Adam Brault

Hey, I just write here.

Internet cafés

The Internet was a town.

Then it became a city, then a nation, then continents, then hemispheres.

Without centralized search tools, early communities were only discovered organically, like neighborhood cafés.

Businesses eager to multiply their reach and revenue logically rushed to create communities that spanned cities, nations, hemispheres. Maximum reach, lowest common denominator, unintended consequences bubbling up everywhere.

Corporate social networks have created the world’s most unsafe and heartless cities in the same place we’re building our future.

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Expansion vs. development

Expansion and development are two different things. Development is differentiation of what already existed. Practically every new thing that happens is a differentiation of a previous thing, from a new shoe sole to changes in legal codes. Expansion is an actual growth in size or volume of activity. That is a different thing.

— Jane Jacobs

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The XMPP community should switch to IRC

I recently was voted on to the board for the XMPP Standards Foundation.

(XMPP—also known as Jabber—is a standardized protocol for realtime communication. We use it a lot at &yet and believe it to be quite useful.)

I’m extremely honored to become an official part of a community I have a significant amount of respect for.

As I said in my application, I’m a huge fan of the XMPP community. Many of the folks who are passionate and vocal in this unique community have inspired my beliefs about what the Internet should be.

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I quit caffeine

I quit caffeine a few days ago in an effort to improve my overall mental health.

Caffeine is clinically shown to worsen depression and anxiety. Here’s a quote from one study:

“Chronic excessive caffeine consumption leads to the development of caffeinism, a syndrome which includes increased anxiety, depression, frequency of psychophysiological disorders, and possibly degraded performance.”

Having had bits of all of the above, I’m done.

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Overwhelmed? Make a list of anxieties as questions, then forget them.

Occasionally I get myself to a point where I feel completely overwhelmed by a large number of things causing me anxiety.

When I’m in the midst of it, the feeling is like being mentally DDoS’d—I can’t even make progress on one of the things I’m anxious about because thoughts and worries about the others keep flooding in.

To deal with this, there’s an approach I have used for years which has really helped me. (The idea is partially inspired by GTD’s “brain dump” exercise.)

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A good corner

Today, I’m beginning a new adventure in connecting with people and I’m hopeful you’re interested in coming along.

Probably like you, I’ve felt like a misfit most of my life.

Growing up, there were a few pockets where I felt at home: backpacking with friends, high school theatre productions, the school newspaper…

And, of course, the Internet.

I’m absolutely an introvert, but I love people so much. Attending conferences has helped me build deep connections with people who truly feel like kindred spirits, many of whom I first met on the Internet.

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That New Year's feeling

I woke up Monday morning and needed—needed—to tear apart our entire kitchen and reorganize everything in it.

The contents of five of the most accessible drawers in our kitchen were neatly and tidily filled with organized collections of excess grocery bags, pot holders, appliance manuals, and basically everything except for the kinds of things we might actually want to use when making meals. Those were uncomfortably crammed into a couple drawers.

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Ain't nobody got time for that

A few years ago, when I was still freelancing, I played a role in helping create our area’s first real community around web, software, and design. Being part of doing that is something I’m proud of, but more importantly, I’ve gained so many great friends out of that community.

In the course of time, as the community and my company grew, I found myself one of the more influential people in that community, which has been a very difficult thing for me to wrestle with.

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Whether I'm good

I honestly liked freelancing better than running a company, but I think that’s mostly out of my own personal weaknesses.

As a freelancer, I could participate and collaborate as an equal in conversations, and express opinions without them meaning much of anything to anyone. I could try and fail; I could hold and abandon wrong opinions or ways of thinking; all without significant consequence or political fallout. Bonus: freelancers are always the underdog, so people’s natural prejudgments are to root for them.

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Hermit 2.0

Individual, one-to-one connections are what I want out of and what I want to put into a community.

That’s the only real value I can give and it’s the only value I seek.

I’m not a community leader.

I’m an individual person going somewhere. And I’m doing the best I can to learn and grow and be true to myself along the way.

There are a few people who will travel with me.

And for me that is enough.

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