smd.is

Over the course of the last 10 years, I’ve worked under my full name. As a minimalist, I try and subtract things until only the core essence remains. When I thought about how to represent my brand over the last decade, I defaulted to either using my entire name, part of my name, or the initials of my first and last name. Regardless of which I used, the design problem was how to represent that as a distinctive mark. Moreover, how can you make “SMD” or “SD” more memorable than just displaying it in some typeface?

It’s a great idea to use your own name

What is really important to me using smd is that it has to be honest and precise. I’m not a fan of having a name—say Tohfoo Concepts—to represent me. Side note, I love tofu. I believe it is a far better and a more authentic practice to put your name to your work if you work for yourself.

Under the hood

In case you’re interested, smd.is is built on top of the Jekyll static site generator framework and hosted via GitHub Pages. It’s my first time using and working with Jekyll, and it’s a whole heap of fun so far! I’m quite fond of having a static site without any kind of content management system.

While I explored Ghost and WordPress to be the foundation for this site—even Squarespace—I ultimately decided to do something a little different. Ghost was very close, and while it felt very compelling to roll with a product and service that sincerely cares about the art of writing, I’m genuinely attracted to GitHub and their GitHub Pages product. Moreover, I’m fascinated by the Jekyll framework. Oh, and I have a soft spot for Ruby.

I’ve picked up quite a few things using Jekyll, and I’m keen to write about that and share some neat tips that might save you some time searching out the answers for yourself.

What to expect here

Aside from housing my portfolio and resume, since I moved away from social networks by deleting all of my accounts (including Medium where I generally had a couple hundred reads of my posts every week!) I’m mindful of the minimal online presence I currently have. While I’m happy with having a small digital footprint, I still believe it’s worthwhile maintaining some sort of existence for the sake of career growth and opportunities. One might argue that maintaining a presence on social media is one way—and arguably a successful way—to grow your influence but I want to ride against this. Why? Rather than run the risk of perhaps boring you, the TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) is that I completely oppose the engagement tactics that all social networks employ to increase your time using the service. I won’t attempt to dive deeper into the “social bubble” algorithms that are at play, too. Rest assured, life is more straightforward and stress-free without social media.

When I reflect on my journey in tech, I feel a sense of gratitude for all of the things I’ve learned as well as the opportunities I’ve had to work alongside some truly talented people. Even more, I’m eager to share as much as I can of the things I’ve learned, the things I’m learning, and also the things I want to learn, in the hopes that it might help others out there. Being wholly self-taught and without any computer science background nor a degree to my name, I learned solely off of the backs of those wonderful folks out there who were willing to share their knowledge. I’m humbled if I am able to do the same.

—————