They Moved My Cheese

90 thoughts on “They Moved My Cheese”

  1. I agree with the sentiment of many others – your corner of the internet is one of my favorite corners of the internet.

    It sounds like you’re well on your way to getting things set up with Squarespace.

    I’d gladly contribute $100 via a patreon to offset hosting, or a few hours of time to help out with any migration problems. (I’m a software developer in my day-job, I do stuff like this all the time.)

    My email address should be visible to you in my profile, or

  2. I am so sorry to read this. I’ve been following you since I discovered you on Strongtowns.
    Your common sense and thoughtfulness have really improved my own thinking and observations.

    Thank you for years of great, insightful righting.

  3. They moved my cheese too, and I’ve struggled to figure out how to post.

    But I’ve managed to get it done, so I guess I’ll stick with it.

    There is supposed to be a way to go back to the way it once worked, but I can’t figure out what it is.

  4. Thank you for your writings. I have really enjoyed reading your essays. If and when you resume writing, I hope to come across them.

  5. I have been checking in every so often and after the drought of posts this past month, I began to worry. I am relieved that it is *only* a technological problem and that you and yours are still in good health/fortune. I would happily support you through Patron to continue to be able to read your insights. The way you see through the old arguments and synthesize from different fields is inspiring, challenging, and well, fun. Thank you, Johnny!

  6. I appreciate the chaos some six figured software designer’s improvements meant to justify his existence at the plant has caused – fixing what isn’t broken seems to be an epidemic. I will miss your insights and calm, measured approach to the insanity – good luck!

    1. Over improvement hardly just a tech thing, its a cultural obsession. Like home and car shows where already more than adequate abodes and vehicles are tricked out to absurd levels. And of course how mundane objects like microwaves and dishwashers are over accessorized to the point that one can’t figure out how to use basic functions without reading a 50 page manual.

      There is the classic story several decades ago of how two Ph.D. computer scientists at the Xerox Palos Alto Research Center (PARC) were stumped trying to figure out why their copier wouldn’t work, as it kept spitting out indecipherable error codes they were trying to look up in a poorly referenced manual. Which led to a redesign of the copier interface. So you aren’t dumb, the interfaces really are awful. Some of the internal development tools used at big (and little) tech companies are so bad even the geeks can’t make them work properly.

  7. Thank you Johnny, I have greatly enjoyed your posts over the years; you will be missed! Good luck with whatever you decide to do next.

  8. Johnny,

    Really sorry to hear you’re stopping writing. All the more so because your decision is the result of problems using WordPress, rather than because you’re burned out, or have simply run out of things to say.

    I really enjoyed your columns and regret not contributing more to them, but there’s nothing I can do about that now.

    I hope you change your mind about this but, if not, good luck with your future endeavors.

  9. Howbout setting up a podcasting venture?? You could be the joe rogan of all things renewable/sustainable/retrofitable, where living, viable habitats are concerned. Just a thought.

  10. I hope you continue and will gladly contribute if it helps to continue reading your posts.
    Thank you for everything! Looking forward to hearing from you again!

  11. I’m a web developer. I could help you with cheaper self hosting. However, there’s maintenance. I assume running upgrade scripts via Terminal to save a few bucks isn’t your idea of a fun Saturday night, even it’s mine.

    Your Achilles Heel is all those gorgeous photos. Photos & videos are by far the biggest downloads of any website – and companies charge accordingly – because those downloads translate into real servers consuming real energy.

    There are extreme methods for getting the size of your website down (, but just compressing photos a bit helps tremendously. For example, if your original file is 100mb, going to 80% jpg compression yields a 60mb file, roughly speaking. Subsequent reductions aren’t as dramatic. It’s non linear.

    Sorry to bore you with the details, but the point is that there are options, but none of them are painless 🙂 In any case, I hope you figure it out and keep this going in some form. If not, you’ve done a service with your writing and touched many people. Everything has a beginning, middle, and end.

  12. This is a real disappointment. Ditto everything Nick_Adams said on Oct. 17. Really sorry to see this site go. Your observations about California where my heart resides if not my body, which is stuck in the woods of Maine, were exceptionally insightful and will be missed. I was hoping you would eventual come to do something in Maine. I understand the issues involved though and have the same problems at work, but then it is work for me.

    Be well.

  13. I was just thinking the other day that I hadn’t hears from you in a while! I very much miss your insights, but I realize time is more valuable than money and that monetizing doesn’t solve the frustrations on your end.

    I was hoping with my recent move to California that I’d be able to meet you some day but that possibility seems to be disappearing. Best of luck with the next steps, and I hope you figure out a new way to publish similar content.

  14. I am a longtime secret follower who will miss your blog. Your reason for quitting is easily understood.

    Thank you for each and every post. Same as many of your followers, I appreciate Your world view and learned quite a bit. If you do begin posting again at another site, I hope I find you. If not, thanks for everything so far.

  15. I came to your blog about three years by way of Strong Towns, and have read every post since. You’re insight into the cultural, legislative and technological forces shaping the built landscape around us had been fascinating.

    I’ve owe you one, and would happily contribute to keep your operation going. But like you say, there’s a beginging, a middle and an end to all things. Hopefully this is the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. Regardless of what you decide to do, thank you! You’re writing has meant a lot to me, and that reading list will keep me busy for the time being!

  16. Thank you for taking the time all these years to inform, enlighten and provoke thoughtful dialogue. Your insights really reflect my experiences travelling through your country and your suggestions for prepping in the coming volatility are priceless. Hope you’ll come back..

  17. Thank you for all of your work over the years, Johnny. Your photos and your insights have made a big difference to my thinking.

  18. Your blog has been awesome and will be missed! Nothing else like it out there.

    I’d also be willing to use Patreon, SubscribeStar, etc yo help fund you or defray the costs.

    1. I have read your blog for years but don’t often respond. I do not trust the mainstream media (too enamored with creating the WWF match that counts for a presidential election while the whole damn nation goes bust), but I trust you. Your sense of irony, practicality, common sense, and cheerful optimism and can-do-it attitude despite obscure zoning restrictions, etc. will be vital in the coming years. Indeed, I’m fighting similar issues in a rapidly-growing county in Tennessee and look to your solutions for inspiration. I see your articles occasionally on other blogs, but you’re a bit “freer” on your own turf. Your insight is unique and valuable. I, too, am willing to support you on Patreon. Keep us informed, and best of luck in future.

    2. Or if not Patreon I would donate directly (donate button) – say an annual drive? Also Squarespace if WordPress has gotten to be a grind maybe? I haven’t read all the comments so I’m sure these have been suggested. I will miss your posts and work but if it has gotten past the point of having value in your own life then I hope you know how much your worldview and eye has meant to so many of us who regularly visit here to check for some new insights from you. Best wishes!

  19. Thank you for writing this blog. I started reading three years ago, and have found every piece refreshingly insightful. I’ll admit to frequently feeling depressed about prospects for the future after reading many, but yours has been one of the most clear eyed perspectives about our housing economy at a human scale that I’ve read. I hope you will post here where to go, should you resume elsewhere. Best of luck for the future.

  20. Thank you for your writing, mind, photographs, and time. If you’re able, please continue! If you need to monetize, monetize! Me pay!

    To say I’m a fan would be a huge understatement; you’re a guiding light on how to live a life / run a practice that is ethical, eternally self-questioning, and thinks deeply on future modes of living.

    Truly thoughtful, blunt and honest critics like you are needed and increasingly + woefully scarce, so in the kindest way possible, please come back when you’re ready!

    With kindness and respect,

  21. Johnny, you will be missed (okay, you already were during your blogging absence). I really enjoy reading your perspective on the built environment and will miss additional posts. Please count me in as someone who would be very happy to support your pasttime through a Patreon (or something like it). Thanks for all the views.

  22. Consider a newsletter. They’re all the rage. You’d still have to solve the image hosting problem though.
    Also, how much money is the next WordPress tier? Patreon or some other fund raising approach might work, though it may be that you are just tired of fighting your tools.

  23. Your take on things has always been informative and thoughtful. I’ll miss getting even the occasional Granola Shotgun anymore. Be well and be good, Johnny.

  24. No. No. No. Please no. I’ve read your blog for years, and every time that your emails hit my inbox, my day is instantly better. I am devastated to hear that won’t be happening in the future.

    Like some of your other readers, I suggest you look into Patreon. It’s a viable way of keeping the lights on your blog, wherever it is hosted, turned on.

    However, whatever you decide, best wishes for you in the future. You have a great perspective and have taught me a lot, and for that, I am grateful.

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