The endless cycle of blogging

I’ve been blogging for more than half my life at this point. My first blog platform was Movable Type, and then it all went from there. Most of my blogs vanished either because I deleted them when I outgrew them or because of my penchant in the early 00s of letting domain names lapse. I bought my first domain — — in 1996 and I had to mail the money to InterNic to get it, but I naturally let that one lapse too. Kinda silly, huh?

The hardest part of blogging when you know how to build a website, roll your own CMS, and have opinions on a web stack is getting started. If I had a dollar for how many times I started working on a site, only to get distracted by setting up something in the back end, I’d be able to buy a nice meal. Over the years, I’ve opted for easier solutions because ultimately, I just want to get ideas out. For a while, Twitter was useful for this because it mostly served the purpose of what a blog would do, I grew a decent sized audience for a nobody and so, there was no real point in creating a captive space for anyone.

Well, we all know how that worked out. So I’ve been pondering all year about getting back to owning my own blog” again, but rinse, wash, repeat the cycle from the second paragraph. Not to mention, when your job is web stuff and your hobbies are also on the internet, a bit of fatigue can set in at times.

So here we are now, trying this once again. My main goal is to write for myself. I always find that I do better when I’m using a blog as a documentation engine, rather than trying to gain a audience” or worrying about what people want to read from me. It’s an easier habit to keep up that way and I’ve been practicing by using my long dormant Substack about music to get back into the habit of writing about something. It’s still a chore at times, even when you’re writing once a week roughly, and it’s just for your friends, but the habit is still good nontheless.

I’ve already spent more time continuously in Portland than I have anywhere I’ve lived and I’ve been at my job longer than any single job I’ve ever had in my life, by a longshot. While this is all cause for a bit of celebration — yay, Ron is putting down roots” — it’s also been very jarring for me to make sense of what I’m doing, where I want to be, and most importantly, how I see the world.

The last few years, talking and writing about Consequence Design has given me an opportunity to think about my work from a different lens. Mostly, I have increasingly more opinions about the work, how we work, and how our framing of the work changes our perspectives about 1) how we frame problems 2) what we think is possible and 3) the lengths we’re willing to go to solve the problems, but this 4) assumes that we think there are problems at all.

Me doing an in-person event last fall during the Portland Design FestivalMe doing an in-person event last fall during the Portland Design Festival

At some point, I got tired of talking about it and just retreated to buy more books than I feel like shipping, and coupled that with my own understanding of history. I’ve become more observational, and think about design in broader terms than before. I’m less concerned about the minutia of design systems, and while I still geek out about good layouts, typefaces, and literally have a whole instagram account full of neon signs I like, (another area where I have opinions) I think that designers — people working in tech broadly — and public servants, and really everybody — need to have some discussions about what’s being done in our names and whether we’re going to have a say about it or not.

So yeah, I’ve been thinking a lot. There’s no guarantee I’ll share any of this stuff. But in theory, I’d like to write a lot and release my writing in the form of talk-style chap books. I’ve enjoyed when folks like Keller Easterling and Dan Hill did that with Strelka and I want to do it myself. There’s nothing like Strelka in the US, and I’m not an architect. (No, information architects don’t count, but we are real…)

Usually, the things I’ve started were because no one else did it first. Or I was part of a thing they did and it wasn’t very good. But I’m almost always inclined to be a joiner than a starter, but over the years, people would put me in the okay you’re gonna be in charge of this” role often enough that I’ve gotten fairly accustomed to it. It works okay, but I’m usually inclined to put the power back into their hands in key ways. I’m not so much interested in consensus, as much as I want to work with people who believers.

So I figure it’s time for me to get on the record (once again) about what i believe.

July 27, 2023