Hacker Storytelling

I love to write. My girlfriend has really help me kindle this passion. Thank you @audreywatters.

After 2.5 years of telling stories on API Evangelist, I’ve gotten pretty good at organizing my ideas, and putting out stories that showcase the best (and worst) from the Business of APIs. I’ve gotten so efficient at it in 2012, I even launched API Voice which is dedicated to the politics of APIs, the API Stack which is dedicated to top APIs and Hack Weekends which is all about hackathons.

When I meet people in the real world, I often hear, “You sure blog a lot, I see like 5 posts a day coming from you!” I do write a lot, but it comes in waves. I tend to write a lot of stories all at once, pumping out 15-20 pieces and then I trickle them out across the appropriate domain over the next couple days.

In 2013, I’m going to get even more efficient with my storytelling, with an evolved approach I’m calling Hacker Storytelling.

The process is based upon dwhat I already do, but uses a new blend of:

  • Pages - HTML, CSS and text that frames a site, project or research
  • Blogs - Chronological blog posts that walk through a project or research
  • Presentations - Deck.js presentations that walk through a project or research
  • Data - JSON, XML or database stores that drive the essence of a story
  • APIs - Simple, data and representations derived from APIs

I use these formats to tell stories across my blog, but in 2012 I learned some new techniques with existing and new technology that  I have discovered, and will be employing a series of technologies that help me better deliver stories:

  • Github Pages - A quick, easy and lightweight way to host websites on Github allowing anyone to build site with HTML, CSS and Javascript.
  • Jekyll - Jekyll is a simple, blog aware, static site generator. It takes a template directory (representing the raw form of a website), runs it through Textile or Markdown and Liquid converters, and spits out a complete, static website.
  • Mustache Templates - A simple way to render structured data from JSON files, using basic HTML templates for displaying--instead of pulling directly from database.
  • Deck.js - A JavaScript library for building modern HTML presentations. deck.js is flexible enough to let advanced CSS and JavaScript authors craft highly customized decks, but also provides templates and themes for the HTML novice to build a standard slideshow.

By default all of my projects start as a Github repository with a base Github Pages + Jekyll implementation I’ve setup for my API Evangelist brand. This will force me to be open and transparent by default. I know this reality isn’t meant for everyone, but for me, I hate seeing many of my projects never leave the firewall and end up being deleted from an Amazon EC2 instance in the dungeon of my IT network.

All my projects will become Hacker Storytelling projects. Some will have a single page, while others will have blogs, presentations and simple or complex data driven tools that help support the story.

Currently I have four projects who live in this new format and are hosted entirely on Github:

My goal is to be open by default, when it comes to content and data and make sure I share all of my ideas, in the widest and most shareable and remixable way possible. My objective during my time on earth is to tell stories and write code that will make change, no matter how small.

I believe that Hacker Storytelling will help me do this! I hope it will help you too!