09/27 mini-essays update (48-58/100 📝 )

I've been thinking about the cadence of my newsletter and updates, and I've decided to experiment with doing newsletter updates on a weekly basis that recap what I wrote about during the week. Let me know what you think as I’ve heard arguments for both sides (daily and weekly). I've talked in the past about recommitting to my mini-essay experiment as well as feeling pressure about the fact that it always gets sent out to everyone immediately when I post it. I think the weekly update will both put less pressure on what I ultimately "release" as well as give me an opportunity for me to reflect on what my mind has been spending time on, but acknowledge that it may be harder for readers to follow along with a dump of links at the end of the week as opposed to a live update. I find that with all the mini-essays I'm writing, I’m able to cover a lot of ground in topics, but I feel pressured to cover a certain amount of ground given the space it takes up and the urgency the email medium imparts.

This weekly update is a compromise between no notification system at all like The Road to Ramen. If you still want to follow along daily, just check in to my 100 posts page on my website: spencerchang.me/experiments/100posts every so often to see what has dropped. I’ll also be making the new ones show up more prominently on the home page of my website and my live monitor. Let me know how you find this and the next one as I’m super curious to adapt to feedback :)

While I have you, here’s a quick update on life and the projects I’m working on and hoping to have something to show for soon:

  • Photography: releasing photos from my recent travels in themed series. Colors of Alaska is one I’ve been musing on...

    (a preview of a fun color taken on my iPhone)

  • Work: the new Packs team that I joined at Coda had our infrastructure and platform tested out by the entire company via a Packathon (rather than our traditional hackathon). Can’t wait to see what this enables for our community.

  • Community: Reboot (a recent community I’ve started to get involved with) launched their physical magazine, ft. a piece to be released that I have a response for. Stay tuned!

  • Fashion: I’m still doing my fashion fits, but posting to twitter has gotten troublesome. I currently use a iOS shortcut to take a picture and upload it automatically to my “fits 🧢” photo album, but it’s still tedious to share. I want a lightweight, beautiful way to share streams of content that fit a particular theme or craft (fashion, cooking, etc.) rather than needing to choose a particular social media platform and identity to share from. Hoping to experiment with this on my website.

    • Also in this spirit, my ears are now pierced 🤭

  • Media: Squid Game, The Infinite Machine, George Saunders, and Sex Education are all on my mind recently. More on those in my mini-essays below.

TLDR; This covers a set of essays from 09-14 to 09-26. I talk about topics ranging from trust and finding myself to perspective of fiction writing to chance encounters and gambles. The fragility of life and paradox of being irreplaceable and how we perceive others make special appearances as well. The summary of each should give you the gist and each essay is significantly shorter than normal on average, so skimming should be manageable! Hope to hear what resonates and what makes you curious.

My favorites are the following:

  • 3) formulation

  • 5) cafe encounter

  • 8) irreplaceable

  • 11) perception

1) singular purpose 48/100: 09/14

I want the courage to manifest more of what I truly want. Feeling lost and committing to finding a foundation in my instinct and trusting myself to get through whatever I jump in.


2) now's focus 49/100: 09/15

I'm splitting time between a lot of different projects. There isn't enough time for all of this and the switching cost is taking its toll. I need to learn how to get really good at picking off one piece at a time and making a difference as I can.


3) formulation 50/100: 09/16

As a fiction writer, our job is to take the most interesting path, not the one that we feel is right. We are the guide for the reader's experience, not to fulfill our secret dream experience.


4) extraction and flower 51/100: 09/18

Taking a gamble by doing the small things to make people happy and exploring how to be mindful of my energy and enjoying the moment.


5) cafe encounter 52/100: 09/19

A chance cafe encounter leading to inspiration and reminding me what I looked forward to in moving to San Francisco


6) compliments 53/100: 09/20

Resurfacing an old idea on the power of compliments and a poem on second sky


7) life is fragile 54/100: 09/21

Life is fragile which means we have to make the most of cherishing the people we love and pursuing the things that give us energy.


8) irreplaceable 55/100: 09/22

Being irreplaceable can be either the defining marker in bringing something good out of something bad, or it can be an excuse for shirking change and avoiding confronting the future.


9) privilege of dreams 56/100: 09/24

Dreams are a privilege to those who have the means. Media showcases this in bleak terms.


10) arc of the valley 57/100: 09/25

A hero's journey view on technologists' experience coming to and living in Silicon Valley


11) perception 58/100: 09/26

I explore appearance as a gateway to connection. At first, it's all we know, but eventually, it becomes just the key for unlocking a deeper connection. Deep emotional connection is all around us for the taking; we just have to be willing to dig for it and receive it when it appears.


And that’s it for now! If you made it all the way here, thank you so much for reading even if it’s a skim. I can’t express how grateful I am for how friends and strangers spend time on the thoughts that come out of my head and onto the page. Every time I get a message about something I’ve written down I feel as if the time I invest into this is worth it, so thank you :)