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Reloaded from Shanghai

· 5 min read

Starting to blog again but changing from Pelican to Ghost


You must be surprised why you're getting this email and ... what a blast from the past!

Many of you used to subscribe to the mailing list of my personal blog "The Good the Bad and the Curious". I cannot be certain which of you were actually on that list because Mailchimp, the top mailing list provider, deleted my account.

Since moving back to Shanghai in 2018, I haven't found much time to write. One reason was that my job demanded too much time in meetings, doc writing, and interviews; the other reason was that I didn't figure out an elegant method of creating multiple and complementary narratives for different personas of myself. This website is linked to my real-life identity that at times may become target of scrutiny so I had to very careful.

Mailchimp has this policy to delete an account after 24 months of inactivity (didn't know that before). So I lost the original mailing list that included emails of some of you that I know in real life, as well as emails from some total strangers who had been a fan. What a shame.

So I did something you may or may not fancy - I unilaterally added your emails to a new mailing list. This is part of the bigger project, where I migrated the original, generated by Python-based Pelican, to a self-hosted Ghost site. A lot of articles from 2012 to 2018 are yet to pop up here as this migration continues. I just need to do a lot of tedious copy-n-pasting and format-cleaning. When the old contents are re-released, your inbox will be oh so quiet. You will only receive a newsletter for new articles from this point onward.

This is a bit of an awkward exercise. I don't want to call this my BFF list but I do have to gauge how much potential interest the receiving party has on me. Being friend is one thing. Receiving his rambling in inbox is quite another. By adding your email into this list, I'm making a very presumptuous move. Please bear with me.

If you don't want to receive articles from this blog, just click the unsubscribe button. No hard feelings - I subscribe to around 20 newsletters and the bar is getting increasingly higher for contents that would find their way to my inbox. If you are interested as before, stay on and I appreciate the support. If you find this blog interesting and would recommend it to another friend, all the better.

There will be subtle differences from this "fork" going forward. The contents will be more geared toward what readers are interested in and less about what I want to get off my chest, which I reckon was probably an issue in the past. Recent learnings from thought leaders like Naval and Balaji made me realize that emails and collection of emails (mailing list) are the only meaningful social foundation (before public/private key pair goes mainstream) we can ever have, in this fast disentangling world. It's not cell phone number, not website domain, not browser bookmark, not Linkedin URL, not Facebook page and certainly not WeChat. A friend used to say I should position myself as a dinner party host. I'm taking his advice to heart and deploying that online on this site. Added features include a Commento-enabled comment box where you are welcome to leave comments, even anonymously.

My friends and audience in real-life are always mixed bags of Chinese and non-Chinese, so this site will still be written in both Chinese and English, as before. I'll move off a lot of other more technical articles to other sites I created recently that use pseudonyms. I'm creating online pseudonymous personas that are completely separated from my real-life identity. In those parallel universes (avoiding the buzzword "metaverse" is a real challenge), I can speak freely without worrying about being judged unfairly because of who I am, what I do and whom I know. To make sure these few worlds are strictly mutually exclusive to each other, I need to carefully allocate articles to different baskets that accentuate the related personas. What remains in this universe of The Good the Bad the Curious are things that are only meaningful or interesting by knowing me as a person in real-life. I want to build a platform that grows purely based my ideas and contents - the much fabled thousand true fans if not many more. It will be interesting to see which universe will get there first, this one that's tied to my identity in the physical world, or the other one(s) that talk about very different topics all together. I will not make this easy for you by giving away my other pseudonymous identities. I would rather you run into them on your own course serendipitously. That would be a lovely chance encounter.

Thank you for staying with me through all these years.