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A Case for Writing Online

There are countless reasons why we should write and publish online. I won’t enumerate them here because that wouldn’t help anyone. That would be like telling someone to meditate because it’s good for you. Everyone knows meditation is good for you and there’s no shortage of scientific literature to back it up. However, many of us still don’t meditate because we simply don’t just sit down and meditate.

Here’s a real-world case for you to just sit down, write, and publish online.

Last week, my team and I deployed a change to switch data sources for one of our trading applications. We were experiencing intermittent issues when hitting the new data source’s API in production. While the technical details are out of scope for this piece, we raised the error we were receiving to the owners of the data source. After trading a few emails back and forth with the other team, one of their engineers on the other team sent us this blog post as a resource to address the issue.

It was a 12-year-old blog post by a Virginia-based software engineer named Steven Lott. Lott is the author of several books on Python and is ranked #102 all-time on StackOverflow (top 0.02%). He also taught me Python over two years ago when I was interning at Capital One as the tech lead on my team.

It was remarkable to me that Steven’s blog post (which was written when I was 11 years old) is still being circulated today. What’s more, Steven’s Python teachings still haven’t stopped even after leaving Virginia and Capital One. After building out a simple integration testing suite and CI/CD pipeline while learning Python as an intern, I’ve gone onto write predominantly Python so far during my professional career.

Steven Lott is an excellent example of how powerful creating on the internet can be. Back in the early days of StackOverflow, he would answer Python questions while his unit test suite was running as a way to pass time. After accumulating a staggering number of points, Steven was approached by a Packt acquisition editor to write a book. He has now written six books on Python.

The internet is a serendipity creation machine. The more you put out there, the more the world will open up for you. Go write, create, teach, and put yourself out there.

If you’d like to learn more about Steven Lott, which I would highly recommend as Steven is a wonderful guy, he recently did a great interview on the Python.__init__ podcast. You can also find him on Twitter.