A Love Letter to Personal Projects

My 9-to-5 role is engineering lead for a mobile platform team at a fintech company. The team is incredible, the leadership is human, the work is challenging, and the opportunities are valuable. We serve microbusinesses —a group near and dear to my heart— and I like the product so much that I’m also a customer (note: that review is out of date; the mobile app is significantly updated now).

And for all the great things about my day job, I usually can’t wait to work on my side projects.


My day job is about executing on business decisions. The tools and frameworks I use are business decisions. The deadlines and deliverables are business decisions. This is, of course, a good thing for keeping the business going (and growing).

But there is rarely delight in working with business decisions.

My side project is about executing my craft. It is all about delight.

Using Nova instead of VS Code is delightful.

Using Tower instead of GitHub Desktop is delightful.

Using Kaleidoscope instead of FileMerge is delightful.

Working in pure Swift instead of React Native is delightful.

Taking the time to obsessively perfect an implementation instead of meeting a release schedule is delightful.

Using Obsidian, Day One, and Things instead of Jira and Confluence is delightful.

Using sharp tools instead of business decisions is delightful.

At work, the delight comes from people, from relationships, from a mission. In my side project, the delight comes from working like an artisan.

I refer to my business as a code atelier and my work there as craft.

I’ll concede that this might not be a great business decision.

But it is delightful and energizing because it makes building things fun.