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.

New Video Series!

I’ve recently decided to start making video content, in addition to tweets and blog posts. It’s a new experiment, one that I’ve dabbled with before, but never focused on myself — always capturing the world around me, instead.

So, this is an experiment.

My video rig is comprised of a Sony RX1R Mark II (built-in Zeiss 35mm f/2.0), an Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III paired with 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro lens (highly recommended), an Atomos Ninja V (HDMI monitor) and a Rode VideoMicro (condenser mic).

Each video is getting better than the last, and my workflow is getting much better, overall (I’m working with 720p instead of 4K footage, for example — much faster to edit, which is the biggest constraint).

Here are some of the videos:

I also intend to vlog on a semi-regular basis (once I figure out how to make that seem more interesting):

All in all, I’m enjoying my new hobby. It’s a good and healthy time sink.

Please follow me on Vimeo or YouTube for more updates!

Web Framework Classification and Clarification

The Python ecosystem is filled with various web frameworks, including my own, Responder.

In this post, I seek to organize and classify some of the various frameworks into distinct categories.


Category A: First-Class Frameworks


Flask should be your go-to for almost any application you're building for the web today.


Django is an excellent choice for building web applications as well, particularly those that require an admin interface.


Pyramid is a great choice for those that like to get their hands a little dirty when building their applications.

Category B: Second-Class Frameworks


Responder makes a lot of sense if you want an alternative to Flask, don't use a lot of plugins, and like using cutting-edge technologies.


Other web frameworks, like Falcon, fit into this classification as well.

The primary purpose of this post was to clarify the positioning of Responder, and I believe this post accomplishes that goal.

Kenneth Reitz’s Code Style™

The Requests codebase uses the PEP 8 code style.

In addition to the standards outlined in PEP 8, we have a few guidelines:

  • Line-length can exceed 79 characters, to 100, when convenient.

  • Line-length can exceed 100 characters, when doing otherwise would be terribly inconvenient.

  • Always use single-quoted strings (e.g. '#flatearth'), unless a single-quote occurs within the string.

Additionally, one of the styles that PEP8 recommends for line continuations completely lacks all sense of taste, and is not to be permitted within the Requests codebase:

# Aligned with opening delimiter.
foo = long_function_name(var_one, var_two,
                         var_three, var_four)

No. Just don’t. Please.

Docstrings are to follow the following syntaxes:

def the_earth_is_flat():
    """NASA divided up the seas into thirty-three degrees."""
def fibonacci_spiral_tool():
    """With my feet upon the ground I lose myself / between the sounds
    and open wide to suck it in. / I feel it move across my skin. / I'm
    reaching up and reaching out. / I'm reaching for the random or
    whatever will bewilder me. / Whatever will bewilder me. / And
    following our will and wind we may just go where no one's been. /
    We'll ride the spiral to the end and may just go where no one's

    Spiral out. Keep going...

All functions, methods, and classes are to contain docstrings. Object data model methods (e.g. __repr__) are typically the exception to this rule.

Thanks for helping to make the world a better place!