👋 Hello World

Learn about the inspiration behind README and how to begin documenting yourself.

- Jake Reynolds

Like many, the ideas pad in my Notes app reads like a 2 am drunk text to myself:

Augmented reality glasses to show boats where they can drive

Tinder for dogs

Lorem Ipsum generator, but Hodor

most of these, rightfully so, never see the light of day. But, there was one idea that hadn't left my mind after a year: IOS Notes app

It was inspired by Gitlab's Handbook, specifically the READMEs that most of their employees have. Being able to learn so much about someone and also exposing oneself to the world like that felt like a very unique experience to me.

The more I thought about it, I reflected on 2 big experiences I had in my career:

1) 💻 Remote work

As remote work exploded in 2020, so did the company I worked at. We saw insane growth and hundreds of new employees in the following years. By the time the office reopened, it went from a tight-knit community of great friends, to what felt like the first day of high school. There were so many new faces I didn't even know how to start getting to know people. Having already been a fairly anti-social person, I resigned myself to no longer knowing everyone in the company.

Once I came across Gitlab's READMEs I realized it was a powerful tool to not only familiarize yourself with everyone in your company, but to increase accessibility to people in the company that most people might never interact with.

2) 🤐 The ol' boys club

While not an issue at my current employer, previous employers always had that feeling of an ol' boys club around the executives. You may see them once a year at a holiday party, but otherwise information about them felt closely guarded. This creates a disgusting, boring, uninclusive hierarchy in the company.

While I never expect large pharmaceutical companies to have their executives make READMEs, I did see the opportunity for forward-looking companies with a focus on DE&I to make their leadership more accessible to everyone.


With those experiences, I decided to start README! I want everyone to have equal access to information about me, who I am, and who I want to be. Likewise, I want to know more about those around me and I want to stay involved in their personal growth.

🧩 Putting the pieces together

So how do you start? I struggled the first time I wrote my README, the prospect of an empty canvas invokes big "Spongebob writes an essay" vibes. I found it easiest to introduce myself and talk about my childhood. It's amazing how much your 0-18 yr. old experiences impact your life. And also how different of a person you may be today, than you were then.

At the end of the day, the only way to start, is to start!

🔮 Looking forward

I have a couple ideas for where I'd like to take README over the next year. First and foremost, I want to see what people have to say. I love getting to read how people see themselves and learning what they consider important to their identity. README will always be free for individuals wanting to introduce themselves to the world.

In the near-future I'd like to expand the option for organizations to maintain directories of their employees' READMEs, as well as options for private sections that may only be appropriate for those inside the company to read. That way, before meeting with a new coworker you can look up their README, learn about them, and remember we're all human.

Make sure to tweet us @teamreadme with what you'd like to see in README!

- Jake Reynolds, Founder @ README