Hello, world. My name is Lane Rettig, and this is my personal blog. I also publish things, mostly about blockchain, on Medium and at Etherean.org (and occasionally shout into the void on Twitter). The things I publish here are shorter, less polished, more personal, and about a broader variety of topics.
I’ve been writing software since I was eight years old. To me, software is both self expression and activism. I firmly believe that we must write the software we want to see in the world. We can’t rely on big companies to do this for us because the incentives are fundamentally misaligned. We need software and systems that are more open, permissionless, participatory, interoperable, resilient, censorship resistant, and better governed than the ones we rely on today.
This isn’t just about software, of course. Software is a means to an end. As software eats more and more of our world, it increasingly undergirds our institutions and circumscribes our society. The end is better human institutions. This is my motivation.
By way of background, after college I spent a few years working in quantitative finance, where I gained appreciation for complexity, and for both the power and limits of quantitative models. I left because I didn’t feel that my work was making the world a better place. I attended business school, where, for the first time, I began to understand how the world actually works—how money, power, and connections drive business and government. After that, I cofounded and ran a healthcare technology startup, an experience that showed me firsthand the concrete, positive impact software can have on the lives of people everywhere. It also showed me how broken our healthcare system is—how overregulation and misalignment of incentives stifle innovation.
For the past few years, I’ve been mostly focused on open source software including blockchain protocol development. I worked as an Ethereum core developer from 2017-2019. These days, I work on a novel blockchain protocol called Spacemesh (you can read about my motivation for working on the project), consult on blockchain governance, write, and work on side projects. I also meditate, do yoga, hike, and run marathons.
You may be wondering, where does the name Applescotch come from? Two of my favorite things in the world are apples and single malt scotch. In a sense, they represent two antipodes of my personality: the desire to follow the rules, fit in, and be healthy, on the one hand; and the desire to be a little deviant, anarchistic, and play by my own rules, on the other. We all comprise manifold contradictions; this is one of my favorites. Douglas Hofstadter put it best:
“We all are bundles of contradictions, and we manage to hang together by bringing out only one side of ourselves at a given time.”
Oh, I also just like how the name sounds!
Welcome to the ground floor of the rabbit hole. You can read more about my motivations for Applescotch in Hello, world.