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Override all the safeties (SIGAVDI #28)

Hello friends,

It’s been a warm week here the foothills of the Smokies. The snow is gone as quickly as it came. There are those who call Tennessee weather “unpredictable”. I like to think of it as “agile weather”.

It’s warm enough that the salamanders have come out, to the great delight of the chickens. This one was preserved from a fowl fate by a concerned child.


I’m noticing that the topic of empathy is starting to be discussed more and more and developer circles. In retrospect, it’s strange that it has taken so long to come to the fore. After all, in a way it’s the core skill determining our success or failure on a project. Our job is to teach an inanimate object to behave as if it cares about a user’s desires, and can anticipate their needs. How can we do that without empathy?

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Advice to myself 8 years ago

A SIGAVDI correspondent asked:

If you don’t mind me asking, what advice would you give to a 28 year-old Avdi?

My response, for what it’s worth:

I think about this kind of question a lot. I think that at 28, which is only 8 years ago, my rough trajectory had already been set. I’m happy with that trajectory so far, so it’s hard to think of any major adjustments that I would suggest to the 28-year-old me.

I think I would confirm to my younger self that the most important investment that I can make is to earn the gratefulness, trust, goodwill, and love of a broad community of people. And to earn it honestly, by making myself available, valuable, and open.

Landing pages are written, not designed

As I’ve been reading up on marketing and copywriting, I realized something: as a programmer, ignorant of marketing and surrounded by countless slick pitches for programmer-oriented products, I had come to think of sales/landing pages as something you create, or design. (Or, more likely, hire someone else to design.)

Whereas the people I’m reading now talk about writing a landing page.

Sure, that might just be because they are professional copywriters.

But they are also professional marketers. And they lead with the assumption that a landing page is something you write.

Yeah, they usually have a few things to say about making it look nice. But looking nice is pretty far down their list of priorities. Let alone having something custom-designed and bespoke for your brand.

This makes the whole concept feel a lot more approachable for me.

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