Hong Kong protests

You know how Marie Kondo tells you to go through your closet and throw out all your clothes because you want to start a new part of life? I did that with my website. If you’re the impetuous type, you throw out your clothes and buy new ones later. I did that, too.

After twenty years of blogging and redesign, after redesign, after redesign, my site is like sedimentary rock. You can see the remnants of features long gone. And when the developers are digging around, invariably they pull out one little pebble and all sorts of crap starts falling.

I told the developers they would break the site if they weren’t careful. The told me they have redesigned sites much bigger than mine.

So the developers broke my site. And then the design team that works with the developers “for optimal integration” priced a redesign of my site at $40,000. The account manager explained nuances of the totally unnecessary “proprietary redesign system.” I remember being in his position and thinking everyone over 40 is technically incompetent.

I fired him. And everyone else. I googled WordPress templates and I couldn’t believe how far the design industry has come. I paid $30 for a template. And I published a brand new site way before it was finished.

For a week Lorem ipsum was all over my site. There were pictures of my dog as placeholders. As I wrote real copy readers started sending in copy edits and critiques. My redesign was going great.

Until the Hong Kong protests started. Stephanie is working with me on the site and she lives in Hong Kong. She started a routine where she’d work during the day and protest at night. Then she switched to working during the day and stopping in time to get to the airport to help shut it down.

The redesign was in phases: The first part of the redesign, I was screaming: “How are designers still charging so much money? Their careers are over.” The second part of the redesign was me yelling about Hong Kong protests: “China is going to overrun the place. It’s inevitable. Just get out. You’re playing music on the deck of the Titanic.”

Stephanie argues that the Titanic metaphor is unjustified. But no western country will let her immigrate. I thought maybe she could come to the U.S. and declare asylum, but it took four seconds to see that all of Hong Kong has already thought of that.

So the Chinese government was pretending to be Hong Kong police and they tear-gassed every living thing including Hong Kong dogs. And our daily meetings were full of front-line news. For example, porn sites in Hong Kong shut down during the protests so more people would participate. And parents formed carpools to pick up kids when they were done protesting.

I don’t want to be a strikebreaker or redcoat or whatever you call a person going against a movement to secure rights. So I told Stephanie site changes can wait, and I published the site as-is. There is still stuff to do. But every time you notice something, like the archives are not quite right, remember that every error we put up with on the site is our contribution to the fight for rights in Hong Kong.

Or something like that.

Also, my Marie Kondo top-level navigation: I deleted everything that did not give me joy. It always surprises me how central coaching is to my life because I used to hate coaching so much. I can remember when people who were in their 50s would hire me, and I’d think, “Why are they asking for advice? Who cares what they do? They’re almost dead.” Now when someone in their 50s signs up for a coaching session they were born the same year I was. And I find myself feeling grateful that I’m getting to hear how other people my age are doing their lives.

And it turns out we’re all doing some version of trimming our top-level navigation and supporting someone young who is fighting for what’s right.



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