Let's get acquainted.
Hello, my name is Alexis Bellido and this is my website: Zinibu.
That serious-looking specimen in the picture is me. I’m not serious at all, but that’s the best shot—extremely biased opinion—that I could find. Yep. Horrible shot.
I was born in Peru, lived a few years in Uruguay and now reside in suburban New Jersey, minutes away from New York City.
I work as a software programmer for a digital agency building websites for news publishers and nonprofits. I also write, enjoy family life and keep busy with a variety of hobbies and small projects.
I believe each of us is a combination of what we do, care about and love. This is who I am:
- I'm a tinkerer whose bond with machines and programming started as a child in the early '80s.
- I'm an insatiable reader who craves clever sci-fi and wicked horror; I devour many other topics as well.
- I play video games. I’m not obsessed to the point of leaving my progeny starve to death but I surely enjoy a fun ride (“Niko, my cousin!”).
- I watch plenty of flicks and documentaries, including the shitty ones. Damn. Especially the freaking shitty ones. You can learn from both the good and the bad.
- I'm married to a beautiful lady and father two young women.
- I don't believe in deities, religions or plain luck but in human intelligence and education.
- I have hemophilia, a bleeding disorder that is a perfect icebreaker in crowded rooms or long journeys.
- I love music and play guitar; I suck at it. I’m learning to play piano and drums—I suck even more at those.
- I enjoy taking photographs with a real camera, well, a DSLR, which is the closest I can get. I despise using smartphones to take pictures and believe the rise of the selfie has caused terrible damage to humankind.
- I'm obsessed with the world's problems, constantly ponder about the meaning of life and have a bizarre relationship with capitalism.
Zinibu, if my googling-fu is right, means knowledge, and I think it’s pronounced “zee-nee-boo.” If you’re Latvian, send me a recording—and if my interpretation is wrong, shh! too late to find another name.
I conceived Zinibu as a storyteller’s notebook—random madness included—and an evolving guide on how to think and work independently. On Zinibu, you’ll find stories and ideas aimed at writers, programmers, musicians, designers, and everyone in between. If your life revolves around knowledge and creativity, I’d like to spread a few seeds that you may grow into your own tree, a tree that could take any shape you want: a better job, financial independence, a meaningful and happier existence. Your call. Your life. Your tree.
I’ll share practical advice for thinkers and doers and hope my ramblings will spark inspiration in those of you who value intelligence, take risks and strive to solve problems. I don’t know what to call you. I don't care about labels. You know who you are.
The topics you’ll find on Zinibu include:
- Teaching and learning. I have a marked interest in cognitive science.
- Software development, with emphasis on open source.
- Business and finances for regular folks (less than a million bucks in the bank? You’re regular).
- The art and the craft of telling good stories.
- Writing and self-publishing.
- Telecommuting and productivity.
- The future, aliens (why are you taking so long to invade, guys?), robots and our imperfect human nature.
- A tint of bullshit-free philosophy.
- Whatever may end up on my reading list, from killer ants to advice from trappers in the taiga.
Why are you doing this?
I’ve lived long enough to make more than enough mistakes, get one or two things right, and pick up a few lessons.
Paradoxically, after writing software for computers for so long, I’ve become very familiar with how my Homo sapiens brothers and sisters think and act; I believe I have something valuable to say.
It’s time to start writing for my own species and, as stupid as it may sound, I intend to apply a bit of software engineering to the task.
Fortunately for you, dear dubious reader, this is the second time in a decade that I assume the role of publisher and author. I had a foray into nonfiction in 2006, back when all websites were called blogs—even the ones that weren’t blogs. It wasn’t that bad, well, at least not baby-xenomorph-coming-out-of-your-chest bad. Look, the thing is, I can write words.
Ten years in Internet time is eternity and the self-publishing industry has evolved dramatically. It’s a brave new world for writers and I’m glad to be back.
Writers make a contract with the reader: give me your time and attention and I’ll give you good stuff to think about. If I fail to do that—hell—at least I’ll entertain you.
Let’s make that contract; I’ll do my best to fulfill it with carefully crafted, clear writing.
I’ll spice it up with silly jokes to establish my role as just another good guy Greg; I’ll keep it snappy, and even if you may find a little lingo and stupid references, worry not, you’ll still grok me.
And that's it. No big plans.
If some piece on Zinibu encourages you to set sail on your own journey, that’s more than enough for me.
(Editor note: the author may ask for blood or your supposedly immortal soul in the future.)