Now

SECTION 174

Well.. my hibernating (below) ended a lot sooner than I wanted it to. And the reason is a disastrous little tax change called Section 174.

The TL;DR is that on January 1, 2022, a tax change took effect that means that all software development (including maintenance!), among other kinds of “research and experimental” work, is now amortized rather than expensed.

What that means in plain English is that instead of being able to deduct all of a developer’s salary, say $100,000, only $20,000 can be expensed per year for five years, and the rest is taxable “profit.” Even though… it was spent. And has always been treated as an expense.

(There’s more to it, but that’s the very simple high level.)

The wild part is that Congress never intended for this to take effect, and tried to fix it before it took effect for 2022, and that effort failed at the last minute in December despite broad bipartisan support.

A large business might be able to eat that higher tax bill, but it’s catastrophic for small software businesses, and other types of small businesses as well. Small biotechs. Small manufacturers. The list goes on.

Anyway. Something you may not know about me is that I used to live in DC, and still have a lot of friends there doing DC things. So when I heard about this, I asked those DC friends, and they said yep, this is a huge problem ā€” and also no one here realizes that small businesses are getting hurt by it.

So after much “do ā€”Iā€” really need to be the one to do this? really? me? but hibernating!” I realized that given my unusual position as someone well connected in the small software world and also with some connections in DC, yep, I have to be the one to organize the small software business community so policymakers know we exist and are getting hurt by this.

I’m calling this the Small Software Business Alliance, and you can sign up for updates here. It isn’t a formal organization. I just needed a domain to put it on, and that sounded nice.

I look forward to going back to hibernating and having a minimal public presence after this tax disaster is fixed.

HIBERNATING (from the March 13, 2023 update)

It’s been a busy couple of years. Across 2020-2022 I wrote Deploy Empathy, recorded the Deploy Empathy audiobook, gave a lot of Zoom and in-person talks and workshops, was a guest on over 20 podcasts, and recorded a weekly podcast for 130 weeks straight, and now I’m… tired.

I poured a lot of myself out into the world, and now I’m feeling like it’s time to intentionally close in a bit. Quiet over vocal. Learning over teaching. Fewer, deeper relationships over loose connections. Personal health over personal brand.

For 2023, expect to see very few guest podcast appearances / podcasts / newsletter issues / conference talks from me.

GEOCODIO

Geocodio continues to grow steadily, and nine years in, it continues to be fun and challenging to work on.

Right now I’m focusing on leveling up for this next stage we’ve found ourselves in. I’m reading a lot about leadership, operationalizing a business, and managing risk. Have any favorite books on the boring, nitty-gritty, practical business side of running a post-PMF software business? Let me know.

DENMARK

We moved to Denmark in 2020. It’s been challenging at times, with all of the immigration complications and legal/financial complications related to running what we jokingly call the world’s smallest multinational corporation. Nevertheless, we’re enjoying living here.

I completed Danish language school in December, but I’m not fluent yet. I can hold a basic everyday conversation, but not much beyond that. The subject areas where I can speak with specialized vocabulary are farming/gardening, gymnastics, and baking.

I’m particularly enjoying being part of a Danish cultural hallmark, the “frivilligt foreningsliv” aka volunteer recreation associations. I joined an adult TeamGym team it’s so fun to be on a gymnastics team again. Here’s me tumbling at a recent exhibition.

This page was inspired by Derek Sivers.