TL;DR: I’m deprecating Zef.me but it’s somewhat stuck on Medium with annoying to migrate links. The 100x Engineer content may move here too in time.
But actually, Zef’s Musings isn’t something new as people in OLX will know. I’ve been using a Facebook Workplace space with this name inside of OLX for a while as my place to brain dump work in progress ideas, as well as other stuff I’ve been up to. The way I solve problems often involves me first writing it down to somehow structure it. If it’s written down anyway, why not share it with a chance of getting some outside input? It’s been working well for me. Some of the content I wrote in Musings before was OLX internal only, but many ideas are shareable and may be interesting to some.
Last week I published a part of my “musing” posts on Zef.me and got some useful pointers in responses to it on LinkedIn. This reinforced my idea of doing this type of thinking or musing, if you will, publicly more often. I tend to be pretty transparent anyway, so why not.
Now obviously, I don’t need to start a whole new website for that. I have Zef.me, right? Yes, except Zef.me is hosted on Medium, and Medium has been going down hill for a while. The level of pushing towards their subscriber-only content and push for publishers to publish behind their paywall has become increasingly annoying. So, I’ve been thinking of moving out for a while.
But where? One out was The 100x Engineer which is running on Ghost. Ghost is a nice open source platform. But, it’s 2020 and I’m honestly no longer willing to deploy a VM somewhere running some node.js or whatever platform, manually managing backups, failover, scaling etc. Not gonna do it. Therefore, The 100x Engineer is hosted on Ghost’s commercial offering. It’s pretty sleek. It’s also pretty darn expensive at around $30 per month.
What else? Colleagues are running Gatsby-based sites with fancy Github based workflows. They write some templates with React, git push some markdown, generating some static files that are pushed to a CDN, and boom: you have an ultra cheap and scalable site. Call me lazy, but too much work for me. I want an off-the-shelf, low-setup workflow that doesn’t involve me using git. You’d be surprised how often I write stuff on my phone (this post included) and publish it from there. I need low friction.
What else? WordPress. I’ve used it in the past. For some years Zef.me ran it, on some VPS that rented. As long as as I maintained it, it was ok. I ran WP sites for my family on the same machine, they got hacked occasionally. That wasn’t cool. I updated my WP install, so things were fine. Except when a few of my posts ended up on Hacker News and Reddit. A cool experience, but it also meant I struggled to keep the site up due the insane account of traffic that WP, at least the way I had it set up, couldn’t handle. Not an experience I’d like to repeat. And again. It’s 2020, I’m not going to install PHP, Apache and MySQL on a VM.
So… Zef’s Musings is hosted on WordPress.com, the commercially hosted version. I don’t have to worry about updates, security, or scaling, or backups. There are reasonable enough themes out of the box. Integration with Ulysses, which I use for most of my non-Google doc writing, is there as well. And the cost is much more reasonable than Ghost. Yes, WordPress is the type of you-don’t-want-to-know-how-the-sausage-is-made platform. But sometimes worse is better.
What about The 100x Engineer? We’ll see, perhaps I’ll consolidate everything back here at some point. Or use that for more mature ideas. We’ll see.
I’ve now migrated all Zef.me posts here, but couldn’t migrate the permalinks. Hence this new domain. I’ll probably let Zef.me die in time and redirect it here.