Is there a formal name for the idea that someone is mostly the sum of their external influences? So much of my day-to-day depends on what movies I’ve watched, which books I’ve read, and what music I’ve listened to. And that’s not entirely because the Twitter Developer Relations team is a hodgepodge of cosmopolitan folks and the references fly fast and furious in our work area, but because everything is so culturally interconnected nowadays.

An example: a developer in Germany told me to read Corey Doctorow’s Little Brother, which mentioned The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs, which taught me why Civic Center in SF is such a mess, which helped form my opinion of Twitter’s recent move to the neighborhood, and also let me get the reference when Andy made an offhand comment about her in Season 7 of Weeds:

I’ve also been really inspired by Pamela Fox’s reading list. Many folks know her as a developer evangelist or engineer, but that list alone reveals facets of her personality that you wouldn’t really know by just reading the technical posts she puts up. So I’ve decided to start writing down notes about the stuff that I consume from a day to day basis, so that maybe a bit more of who I am comes through on this site, and so that I have something to point to instead of just sounding pretentious when I give my summed up opinion of things to the big cheese:

A quick note about my philosophy of reviews: scores are nonsense, and so are generalized thumbs-up/thumbs-down systems. Authors spend so much time on their work that if more people started writing a couple of paragraphs to explain what something made them feel, we might get away from the “Epic Fail” or “Epic Win” bullshit that pervades so much today.

The best example I can give of what I’d love to be able to do is He doesn’t review a movie so much as explain what happens, make a few really insightful jokes, and then say why you may or may not agree with him, to great effect. Reviews for folks who can be comfortable making up their own opinions. His theories on Nick Cage and “mega-acting” changed my life.