日本 (Japan) & Orbital Periods

My littlest sister is currently in 日本 (a.k.a Japan), embarking on her Japanese Studies major work for university. I’m proud of her — and, today is her birthday!

✨ 🍰 ✨

To celebrate the occasion, I’d like to share some images that I took while on a trip to Tokyo, Japan, on behalf of Heroku.

Japan will always be near and dear to my heart, for many reasons, but Heroku (which I joined back in 2011 and departed within the past few years), will always be the strongest reason for my affections for the nation / land / territory / people / culture.

const heroku = ('hero' + 'haiku')

One of my proudest professional accomplishments, thus far, has been helping to inform the design of the following image—

Python Haiku  by  @seaofclouds  (Todd Matthews).

Python Haiku by @seaofclouds (Todd Matthews).

Anyway, here are a carefully curated selection of the images I captured during that short trip. I was using a Leica M240 with a brand new 35mm Summilux (f/1.4) lens. These are arguably some of the best images, image-quality–wise, that I’ve ever taken. Thanks for listening, and enjoy the show! and— Happy birthday, Brittany!

On the Progression of Brand Trust (Over Time)

Over the years, there are a number of brands that I've discovered/placed a lot of value with/in. Some of these brands, which I'll call, here, "Trusted Brands", are: Samsung, Sony, Olympus, Nite-Ize, Leica, Walmart (new), Heroku, Apple (ossilates).

Some "Questionable Brands" fall into another distinct category: Best Buy, Facebook, Amazon, and all commercial airlines except Virgin America & Lufthansa.

Some of these brands have changed their position in my "chart" over the years. For example, Walmart is a new entry into the "Trusted Brands" category. This may come to you as a surprise. That is because, my local Walmart Supercenter has been completely remodeled, and is now one of the most well–organized, presented, accessable, and discoverable places to shop that I've ever encountered. They have absolutely everything, at great prices. They support people in need with labor. I love them. Anyway, enough about that brand… let's talk about yours.


Every micro–interaction your audience has with your company's Twitter account, product, interface, advertising, marketing sales funnel, or security vulnerability update notification emails does one of two things:

  1. It builds brand trust.
  2. It erodes brand trust.

At Heroku, we had a concept we called erosion resistance, and we did our best to apply it to every layer of the company.

Key Takeaways

  • Things change over time — embrace it — own it.
  • This effects your brand and the affects (implications) of your actions are remarkable (measurable) over time, to your audience — be it users, consumers, or signees.

Ethical lessons from the open source community

Since ~2011, I’ve focused the majority of my time on open source software. Only sometimes, lately, do I take a moment to sit back and reflect on lessons learned (often the hard way).

This is always a useful exercise, as I view the open source software community as at the fore-front of many social inventions; we’re effectively, in my opinion, the best self-organized, distributed force on Earth. I’m sure, in my ignorance, other groups hold themselves in similar regard. But, it is a fruitful exercise, nonetheless, to view our community this way.

Much in the spirit of The Hacker’s Manifesto, I am sharing here a concise, inconclusive list of moral principles that I have extracted from my collective experiences in the open source community.

Approach all others with respectfulness.

Be cordial or be on your way.

Never expect anything, in return.

Others may not have the bandwidth to process the valuable information you’re offering, or inquiring about. Never expect anyone to even answer your question or respond to your ticket.

Be thankful, when it does happen.

Access to information (e.g. documentation) allows
our efforts to scale, more so than any other factor.

I gave a talk about this.

The needs of the collective are (usually)
more important than the needs of yourself

The exception makes the rule.

Sustainability via collective interest

Your project might “die” one day, fading away into nothingness, if no one else is interested.
The world may move on from the trend that is making your library popular.

All software is transient.

Entropy is good

MentalHealthError: three years later

About three years ago, I authored an essay entitled: MentalHealthError: an exception occurred. In this essay, I "came out of the closet", so to speak, to my community about being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In the post, I detail the dramatic unfolding of how I came to be diagnosed, and my (fairly psychedelic) experiences and perspectives held while under the care of the behavioral health services unit of the local hospital.

Over 150,000 people read that essay the weekend it was published, and I was overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support that the community expressed towards me.

I haven't written much about my struggles since, so this post can serve as a follow-up.

At the end of the post, I left things off on a fairly positive note, saying:


I am doing very well.

It's been about six months since this incident occurred, and I'm happy to say that I've made a full recovery. Bipolar Disorder is something I've had for a while (unknowingly), and will have for the rest of my life. I now know how to manage it, with the proper blend of awareness, medication, and sleep. It will always require extra special attention, though. It demands respect :)

Before, I was completely undiagnosed and had no idea there was even a problem. Going so long without a diagnosis also caused some very serious delusions to build, over time. That is unlikely to happen again, but I now know how to recognize any odd thought patterns and avoid psychological sinkholes if it does come up.

I also learned to rely on my family and friends to keep me in check and generally support my health as much as possible. I was a bit too self-sufficient before.

Now that I have a diagnosis, I have a much deeper understanding into the way my mind works, and know how to prevent another episode from occurring in the future.

I'm completely back to normal, before all the woo-woo entered my life, and I'm much happier and whole because of it. I'm completely grounded in material/physical/scientific reality, and it puzzles me that I could have ever not been this way. I still struggle with sleep occasionally, but I'm learning how to adapt to that.

This, as it turned out, was a fairly optimistic perspective, and with how things have played out, thus far, things have not been quite as positive as I had hoped for.

Relapse in Reality Perception

Since I wrote that post, I have been hospitalized about once per year for psychosis. I wrote about one of these "relapses", on my journal. Unfortunately, I continue to have problems occasionally, and when that happens, it becomes quite evident that this is something far beyond exercising high levels of self-awareness.

Self-awareness is key, to functioning well, of course, and is mandatory. But, it is not enough.

Schizoaffective Disorder & Borderline PTSD

My diagnosis has changed from Bipolar Disorder (Type 1) to a potentially more stigmatized Schizoaffective Disorder (Bipolar subtype). The key differentiator between these diagnoses is that a schizoaffective patient can experience delusions/hallucinations all the time, not only during periods of mania.

Luckily, my psyche is relatively well-controlled (most of the time), and I am able to recognize immediately when something that I perceive isn't based on real sensory data. Sometimes, hallucinations can be trans-sensory, which is harder to detect, and causes a sort of self-induced synesthesia to present itself.

My doctor informed me that most people that have my diagnosis are homeless.

I have also been diagnosed with “borderline” Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I take gabapentin
(scheduled) for that.

I have also switched medications from Lithium to Abilify Maintaina (a $2,000/mo injection, without insurance). It seems to work rather well for me, most of the time, with few side effects. Lithium was a horrible experience of side-effects, and the pros didn't outweigh the cons.

Lessons Learned (the hard way)

Find a doctor (psychiatrist) that you trust

I can't stress this enough.

If the person that is in charge of the chemical component of your well-being isn't trusted, there won't be a positive feedback loop built between the two of you, and your care could be sub-par, because of your lack of true participation.

Support network (can be a double-edged sword)

I'll reiterate this lesson-learned from my first post: you need a support network. I can't stress this enough. People who's judgement you can trust and who can step aside and "say something" to you when you're acting unusually (or, given enough time, at "that point of the cycle again").

I will also note that there's a subtle art to learning to balance the opinion of your support network against your own opinion of your well being. This is something you need to exercise yourself, but I think it eventually happens to everyone, so I'll share about it here: one day, you may have to "stand up" to your support network and say "I am well". However, this may not be true. Just remember not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Take life one day at a time

Some days are really though to get through, just being alive. On those days, I remind myself that tomorrow is a new day, you can't have sunshine without shadow, and that darkness reminds you to appreciate the light.

 I hope you found this post helpful, if you're struggling with things, in any capacity.

Just remember to take things one day at a time. Just keep breathing.