Here you can find a collection of my interests and beliefs. On the
semi-anonymous internet, it's a way I can tell you a bit about myself.
I also track this page in
git so that I have
a log of how these evolve over time.
Last updated: 2023/06/18
As a professional programmer, I obviously have a strong interest in
Learning to code is the best example I know of a positive learning
feedback loop: the more you learn, the more you want to learn. Perhaps
second only to writing, it is one of my favourite methods for
a fantastic tool for lifting my mood. I like getting better at all
aspects of software development, whether that's learning new
languages, new technologies, Vim (no, you should
probably not learn it), or boosting my typing speed (honed to >100wpm
with my touch typing app for developers,
Here are some sub-topics that I am particularly interested in at the
- API design: how do we design long-lasting, flexible, powerful and
intuitive designs for our APIs?
- Databases: how do modern distributed databases such as Google's
Spanner help us to break the
CAP theorem? What new
applications and paradigms do they unlock? How do they work?
- Testing: What is the right amount of testing for a codebase? What
are TDDs limits? What are its benefits? How do we make testing
easier across an institution?
- Systems design: how do we design better, more scalable, more elegant
- The craft of programming: how do you break down problems
effectively? How do the best developers build complicated things
quickly? How do you guarantee your code works as intended? How do
you write your code with maximum clarity?
- AI as a programming tool: how should we be incorporating AI
programming tools like Copilot into our workflows? What was
previously built using one programming technique that should now be
achieved by a large language model?
Product and Design
As well as in a professional capacity whilst building web products, I
have a more general interest in design and product. I have a tendency
to see a lot of life as a design problem that can be solved. Mostly,
however, this simply involves getting angry about
Norman Doors and poorly
designed cycle lanes. My favourite designs are the
Finnish drying rack/cupboard hybrid
and Dieter Rams' 606 Shelving Unit.
I studied philosophy at university and I think of it as a fantastic
lens through which you can view everything else in life. It is a
foundation that prompts you to examine first principles and its
methodology of precise examination feels infinitely applicable. There
are instances where it is specifically and pragmatically useful (e.g.
programming logic easier) and also when it helps improve broader
skills (e.g. in the ability to construct a well-formed argument).
When I learned to code while simultaneously studying for my degree, I
became increasingly interested in meta-learning (learning how to
learn) and its power to exponentially boost all other skills.
Although I now take a more tempered approach to this topic—I believe
lots of 'productivity' advice is, in fact, shilling and
procrastination in disguise—I still try to continuously hone my
My current stack looks a little like this:
- Note taking:
- Main notes: Roam with a lightweight
(although likely soon to be replaced by Obsidian after a two year
period of dismal product updates.
I'm also experimenting with
Remnote for spaced repetition Remnote didn't stick and I'll be
maintaining my main note taking app + Anki setup).
- Quick notes/mobile: Apple Notes
- Brainstorming/mood boards: Apple Freeform
- Todo Lists: lightweight GTD approach, implemented in Things.
- Spaced Repetition: Anki with daily reviews
across a wide range of topics.
Session app on Mac.
- Inbox zero with Superhuman
- Various developer-specific productivity tricks e.g. snippets,
physical and mental checklists, improved typing speed, ...
I can't imagine running my life without a consistent fitness routine.
The returns on day-to-day wellbeing alone are high enough for me that
I find I need to exercise 4+ times a week to feel relatively normal.
- Strength training 3x/week (including 1 Olympic weightlifting class
to focus on my clean/snatch/jerk)
- Spin 1x/week
- HIIT 1-2x/week
- Surfing on holidays
I also have a general interest in mobility right now, and am exploring
Alexander Technique, yoga and stretching as a result.
Previous: triathlon, swimming, long distance running, white water
Art is an area of my life that is infinitely valuable yet seems
neglected in many tech circles. Here's a list of some of my favourite
art forms and artists. Please send me any of your favourites as I find
this the best way to discover new things I like!
- Music: Mostly variations on indie, electronic and dance/techno, but
generally very varied (Spotify
I also DJ for fun.
- Film: I currently go to the cinema around once a week, so I see most
new releases. Some favourite films/directors include David Lynch,
Wim Wenders, Wong Kar-Wai, Kubrick, Annie Hall, Blade Runner, The
Big Lebowski. Find me on
- Literature: Mrs Dalloway, A Little Life, Frank O'Hara, Oscar Wilde,
- Art: I'm a Tate Member and end up seeing some form of art around
half my weekends. Some recent favourite exhibitions are Francis
Bacon, Barbara Hepworth, and Olafur Eliasson. Some general
Donald Judd, Rothko, Sickert, ...
- (Street) Photography:
I find the act of explicitly articulating your beliefs clarifies them
and separates the important from the trivial. This list is an ongoing
attempt to do that.
- Most of your impact on the world is in the long-term future and this
has profound, counter-intuitive consequences for the decisions you
- The world is weird and humans are generally bad at reasoning about
the huge consequences our actions can take in light of technology,
the long term future and the general structure of modern society.
- Life is short, important, urgent and precious.
- Good hard is fun, bad hard is terrible. Embrace the former, prepare
for the latter.
- Cities should be designed to be walkable and cyclable.
- Politics is an ineffective vehicle for change for 80% of people. Of
course, some people should be interested in politics but for most
it serves only as a talking point on which action is never taken.
You should probably block news content. You're better off
consuming higher-quality information like (good) books that will be
useful for a longer period of time. If something is truly important
news, you'll hear about it anyway. I think the optimal amount of
time to spend on news is non-zero, but I haven't quite updated my
feeds or media sources to reflect this. I still think most news
content should be blocked, but that there's value in having some
high value sources of information. Party politics is still a strange
concept to me.
- You should live your life in an
- Rationalism and systematic decision theory is (almost) always a
waste of time. Heuristics, defaulting to action and contact with
reality are all much more useful tools.
Free will is an illusion. I am a compatabilist about free
will. I no longer care about this question. Utilitarianism is a very good heuristic for living your life by.
I'm not completely sure on its foundations, however. I am
currently less sure on even this belief. Currently under
investigation so if you have any good meta-ethics/moral
foundations/moral disagreement recommendations, please email me! I'm
Reasons and Persons
will magicaly sort this out for me. 19 Feb 2023: Reasons and
Persons did not sort this out for me. After a general
disillusionment with utilitarianism, I now lean towards a roughly
virtue ethics perspective, although this is still a very active
project I am trying to work through.
- People should be having more children, and my peers consistently
under-index on the effects of declining birth rates, diminished
growth, aging populations, and their own old age.
- AI safety is a serious consideration, although I suspect the serious
negative consequence are more like dealing with large natural
disasters than world-ending apocalypses. In particular, the recent
wave of LLM releases have made me far more confident that the future
will be safe from serious AI dangers.
- Scenes are the true source of productivity, creativity and success.
See my essay on "Small Groups" here.
- The Great Stagnation
is real; generally, the lives of my generation are, in material
terms, more difficult than that of those born in the mid 20th