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Matthew Sweet

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I’m Matt. I write a daily blog about mastery, strategy and practical philosophy at and recently had the essay “Near-Deathness” published on Ribbonfarm.

I do some editorial work on the side and I’m currently in the research phase for a novel. Three significant elements of the latter are the virtues of the Third Reich, ubiquitous tech and alternative systems of education.

Eight years ago, I read about Steven Johnson’s database of reading excerpts ( and now here I am spending a Sunday afternoon on the porch OCR’ing flagged passages from recently completed books (currently Feyerabend’s Against Method).

I accumulate weird habits as I age. Barnacles, not bicycles of the mind. I am ripe for Feyerabend’s view of scientific progress.

Unconventional Life Strategy Proposal: Skip college, pay for several private tutors (mix of PhD and industry experience) to impart their CompSci knowledge to you over a 2-year full-time mix of study and application, use excess funds to pay intermediaries to secure meetings with CEO or CTO of SMB firms to introduce yourself and offer to work for them. More or less successful life trajectory than graduating from a state school with a decent GPA in CompSci, do you think?

Every once in a while, professional wrestling provides some surprisingly accurate commentary on the tech industry...Amazon vs. Toys-R-Us

Peter Thiel: If you’re doing something where you don’t need to move as quickly as possible, you might want to rethink taking venture funding. But if there’s any sort of winner-take-all dynamic—if there is a power law distribution at play, then you want VC. Giving up 25% of your business is worth it if it enables you to take over your industry.

oh no, I've reached that point in a quixotic project where web searches related to the thing I'm working on are starting to bring up pages I wrote, because basically nobody else has ever done this before

project to investigate "how internet companies track and monitor people online and offline" Show more

@damian0815 a few chapters in to The Interface Enevelope. Enjoying it.

The whole discourse around interfaces is new to me so it’s nice to start with something that leapfrogs subject-object and takes humans out of the centre of the picture.

Thanks for the recc!

@msweet The start-up's innovative IP was all in software and when people talk about start-up's they're usually talking about a software company. No one really thinks about what happens when your software has to live on custom hardware. Or what happens when you have to create a physical product instead of just deploying the software that you've written.

I have a better appreciation for how well my current team executes, even within a large company. And a more realistic perception of start ups.

@msweet After working for an established company for 7 years, I've been interviewing with a start-up. They apparently made an exception to even give me a phone interview because they don't think that engineers from established companies can keep up with the pace and think like entrepreneurs.

After the onsite technical interview, I realized that I currently work at about 2x the pace the start up does. They have good software, but my current team designs more advanced hardware at a faster pace.

This is a must for those who want a bit of whimsy in their life.

What was the last thing you changed your mind about?

Rules of Divergentism Show more

A non-technical friend today said he didn't realize websites were more than just static files being served up. They told me this through a Facebook Messenger modal on the Facebook site, while they were scrolling through their timeline, which loaded more content as they scroll.

I'm not sharing this to shame them, but all of y'all who need to know, this is how many of our peers understand technology and that they have no interest in wanting to learn more. You need to be okay with that.

Is there no fix for inability to see images/media on iOS? I need more non-words.

fuck me, how did i accumulate so much stuff

Rant about productivity Show more

@RBU_RSS_BOT bot is live,
although you won't notice until someone i've added to the rss list updates their feed.

So far the bot includes the rss feeds of

Please don't be shy if you have a website.

Presentation and formatting will likely have to be tweaked.

open to suggestions as to what its avatar should be

"Yet the ubiquitous nature of railways for travel and transport in Russia, due to the large size of the country and the inability of motor vehicles to support operations beyond 300–400 km, meant that every military operation of the war was dependant on railways, and the way in which they were used was a key element in their success or failure."

I wanted going jogging but Proverbs 28:1 says

"The wicked flee though no one pursues"

so there is that.

@msweet @lichen I was going to say "mask" as well, based on the etymology.

I know Mozilla had a "persona" concept that they were using which basically represented a single digital identity (a given person could have multiple different ones), and I thought that made alot of metaphorical sense (the masks we wear on different sites, each representing a different aspect of ourselves).