Becoming fasterthanlime full-time

As of today, I am no longer employed by fly.io.

We're both very sad, and we've promised to stay friends and send postcards to each other over winter break. (I'm excited, too — Annie makes great postcards)

And yet, life goes on! Let's talk about the future.

Making a living

In theory, I'm supposed to take a breather. In practice, I will have to (I'll take a month off from everything in early 2023 for health reasons).

For now, I'm aggressively embracing my new reality: funemployment.

I'm not going to seek employment in the near future — I will rely on donations to pay the rent, utilities, various server costs, software subscriptions, etc.

Right now, there's:

GitHub login will be added sometime next week, and then the Patreon and GitHub tiers will be at parity: the middle tier ($10/mo) will get you access to articles and videos one week early, and your name will be in the credits.

Keep in mind that the numbers you're seeing here are very different from my net income. Patreon takes 8%, payment processors take... I thought it was 2.9% + 30¢ but I'm looking at my earnings and it seems to be closer to 6-7%?

Also, half of whatever lands on my bank account goes straight to the French government, to pay for taxes. It's for a good cause, but... that's a lot.

It always felt awkward to take donations while I still had a well-paid job — but it's a bit of a chicken and egg problem: it's very scary to quit your job if you don't already have a steady stream of donations. The only safe option seemed to build it up slowly, and when the time came, to pivot to it entirely.

That time is now.

So, what will you do with your days now?

What I was already doing, except bigger, and better!

First off...

More articles

I've been writing about Rust for 3.5 years now (yes, really). That's what caused me to start seeking donations in the first place — so I could do it sustainably.

I'm not quite there, but I want to spend a few months giving it an honest try: with, finally, the time, focus and financial latitude to start entirely new article series, research new topics, heck, even look into making interactive courses!

Now that I'm job-free, I feel better about seeking a Rust Foundation Project Grant, which may or may not pan out. If it does, it will be a temporary bonus — I will still mainly rely on individual sponsors.

This is your reminder that you should fill an application too — you have until November 7, 2022.

Also, read Jane's post about Imposter Syndrome first.

Some series have been sitting in my drafts forever, and I think it's high time they see the light of day. I'm not going to tell you what they're about, because that would release an early dopamine rush which would be counter-productive.

Dopamine is for published authors only.

More videos

Similarly, I'm excited to have time to properly wrap up my Cheating at video games video series. It's been ongoing for so long that I've stopped playing the game I wanted to cheat at, I hope it still exists!

I want to hit a healthy mix of "niche stuff I think is cool and I want to show the world" and "knowledge you can actually use to get better at Rust / further your career" and whatnot.

If you're not familiar with my video work, it's like articles except cool bear is conspicuously absent, and you get to know what I actually sound and look like.

I've invested quite a bit in video, both in terms of production and self-hosting, so, uh, most of the costs have been sunk and it's time to kick it into next gear.

Open-source work

Before fly.io and I parted ways, I was building them a new Rust HTTP library: hring. It targets recent Linux kernels, leverages io_uring, kTLS and uses Rust nightly features (like async fn in traits!) - it's a research project.

i.e. it's not a hyper competitor, which is nearing a 1.0 release.

For the time being, fly.io is sponsoring this work, which is one of the ways they're investing into the future of the Rust ecosystem.

Their continued investment is just one of the reasons that I'm happy to advertise that fly.io is hiring right now. It's got a lot of cool problems to solve, and a lot of cool people. If you're looking for a high-energy gig with a lot of customer impact, check it out!

During my time at fly.io, I was able to contribute to other Rust projects: I helped turn rust-analyzer into a git subtree, thereby making the proc macros on Rust nightly situation better. But that created other problems — the ergonomics of git-subtree are, uh, suboptimal and they could use some help. I didn't really have the time to follow up on that, but now I might!

In an ideal world, I'd love to contribute directly to rustc, maybe cargo, or stuff like sccache — but that sounds more like a "full-time job at a big company" kinda deal, or at the very least "sizeable contract work". This may happen for the purpose of an article ("How do I contribute to X?").

Open-sourcing some works?

Another thing I've been considering is to open-source some of the technology behind fasterthanli.me — particularly, the video bits. I'm torn between "it's too much work to maintain on my own" and "it's too much work to maintain in the open".

Maybe I'll strike a happy middle! The thing that's currently in production is v1, and v2 has been in the works for a while, does transcoding/segmenting in the cloud, etc. — it would be hard, but not impossible, for someone to run their own instance, and there's been more interest than I thought there would be re: hosting your own videos.

(For context, YouTube is looking at making 4K60 a Premium-only feature. Also, it's not necessarily the greatest fit for donation-based models: viewers need to suffer ads on top of their monthly donations).

It's not ready yet, and I'd like to get it working end-to-end for myself at least once before I open the flood gates repository — I'll keep y'all posted about that.

I keep getting messages about the blogging platform itself, but it would be a lot of work to open source. It's custom-built, with the explicit assumption from the beginning that I would be the only one using it.

But it's also really cool, and maybe after a few months of cleanups here and there, I could see myself releasing it in some form. Time will tell.

Pursuing other interests

One thing I haven't really had a chance to do in a good long while (in the six years I've spent at itch.io, Netlify, then fly.io) is have hobbies.

And one lesson I keep re-learning is that I'm actually a fairly decent musician (you can find my SoundCloud yourself, nobody clicks those links anyway), and than whenever I stop making music for extended periods of time, a part of my soul withers into nothingness.

So, I should probably do stuff like that on the side. If only so I feel refreshed and avoid becoming a one-man uninspired content factory — inspiration comes from all sorts of places.

For example, as I'm writing this, I wonder: can you write a VST plug-in in Rust? Probably! That sounds like fun.

I've got a couple devices I bought a while ago, on which I could do embedded Rust — I've always wanted to do that. I own several phones (Android & iOS) on which I haven't run any Rust of my own yet! I used to maintain a whole-ass desktop app, why I haven't I played with tauri yet? There's probably some cool hacks to do with a Steam Deck!

There's no shortage of ideas, and nothing is really out of scope because everything is an excuse to teach y'all about computers, and to sneak some Rust in.

How you can help

I'm excited for the future, and I hope you are too.

If you want to support me with money, you can throw some at me on:

If you want to support me without money, you can:

Thanks to all of you who continue to choose to support my work, making this career move something worth trying in the first place.

Every day is the start of the rest of my life, but today especially so.

If you liked what you saw, please support my work!

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