Friends, it’s time to call time on Canny Outlaw, at least for now. You’ll notice the frequency of posts has dropped off as of late, and realistically they’re not likely to crank up again any time soon.
I originally had the idea for Canny Outlaw almost two years ago, back when I was working full-time at Apple, frustrated with my uni studies and looking for an outlet to test out some ideas and see if there was an audience for them, while practising my public voice. It began as a digital magazine, which I still believe was a better format, but after three issues it was clear that I had neither the time nor the resources to corral together the kind of work I had in mind in any sort of reliable or systematic way. So it became a website, where the publishing schedule was more forgiving, but it was rarely more than my voice that was heard. Though it proved easier to mount a sustained exploration of some key themes by offering regular commentary on current events, this never really delivered on the ‘conversation’ part of the endeavour. Persistence might have rewarded me with a larger audience in time, but meanwhile life has been changing too.
I now work as a university teacher and researcher rather than a retail admin officer, I have finished my postgraduate studies and have embarked on the long and uncertain path towards a PhD and a career as someone who thinks hard about things that matter and joins the dots for others in meaningful ways. I am still looking for an outlet to test out some ideas and see if there is an audience for them, and I still need to practice my public voice. But I no longer believe Canny Outlaw is the best way to do that.
One idea was to run a series of wandering conversations with a friend in a series run, complete with narrative arc and annotated with links, commentary and other ways to unpack ideas. I still like this idea, but regrettably it’s probably not feasible once the enthusiasm of best intentions subsides and reality remains. To give it the proper treatment would really require a podcast and a more amenable schedule for both me and my friend. Something to revisit in time, perhaps.
Instead, you are likely to see me write more for other publications on an ad hoc basis, particularly on the relationship between ethics, policy and our public lives. I already have some work in the pipeline, in fact. I will leave this site up as an archive for the foreseeable future, but you can follow my updates at my personal website which I will retool a bit in the near future to reflect this new focus.
Thanks to all of you who have kept up-to-date with the site, enquired about what’s happening with it and supported me in various ways throughout the process. Apologies to those who will be disappointed by this news. All I can say is that I have put considerable thought into it all these past few months and in the long-term I think this decision is the right one. All the best, and stay curious and thoughtful!