Brian Austin

A software engineer building products and services for smaller companies. Econ and the tech industry is my hobby, not investment advice.

You can find more personal productivity and business content at; developer content at; and engineering management content at AutomaticDev.Team.
Pinned post from January 10, 2023

New Year, New U 

2023 is Off to a Great Start Shark If by great, you mean holy hell WHAT happened. The week between Christmas and New Year's was quiet... too quiet. I'm fairly certain someone uttered those words b/c on January 3rd the dam burst, and we all washed up on shore several miles down the river. I wasn't alone, this deluge of chaos was confirm...
Read more
November 13, 2023

Rushing for the Cloud Exits is Probably Premature

Move your SaaS out of the cloud, are you crazy? That's exactly what David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH) says saved 37Signals a lot of money. But hold on.. Moving out of the cloud might be a good fit for some companies, but not everyone. Forrest Brazeal has an intriguing rebuttal in his Good Tech Things newsletter that includes this chart. I...
Read more
November 11, 2023

AI is Expensive

A fantastic write up in ArsTechnica about how AI hasn't been profitable for Big Tech. A WSJ article cited says Microsoft loses around $20 per user per month on GitHub Copilot. In fact, the service has operated at a loss despite having more than 1.5 million users. The $10 a month flat fee doesn't cover the average user cost of $20; wors...
Read more
October 9, 2023

It's Electric

A stark reminder of where the "big three" auto makers rank by market cap. If the future of automotive is electric, Tesla obviously has an early advantage. Toyota takes a slightly different track with hybrids. Maybe you've never heard of BYD, but the Chinese manufacturer has already seen success with exporting vehicles. The Challengers ...
Read more
October 2, 2023

Money, Time and Energy

This a fun infographic, but I would put the fuel gauge closer to 50% through the central "Working Age" section. That said we can pull levers to move things around, for example: spending money to create more free time. Everything has limits and at the end of the day we all make decisions of what to prioritize for ourselves, our families...
Read more
September 25, 2023

Emporos - Lighted Bag Project

I'm proud to share that I lead the team that built this integration between the Emporos and the lighted bag system. In collaboration with Product, our engineering team designed, built, tested and delivered a brand-new cloud-based software integration platform to support this system. We also worked with our partners to refine our onboar...
Read more
September 12, 2023

Does Moore's law apply to GPUs?

Blake Millard had this great point last week in his newsletter about the rate of technological adoption writing that "today’s technologies achieve scale in months and years while prior generations took decades." He included this chart from Goldman Sachs illustrating the point, but it also got my brain spinning. The often quoted "Moore'...
Read more
September 1, 2023

Spotify's AI Driven DJ

Here's a fun one for the long weekend: Have you tried Spotify's new AI DJ?🎸 If you are a Premium subscriber tap play on the DJ card and the algorithm will curate a playlist. Unlike the other smart playlist, the DJ will hand pick songs from your listening history and group them by theme (or vibe) and if you are not into it you can skip ...
Read more
August 25, 2023

AI Microtransactions

Should AI have unfettered access to money? The Lightning Network does exactly that, and provides a mechanism for AI to create a wallet, earn money and then spend money on other services in order to complete a task. To paraphrase Lyn Alden's August newsletter: "An AI agent is purposely set up by the creator to have some funds to spend a...
Read more
August 20, 2023

The Fall of Stack Overflow

Gerggely Orosz of Pragmatic Engineer dove into Ayhan Fuat Çelik's analysis of and speculated that coding assistants like Copilot, Cody, ChatGPT are partly to blame. He speculates that engineers are reaching for AI chatbots for code questions, and it's hurting Stack Overflow's traffic. I would add to that by saying that while searching ...
Read more
July 13, 2023

The Office of Weights and Measures

It's been a while (April 10th) since I posted anything. In the words of Peter Gibbons in office space "I wouldn't say I've been *missing* it". But it's not what you think, I have literally missed the action of writing and posting. What can I say life intervened. What absurd ideas have been rattling around in my head over the past few m...
Read more
April 10, 2023

AI, the Next Tech Bubble?

My Joseph Kennedy moment with ChatGPT “Joseph Kennedy famously escaped the stock market crash of 1929 after his shoeshine tried to give him stock tips, leading him to sell all of his stocks and preserving his wealth. ” Probably the only thing I have in common with Joseph Kennedy is that someone who has little understanding of machine l...
Read more
March 24, 2023

Canceled by ChatGPT

I did a wild Twitter rant.. will I get canceled? Yeah, probably by Niemann Marcus. Seriously though, can we talk about the bad advice on the Internet? Any idiot and a dog could start a blog and now 20 years later and a few slick graphics anyone can be "the News". In your comments, dropping knowledge.. wake up sheeple TikTok deserves a ...
Read more
March 12, 2023

Sunday Bank Run Fraud - The REAL SBF

Hungry Hungry Hippos 💸🦛 Intended to write a couple of posts but time got away from me the last few weeks. Now in light of the Silicon Valley Bank issue it seems a little tone deaf to ignore the 🧐 obvious elephant in the room. I am not one to buy into the Internet hype cycle, but I spent the weekend pondering how the latest financial de...
Read more
February 20, 2023

15 Nanoseconds of Fame

Look Ma I made it mom! Last week I published an article on HackerNoon, less than 24 hours later it was featured in the daily newsletter. In a matter of several days my site traffic jumped (1 to 40). LOL Not a bad investment of several hours on Friday night and Saturday morning. I submitted the article to several sites including HashNod...
Read more
February 11, 2023

Superb Owl

Superb Owl For me the Big Game is more about food, family and not yelling at the TV. It's less stressful when your team isn't playing, and you can appreciate the raw athleticism and cornball commercials. To be fair there have been some duds over the years and the quality of the commercials has declined along with the overall ad market....
Read more
January 30, 2023

Working at Chipotle so I can skip streaming ads and subscribe to newsletters

Always Money in the Burrito Stand A break from layoff talk this week, as it’s all-over social media. I would like to point out that, for now at least, there are companies still hiring. • Compared to tech layoffs, Chipotle (CMG) to hire 15K new employees • Travel demand: Airbus (OTCPK:EADSY) expanding workforce by 13K Minor downgrade fr...
Read more
January 21, 2023

Where'd All the Workers Go?

“These Workers are Gone Folks, and They Ain't Commin' Back (h/t Springsteen) ” Content creators like to make a lot of hay about why the US is seeing worker shortages in service jobs. Most of it is a bunch of feel-good bunk that ignores the fact that most service jobs suck. A "living wage" isn't worth a damn if you get yelled at all day...
Read more
January 13, 2023

Ponderance from the Money Bin

Notes from the second week of 2023... I'm officially dropping Used Car Bubble from the list citing a major correction in used car prices. Also I'm conveniently ignoring inflation because no matter how much you talk about it, what matters is how it feels. Whatever Fed Looking at my year end finances, here's my unscientific Personal CPI ...
Read more
December 12, 2022

Life Will Humble You

“Life is a long lesson in humility. – Sir James Matthew Barrie” Any attempt to impose your will on others, the world or the universe will often result in your own humiliation. I've seen it in several ways over the past few months: at work, on the Internet, and in my own home. The lesson I savor this morning is best summarized by the Ri...
Read more
December 10, 2022

Week 50 - Where Do I Fit In?

Much of this week’s notes came from an interview with Felix Zulauf by Global Macro Update. I recommend the watching the full video. It got me thinking about two things: Value and Risk. "What does this have to do with me?" you might ask. First off it'll be a rough ride with your 401k as market flucate to digest all of this. It's possibl...
Read more
December 8, 2022

Job Market for Engineers

via (The Scoop: The 2022 Hiring Market, as seen by Tech Recruiters) A couple of key points from Gergely Orosz's article.. “The market has slowed down from the frenzy of 2021-Q1 2022” Can confirm in the smaller company world. In fact he states that "expect most former FAANG engineers to not join smaller companies", which is 100% spot on...
Read more
December 4, 2022

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

Or why this time it's still not different Scanning through my year end materials I came upon this gem from TKer where we look ahead to Wall Street market predictions, but more importantly review last years' prediction. Are we surprised that NONE of the rosey predictions for the S&P 500 came true? No. Are we surprised that the market fe...
Read more
December 2, 2022

Weekly Notes 2022-W49

Weekly Notes 2022-W49 Big take away this week was that more companies are using weakening business and labor conditions to claw back remote work from employees. In my opinion this was always the plan. If your company has not committed to a remote first culture, there is a high probability that you will find yourself back in the office ...
Read more
November 29, 2022

Local Yokels - CLT in the News

A bunch of local (Charlotte, NC) news mostly from my favorite local newsletter The Charlotte Ledger. Definitely worth the sign up, mostly the work of Tony Mecia and Cristina Bolling. Ledger is my second favorite local newsletter after North Carolina Rabbit Hole by Jeremy Markovich. Both are free, and certainly worth supporting. Dirty C...
Read more
November 26, 2022

Weekly Notes - 2022-W48

Three themes dominated the notes this week: Energy, Interest and Recession. First I think it's important to note that everyone is trying to call bottom on the market because they want to buy in at the absolute low point. I think that's wrong because market timing is a gimmick. That said I do believe the old adage "buy low sell high" an...
Read more
November 23, 2022

Breaking Social Media (or how I quit my job and became a chicken)

I've spent the better part of 2022 away from social media "breaking" news and I'm happier for it. In that light I'd like to share some of my favorite articles of the week, and how I found them. If you follow my weekly business notes you know that I always link the source and I'll attempt to do so here as well. Here are a few cool finds...
Read more
November 20, 2022

Lies and Statistics

> The 1.3 million layoffs represents represent only about 0.9% of the 152 million employed during the period Yes, and as I noted all tech jobs are around 20% of the economy if we are generous and include tech manufacturing and services. Can tech stop navel-gazing for a minute? > American workers are earning just 12 cents more now than ...
Read more
November 19, 2022

The Next 30 Years

A lot of politicians claim to create thousands of high paying American manufacturing jobs, but in this case it appears COVID, Russia and China have done the work for us. As I noted in my latest weekly business notes (, the collapse of the global supply chain is forcing manufacturing to revaluate how and where the...
Read more
November 18, 2022


What the heck.. is this thing on? I found HEY World through David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried's posts. I signed up for a free trial of email client and was instantly hooked. 24 hours later I plunked down $99 and haven't looked back Wait, you PAY for email? I have for a very long time. I believe that services that are use...
Read more