An Interview with Zach Wade Betz

Give us a quick intro to yourself, your blog, and why someone should read your blog.

Yo. I'm Zach. I work as a software developer. Kylynn and I have 2 little kiddos. Hmm... why should someone read my blog? They probably shouldn't. There's much better content out there.

How long have you been writing, and when did you become "serious" about writing?

I started this blog ( in 2018. I'd always wanted one, but never found the right tool for it. It wasn't until I discovered the static site generator, Hugo, that I feel in love. "Serious?" I am not serious. I leave that to the pros. I'm just a regular dude who posts an article once in a while.

What motivates you to write?

Sometimes I'll hear something and post a snippet of it to share with others. Other times I may learn something new at work, then condense that down into a bite-sized writeup.

What aren’t people talking about enough?

Embracing boredom. Like, I think it does you good to just sit there with your thoughts. Resisting the urge to check your phone, or watch tv, or eat a snack, or whatever. You'd be surprised what your mind bubbles up to you.

What have you changed your mind about in the last decade?

I used to think routines were dumb. Like, why would someone script their life? How boring. Fast forward to now. Dude, I could not manage day to day without a routine. I'm like the most routine person now. Total flip flop.

What would you like to know about the economy/world that we can’t know?

If/when the U.S. dollar with crash. Would be nice to move my money elsewhere. Or maybe by that point I'll have bigger problems.

What is something that you believe that few or no other people believe?

Hmm. Am not sure how many folks would agree with me on this, but I have an odd view of the learning cycle, or, at least, how I experience. In a nutshell, when learning a new concept, I first "see the world" by it. Like if the world is full of nails, the concept becomes my hammer. Once I've wrestled with it enough, it goes back to being a regular old tool in my toolbox. I wish it started out as a tool, but I haven't figured out how to do that yet.

How has your writing changed since you've been writing, and can you point to any pieces that would strongly show these changes?

Hmm. At first I was a bit stiff. I've loosened up a bit. I try to let myself have more fun now.

What are your favorite pieces that you've written? How do these do with your readers?

One of my favorites is my tutorial on how to make a hugo blog from scratch. Tutorial can be found here Scroll down to the "Emails I’ve Received" secton, they're heart warming.

What’s a piece of commonly accepted writing advice you think is wrong?

What they teach you in high school english. Man, it's so stiff and full of fluff. I respect folks who write in real, plain language.

What have been the biggest "meta-moments" in your software career that have changed how you build/think about software, and by that I mean what are your sort of "software" virtues and how did they come about?

I had been a Windows guy all most life. So, mostly dotnet development. And in that world, a lot is abstracted away from you. It's great for productivity. But not so great for understanding. Around 2018 I was forced to use a Mac for a new project. I resisted at first. Then I dove head first into the world of Unix (and Java). My experience was nearly the opposite. It was easy to drown in configuration and choices, but the understanding I gained was much greater.

What is one thing in software development that you wished you had run into sooner? and don't say testing.

Declarative programming. In my book, it's not better or worse than imperative programming, but it has some cool benefits, like less code needed to do what you want, and less branches to test.

Who are the software people that you follow, read, and/or are interested in?

Just a few off the top of my head:

  • Martin Tournoij, @arp242, creator of GoatCounter
  • Joe Mooring, @jmooring, top notch forum contributer, jack of all things

What is something that you don't think programmers get? what is something that you think "normies" get about our world

Programmers don't get that talking in technical jargon all the time is not cool. Like, if you can't describe things in plain language with nontechnical folks, you have some self-work to do. I'm drawing a blank on the normies question. Am sure I'll think of something laying in bed tonight.

What questions would you like your favorite bloggers to answer?

Let's go with Nietzsche's The Eternal Return. It's more of a thought experiment, but I like to see how folks respond:

“What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!'” –Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science

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