Jason Becker
June 18, 2024
June 14, 2024

Sometimes the touristy stuff is pretty cool.

Glass-blown flowers in a Y shape, colored red, orange, and yellow, suspended in a glass house with a cloudy sky in the background at the Chihuly exhibition in Seattle.

June 9, 2024

Checking out Ovenbird Bakery after eating their cookies at good neighbor for years.

High ceilinged cafe with a painted version of a round, stained glass ceiling. There are purple walls with a painted boarder and a large archway at the entrance.

June 8, 2024

I definitely did not intend to buy this amp today.

Dr. Z Maz 18 Jr. 1x12 in black in the back of a white Honda HRV with the hatch open.
May 28, 2024

This is looking much better than yesterday. Trying Elixirs again.

A clean and freshly oiled rosewood acoustic fretbboard

This old photo came up and I suddenly thought, “If I crop this and make it black and white I bet it’ll look cool.” Sure enough, I think it does..

Black and white photo of an electric pole with stairs going up against a highway and row homes peeking up in the distance.

After my allergy shots this morning, I took a long walk home…ish. I decided to stop down in the Wyman Park Dell, which was one of Gracie’s favorite spots in the world. I kind of regret not taking her here on her last day.

To the right, a curving sidewalk with lamps along the path. To the left a center, a large lawn that’s lush and green. In the distance, trees with a low wall.

May 27, 2024

This disgusting boy is going to get cleaned up tomorrow.

A close up of a rosewood guitar fretboard covered in grime.

May 20, 2024
May 12, 2024

I didn’t feel like pulling out my receiver to double check, but realized I could just scroll through the labeled inputs. Confirmed that’s one thing I don’t have to buy.

A picture of a black receiver with its digital display saying “Phono”

May 2, 2024

Well. Here’s something that unexpectedly hit hard this afternoon.

A purple harness and black leash hanging from a wall hook. They were Gracie’s, who we put to sleep two days ago.

April 30, 2024

Gracie is gone. Our love for her was deeper than deep. But she couldn’t live on our love alone, or she would have lived until at least 120.

our dog, Gracie, a golden haired beagle mix, laying on a bed staring a the camera with her mouth wide.

April 18, 2024
April 2, 2024

The last time I took extended “relax” time for myself was almost a year ago in Portland, OR for a weekend. Where should I recharge next?

A close up picture of a bright orange and yellow rose

April 1, 2024

A special time between light and dark

A lamp post visible behind tree blossoms with yellow sodium light while a cloudy day lingers on

March 17, 2024

Quick breakfast while waiting for my haircut.

A white plate with a yellow edge. On it is a bed of greens and bacon, above which is a slice of toast with avocado and additional greens, topped with an egg sprinkled with paprika and hot sauce. The table is marble, and there’s a glass on the top right with a nitro coffee with foam on top.

March 7, 2024

A couple of days ago marked ten years since I met Jess at SXSWEdu.

She wrote this reflection on LinkedIn. My own reflections are below that.

10 years ago today I tapped Jason Becker on the shoulder at a conference between taco breaks and the rest, as they say, is history.

Casual observers think Jason and I agree on everything. This has become a running inside joke because the truth is that we have frequent, vehement disagreements in the same direction. We argue intensely with-and-not-against each other about problems and solutions. If we’re accused of sharing a brain, we must each have complementary halves because we often approach problems from polar opposite perspectives– but we know two heads (and at least one whole brain, on a good day) are better than one. And because we trust that the other has thought deeply about their perspective, we work hard to understand each other’s position. Together, we end up with a more complete understanding of a problem and get aligned on a path forward.

For two people who love numbers, we never keep score; we’re playing an infinite game.

If you love your work, I hope you’re lucky enough to find someone (not Jason, sorry, find your own co-conspirator) who puts up a good fight; this kind of creative tension is how good ideas become great and bad ideas end up in their rightful place in the discard pile.

Jason, thank you for being my best sparring partner and the one who showed me the value of a great editor and co-creator. You’re the five to my three. I’m glad I tricked you into working for Allovue all those years ago.

🥂 Cheers to making things together, tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

(These are the only two occasions Jason has worn a tie in the past 10 years– April 2014 and December 2023. Yes, Jason’s first official day of work ended up in a cannabis grow facility. We might make a guest appearance in a documentary about it. It’s been a JOURNEY, ok?)

My thoughts:

Spending ten years pursuing the same vision at the same company takes passion, determination, and belief. I have only been able to have all three because something more precious came along with it– partnership and friendship that always challenges me and that refuses to accept the bar I set for myself.

The first time Jess Gartner and I met, we spoke for about five minutes. I remember telling Elsa I just met someone with a great idea. And this may be apocryphal, but I remember also telling Elsa it was a great example of why I was never an entrepreneur myself. For all my love of strategy and problem solving, I never seemed to think of an idea that was worth doing. I know for sure I thought, “She found something worth doing.”

The second time Jess and I met, she flew to Providence to have coffee with me. In a classic Jess Gartner move, she claimed she had to “be there anyway” (bullshit). She told me that day that she saw “C-level potential in me” before I knew what that meant.

So much of my own success of the last ten years comes from Jess seeing things in me I didn’t know were options. And then she makes them happen before I even catch on to her plans. I like to think I do a bit of the same when it comes to ensuring our company and product deliver on her, and now our, vision.

Thank you.

February 17, 2024
February 16, 2024
February 11, 2024

Yeah that was a pretty good breakfast.

Poached eggs in a large bowl with a tomato base and melted cheese.

January 26, 2024

it’s really hard to find good, new stuff.

It really is and it’s frankly amazing that we’re still facing this issue. It’s not rare for me to mindlessly browse the web not knowing which sites I should actually visit.

I don’t do social media and outside of those platforms there really aren’t many places useful to discover new content. I think that’s one of the unfortunate consequences of people moving on social platforms: old-school forums died, for the most part.

And forums were neat! If you had an interest in something specific chances are there was a forum for you out there. And since forums weren’t stupidly huge over time you could become friends with a bunch of regulars and it was such a cool experience.

That’s something I personally miss and I don’t think social media can really recreate that. And it’s one of the best aspects of small communities. I love small online communities, especially weird and niche ones.

I wrote about the topic a few times before and I suspect I’ll touch that topic again in the future because the way is changing and I think people will slowly move back to more distributed spaces. We’re seeing a resurgence of personal blogs and maybe forums are gonna be the next type of sites to come back online.

A completely unrelated question but is there a place in your life for exploration? I’m not talking about intellectual exploration but rather physical one: going to new places, walking random paths. I’m asking you because I was doing my morning walk with the dog earlier today and decided to go up on a path I often see while driving, and after a short hike on a snowy path I stumbled on this tiny cavern, and on the other side of it there was this gorgeous view of the mountains and everything was lit by the morning sunrise.

Not sure if you do pictures on your blog but I’m going to attach one I took from that spot.

Blue skies that are nearly clear but for a few wisps of clouds over rolling hills with dry grass and buildings in the distance.

And it got me thinking about how many things we’re missing simply because we don’t explore more often. I lived here for almost a decade not knowing about that wonderful place and who knows how many others are out there.

This is something that also happens when I click links at random, now really knowing where I’m going to end up. That’s one of the reasons why the indie web is fun. You start clicking and you don’t really know where you’ll land.

Hi Manu,

Forums were neat. I can’t believe how much community they could build. I still speak nearly daily to someone I first “met” on forums when I was about 15. He lives half or more a world away right now. We’ve never met in person. In various ways, our careers and interests have continued to follow similar paths. In some ways, he’s my original “letters” pen pal. It’s strange to have known someone that well for nearly half my life and having never met. But I think that friendship is a testament to the fact that forums do create community and connections that are meaningful.

I agree that today’s social media doesn’t really recreate that magic. The closest thing was early Twitter. I first joined Twitter at a conference in 2010. It was using a hashtag at this multi-track conference and being able to follow the conversation in other rooms (and have a conversation with folks at the same talk) that felt electric. In a way, those hashtags for real world events were like pop-up forums. I don’t know that I regret being on Twitter for so long, but it’s pretty wild how it took using Twitter as an augmentation to a real world event to make me “get it” and what Twitter usage became by the end.

I’ve also written about community at least a few times. It’s really why I participate in the web at all.

I personally love exploring. What I like to do whenever I travel is just move through a city on foot. We do “urban hiking” where we purposely choose two points pretty far from each other on the map for lunch and dinner and spend our day in the spaces in between, learning what it feels like to inhabit a place. I honestly wish we did more exploring and more “nature” hiking, which is something we’ve picked up and down depending on the year and our overall energy level. I think it was Annie, who I wrote letters with earlier in the project, who used to post a photo of her hike every weekend referring to it as “church”. That’s how I feel when I get to go outside for long periods and really shut things off. Lately, this is has been really hard to find time for. I’ve been pretty busy preparing for some big changes in my work life which has subsumed all the energy I have.

A little more exploration would be a nice thing for 2024. I’m going to think about how I can make that happen.

Sorry for the late letter— as I mentioned earlier this week, on Monday we announced that Allovue— the start up I’ve worked at for almost a decade— was acquired by a large public K-12 software company, PowerSchool. In some ways, this is going to change a lot. In other ways, nothing at all will change. But this week, especially, was a hectic one with a lot of emotions to process and people to support as my team and I transition.

Hoping we can still slip one more of these in.


January 14, 2024

Used my sunglassess as a UV filter for this photo.

Sunsetting behind an alleyway with crisscrossing power lines overhead and a park in the distance.

January 8, 2024

Politics at work mean choosing to rip off someone else’s Apple content idea to make a point instead of choosing to highlight people, events, or places of note that are worthy of additional attention.

Think about what Basecamp could have done. They could have included national holidays and religious holidays from around the world. They could have added birthdates of Nobel Prize winners. They could have added events in 37 Signals/Basecamp history. Instead, they ripped off Stephen Hackett.

December 30, 2023

It took quite a while for the sun to break through the clouds, but eventually we had a hell of a view in Philly.

A view of Philadelphia from 53 floors up.

December 29, 2023