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Benjamin Becquet


On this page, I'll share a snapshot of my life from time to time.

I'm giving a try at this "Now" page after seeing my friend Joachim so enthusiastic about the concept.

Work and dev projects

I've been working at PASQAL for 5 months now, and it's great. Doing 'just' web development in a quantum computing company may seem underwhelming, but doing it the right way is as challenging as anywhere else, and doing it among thought-provoking ideas and brilliant people is uplifting.

Still no regrets about professionally leaving the field of web cartography since I left CARTO last year. Maybe it's just a phase. I still think often about a personal project around this topic, without being able to start anything concrete. Its goal is nothing less than 'revolutionizing interactive maps', maybe it's a bit paralyzing :)

Thinking a lot also about how some parts of the dev job reached an absurd level of complexity, for constant or worse results. More generally, how complexity creeps into every code base, every CI, every feature, every team organization, and how it should be identified as the first pitfall to avoid. I'm sick of 10x engineers, I'd like to see a new kind emerge, Simplification engineer.

For the 4th year in a row, I'm about to teach web development at Sorbonne University this semester. From the start I've found this different perspective on my work interesting and rewarding. Less fun, experiencing the level of disarray and constant improvisation in the French public university is quite disheartening. And like everything related to public service, it isn't improving…

Artistic activities

I'm still practicing etching and engraving with the same joy as 7 years ago, when I tried it for the first time. I have no doubt this will be my favorite way of expression for the rest of my life. It's not a straight path though, things can vary a lot. For example I feel like my relation to aquatint as a technique is kinda broken these days. Too many failures and frustrations with it in the past months.

On the bright side, I recently exchanged some prints with wonderful wood engravings from John Altringham, who I met through Mastodon and whose work depicting British landscapes deeply talks to me. At some point I should show the rest of the world all the pieces of art I've been given along the years by friends, family or fellow printmakers, I have a real little museum here!

I'd also like to show my own work to more people this year, and try selling prints. I have a nearly finished web shop in the works, but the remaining part is the legal and payment stuff, which can take a long time… Friends suggested that I don't bother with my own platform and just use Etsy. Probably reasonable, even if for now it sounds like a defeat.

Books, games, music

Probably because there is an upcoming TV series, I felt an urge to re-read the Three-Body Problem trilogy, five years only after having my mind blown by it. I took this occasion to try audio-book for the first time. It's a strange experience. Nice way to be absorbed in the story but not forgiving for the sometimes very flat style of these books.

Recently I haven't played anything other than short or light videogames. Great ones for sure, but it always feels like something is missing. It's been years since I haven't been moved by a big game suddenly reaching perfection on a single detail. The sense of awe of the Mass Effect galaxy map. The light of a stormy sky in the Witcher 3. The interior designs in Dishonored 2.

Listening mostly to a British folk revival playlist that I've been building over the past few years. Now it's kind of a closed suggestion loop of bands and covers, new additions are rare but all the more precious.