Derek P. Collins
Product Designer & Developer

Building in the Open

Things may look a bit bland around here and that’s by design — inspired by Frank Chimero (and others), I’m developing and designing this blog in the open for all to see. I’m doing this for a few reasons:

  1. I tend to procrastinate when things aren’t “perfect”, which means this blog would never exist, so releasing it now — completely bare and unfinished — is a forcing function
  2. I wanted to start a blog to improve my writing and (hopefully) share something interesting with the rest of the world — so the point is to write, not endlessly fiddle with the infrastructure or tweak the design (something I’m sure I’ll end up doing anyways)
  3. We’re in the midsts of the COVID-19 pandemic and there’s never been a better time to spend umpteen hours in front of the computer

About this blog

After a good amount (okay, an obsessive amount) of research, I landed on using Hugo to generate the static files behind this blog and Amazon’s AWS S3 with a CloudFront DNS Vercel for hosting.

With the exception of a few basic styles to reign things in — centering and constraining the width of the content and sticking a banner to the top of the site to explain what’s going on — I’ve intentionally left everything in it’s default state. The next steps are to learn about Hugo, define the underlying HTML structure, and finally, design the overall look and feel of the blog while capturing my thoughts and process along the way.

What will you write about?

Anything and everything? I’m currently a Product Designer & Prototyper at Netflix (disclaimer: this is my personal blog and all views and opinions are my my own and have absolutely nothing to do with my employer in any way, shape, or form). In my free time, I’m a lover of travel, Lego, and Cleveland sports (namely the Cleveland Browns). I can’t help but write about design and development as that’s something that I love and that I spend a great deal of time learning and practicing, but I do plan on writing about things outside of my day job such as travel (when/if I can do that again), gear, and really anything that comes to mind.

Part of the purpose for creating this blog is to improve my writing, so if you, dear wise and eagle-eyed reader, ever notice anything incorrect, please let me know and help me learn. Also — fair warning — I’m a fan of the Oxford comma and I tend to over- (and perhaps mis-) use em-dashes, so that’s going to be a thing.