Code as art

Artistically, a codebase is an expression of a Software Engineer’s understanding of a real world problem (including the people working on it and their relationships) and its solution.

Most code is written by many engineers, so actual production code can be dissected by who wrote it – the entire codebase is a representation of how well each contributor understood the entire problem and the role contribution they’re making plays in solving the grand real world problem.

A proposal for a weighted democracy

Democracy is about public good, not just public power.

But if everyone has equal power, evil and good have equal power.

Democracy should be a system that trends towards benefitting the public. Otherwise, it will trend in a random direction, sometimes for good, sometimes for bad.

So democracy should be weighted – those who have done more good for the public have more political power, more voting power.

But how do you measure contribution, in order to weigh by it?

Easy. If you perform a public good – you get points. Donate to charity, help clean up the streets, participate in recycling programs, build a public playground, erect a public museum, create knowledge, popular open source free software – there are countless ways to contribute in a way that benefits everyone.

You start off life with 0 points, and each benevolent action increases your points. Perhaps it’s possible to lose points as well: detracting from public wealth could be accounted for in a more advanced system, a form of criminal punishment.

Tallying up votes in vanilla democracy is already complex. The only way to implement a system like this is with technology. The perfect platform for it is the blockchain, a publicly verifiable data storage facility, e.g. Ethereum.

There are several technological problems that must be solved.

First, there has to be an identity on the blockchain. Then, a smart contact that ties an identity to its political power, with methods for increasing and decreasing political power. The hard problem of course is minting political points.

It boils down to a bootstrapping problem. A decentralized democratic point award system can indoctrinate new participants easily: point awards are voted in by the top 100-1000 or more people with the most points in the system. So the only issue is who gets to start the system. The good news is that it’s possible to hold the bootstrappers publicly accountable for faithfully awarding only those who actually do public good, and eventually take their power away, leaving leadership in the hands of people who have dedicated their lives to serving the public.

After the identity problem is solved, and the smart contracts for point accounting are implemented, the final technological obstacle is simply implementing a smart contract that enables identities with political power points to vote on any issue submitted to a public forum.

In summary, to implement weighted democracy that advances humanity in a positive, rather than a random, direction of development, 3 systems would have to be implemented:
1. identity
2. political power point accounting for a given identity
3. voting rights for identities with political power points on a system of typed issues


To me, multitasking means a very specific thing, and I thing a lot of people get the meaning wrong. Maybe I’m wrong! You tell me.

When I multitask – I’m aware of multiple problems that exist, and I have singular focus on a specific solution that addresses multiple problems.

The way I’ve seen people understand the concept is that they are doing multiple things simultaneously. That’s impossible. You only do one thing at a time, there’s only one you, but you can multitask if you solve multiple problems with the brush of a single stroke.

The art of building

A few years ago, I consulted with one of my mentors.

I said I’m miserable living in San Francisco, and I think the only thing keeping me here is the ridiculous opportunity that’s been bestowed upon me by fate – and that I think I should stay, but maximize what I’m getting out of my time here.

We discussed 2 options: getting into venture capitalism, and trying to make money by convincing people with money that I know how to best make a return on their wealth – or, actually building something. Obviously, in his mind actually building something and being able to personally shape the future was a lot more interesting than just trying to make a buck.

So we drilled into that.

At the time, I was leading a team of engineers – which seemed like a great opportunity to learn the leadership skills I’ll need to propel a company I’m building towards success. I tried to inquire in how I should take advantage.

While true that leadership is inevitable in an endeavor like building a company, I humbly heeded his wisdom: he said in fact, I should be doubling down on my engineering skills if I intend to truly build a technology company.

Today, knee deep in both leadership and code, his wisdom rings true.