Writer, Thomas Ott

The Writings of Thomas Ott

I've started hiking again. Usually alone and for many hours. I live in a fairly rural area of NJ with lots of wood and lakes, and I have the usual black bears and the occasional snakes. I've only ever seen one venomous snake in my entire hiking life and that was a gorgeous copperhead sunning itself in some open brush. It sounds like a strange thing to use the word gorgeous, but that's what it was. In all its copper-toned glory, it lay there sleeping, unaware that I almost stepped on it. I admired it for a few heart-pounding seconds and left that “coiled world of hurt” alone.


The most important thing any business or person can do is build a Go-To-Market (GTM) strategy. This is how you will sell yourself or your product in a market. How do you know it’s working? Simple. Some measurable metric is moving in the right direction and you’re making money. I call it hitting pay dirt.

I realized I had become an “old stick in the mud.”

The game

I approach most of my life as a game. I’m not a gamer in the sense that I sit in front of an Xbox all day, rather I like to play a game called life. I like to poke and prod things. I like to break the unbreakable and I love to tinker. I learn more from trying new things, seeing what works, and tossing what doesn’t work.

You can’t fake passion or authenticity.


A few years ago I wrote on my first blog an article called “ What Works; What Doesn’t Work”. It was my thoughts on how startups change their go-to-market strategies and or products at the drop of a hat.

They have to do that sometimes just to survive because it’s a race to get customers before another entrant (i.e. competitor) does it. In that article, I advocated for stripped-down processes and using data to help you make changes.

I still advocate for those two important aspects but now I’m refining a few things.


I love the decentralized web because of its self-organizing and privacy-focused nature. You get control over where your data lives and you can delete everything. I love that a lot, but it does frighten me as well. What if that decentralized social media organism gets cancer? What if the alt-right spreads its hate through the system?

You might say that the owner of those pods and servers would police that behavior and the good ones will ban them. After all, they can run their servers any way they want to, but what if the admin themselves are nefarious in nature?

What of the admins had the backing of a powerful state sponsor of terrorism and server farms? What then?


In just under a few weeks Elon Musk has decimated a giant social media platform. It's mind-boggling how fast he was able to destroy it. It's so fascinating to watch the Twitter implosion in real time but also incredibly sad.

I wrote on Medium about how Twitter will collapse and how I will miss my digital water hole. Will Twitter disappear completely? Probably not but it will become irrelevant. It will become another MySpace.

#socialmedia #Twitter

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Self Introspection of a Younger Self

Years ago I read something from a book about stress testing yourself so you can be ready to make big things happen. One of the ways was to do something hard and do it alone. That tidbit of wisdom has bounced around in my head for years, and it still does today.

When I was 16 my friend asked me to join his hard rock band. I didn’t know how to play any instrument and I asked him “why me?”

He told me that he thought I would make a great bass player. I had never thought about playing in a band before but I liked music and thought it would be cool.

I went down to the music store in town and talked to the owner. He was nicknamed “Fuzzy” because he had a big blonde curly explosion of hair. I told him I wanted to learn the bass guitar and he had the perfect cheap one for me.



I recently read an excerpt from a book about writing erotica and erotic romances. It was a collection of interviews from all-women authors on writing erotic stories across the spectrum of just sex to happily ever after romances. One author wrote about the differences in genitalia, arousal, and stimulation of men and women.

Her discussion about the differences in arousal patterns between men and women was fantastic. It was so enlightening that I had to smack myself upside down and say “duh.” The answer was in front of my face the entire time.

Simply put, men's arousal patterns are like a switch. You can turn them on and off in minutes. Women, on the other hand, are like slow cookers; slow to warm up but then they stay hot for a long time.

This realization gave me a flash of inspiration with respect to my writing. I could actively incorporate this “slow cooking” arousal pattern into my writing. A good story that builds up to a climax and then releases is what everyone loves to read, whether it's sexy or not.

This was a classic case of “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

#amwriting #ameditting #romance #erotica #writing

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Plane Wings

I recently discovered WriteFreely and decided to run writer.thomasott.io with it. I set it up on AWS Lightsail using the smallest instance available and a standard LAMP stack image. It took about an hour of set-up time and I wanted to share my installation notes here.

  1. Spin up a LAMP stack on AWS Lightsail and attach and static IP to it
  2. Point an A record to the static IP
  3. SSH into the LAMP instance and change directory to the htdocs
  4. Download WriteFreely in the htdocs directory using sudo
  5. Unzip the tar ball, it will create a writefreely directory
  6. Configure it by following these instructions
  7. Setup the writefreely.service and make sure you set WorkingDirectory=/home/bitnami/htdocs and ExecStart=/home/bitnami/htdocs/writefreely/writefreely
  8. Enable the service by doing sudo systemctl enable writefreely.service and then sudo systemctl start writefreely.service
  9. Run the bncert-tool to get your SSL certs and install
  10. Run sudo writefreely --config to configure as standalone production server
  11. Get your keys by running sudo writefreely --key-gen
  12. Restart Apache or reboot the instance
  13. Check sudo journalctl -f -u writefreely to see if its working

#tutorial #aws #lightsail #writing

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This is the first post using #writefreely as my backed minimal blog system.

Here I'm inserting a wonder photo from my Flickr archives.

Stripes - Macau

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