Tom MacWright

tom@macwright.com

Recently

Central Park

Got some photos back from the “big camera”, a Hasselblad that my dad used to use professionally. It had a bad light leak. The film back relies on a piece of foam and a strip of mylar to keep light out when you pull out the dark slide, and the foam had completely perished in the last few decades. It was a fun project to refurbish the back and I’m excited for the next roll.

Listening

I really appreciate Bandcamp’s ability to “Follow” artists, especially when a band that hasn’t made a record in years makes something new, or a member splits off with a new solo album. This month that was Glenn Davis, with “Time To Die”

Good stuff. Also dove into some of the back-catalog - his side project with Triangle Piece. Like this album which is explicitly all at 90bpm so you can run along to it.

And this just dropped today, but new music from Options.

Watching

How to with John Wilson

I’m finally watching How to With John Wilson. It’s great.

Reading

The only book I finished in June was Big Team Farms. I’ve been frustrated with a lack of progress with reading. I was reading Oblivion. I tried starting The Pale King. Tried reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, but the local library only had a stilted, King James Bible-style translation available. So I stalled out of a lot of reads.

I’m now reading Lords of Finance, which is pretty enjoyable.

I think part of the problem with my reading is a problem with the queue. I’ve had my reading list organized in my todo list (currently Things), unorganized and uncurated. So I’ll pick an enormous book without realizing that it’s a multi-week read. And the whole thing is just overwhelming at this point - well over 100 books. Spent some time reorganizing the list and cleaning it up. I think that’s helping.

Oh, articles…

The Myth of Making it, and Wealth vs. Getting Wealthier are two articles that say the same thing but it’s still so worth reading both. Well-adjusted readers might find them uninteresting, but if you have a preoccupation with advancement and productivity like me, you’ll get it.

The Zen Playboy about Stewart Brand is a real scorcher. I was a member of the Long Now in SF, in that I had a card and I went to the talks and went to their coffee shop / bar and talked about it, but neither tried nor succeeded in becoming a part of the social circle. Produced a lot of good stories, anyway.

Elsewhere

Another big month for Placemark - on the third I launched a free file converter, on the 13th improved properties including rich text, on the 15th the ability to add addresses directly to the map, and on the 28th a general changelog with things like touch support and OSM XML import.

Some things that I took away from this month:

The first month post-launch, I went hard. I worked hard and long hours, shipped a lot. Tried to respond to emails ASAP and fix and ship constantly. It was fun, and felt good at the time! And then I paid for this a bit in June, by crashing hard. After a week or two of burnout, I’ve shifted into a phase of moderation. I’m working 9-5s, sometimes 9-6 or 9-7 or 8-7, and I unplug, kind of in the evenings.

Placemark feels directed, like every improvement to the product really makes it more useful for real people, for real uses. There have been ups and downs, but I think for a decent number of people, it’s good.

I’m writing notes as I go, the sort of “founder’s journey,” but storing those up for the future. Maybe in a year, or a couple of months. There’s a lot of thinking about building, funding, and the day-to-day of this experience. tuff.

Separately, I have thoughts about how founders and early employees talk. There’s a real pull to be boring and positive when you’re working on something, so that you don’t offend any potential funders or customers or acquirers or employees. I’m trying to balance my natural instinct for honesty and critical thinking with this sort of risk overlay, and it’s not easy.

July 1, 2022  @tmcw