I'm Alex Payne, and this has been my home on the Web since I was just a teenage hacker.
I write fiction: screenplays and short stories so far. A novel's in the works.
My career in letters is newish. I graduated from two competitive workshops for speculative fiction, Odyssey and Clarion West, in 2020 and 2021 respectively. My screenplays have won or placed well in respectable contests. Things are coming along.
I also do money stuff, namely investing in early-stage companies and giving it away. Being about as anti-capitalist an investor/donor as you're likely to find, I'm proud of what I support yet concerned with systemic inequities and unsustainability. It's a contradiction, and I endeavor to work responsibly within it.
As of 2021, I reside in New York—specifically, the farm country of the mid-Hudson Valley. I try to make it down to NYC every month or so.
I live with my wife, Nicole Brodeur, our infant daughter, an anxious pit bull, and two demanding cats.
I'm vegan for the animals, for the planet, and for health. Going vegan was the best change I ever made. If you're considering it and have questions, contact me.
I used to work in tech. I got started young. At my first internship, I wasn't yet old enough to hold a work permit. I was still in middle school when I first got paid to write code. After my sophomore year of college, I dropped out to work full time.
My most notable tech gig was as one of the first employees at Twitter. Amongst other efforts there, I launched Twitter's developer platform and, crucially, implemented blocking. I left to co-found online bank Simple, which was later acquired.
In my time slinging code, I worked for non-profits and on political campaigns, did information security spookery, coauthored a book, organized a conference on emerging programming languages, played in and helped run the premier hacking competition, and spoke around the world.
Owing to my precocious start, I'd been working in tech for twenty years by my mid-30s. I had a good run, but it was time for something different.
I grew up around Washington, DC. I've lived in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and two cities in Oregon: Portland and Bend.
From way back, I've gone by the handle al3x, hence the unusual domain name.
This was once a blog. I was an early blogger, and the site evolved with my understanding of what a blog could be.
My blogging tapered off during the social media boom. After stepping away from tech, I basically let this site go fallow for a time. Inspired and encouraged by friends, I adopted the widely-tolerated newsletter format in 2022.
Posts from the bygone blogging era can be found in the usual web archives, but really, I wouldn't bother. It's good to let things go—especially on the Internet.