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About

Bram Adams (@bramses) is a creative technologist and commonplacer based out of NYC.

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First time on the site? Check out the Start Here page first!

What are your favorite books?

You can see an irregularly updated Goodreads list here, but my all time favorite books include: (NB: these are affiliate links, so I get a bit of kickback if you buy a copy. Thanks!)

  1. Siddhartha (affl. link) by Herman Hesse
  2. The Beginning of Infinity (affl. link) by David Deutsch
  3. The Denial of Death (affl. link) by Ernest Becker
  4. Developer Hegemony (affl. link) by Erik Dietrich
  5. Gardens: An Essay on the Human condition (affl. link) by Robert Pogue Harrison
  6. Sun and Steel (affl. link) by Yukio Mishima
  7. So Good They Can't Ignore You (affl. link) by Cal Newport
  8. The Dream Machine (affl. link) by Mitchell Waldrop

Hunter x Hunter (affl. link) by Yoshihiro Togashi is my favorite piece of art, period.

What are you currently reading?

  1. Napoleon: A Life by Andrew Roberts
  2. Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety by Eric Schlossler
  3. Van Gogh by Steven Nafieh
  4. Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliot Friedman
  5. The Art of the Commonplace by Wendell Berry
  6. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  7. Pieces of the Action by Vannevar Bush

"Social" Media

I like social media with a singular purpose for being, e.g. a way to geek out over a shared medium: books, movies, code, etc. I don't like social media run by BUMMER companies.

What are you working on right now?

I'm broadly focused on:

  1. This website
  2. My Sunday newsletter
  3. Client work related to OpenAI
  4. Building creative technologies around the lifestyle of being well-read alongside PKM process(es). I read five books a month and I'm trying to make that process more fulfilling) (this is going really well – check out Commonplace Bot!!)
  5. Foundational code projects related to agents, specifically demystifying the craft of Assistants and GPTs (currently working on a podcast for this)

What is your philosophy?

Such a thing is difficult to convey in words, but here are a few quotes and ideas that get close.

(Italics are ideas I got from somewhere else, non-italicized are my ideas)

  1. Hunters must always be hunting something.
  2. Enjoy the little detours, something more important than what you're hunting for could be right by the side of the road./Ask anyone you admire: Their lucky breaks happened on a detour from their main goal. So embrace detours. Life is not a straight line for anyone.
  3. ...I want what I've always wanted. Something I don't see in front of me.
  4. Toma lo que quieras y págalo.
  5. Ars longa, vita brevis.
  6. A zettelkasten/commonplace book is a noble task to work on unto itself. It is a garden, and gardens have no beginnings or ends, they merely change with intention and by season.
  7. Solvidar ambulado.
  8. The Law of Remarkability: For a mission-driven project to succeed, it should be remarkable in two different ways. First, it must compel people who encounter it to remark about it to others. Second, it must be launched in a venue that supports such remarking.
  9. If what you are working on is not important and not likely to lead to important things, then why are you working on it?
  10. Do less, better.
  11. If you want to get to know someone, find out what makes them angry. / When someone tells you what ticks them off they are telling you what makes them tick.
  12. Choose a philosophy, or one will be chosen for you. The same can be said for your attention.
  13. Most code has yet to be written.
  14. Fix problems where you see them. Especially fun ones.
  15. ...You probably won't solve that problem. Have fun anyway.
  16. Enthusiasm, freshness, beauty. All the things that make life worth living. That's why I plan in the suite of a superior five-star hotel. Not in a hangar or some apartment in the suburbs like those crooks who hide away like rats and dress in dark colors. If we're riddled with bullets at the doors of that auction house, we'll leave five beautiful corpses behind...and Damian's.
  17. To be remarkable, read books.
  18. Luck is a skill like everything else.
  19. I placed the highest priority on the sort of life that lets me focus on writing, not associating with all the people around me. I felt that the indispensable relationship I should build in my life was not with a specific person, but with an unspecified number of readers. As long as I got my day-to-day life set so that each work was an improvement over the last, then many of my readers would welcome whatever life I chose for myself. Shouldn’t this be my duty as a novelist, and my top priority? My opinion hasn’t changed over the years. I can’t see my readers’ faces, so in a sense it’s a conceptual type of human relationship, but I’ve consistently considered this invisible, conceptual relationship to be the most important thing in my life. In other words, you can’t please everybody.
  20. Siddhartha looked into the river and saw many pictures in the flowing water. He saw his father, lonely, mourning for his son; he saw himself, lonely, also with the bonds of longing for his faraway son; he saw his son, also lonely, the boy eagerly advancing along the burning path of life’s desires; each one concentrating on his goal, each one obsessed by his goal, each one suffering.
  21. To understand how Epicurus's garden reflects and even embodies the core of his philosophy, we must keep in mind first of all that it was an actual kitchen garden tended by his disciples, who ate the fruits and vegetables they grew there. Yet it was not for the sake of fruits and vegetables alone that they assiduously cultivated the soil. Their gardening activity was also a form of education in the ways of nature: its cycles of growth and decay, its general equanimity, its balanced interplay play of earth, water, air, and sunlight. Here, in the convergence of vital forces in the garden's microcosm, the cosmos manifested its greater harmonies; here the human soul rediscovered its essential connection to matter; here living things showed how fruitfully they respond to a gardener's solicitous care and supervision. Yet the most important pedagogical lesson that the Epicurean garden imparted to those who tended it was that life-in all its forms-is intrinsically mortal and that the human soul shares the fate of whatever grows and perishes on and in the earth. Thus the garden reinforced the fundamental Epicurean belief that the human soul is as amenable to moral, spiritual, and intellectual cultivation as the garden is to organic cultivation.

What's up with your profile picture? Why do you use it everywhere?

Good question! Find out here.

Sooooo...what do you look like?

Find out here. Or here (my runway modeling days (in the past!!)).

What do you classify yourself as career wise?

I really struggle with this myself. Broadly speaking, I think I "qualify" to title anything I have been officially paid to do in the past/present, and " aspirational" anything I'd like to be paid for/rewarded for in the future.

Official:

  1. Software Developer
  2. Developer Advocate
  3. Consultant
  4. Owner-operator (Stenography)
  5. Writer
  6. Creative Technologist

Aspirational:

  1. Artist
  2. Book Author
  3. Actor
  4. Musician

What are your thoughts on AI?

The current-near future AI will be as impactful to humanity's future as the impact of true alphabetical language (the ones we use today) combined with the impact of infinite computation devices (Turing machines). In other words, the foundation of a true self sustaining intelligence.

The current, null hypothesis impact of AI is massive for those who are willing to explore the space and make it work for their needs.

What is your stack?

for bramadams.dev:

for life/work management:

software:

hardware:

for food:

for style:

Who are these chibi characters on your blog?

The Socratic Dialogues! You can read more about them here!

Do you have a Discord?

Yes! And there are even perks for being a member!

How can I contact you?

You can find my contact information here.

Are you raising VC money for Stenography?

No.

Who are your favorite musicians?

I oscillate favorite artists, but broadly stick within 3-4 core genres:

  1. Metalcore
  2. Rap
  3. J-Pop/Rock
  4. EDM

My favorite artists currently are (by odds of me consuming their entire discography over and over):

In no particular order:

  1. Sleep Token
  2. Braden Ross
  3. Oliver Francis
  4. Childish Gambino
  5. Porter Robinson
  6. Post Malone
  7. System of a Down
  8. Brakence
  9. Maggie Lindemann
  10. MCR
  11. Kai Wachi
  12. YOASOBI

Favorite Song (changes)

Are you single? 😉

Yes. I may get around to making one of those date me docs, or I may not. I've been off of dating apps, so I probably need to do more work in that regard. Who knows! Find me on Raya!

Employment + Education History

Bram publishes a weekly newsletter (Sundays), is a community developer ambassador for OpenAI, and does freelance contracts (for hire!) related to AI/web dev/AR+VR.

As of Spring 2024, Bram is actively working on solving books. Commonplace Bot and its sibling projects: Quoordinates and Quo-Host, are the world's first look into what he future of reading books and retention will look like with the influence of LLMs. You can test Commonplace Bot out live in the Bram Adams' Discord server. Check out all the projects by starring the topic: #future-of-reading.

Bram is the creator of Stenography, an API and VSC Extension that automatically documents code on save, which went #1 on Product Hunt. He also created MapGPT, a GPT that creates a personalized tour guide from anywhere in the world and has been a featured GPT on the GPT Store and used in more than fifty thousand conversations. He also is the author of Bramses' Highly Opinionated Vault, an extremely detailed philosophy + vault template used by thousands of Obsidian users (new and old!), and ChatGPT MD, a (nearly) seamless integration of Chat GPT into Obsidian which has been downloaded by over thirty thousand Obsidian users. He also taught the GPT-3 in Production Course for O'Reilly Media, teaching students how to leverage LLMs in the real world of production.

Summary:

Currently Community Developer Ambassador @ OpenAI, Freelance @ Bram Adams

Previously Developer Advocate @ Algolia, Software Engineer @ HBO, Computer Science B.S. @ University of Rochester

Contact

Navigating Site Tags

Newsletters - Every Sunday. Curated by me (members only). See an example of the format here.

Essays - Long form thought pieces.

Short Stories - A collection of parables and stories I've written. Fictional essays basically.

Quoordinates - A 3D exploration space of quotes I've highlighted from books over the years. You are what you read! (Best experienced on desktop)

Creative Coding - Generative Art (p5.js + canvas-sketch + midjourney are my tools of choice generally)

Books - Books I've Read. I try to knock out five per month. Reviews, Quotes. (Here is my Goodreads!)

Livestreams - Sometimes I go live on Twitch!

Instabrams - Audio, video, text and code artifacts, a look into the daily process of a programmer and writer.

Chats with GPT - Improv conversations with GPT-4, testing the boundaries of what LLMs can do, how to utilize them to the fullest – including the concept of modality switching (members only full text versions).

Creative Coding Archive (links out to Notion) - An archive of my creative coding works over the years.

Standups - Daily progress on books, the newsletter, tech thoughts