Whomever wins this thing has to do a lot of work to bring this country together. There is a lot of bad blood and ill will between factions of the public. But in this time (March 2020) where we are scared and suffering, with COVID-19 and a teetering economy, just as we did after 9/11, there is a window to bring our broader American family together in the midst of the crisis.

I wrote this speech as my humble contribution — consider this an attempt to strike a tone regarding things I believe most democrats agree with:

Imagine a country…

In SF, we have, per latest count, 9784 homeless people in SF, if you judge by the most conservative standards for what qualifies as homeless. This exists in a, by population, a moderate sized city with a median income of nearly 100K per year. We have a resident labor force of about 480K workers, which means, of this 480K, 240K of them earn six figure salaries.

In SF, it is estimated that it costs as much as 700K to build a single unit of affordable housing. …

Yes, In My Backyard

Yes, I want people to be easily able to move to cities, which reduces sprawl, increases diversity, and makes a car free lifestyle available to more than the upper middle class.

Yes, I am willing to allow myself to be subject to minor inconveniences if it helps those things happen.

Yes, I believe both poor and rich people need to share, equitably, the burden for things like having power plants, jails, or other similar things nearby.

Yes, I believe that if we are to have affordable housing, the current batch of Luxury Market Rate Single Family…

The natural trajectory of the SF housing market.

Prices don’t go down. Why would they? People blame “Chinese speculators”, without realizing that when you create a market that, by design, only goes up, you are going to attract all sorts of speculators. If you have a couple million in capital looking for a place to make some money, what’s better than the SF bay area housing market, where the locals, through cartel like management of housing supply, will do everything in their power to make your investment more valuable.

Yes, in a world where mere owning a 1.5M dollar ranch…

Back in the 1980s, when I was a teenager coming home at 3:00 and had the opportunity to watch daytime commercials aimed at people who lacked employment, I had the privilege of seeing lots of shady commercials. There were two kinds: psychics who would sell you fortune telling, and various schools who would promise big bucks if you only spent 9 weeks going to Riphuoff College where you would make 100K+ in today’s dollars. They even had a loan program to help you get started. What could go wrong?

You’d have been better off calling the psychic. Because they were…

(originally published on 15 June 2011 on nomadic-developer.com)

Many of you will remember Revenge of The Nerds, that fine classic movie where a bunch of, well, nerds take over the campus of Adams college by outsmarting and outwitting the jocks. For people who work in computers of a certain age and disposition — say, a late 30s geek from a western culture like myself who might have fit the nerd stereotype at various points in his early upbringing — the movie was somewhat influential. …

Regardless of your stance, pro-less regulated housing (aka YIMBY), or pro-more regulated housing, one thing that seems to be true — is that both sides are very far apart. They are likely to be at odds with eachother for quite some time. The rancor between these groups — despite that in the grand scheme of things they are politically left, is pretty intense and growing. Neither side trusts eachother, and the prognosis is that in the battle of #SB827 that it’s only going to get worse.

Some things will, however, remain true, no matter what happens on the legislative front.

Techies will continue to move to SF

For the uninitiated, SF has two roughly vague political groups. Both probably consider themselves progressive, but you could probably broadly call one liberal, and the other progressive.

One could try to apply a left/right (or perhaps in this case, left/farther-left) dichotomy to both, but that would likely be a mistake, especially given the positions of those who call themselves progressives here.

You have one party who:

  • fights against removal of parking spots, traffic lanes, bulb outs, and traffic calming, in response to local paranoid business owners
  • calls for housing policy that shuts out young people while protecting primarily the retired…

Six Steps Toward a Civilized Facebook

Ideas for design of a social network that discourages the spread of hate and demagoguery.

Facebook is a private platform, that trades as a public company. It isn’t the street corner, it isn’t a free speech zone. It’s a business. As things stand, as people will likely react to the hate coming from the Trump administration to withdrawing from participation on social networks, it is in their interests to intentionally design the platform so that the experience — for all — but especially marginalized groups, is a positive one. …

Imagine a world where terrorists nuked Detroit. And then, magically, we removed the radiation, and exactly one year later, we nuked it again. And we repeated this cycle, over and over, forever.

What would happen? Every country on earth would band together in a moral crusade to end the terrorist threat. Massive surveillance systems would be put into place to assure that we find the terrorists. We would gladly surrender our privacy, just like we did with the 9/11 terror attacks, but on a much grander, breathtaking scale. National ID cards, biometric scanning at the border. Minority Report style detention…

Aaron Erickson

VP Engineering, New Relic. Author of The Nomadic Developer. Co-author of Professional F#.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store