Selam G.
4 min readMar 22, 2024

The first thing I posted to this blog was a homework assignment. It was a short fictional story for a creative writing class that I took to satisfy my undergraduate arts requirement. It was about a young boy taking university exams in the rural Ethiopian countryside, and how he consistently chooses to help people, to do the right thing, to be exceptionally kind, responsible, and morally upstanding. This is almost equally consistently detrimental to his exam results. After feedback from my instructor I tried to infuse more hope and contentment into the ending. It wasn’t meant to be a bleak story.

This is a worldview that I still carry around with me, and which comes in large part from a Catholic upbringing: the reward for your good actions cannot be given to you here on this earthly plane. In fact, you’ll sometimes find the opposite occurs. This isn’t meant to be a bleak thing. A less metaphorical and more secular translation might be that it is always worth it to remain in right relationship with your fellow humans and find commonality with them than to exclusively seek material gain. It is always better to be on the side of the masses, to seek to lift up the lowest person, and what we gain from that is more nourishing. I want to say many people would agree with this, but at least I can say that many people admire the few of us who really do this: civil rights figures and activists, those dedicated to poverty elimination or medical work. I leave it to philosophers to formalize the argument.

A lot of what I have written about since then has been about the struggle between this view and the other thing I was taught to do, which was strive hard for academic achievements in computational fields. These, by their very nature, are designed to distinguish and separate. Asked to translate these into a career after being released into the free world, I hesitated. It was confusing how exactly I should live my life or pursue my career or even what I should be doing with my free time.

Like a skittish zoo animal, I chose to run back into the comforts of my former enclosure (graduate school).

Ok, in the intervening 4ish years a lot of stuff happened, some of which are documented here on this blog. But the most relevant to today is, after a certain point this blog was never the same. I often talk about a time that I went viral (in a bad way), but I think choosing that inflection point would be too easy. Though attempted 4chan doxxing certainly doesn’t help, I think the greater contribution was the global pandemic. There was just some part of me that slowly stopped wanting to share my inner life with strangers online, and that part slowly grew. Maybe I’m just a tiny sailboat in the 100-ft waves of shifting trends: teens are much more selective about posting and favor disappearing stories, Facebook became Meta out of fear of empire collapse. As I grew older I became, somehow, both more solid and more fragile. I am more solid in who I am and far less impressed by spectacle. But I feel vulnerable around what I’ve done with a supposedly great potential. I’ve consistently chosen less-trodden paths (startup jobs, small companies, robotics, Boston) and found it didn’t make much difference (besides being underpaid). There was never a moral valence there even if I imagined some intellectually righteous one. It’s more and more difficult for me to write about these issues with the spectre of a future employer or my professional persona in the back of my mind. It might be different if I were in some kind of creative industry, but in technology, I need the freedom to make mistakes in private, though so many of us could use more stories of failure.

Somehow, even now, my best-received writing is always about struggle. Maybe because it is so rare, and getting even rarer, for people to lay bare vulnerable truths on the internet. We pay for it, on this earthly plane.

This is all a long-winded way of saying, goodbye (sort of).

I thought about deleting this blog entirely and starting new somewhere else. I struggled with what to do about some posts that were important to other people, but I know the internet never really forgets anything, if anyone really needed to find them. I could always write online again in the future.

Instead, I’m going to experiment over the next couple months with deleting and archiving most of the posts on this blog (including this one) and sort-of rebranding it. If I find that it’s not really working or I am not really getting anything out of writing this way, then I’ll put it out to pasture for good. Maybe I’ll start some email newsletter just for close friends, or find some other outlet. As always, I don’t know what the future will bring, but I am cautiously looking forward to a new chapter.