The best time to start a blog

Start a blog, plant a tree — anything, really.

John Siracusa, celebrating the 20th anniversary of his blog, concluded that “The best time to start a blog is 20 years ago. The second-best time is today.” His take on the classic proverb about planting a tree painfully resonates with me. I started a blog 20 years ago, but stopped updating it after a couple years. “Start a blog” has been on my New Year’s resolutions list every year since.

In the early 2000s when I was just starting out as a web designer (as we were called before UI/UX/interaction/product design titles were part of the vernacular), was my first big personal side project. Every 2 weeks I wrote “issues” offering guidance to other designers looking to make their way in the still somewhat new world of designing for the internet. This was before blogs were called blogs and posts were called posts, apparently. I even had links to download issues as PDFs, so you could print them to read on the go (no smartphones yet!). circa 2002. That baby is now a man and still earning residuals. expanded beyond mainly offering issues, and became my playground as a young designer. I had free reign to experiment with layout and branding. I built up my skills in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP. I made custom desktop icons, wallpapers, fonts, and Photoshop brushes available to download. I set up a forum and a mailing list. I added a Notes section that was built on b2, a PHP publishing platform that was eventually called WordPress (maybe you’ve heard of it?)

Design Launchpad logo explorations from 2004. It’s cute that I non-ironically included a trademark symbol on each one.

My burgeoning design empire slowly started gathering dust once my wife and I had kids. After a few years of unsuccessfully trying to dedicate time and energy to revive the site, I officially threw in the towel in 2006. I posted a sad announcement on the home page that I was shuttering the site:

It has been over 3 years since Design Launchpad has been updated. I’m tired of looking at the old site, so I’m shutting it down to force myself to put something new up. It could be months away, it could be years away, or it could never happen at all.

The web is littered with promises of writing more, followed by apologies for not writing more, followed by radio silence. So I’m not going to make any promises here. But looking back on the work I did on Design Launchpad, I realized that my goal to “start a blog” is really just a desire to have a personal project to consistently direct my energy at. And more broadly speaking, this exercise serves as a reminder that today is also the 2nd best time to start a lot of other things — getting in shape, connecting with friends, etc.

So cheers to that — I’ll see you in 20 years.