Dear Jeff Atwood,

For seven or eight years you have unwittingly been a mentor of mine. So I guess it is your fault that I still suck… But at least I now suck in public. Nervous Laughter. Opening a fan letter with obscure in-jokes? Risky. But stick with it, I hope this letter instills you with a little extra motivation. Your blog has given me plenty of motivation over the years, so it is way overdue that I try and repay some of that debt.

This talk you gave in 2012 is brilliant. You managed to distil decades of writing articles and software into a concentrated 25 minute hit of your ethos. I still re-watch it, especially when I have utterly sucked and got kicked in the guts by my own mistakes. I didn’t intend for this to be a confessional, but yeah. It is normal for developers to watch this talk while crying and eating ice cream… Right?

A photo of a software developer crying and eating ice cream while watching how to stop sucking and be awesome instead.

Woah. Oversharing. Actually, that brings me to the other thing I always enjoy about your work. You never seem to take yourself too seriously. There is always plenty of room for a joke. As someone who enjoys the Jeff Atwood experience over the Internet, this humour imbues your avatar with humanity. One of many skills that allows your personality to survive the transmogrification into the digital world. A process, which for most is brutally dehumanising. No matter where you lurk on the Internet, it is clear. “Hi. I’m Jeff and I am an actual living, breathing person.”

I like how your mega projects are about empowering others with similar skills. Making social interactions function on the Internet in a similar way as they do in the analog world. You don’t need to take a long trawl through comments on YouTube to realise that this is long overdue.

I’m really happy to see you continue along this path with Discourse after leaving StackOverflow.

 

 

So thank you. Your the reason why I’m not afraid of falling over in public anymore. Your blog has inspired a few of my projects, and also into taking the leap of choosing my own adventure.

Love,

Clinton Freeman.

P.S. Appologies that this website ended up so much like yours asthetically. It wasn’t a conscious decision. Well some of it was directly inspired. But I just kept removing things that obscured content and ended up in a similar place. I guess reading a website for almost a decade rubs off in more ways than you realise.