Tools for Online Speech logo
by Jacob O'Bryant

I got a job

Welcome to my weekly newsletter about practical ways to improve the information environment stuff. I'm Jacob O'Bryant.

Well, it finally happened: I have escaped from entrepreneurship. It was a fun 4.5 years, for some definition of fun. I successfully tricked the fine folks over at Tyba into hiring me as a software engineer, and from now on I'll be spending my weekdays saving polar bears/helping renewable power plant operators be more efficient. If any of you are planning to start up a solar plant, HMU. In seriousness, I am looking forward to building up some domain expertise in the energy industry—seems like not a bad thing to specialize in.

Today was my third day; I've mostly been poking around the codebase and doing some simple bugfixes as I find my way around. It's a bit like moving into a big city you've never been to before. I assume. I've never moved to a big city, unless you count that one stint in Malaysia, but I digress.

I guess I should say it's like moving into a big city where every two weeks they give you money. Heck yeah, it's been way too long since that's been a thing for me.

(For the Clojurists, our codebase is written with Fulcro. I did some Fulcro about three years ago, an experience that is now coming extremely in handy. Also, while I have your attention, I'll mention that I found out about Tyba after the CTO saw my message in #available-for-jobs on Clojurians Slack and DMed me—that channel actually works!)

As for all my projects—Yakread, The Sample (lol tear), Biff, this newsletter, et cetera—thankfully they're all fairly mature and don't need to be actively worked on all the time. I should have at least four hours of side project time each week, and maybe a bit more every now and then. I'm going to put all the projects in rotation, the order of which currently looks like so:

  1. Yakread
  2. Biff
  3. Write essay(s)
  4. Platypub
  5. "Biff from scratch" (a mini book/series of guides I'm planning to write)

I'm now in the middle of doing some Yakread updates. When I'm done with that, I'll send out a newsletter and then switch to the next project for a while, repeat. Then I can still write the newsletter at a regular cadence but not have to worry about it taking too much time away from coding etc. I made a "write essays" project so that every once in a while I can sit down and write something more substantial.

I am also pretty much decided in favor of open-sourcing Yakread. That way it can have more overlap with Biff, since people who use Biff might be interested in contributing to Yakread and vice-versa. The more I can consolidate my projects, the better. After the current batch of Yakread updates, I'll put it back in the queue right behind Platypub, and then when I get to it next I'll open-source it.

Although I'll no longer be working full-time on tools for online speech, I don't see that as a step backward. I'll be able to explore different paths than I had to previously now that my personal income is no longer a concern. In the best case scenario, I see Biff and TFOS slowly growing as both a set of projects and as a community over the next five years. At some point around the 5-7 year mark—after I have a house paid off, hopefully—I may be in a position to accelerate things more, e.g. by providing seed funding for a nonprofit.

But mostly, I'm excited to just see where the winds take us.

Stuff I've been reading:

Outside interests:

  • The World China Is Building [NOEMA]
  • People need to hear the good news about climate change [Slow Boring]
  • No, NEPA really is a problem for clean energy [Noahpinion]
  • “Demand Commitment Mechanisms” Can Jumpstart Long-Duration Energy Storage [Institute for Progress]

Published 29 Jul 2023

I write an occasional newsletter
about my work and ideas.

RSS feed · Archive

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.