by havoc

Twitter (and mirroring it to
Facebook) seem to be
replacing this blog. I like what Valerie Aurora writes on her home page:

For those of you born after 1980, a “homepage” is an ancient form of
social presence on the web which has been superceded by more
structured social networks like MySpace and Facebook. One of the main
problems with a homepage was that it is easy to forget to update
it. My current homepage is mostly an archive of the past and a
collection of pointers to my current active Internet presence. Hope
you enjoyed your history lesson!


Because impending parenthood and working for a startup aren’t
enough stress for one year, we’ve decided to relocate. (This has been
the plan for several years, but stuff kept coming up. It seemed a bit
now-or-never at this point.)

If you’ve seen the movie Away We Go, we did a
trip like that in 2007 and again this year. The movie is about two
people exactly our age, traveling around deciding where to live while
expecting a kid. (Aside: the main characters in the movie made sense
to me, but critics described them as unbelievable personalities. It
seems movie critics don’t know a lot of extreme introvert
couples. Maybe we should get out more.)

Last year I got a lot out of a book called Who’s
Your City
, which is a kind of flip side to The
World is Flat
. Who’s Your City sounds like a “decide where to
live” book but in fact it’s about economic geography; Richard Florida
argues that cities are essential to knowledge work, and that economic
growth in recent decades has been due to knowledge work in regional
centers (finance in New York, tech in Silicon Valley, sales in
Chicago, etc.) … the geographic clustering allows people to network,
jump jobs, launch startups, exchange ideas, and in general get things
moving. This book claims the world is becoming less flat,
with a widening economic and cultural gap between urban knowledge
workers and everyone else. You can understand a lot about people’s gut
reactions for or against Barack Obama from this one.

Relevance to our move: economically, it’s near-insane for software
developers in the US to live outside Silicon Valley, with a very short
list of second-tier options (Boston, Boulder, RDU, Austin, maybe a
couple others). And I love startup-type work environments, groups of
smart people, and all that tech industry goodness. Amy’s nursing
specialty creates a similar situation; it’s only found in large

Aside from work, though, these places don’t match us very well. (Work
is not the only factor

It turns out that litl‘s parent company
has a (small) office in Asheville, NC, a city on our short list for
many years – it’s near family, pretty, not too large, not too boring,
affordable, lots of outdoor stuff to do. We enjoyed North Carolina
when we lived in Chapel Hill.

The downside of Asheville is that it’s not a tech industry kind of
place. That’s the risky (insane?) bit of the move, but I’m hopeful it
will work out. Oddly enough, in practice it’s almost more convenient
to Boston than where we live now … instead of being two hours from
litl’s Boston office, I can be five or fifteen minutes from the office
in Asheville, complete with a fancy video link to the team in Boston
and London. Going into the Boston office two days in a row was already
8 total hours of commuting, flying to Boston for a two-day trip isn’t
notably worse.

This will continue our North-South ping-pong, for me Georgia, Chicago,
Chapel Hill, Boston, Asheville. Amy was there too except for the
Georgia part.

Long story not short, we’ll be in Asheville in a few weeks, but I’ll
still be in Boston often for work. And we’ll see how it goes.

(This post was originally found at

My Twitter account is @havocp.
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