Some laugh at Germans because they seem to have a philosophy about everything.  I’m not one of them.  In fact, I sort of admire the German way of thinking things through before you begin them, though, as we all know, this tendency can be taken to unpleasant world-historical extremes.

So here’s my philosophy.  A personal website should:

  1. Highlight things you know a lot about, so that others may profit from whatever interests or talents you’ve acquired.
  2. Concern mainly things that might interest a lot of other people.  This means no family snapshots, descriptions of your last visit to the oncologist, etc.
  3. Be as simple as possible, so people can reach the good stuff quickly.
  4. Be as stylish and amusing as your talents allow.
  5. Avoid political opinions.  Paul Valéry once said that in the world of the polemic, “by a trick of inverted lights, friends see each other as enemies, fools look impressive to the intelligent, who in turn see themselves as very tiny indeed.”  The older I get, the more I agree.  When’s the last time you heard an original or profound political opinion?  What makes you think yours are any different?  Perhaps you have experience or specialized knowledge that gives your opinions some weight (see #1).  But always remember people are much more likely to be interested in the experience or knowledge than in whatever conclusions you draw from it.