ChewyChunks Greatest Hits: The Rebuttal

By Nick Hamlin, guest blogger

In response to my top 10 list, Nick offered his own top 10 list.

I met Marc’s blog before I met Marc himself. I’d heard about his storytelling project during my new employee orientation at GlobalGiving and immediately started reading this blog.  It wasn’t until he came back to DC several months later (he lived in Kenya at the time) that I finally got to meet him in the flesh with an thoroughly fanboyish “Hey, you’re the storytelling guy, right?”

Six years later, and I’m still reading ChewyChunks. I genuinely have no idea what Marc will write about next, just that it’ll be insightful, interesting, and cut straight to the heart of whatever intellectual worm has burrowed into his brain that week.

When Marc mentioned he was going to put together a list of his favorite posts after a decade of blogging, I immediately signed up to offer my own rebuttal. His list has lots of hits, but I wanted to highlight the content that perhaps Marc wouldn’t put in his top 10.  These are posts that exemplify everything that’s great about this blog. After you’re done reading Marc’s list, check out these posts he skipped:


 Pythonic International Development – Marc introduced me to Python, a tool I’ve now built my career around and use almost every day. The Zen of Python is both one of the best technical design philosophies out there, but also a perfectly viable set of rules for life.

Shannon Information Theory in International Development – Marc was also the person who first explained the notion of Information Theory to me. I love this post because it’s a simple metaphor that distills down the essence of what our slice of the social sector is really after: “djotjogs” of community leadership that amplify the best ideas for making the world better.

Why International Development is Not Science – I happened to be sitting next to Marc when he started scribbling out the doodles for this post out on some World Bank stationary he found lying around. I figured he’d just gotten bored with the talk that was happening. Instead, he was sketching out a far better version of it. The line from Michael Woolcock about Nelson Mandela’s performance evaluation is also a gem.


The Weekend I Audited the World – Marc’s “practicality beats purity” approach to tricky problems is out in full force during his recap of a hackathon at the World Bank. I’ve shamelessly stolen tricks from this post multiple times since it came up. They work.

reporter_penpin code patterns

Essays in Favor of Civility after the 2016 Election – We all needed some concentrated hope the day after the election, and it was much more cathartic to be able to read through others feelings in one curated collection rather than the regular chaos of the news feed.


The Best Job Description Ever – Technically our friend and colleague Alexis wrote this one, but it remains the most effective articulation of why I love working at GlobalGiving (“a workplace that inspires and challenges you to be a better person”).

Thank you for teaching me to never settle for good enough,  to believe that there is a better way to do just about anything,  as long as you design the right experiment to find it.  I learned so much here; I think differently now.  Thank you for showing me how to listen to the needs of others, to respect the individual dignity of everyone, to champion the underdog.  It's really hard to leave a place that asks how things could be better, and where we share moments of customer bliss at staff meetings.

Seven Days on Food Stamps – Many people talk about what it must be like to live at the poverty line, but few challenge themselves to actually try living that way to better understand the communities they’re working to serve. Marc did. The entire week-long series is worth a read..

49.70 of food

Am I a Writer? – After a decade? Yes, I’d say you are.


Congratulations Marc on 10 years of the chewiest chunks on the internet. Can’t wait for the next 10!

Nick Hamlin wrote the Godel Escher Blog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s