who is this?
I'm Matt Baer, and I built Write.as. I've been playing with computers ever since I can remember, making things for the web and learning as I went. I've taken on a few big projects, like a site for my Flash games and movies, and another for bringing groups together to chat. But in 2015 Write.as became the first one that really took off, and it's made up of everything I've learned over the years. It also brings together many of my interests: writing, programming, intimate conversation, and personal privacy.
As I left school and entered the working world, making enough money to afford rent and food, I started to care less about becoming a millionaire and think more about problems in our world — especially when it comes to technology. I see companies like Facebook exploit our basic desire to communicate, and think there should be better options. I see Apple and Google encourage everyone to fondle glass slabs and think we're maybe losing something, even as we've gained “connectivity.”
I'm old enough to remember dialing up over AOL, but not old enough to have ever seen the pre-web internet. Sometimes I pine for the “wild west” days of the web where I grew up, when there was Geocities and AngelFire and Xanga, and it was nothing but weird, funky sites everywhere. The commercialization of the web has certainly emphasized the contrast between our current world of walled gardens versus that time of distributed creativity and exploration.
But I don't think all is lost. I think we merely need to remember, codify, and implement our values in software now. I think we need to see again the importance of morals behind the software we use everyday, that shapes our lives and behaviors. We need ethical standards that make surveillance an unfruitful business model. We need everyday software that enables privacy, security, transparency, freedom, and democracy.
Write.as is, underneath everything, a proof of concept for this ideal software and web service. It makes money, but is driven by principles before profit. It makes strong privacy promises to users. Its only investor is me.
To get there, beyond its subscription model I'll be building more simple, useful products. They'll share the same ideals, focus, and care for the humans on the other end of the screen (you). Here's what's in development now:
- Snap.as – publish your photos and photo essays. Expected launch: end of 2017.
- HTMLhouse – quickly publish HTML. Next: adding support for accounts, syncing, and inexpensive websites.
Building more directly on Write.as, I'll launch these products too:
The goal is to eventually have a suite of products that all work well together, and form a sustainable business that can last. If you like these ideas, I'd encourage you to sign up for Write.as and subscribe for as little as $10/year — it's the best way to help us get there.
so what's your blog about?
Oh, yeah. I'll generally write about the problems I'm trying to solve (especially with regard to Write.as), how I solve them, and just general things I write that I end up liking.
can we chat?
Absolutely. Get in touch through the contact page; generally when you're “talking to Write.as” you're talking to me. If you have ideas, questions, or the desire to help out, I'd love to hear from you.