Detailed, evidence-based help for common painful problems

The year of “finally”! highlights from 2019

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.
Graphics of the number 2019 with the salamander crawling through the hole in the 9.

The close of 2019 marked nineteen years of writing the website, thirteen since I first started selling books, and nine since I started earning enough to make a living from it. Nine! Almost a decade of making a living one of the hardest ways I can imagine.

This thing might just work out. Maybe.

One of the many things I finally wrote this year was the origin story. I get lots of email from people wondering just how I am pulling this off, usually because they are hoping to do so themselves — and of course most are doomed to failure. Wringing an income out of the internet seems like an increasingly improbable achievement for an individual to unlock if you’re not a YouTube star or some other weird gen Z thing.

2019 was also my most productive year yet. “Finally” was the word of the year. I checked off dozens of better-late-than-never jobs, most importantly two new books, but also 8 new or like-new articles, 70 major updates, 90 blog posts, and dozens of technical upgrades…

2019 content highlights

Paying down the tech debt

Graphics of the Matrix code cascade with the salamander superimposed.

“Business” for me mostly means the dorky business of running a website — web servers, programming, analytics, and so on. For years now I have been paying down a huge “technical debt” that I accumulated in the early years of the business.

Translation: I’ve been cleaning up the messes I made as an inexperienced programmer.

A big part of my job is putting out technological brush fires as they crop up; it’s amazing how often I had a Very Bad Day in 2019 because I programmed something poorly in 2009. This big part of my job has also become the worst part, and I am hell bent on tediously re-building all of the foundations of Someday it will be more reliable and easier to maintain.

With some good help, I’ve been picking up speed on the long journey to that goal. There were dozens of technological upgrades to the site in the last year, often the result of months or years of chipping away at various challenges…

Significant technological changes to lately

And that’s just the highlights! The ones that aren’t top-secret, anyway.

I could do a third this much in 2020 and feel satisfied with it! That’s a nice feeling to have.

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