me have two slices at Pagliacci — smile, it’s a good day.
I am currently on a pretty simple gear setup. I work primarily on a Mac Studio Ultra with 128GB and two 32" monitors. Best computer I’ve ever owned. I use an Opal C1 for my webcam (as well as occasionally connecting my mirrorless via OBS). I use a Rode NT-USB mic paired with a $20 boom stand. Fantastic quality for the price. I just ordered the new 15" MBA 24GB for travel now that I’m back on airplanes. That should be here in a week or so. On the video front, I’m shooting on a Sony ZV-E10 and Sigma 16M f/1.4 glass. It’s light, excellent autofocus, and simple to use. There are all sorts of reasons why people complain about this camera (8-bit color, rolling shutter, weak battery, etc.). But the camera just works. And I’d rather get something shot and be done with it. I have a BMPCC 4K that is rigged out. I charge it up every once in a while to remind myself I don’t need to buy a new cinema camera if it doesn’t have Sony-level autofocus. I’m eyeing the Sony FX-3 and ZV-E1, but for now my simple little Sony ZV-E10 is doing the job. I have an older Skydio drone. Not useful for cinema work, but very difficult to crash. One of the things I can’t let go of is wired headphones. I’ve tried Airpods twice. I don’t like them. I may give the new fall versions a try.
I’m a huge advocate of contract and fractional talent. It’s not my secret weapon. I tell everyone. It’s one of the best points of leverage a single person or small team can take advantage of. Over the years, I’ve gotten very good at identifying, interviewing, and landing talent. People might think it’s crazy to put the level of rigor you might put into a full-time hire into a contractor. I put in work when hiring a contractor. There are still duds who flame out immediately and people who fizzle over time as their life dynamics shift. But I’ve found it invaluable to have a team of individuals I can call on on-demand. There’s no cash to burn when there is no active project. But when you need them, you can activate winners. This approach is the hard way. It takes a lot of time to cultivate the right level of trust to get people to work like this. But this approach continues to pay off. I’ve found many friendships through what could have been very transactional relationships. I do that work. At the same time. I’m not interested in being a people manager at the moment. I don’t take that responsibility lightly. Managing people is also a seasonal thing in my life. I go back and forth. I assume there will be a point where I lean into that role again. For now, I’m optimizing for freedom — and that feels great.
Since I quit my job, I started coding again. Fun times to get back to hands-on keyboard. I never enjoyed “proper” software development as a software developer — where I worked on teams. Just not my thing. I’m now writing code that only I will ever have to maintain. Fun times are back. Coding alone is something I genuinely enjoy doing. The upside is that I am moving much faster with new ideas. I can write a one-pager, design screens in Figma, and code a working application faster than I can write a polished PRD. That has unlocked new ideas that would typically be too small to explore with even a small 4-6 person team. I’m writing some of these APIs and web apps for fun. Others are prototypes that are used as signals to validate an idea before I have a proper team go and build maintainable production software. I haven’t gone super deep, but I’m sold on GitHub Copilot. I don’t use it to write code, but asking “why does it work that way” questions has proven invaluable while I’m in VS Code. $100 a year for Gihub Copilot is a bargain. My tech stack for the products I build is intentionally rudimentary and old-school. I write web monoliths — no microservices. I’m server-side rendering over single-page apps (with a sprinkle of AplineJS). I write in Go and occasionally Python (for AI-related tasks). I love SQLite and usually start there for ideas I’m trying to wrap up in hours or days. I’m not a JS/TS person. No Node or reactive frameworks for me. I would argue solo developers should avoid microservices and library-rampant tools. Simplicity is the reason. It’s easy for me to keep the whole Go language in my head. It’s just not complicated. The beauty of my approach is that I’m fast. And if a project gets popular enough, I can vertically scale the hardware and, in parallel, staff up a team to rewrite the product from scratch (in a team-first approach). Since I don’t write anything too complicated, this has never been an issue. I know enough Dart and Swift for mobile development if needed, but most of my ideas have marketing plans that are built around web apps. Native mobile apps have too much adoption friction. The punchline here is that by simplifying my tech stack, programming is fun again. And because of that, I’m making more things. Win.