#43: Mektup is changing: Failures and Reflections

Hey friend,

Today, I want to reflect on the past ~2 years of Mektup and share some news with you. It's a bit longer than usual but keep reading till the end.

TL;DR: Over time, I changed, and so did the Mektup. Now, Mektup will adapt to me and become more personal.

The very first Mektup hit your inbox on January 28, 2021, exactly at 10:03 CET. The newsletter Mektup did not begin as a new year's resolution. My new year's resolution was to learn to write. Mektup was an experiment and a venue for me to learn how to write and think better. The first Mektups included more links, some graphics, and fewer thoughts. They were "here is what I've done" newsletters.

In the fourth issue, I removed section graphics, and in the fifth one, I started writing about a specific topic in each issue. Although the name Mektup (which means "letter" in Turkish) was born from a concept Anne Lamott mentions in her book Bird by Bird, I started writing fewer letters and more articles in each issue—hence, losing the goal of the newsletter.

The goal was to send casual letters to my friends about things I found interesting, things I learned, or things I was thinking about. I realized I was going off the track, and there was one reason.

There is a concept of "finding your niche" in the content creator world. I found myself searching for my niche in every Mektup I wrote. The content creator community hooked me and pulled me away from my way.

I sought to be more specific with the topics, my audience, and my writing. I focused on software engineers who are on the edge of becoming a leader. I looked for topics they needed to know and learn and tried to put one Mektup after another for them. You're one of these people, and I know how much stress you have in this leadership transitioning period. That's why I focused on helping you. With that focus, my list of possible topics to write about grew and became a giant that I could not complete in five years.

But (yes, there is a but), as my idea list grew, I forgot one crucial thing. While writing each Mektup focused on you, I forgot to focus on how I want to grow. While doubling down on helping you, I forgot to help myself.

Mektup evolved and changed me together with itself, without me realizing this change. When I started, I was transitioning from a software engineer role to engineering management. And I was thinking of becoming a content creator on the side. That's why I created a newsletter, and a podcast, gave talks and mentored people.

One thing I learned during my four months of sick leave for burnout (which was before all these efforts) was to know your limits and accept when you fail with your whole heart, as failure was yours from the beginning. So, this letter is an acceptance of my failure. Failure to find me, my goal, my voice, and my limits.

In every letter I wrote, it was not 100% me. I'm sorry. There were many pieces from me, but I tried to hold some of my thoughts for not going outside of the premise of the newsletter. Although it might be a good thing to write about a specific topic—a niche—it's not that great for me. I am a human, and I have more complex thoughts and life. Last two years, I put a blanket over my thoughts and hid them in my cabinet, where I stored all my other ideas.

Yet, some slipped through, such as Mektup #32 and Mektup #35. Looking at these now, I see them as signs. Guideposts. Lighthouses. I like these letters more. I want more of them.

So, "what's next?" you may ask.

Well, first things first: I don't want to be a content creator anymore. I'm done with that stage of my life. I am a failed content creator, and I acknowledge it. Just writing this down is a relief in itself. Finding it took me about two years, but I'm glad I had the journey.

Mektup will resume in the same cadence every two weeks on Tuesdays, though the content will change. It will include anything from my professional and personal life. It will articulate my thoughts, share my learnings in my professional life, and carry my personal journey with it.

So, you will read more about me from me. The topics will include—but won't be limited to—software engineering, leadership, productivity, software and hardware, consumer behaviors, writing, reading, podcasting, snowboarding, kayaking, hiking, coffee, books, sleep, physical and mental health, music, Berlin/Germany life, learning a new language, philosophy, psychology, and some other topics I find interesting.

I know there are a ton of different topics above, but I have many interests, and that makes me a human. Denying it would not be wise.

After the first issue of Mektup, I shared 110 blog posts and 21 podcast episodes. I learned to write and wrote to learn. I learned to talk in public and talked in public to learn. I will continue writing and podcasting and share them at the end of every Mektup.

I understand it may not be something for you. If it is not, the unsubscribe link is at the bottom of the email. I encourage you to click that link. I would be happy you're not following me because it's a conscious choice. Your time and your attention is the most important thing.

If you want to keep following my journey, I would be thrilled to know that you're following me with a conscious decision.

From now on, my goal will be to be myself and embrace my personality. And I hope it will be the same for you, my friend.

Talk to you soon in another Mektup,


P.S. My all-time favorite author, Ursula K. Le Guin, on answering questions.

P.P.S. There are more changes in my life. I started a new job today!

What I Published Over The Last Two Weeks

Data Replication in Distributed Systems

Data Replication in Distributed Systems
Replication is keeping the copies of data between multiple machines that are connected via a network.

I continued reading the book Designing Data-Intensive Applications. Last week, I published my notes from the fifth chapter (read chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4 here).

How to Receive Feedback to Maximize Your Growth

I gave a talk about receiving feedback. I talked about differentiating the types of feedback we get—evaluation, coaching, and appreciation. Also, I explored why we put our defense walls receiving feedback and what we can do about it. You can also check the event page here.

Newsletter Last Updated: Nov 1, 2022