A Look Back At Shipt

And The Gig Economy More Generally

It’s a sad, downhill path, IMO.
    Feb 10, 2021
    8 min read

A Week Of Shipt

(What It's Like To Be A Shiptster)

    Jan 13, 2016
    10 min read

About Me

I make stuff.

My profession is problem solving. My chosen tool by which to do that has been developing software. I’ve written shell scripts, maintained systems in .Net, built APIs in PHP, and implemented interfaces with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I’ve maintained legacy systems and built cutting-edge, life-changing applications, as well as created little tools to support other people in getting their work done.

Writing software isn’t all I do, though. I like to write English words, too, and my writing is about as eclectic as my coding. While my blog started (ages ago) as a “tech and work blog,” it soon expanded out to other aspects of life, including personal finance and the broader culture. Maybe I’ll spin some topics off to their own blogs, eventually.

Professionally, I’ve been a software developer for over a decade, with particular focus in full stack, PHP-based (and more recently, Python-based) web development. I’ve also picked up professional teaching over the past year or so. For more details about my experience, visit my resume.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve embraced what seems to be my fate as an independent consultant and I run my own software development shop, World Tree Limited, through which I provide various development services and plan to release my own software products.

Culture means a great deal to me, so it should come as no surprise that I hold it above all else when working with organizations and I have a fair number of words to say about the current broader culture here in the US, and they go hand-in-hand. I’m a staunch advocate of equitable culture, both inside and outside the (proverbial or literal) office, and I’m not afraid to lose “opportunities” (though I’d argue such things are not my kind of opportunities) because of it.

Maybe that makes me “unemployable”?

Or perhaps it’s a criticism of conventional workplaces and I’ve just been ahead of the curve?


Regardless, it gives my mind the never-ending puzzle of finding better ways of supporting my family.

Buy Me Coffee

(Ways I Make Money From This Site)

I Hate Ads…

I do, with a passion. The first extension I install on any browser is AdBlock. That’s how much I hate them. I also hate when blogs write a “review” or other article for the sole purpose of selling that product. You know the kind I’m talking about. They read like a commercial and are full of keywords and buzzwords about the product. I can usually spot them a mile away and they annoy the crap out of me.

…And Paywalls…

I also hate when content is stuck behind a paywall for no good reason. The primary purpose of my blog is to share my knowledge with my audience. While I have no problem with the “freemium” (or even just premium) model for applications, I’m not keen on them for article-based sites – at least not for mine. I think information is best shared freely, especially when it comes to some of the topics I cover.

…But Running Blogs Cost Resources

It does, however, take time, money, brainpower, equipment, etc. (ie - resources) to write my posts and maintain this and my other sites. The holy grail of arguably any hobby is for it to pay for itself. Now, obviously, brainpower (mental energy) isn’t a currency society can deal in (how cool would that be, though? And I’m still waiting for the tech that would allow me to just download my stream of consciousness to my computer), but hosting and keeping my domain name do require monetary resources. As a result, I offer (and may, in the future offer more) various ways to help defray these costs.

How I Make Money

Since I don’t do ads, and I don’t do paywalls, I need to implement other avenues from which to bring in money. Those methods are detailed below.

All methods are completely optional and you are under no obligation to use any of them or give me anything. The hope, though, is that the content of my site (or maybe some other interaction you’ve had with me) has provided you with such value that you want to give back somehow, and in those situations, I want to make it easy for you to do so.

Oh, and 10% of my income goes to a charity or project each month. More about that later.


An easy way to give back is simply giving money. You’re free to donate whatever amount you wish. You can do that via my Ko-fi page for one-time payments, or via my Liberapay page for recurring payments.

Alternatively, you can sponsor me through Github, either one-time or on a recurring basis.

Selling My Own Things, Directly

I sell some of my own things, as well, since I have a couple other hobbies. The funds from those things help pay for my sites, as well (as well as meatspace supplies as needed).

(And Indirectly)

I’m also a gamer and like to tinker with World of Warcraft addons, in particular, but I technically can’t make money from them directly (ie - I can’t sell them), hence the name on the Liberapay account. You can find those projects here.

Giving Back

As I mentioned previously, 10% of my income is donated each month.

To whom I choose to donate in a given month is somewhat random (it’s who I decide to donate to that month), and whether it’s an official non-profit organization isn’t of particular concern, because I’m not doing it for the tax write-off. Instead, I do it for the sake of giving back. I work with a lot of open source software, and am part of a number of communities that would benefit from a little financial backing. So, I do what I can to show my thanks and help support them.

What projects/organizations do I donate to? Here are a few:

  • GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)
  • Apache Foundation
  • Ansible
  • Vagrant
  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
  • Trevor Project
  • SAGE
  • Autism Self Advocacy Network
  • GoFundMe campaigns (usually for someone facing a hardship)
  • PCOS Foundation
  • Do Yoga With Me
  • Octoprint
  • Kickstarter projects, including:
  • …and many others

So, by helping me fund my projects, you’ll also be helping me fund many other projects. :)

Hiring Me

Looking to work with me? Cool! Let’s start with the type of relationship.

What Type?

Conventional Employment

So you read through that ☝️ and still want to hire me as a conventional employee? Well…it didn’t scare you away, so that’s a start.

For my sake and yours, I have a high bar for conventional employment in particular. Let’s put it this way: I’ve turned down Amazon roughly half a dozen times at this point.

So, you’ll want to start by reading the posts in the “culture” tag. Ideally, you’ll want to read most of my blog, though the business category might be most relevant to you (ostensibly a recruiter or businessperson of some sort).

I also expect to get paid what I’m worth. Don’t bother sending me leads unless the base compensation is six figures.

Oh, and location-independent. I’m not interested in relocating (so please don’t ask), and while I don’t mind going into the office periodically (after this whole Covid thing gets worked out; and what “periodically” means will depend on where “the office” is), I do best working where I’m most productive.

I also have this snazzy office of my own, and I’d hate for it to go to waste. 😉

Independent Consulting

You’ve got some work that needs done, but don’t need a full time employee for it? Awesome! Let’s see if we’re a fit!

First of all, let me make it clear: I run a business, I am not a “contractor,” especially when that means “employee in all but name” (aka “defacto employee,” which is questionably legal, by the way). The relationship is a business-to-business one. I may be one person, but the arrangement is like that of an agency. I control my time, location, and equipment (though I am flexible on where code lives for compliance purposes and whatnot, and of course meetings are part of the relationship).

Still with me? Cool. Let’s talk business.

Because I generally do large projects where scopes are subject to changing, I typically bill by the hour. The logistics are flexible, though, and I generally do one of two ways:

  • Purchase set number of hours – this is useful for knocking out a backlog or other shorter-term situation
  • A time-boxed contract without set hours – this is typically the best for large projects where either I supply the team or I’m embedded in your team

Both contracts are renewable/extendable (subject to availability), because expectations inevitably change over time, and pricing is determined by the services required and the nature of the relationship.

I’m also open to the “purchase hours” part on a retainer basis.

Still Works For You? Let’s Talk

The best way to get in touch is via one of the communication options at the top of the page.

To save us both time, please be sure to include the important information about the work you need – things like tech stack, scope of work, and timeline requirements are super helpful in gauging whether we’ll be a technical fit.

For conventional employement, please include pay range and benefit information.

In all cases, down-in-the-weeds details aren’t required, just that 10,000-foot view will be sufficient to start.

I look forward to hearing from you!