Harry Keller

April 10, 2023

↬ March 2023 (and a bit of April)

Hello y’all,
uh oh, every month I’m later with this newsletter and admittedly it feels quite odd to write a March recap when a third of April has already passed. Sadly I really had no headspace for personal newsletter writing up until now: The reason was an all-consuming project I’ve been working on at Village One since October – the relaunch of TypeMates.com, which just went live a few days ago. You can watch me talk about it here in a Loom. It was quite the undertaking and I also already wrote a short Village One newsletter when it launched. Won’t repeat it all here, but yeah, busy days and very happy to see it out in the wild now! Up until the very end I really didn’t think we’d make it, so long was the to do list. 🥲

What else is happening at Village One? 

Glad you asked:

  • We finally concluded the “let’s hire a designer” journey and signed the contract with our favorite candidate. It was a long process and super, super close between two people at the end … with more money in the bank and more projects in the pipeline we would’ve loved to bring them both aboard, but for this round we had to make a decision. Not sure whether we can say who it is yet, but they are joining in July!
  • We convinced an absolute dream client to work with us. Our “democratize work” angle of being a cooperative was what originally attracted them work to us and it’s just so cool to see that we’re being noticed by the right people.
  • For the final stretch of the TypeMates project we teamed up with Sev Furneaux (we used to work together at my old company diesdas.digital) on a freelance basis. Originally I was hesitant to bring in another dev late in the project, losing time to onboarding, but in the end it was worth it (as it usually is). Working together with him and Fei also made it feel like a small dev team was forming. I could get used to that!
  • Other projects we’ve been involved in: Choosing and setting up digital infrastructure with Publix, finishing the last features and website bits for the upcoming The World Talks event together with Bitcrowd, as well as redesigning #GenoDigitalJetzt’s new branding (website still shows the old one).
  • More newsletters: We started a members interview series and the first two have already been sent out. Check out Fei’s profile and mine!
  • On entrepreneurship – this is short and brilliant!

And besides work?

Some random thoughts, media and links that kept my brain active throughout March and early April:

  • Stating the obvious: It’s finally spring in Berlin! Green leaves, > 10 degrees, sunshine … I can’t put into words how much of a relief that is.
  • I finished re-reading Octavia E. Butler’s parables (Parable of the Sower / Parable of the Talents) and the prescience of these books is just incredible. So relevant, so intense.
  • Berlin 2030’s referendum for stricter climate laws unfortunately did not pass, with a surprisingly large amount of “no” votes. I expected many people to simply stay at home, but voting “no”? Shows me how much I live in a green-progressive bubble.
  • Meanwhile Paris is doing all the right things!
  • France’s citizens’ assembly on end of life topics concluded with encouraging results: “After deliberating for 27 days spread across 4 months, 184 randomly selected citizens from across France reached a stunning 92% consensus around 67 recommendations.”DemNext has a great round-up in their newsletter! More of this, please!
  • Mac app recommendation: I’ve been using Klack to simulate mechanical keyboard sounds and it’s glorious, I’m loving it to the point that it now feels odd to type silently when it’s off.
  • Random find: The HTML Review is so weird and I’m here for it! Check out the Form Poetry entry, I mean, what even is that? But I’m really happy somebody made this.
  • The Tetris movie was pretty great, same goes for its soundtrack! Had to dust off my old Tetris cartridge (goes without saying, by blowing into it) and clear some falling blocks; been humming the Tetris theme ever since.
  • Finished the Metroid Prime remaster on Switch yesterday – what a fantastic game! 20 years old, still holds up so well. Can’t wait for Echoes remastered (which I never played back on the GameCube).
  • The age of average – why everything looks the same
  • Next book club: We’re reading “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” by Gabrielle Zevin – join us! Random side note: Never judge a book by its cover, but oh my, that truly is one beautiful cover!
  • ChatGPT and AI in general continues to be the big story in tech and I find the hype so tiring. Are these new tools impressive? Absolutely. But the anthropomorphization in the language used around LLMs is just wrong … ChatGPT doesn’t “think”, it doesn’t “hallucinate” and it doesn’t show “signs of consciousness”. What it does is probabilistically stringing words together based on the vast amounts of human-written text it was trained on (there it is again!), with results that often seem plausible, but are also frequently complete bullshit. It’s exciting what LLMs can do, but honestly not that exciting. At least crypto might finally be gone for good?
  • My girlfriend and I are going back to the Peak District (UK) in May. Workation, here we come!
  • Still going strong on Pixelfed with GameBoy Camera photography!

On the smartphone camera roll:

Alright – hope you’re having a wonderful April! If you want to get in touch: Simply reply to this email (or use hello@harryfk.com if you’re reading the web version)! 

Talk soon, 

Harry Keller | harryfk.com
Berliner, works at Village One
Writing a newsletter, running a book club
Elsewhere: Mastodon | Pixelfed | Twitter

About Harry Keller

Heya, I’m Harry, a software developer in Berlin/Germany—he/him, *351ppm, feminist, cooperativist, dogfather. I recently co-founded the somewhat utopian design+tech cooperative Village One and also diesdas.digital before that. You can learn more about me on harryfk.com and we can connect on Mastodon, Twitter, BeReal, PixelfedInstagram. Or you can simply read my newsletter below! 💁