The Controlled Detonation Of My Anonymity

The time is upon us. I'll try keep it brief because I really don't think who I am is that interesting - but there is a podcast link which might actually be of interest if you wish to indulge in my dulcet tones. All links below may give you adblock warnings as I've shortened the ones containing my name via TinyURL to slow how rapidly this becomes the first page when recruiters look me up. Apologies for that.

Job titles, genders, company domains, tech stacks, and various other details have been obfuscated in my writing from day one. And then I also swapped some details around on LinkedIn, and some jobs are missing entirely from there. Very few things that I've written map cleanly to an employer, and nothing maps clearly to an individual. I'm not in the cyberbullying or doxxing business.

I. Why?

Firstly, I have a podcast now, so there's not much point pretending that I'm going to be even remotely anonymous going forward. I called it "Does A Frog Have Scorpion Nature?" which I am extremely proud of.


You can listen to it here and I am still figuring out how to publish it in as many places as possible with the right bits and bobs configured. It's with one of the people cited as excellent managers in Leadership Is A Hell Of A Drug. I'll provide periodic updates as I work this out, but let me know if you want it on a particular platform or it's otherwise missing something you want.

Secondly, the less anonymous I am, the more interesting people I meet and the more context people have for critically thinking about my writing. Is his experience terrible? Are the sectors he works in awful? Does he never stay long enough at companies? Does his beard need trimming?

Someone also said this would be good for my career, but uh, you read my last two posts, right? We're burning this baby to the ground. Mama didn't raise no coward.

II. Who Am I?

I'm going to use a shortened link to my LinkedIn profile for now so that this blog does not immediately appear upon a Google search - I'm not particularly worried one way or the other, but irreversible is irreversible. I've scrubbed all the borderline lies out of my bio because I couldn't stand the thought of embarrassing myself in front of an audience that I respect. That doesn't say anything good about the LinkedIn community writ large, hah.

As for actually connecting with me, about 150 people added me when I first said I was contactable over email. It's much easier to do so now. I still don't know exactly what LinkedIn is actually for (the answers seem to be largely nothing), but I'd just like to point out that if everyone adds me, I will be able to briefly indulge in watching some grifters I really dislike become absolutely stunlocked as they try to understand why that random engineer who is mostly known for writing the things they hate has suddenly had their Clout Number 5x. This does nothing for you but would be very funny for me, and would be appreciated.

III. But Really, Who Are You?

Yeah, that's all just work history. Here's some cultural background.

I grew up in Penang, a very small island off the northwest corner of Malaysia. Extremely dense population, not a lot of land. Income also tends not to be very high there - I was lucky enough to grow up in a wealthy family, but most of that wealth resulted in nothing more than engaging with native-born Australians on an equal footing via being able to purchase a visa through education. The education itself was mediocre. My first job in Malaysia paid RM 3,000. This is considered an excellent starting salary there, but is about A$959 a month, so I moved to Australia where I receive that much money to literally just attend standup.

My hometown, despite being quite built-up, is so lacking in recreational activity that the last time I was there, a friend admitted they had been illegally learning how to tan smuggled zebra hides because it was the only activity they could reach after work in Southeast Asian traffic. I'm as bewildered as you are.

I didn't speak Malay but was only allowed to attend local schools, so I essentially skipped the first six years of my education. This either did not impact me at all or explains everything. You can decide.

I've been in Melbourne since 2013, where I spent four years studying psychology, two years studying data science (after realizing that A$959 was not a good return on investment following the psychology degree), and have been working in I.T ever since.

IV. Are You Any Good At Engineering?

This one has actual career implications for me, but this blog is the no-bullshit zone. If I'm not good enough to hire if it comes down to it, I'd better get used to washing dishes.

I usually say that my skills aren't good due to largely working with mediocre people in my professional career. But hey, we're being honest, right? I don't have much on my GitHub, but here's a few days of trying Advent of Code before I got busy. Judge for yourself with what little is there. If it seems like sub-junior work, use my self-immolation to set your own imposter syndrome alight. I reached "senior engineer" in three years at companies that have local name recognition, so presumably that is very surpassable.

I seem to earn basically no money for any organization I work at on a day-to-day basis because very few companies can even formulate a coherent monetization strategy for their data, but then occasionally randomly save like A$500K to A$1M because I noticed someone was doing something extremely stupid. I have no idea how that translates to whatever the nebulous skill of software engineering is.

However, the organization mentioned here is likely one of the most elite non-FAANG shops in Melbourne, and they said I "turned the competition's planets into glass via orbital bombardment". If you look at my GitHub, look at that statement, and think "Huh, are standards that low?", the answer is yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. In any case, I guess your boy can turn up when he needs to.

The most impressive single piece of work I've produced was my Master's thesis, which you can find here. I wrote the entire thing without version control because the university didn't teach it and I was coming out of psychology. I'm also pretty sure my algorithms had massive bugs and I only vaguely understood the math employed. In short, there are a lot of things wrong with it but I still haven't ever engaged my brain this much since entering the industry. It also did introduce me to one of the most niche books I've ever read, Chris Wallace's Statistical and Inductive Inference by Minimum Message Length.

One of the reasons I don't hone my engineering skill as much as I'd like is that I very quickly realized that 30% of issues presented as software issues actually aren't, another 30% of them should be solved by buying software (the right software, not the garbage companies normally buy), 30% of them shouldn't be solved at all, and I will only consider writing software in 5% of cases. The last 5% is for actually complicated software. I'm not sure if this means that I have business acumen or if I'm too scared of committing to maintaining technical solutions because they're fun enough to be a siren song, but maybe it means I'm employable.

V. What About Your Company?

The company I founded with the team is Hermit Technology. Not much else to say there - I'm not here to sell you anything. If we can actually help you, I'm not going to say no, but what I actually want is for everyone to realize that you can just start a business. The first steps are only slightly harder than just turning up to work to be Scrummed at, but it's a lot more interesting, and for the most part has been totally fine. I think some business models and becoming super rich are hard, but it's already quite obvious to me that halfway talented programmers can pretty easily earn a living without begging a big company to hang around their office for 40 hours a week. And I really think that grifters have turned honesty into the hottest commodity there is.

Anyway, there it is. I called an accountant and a lawyer, forked over a negligible amount of money, and it's done. You can just like, do it.

VI. What's Up With The Podcast?

I'm probably going to aim for an episode every month or so. There's a lot to learn about interviewing and audio editing, and I think the second episode will be much better. But frankly, while the first episode has issues, I suspect even mostly removing background noise means I've tried harder than most. However, it does take a lot of time and is currently unmonetized, so I'll still be largely focused on writing.

You can send me feedback on it at Both positive and negative feedback are greatly welcomed, as I know there is both massive room for improvement and I won't keep producing it if there are no indications that anyone enjoys it. However, if you do enjoy it, giving it a share would be nice. I had fun doing it and would actually really like to continue, with the caveat that I want to make a podcast for actual listeners, not the void.

Please note that the original version of it sounded terrible and I benefited greatly from the help of Dennis Crenshaw, who introduced me to Reaper with step-by-step instructions on not being an incompetent moron. He's also in the U.S and needs work urgently - and when I say urgently, we're talking "I am lighting the beacons of Gondor because my man only has a month or two of runway due to family care". He likes Clojure, okay? You won't regret having him around. This is me, man possibly using his career to fuel the beacons, vouching for him. There are no more expensive signals of honesty available in my arsenal. Reach out to him directly on Bad Platform or email me for a connection.

VII. What's Next?

Nothing, really. I'm going to stay focused on getting my consulting business off the ground, on writing, and try to go to the gym more often. I don't think the tone of my writing will change a whole lot - I already avoid saying anything that would target a specific individual and have added enough misdirection to my worst stories that no one really has a reason to come after me, unless they really want to put their hands up and go: "Yes, that's me. I am the person that wastes millions and can't use Git".

I'll let you know if I end up getting fucking shot in the head by someone in a suit that doesn't like honesty, or if I'm forced into working at KFC. Godspeed, you glorious bastards.