Guest: Jonathan Hays
Release date: April 16, 2018
@macgenie: Hey it’s Micro Monday again, the weekly microcast where we get to know members of the Micro.blog community. I’m Jean MacDonald Community Manager at Micro.blog, and today I am joined by Jonathan Hayes who’s also known as @cheesemaker. Hey Jonathan how are you doing?
@cheesemaker: Good. How are you doing Jean?
@macgenie: I’m doing pretty good. It’s been a big day at Micro.blog which we can talk about a little bit today, but why don’t we start off with you telling our listeners a little bit about yourself?
@cheesemaker: Sure. I live in Portland, Oregon, in the same town as you, and I am a founder of a consulting company called Silver Pine software. But more importantly for the folks listening, I’m also one of the developers of both Sunlit and the recently-announced Wavelength.
@macgenie: The first question we always ask people is how did you hear about Micro.blog? But I think you could tell us a little bit about how did you meet Manton Reece. Because I’m sure how you heard about Micro.blog.
@cheesemaker: Sure. So I first met Manton about eight or nine years ago at all places Chuck E. Cheese. Our sons went to the same kindergarten and my son invited his son to his birthday party. And so when Manton came to pick up his son, he was wearing a T-shirt that said “I make Mac software” and so I asked him you know what’s that about. And so we got to talking and over time we sort of ran in the same iOS development circles and became close friends because of our sons’ friendship. Eventually we were we were on a vacation together. And we said, “Hey what do you think about making an app together?” and that’s actually how the genesis of sunlit.
@macgenie: For the benefit of those who don’t know, what is Sunlit and what does it do?
@cheesemaker: So Sunlit is a photo-sharing app, or a photo-blogging app more appropriately now. We originally wrote it for the App.net platform way back in the day. And obviously for listeners that are familiar with that that platform, you know went away and we sort of shelved sunlit for a few years. But then when Manton started working on the Micro.blog platform, we actually pulled it out of us cold storage and started tinkering with it and we sort of realized “Oh you know this could be perfect for photo blogging for the Micro.blog platform, and we rewrote a lot of the internals, got rid of all of the App.net specific code and I’m really happy with how it turned out.
@macgenie: Actually what I like about that app and also about Wavelength, like Micro.blog itself, is just the simple elegance of “Hey, do this thing, don’t get too crazy,” it just gets right to the point and makes it accessible to people who don’t necessarily want a big learning curve on an app or some kind of serious onboarding video to teach them how to use it.
@cheesemaker: Right. And one of the things that I love about it is I have been a pretty heavy Instagram user. But when we created sunlit and I started using it more on a daily basis, I really started to notice the things that really annoyed me about Instagram. Obviously there’s the biggest thing of not owning your own content, but the other thing the resolution and the quality of your photos on Instagram is terrible if you try to zoom in on them or anything, whereas obviously if you’re using Sunlit and you own your own content, you can make sure that you’re posting your photos at higher res. That and when you own your content, it’s just so much easier to have all the other tools like searchability, those sorts of things. You’re not just locked in on the one platform. I know that’s obviously Manton’s you know bigger grander scheme vision for Micro.blog in general. But it was nice to actually see it applied in a very specific way with Sunlit.
@macgenie: What I really like about Micro.blog, well there’s obviously many things I like, but I’ve come to appreciate how it’s very Instagram-like. Plus the good things about Twitter plus the good things about Wordpress or other simple blogging platform. I’ve really come to appreciate how well Micro.blog and Sunlit handle photos as you say. And when I go on Twitter and I’m looking at people’s photos, it’s fine to see the photo itself. But in the timeline, in the way that they show things, it’s not that nice looking to me, now that I’m used to Micro.blog. So what do you remember from when Manton first started working on Micro.blog or telling you about it and any thoughts you had about it at the time?
@cheesemaker: Yes so I don’t it’s I mean I have a sort of fuzzy memory approximately when he started working on it. It obviously had a different name back then, Snippets I think is what he was calling it. And I know at the time he had a very clear vision, but I think he was still trying to figure out how to communicate that effectively. So I remember having a few conversations with him where I was sort of left scratching my head like “what, are you building a Twitter clone?” Obviously that’s not what it is, but it was still early defining exactly how to explain what it was. So yeah I do remember it. And you know one thing about Manton: He is so dedicated, almost to the point of stubbornness, which is fantastic. It’s fantastic for developers so he kept working on it and has kept as he kept working on it. I started to understand and he started to be able to hone in on his messaging on exactly what it was. And so it’s clear obviously now but back then it wasn’t quite so obvious. I do remember and he’s been working on for a lot longer than some people realise, I know.
@macgenie: I know what you mean, though, about what does it do and how does it work because I feel like I’m only now really appreciating it and it’s taken over a year of working with Manton and seeing how people use it and how it’s evolved, because it’s so different from anything else that’s out there, really. I think it defies being defined very specifically until it becomes what it is.
@cheesemaker: Right. And you see that a lot too with new users right. When they start using it, they’ll get into the timeline and they’ll start sort of using this in similar ways that they use Twitter. And that’s why I really am proud of the work that we’ve done both with Sunlit and now with Wavelength. It demonstrates that it’s more than just talking and and chatting. It’s a real platform for taking back the web, taking back the Internet. And I just really like that.
@macgenie: So tell me about your blogging history: Did you have a blog all along before Micro.blog?
@cheesemaker: So the very first blog I ever had was back in the early 2000s which is when a lot of folks started doing it. I did a lot a lot of developers did in the early 2000s which was “Oh I’m going to roll my own blog software!” And I was not very good at it. I wish I still had the source from that original blog. So I post from time to time. I have way too many posts on my longer form blog that are sort of in the form of “Oh, it’s been six months since I posted.”
@macgenie: I know that feeling. If you did a search for that phrase online you would get all these blogs.
@cheesemaker: Oh yeah. It’s a graveyard of good intentions.
@macgenie: I think we’ve kind of covered this in some of the other questions but maybe if you have something else to add about what do you like about Micro.blog…
@cheesemaker: Yeah. I touched on it a little bit earlier, which is I think folks are just starting to understand the power of the platform. You know, Wavelength will have been out for a few days by the time folks are listening. And I don’t know when Manton first started talking to you about it. But we wrote Wavelength in an incredibly short amount of time not because we cut corners or anything, but because the Micro.blog platform just gave us such a lead, a running head start. And I’m really excited to see what people start doing with both Sunlit and Wavelength and I’m really excited to see what other people can start doing with the platform. I’ve been thinking about photos for a lot longer than I have podcasts. Manton and I have put probably years into the development of Sunlit, nd so I’ve spent a lot more time thinking about what that means. Podcasts, it’s a much much newer format for me as a developer. So I’m really curious to see where Wavelength goes.
@macgenie: Do you have any ideas for your own microcast?
@cheesemaker: I’m very jealous of Manton’s Timetable, his near daily podcast. I know myself well enough to know that if I said I’m going to do this, I probably wouldn’t be able to keep it up for all that long, and it would end up with another one of those “Oh it’s been six months since I recorded.”.
@macgenie: Back in the graveyard of good intentions in podcasting!
@cheesemaker: Exactly. Exactly. I think if I’m going to actually try to get into a regular podcast, I need to sit down and make a better plan for myself, maybe potential topics and a schedule and so we’ll see.
@macgenie: Don’t you have any pets?
@cheesemaker: I do have a pet! I have a pug. She is so adorable. Her name is Olive.
@macgenie: There’s your microcast. It could be about a short topic. What did Olive do this week? I would follow that one.
@cheesemaker: Maybe I will do that. It’s not a bad idea.
@macgenie: I feel like we all have to start somewhere. I will shamelessly plug my new guinea pig broadcast. I never thought I would say those words my life. But yeah, because I had to test something and I had these obvious test subjects. I think everybody who is interested in podcasting at all, don’t be afraid to start really small because this is Micro.blog and this is a microcast that we’re talking about. Well Jonathan, thank you so much for taking the time to come and to chat with me on Wavelength launch day.
@cheesemaker: Glad to do it.
@macgenie: Thanks to everybody for listening to the Micro Monday Microcast this week. And we’ll talk to you all next week. Bye for now.