Full Time

Posted: 2023-06-16

I’m working on Marginalia Search full time.

I left the office for the last time today, and it’s the strangest feeling. I’ve quit jobs, taken time off work, been laid off, but this is different from any of those things. This is deliberate.

There’s a note of relief. I’ve essentially been working two pretty demanding jobs; one for pay and one for passion and the joy of making a difference.

You can absolutely bludgeon your way forward with sheer determination… for a while. It wears on you. It requires sacrificing other things in a way that’s not really sustainable long term. In all honesty, exhaustion has been mounting for a while now. Work has been slow as a result. I’m looking forward to returning to a somewhat saner life balance with time for things like sleep, exercise, and relationships. This is a long-term project, I need to find a balance where I can last the course.

Then there’s the vertigo of possibility. The potential outcomes, good or bad, they are much more extreme than working a job. I have money for two years, some half of it from the NLnet grant and half of it is savings, as well as a trickle of donations from Patreon and other places. Beyond that, nothing is certain.

Nothing is guaranteed even with a job, you can still be fired or laid off, but it’s different knowing with full certainty you don’t have a singular clue about what life will look like in 24 months.

It’s also exciting. This is such a once in a lifetime opportunity! Marginalia Search is a labor of love, I think it can be shaped into a genuinely useful tool to help navigate and shape the “rest” of the web, the parts that are still wild and creative and outside the corporate walled gardens. It’s all very rough around the edges still and there’s a thousand things to improve, but the fact that it’s at all a slight possibility is reason enough to try to realize the vision.

It’s come this far in two years with change, and in the process already opened so many new possibilities. The previous two years bought the next two years. It will be interesting to see what happens next.


I started this work just to see how far I could take it. Building an Internet search engine was such a ridiculous thing to attempt, it was such an obvious truth that it couldn’t be done… Still, I gave it a shot, for no other reason than not being able to quite figure out why this supposedly impossible thing was impossible. Doing the napkin math, it seemed very possible.

I don’t know what I expected back then, maybe building an edifice so out of touch with reality I’d turn into the second coming of Terry Davis,… or losing interest and having the project peter out into nothing? I can say for certain I did not expect to end up doing this.