John Biesnecker


On leaving China

The “expatriate leaving China” post is now a thing, and I understand why. This place, love it or hate it, changes you, and in leaving you want to condense those changes into…

I like this.

I like being able to write in short form when I have the time and/or energy for short form, and then blow it up to the full-on Medium editor when I have the time and/or energy for something more.

Baseball fans should give cricket a chance

Show some love for the world’s most popular slow-moving bat-and-ball sport.


We detected it five hours before impact.

That we even had that much warning was sheer luck. A Chinese sensor drone left over from the Helium Wars felt its gravitational…

Publications edited by John Biesnecker

Musings on life spent abroad

Because I have stories in my head

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So far, the most challenging part of the transition into a “mid-career professional” has been the shifting nature of the work that I do. No longer am I always “the one who does things…

Making sense of 着

With the help of Montell Jordan

This was one of the many weekly newsletters I wrote during my years at ChinesePod, and remains my favorite, if only for the subheadings. As far as I can tell it no longer exists on the public web, and I don’t want to lose it.

One of the things that new Chinese learners often hear is that “Chinese has…

Designing for maximum incompetence

Educating your users is an important design concept, but as someone who writes a lot of code for himself, I believe that the single most important thing…

Thoughts on reusing and reimplementing

This is a common experience that I suspect most of you have had:

  1. Start a project with an end goal in mind, and a rough idea of…

The one where my company failed

I tried, and I failed. I was incredibly naive about the amount of work that it would take, and I was incredibly naive in my…

Relaxing in the noise

Today I followed a link to a blog post by Austin-based designer Trent Walton about doing your best when you’re relaxed, in the form of a quote for the great Bill Murray: