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Happiness over profit

A photo of a staircase from above with people walking on it

Ever since I can remember myself I have been attracted to activities that let me create new things. I grew up sketching, designing 2D video game stages and then started building and coding custom maps and levels for games with level design builders. Creating always felt like a game. As a matter of fact, creating felt (and most of the times still does) more fun than playing some game. It came naturally to me to pursue a career in Computer Science and start fidgeting with gadgets and get into coding and later on building apps. Creating though somehow felt like an afterthought of how the world around me worked. Given that I was truly free to create anything I liked in my personal time, it felt like a hobby and something that was too good to be true to do as a living. At the same time, people didn't want anything to do with their profession outside of working hours. People find it crazy that I code and design outside of work instead of watching TV or "relaxing" and that I enjoy it.

In todays society we rarely ever talk about personal happiness and how important it is in both for the individual and society as a whole. It somehow feels like a taboo topic. Yet again work takes a big chunk of everyone's day and dramatically affects our lives. Unless you are excited to go to work in the morning, the bed might feel like a struggle to get out of. Your time at work, unless fulfilling, will seem eternal and it will feel like there is no energy left in the end of the day. And the whole process repeats itself.

Each person's happiness is an aspect of their life that is far too important to be left to its own luck. Happiness is unique to each one of us and it takes time to understand one's self in order to understand what makes them truly happy. This is something that has been stuck in my mind for the past few months. By this point you might have already guessed that what makes me happy is creating. I am the kind of person that loves spending the time to understand a real world problem and come up with a solution that fits the problem like a jigsaw piece. That might be because it feels important and the effort you put into the understanding and the solution feels worth the time.

An other thing I have been thinking a lot lately is the state of technology in the Western world. High speed connections are fairly common nowadays and you can find almost anything you want nowadays on the Internet if you know where to look for. Those curious enough about a specific topic or skill should have anything they need to their disposal to get things going. The more I look at this the more I keep getting into the conclusion that the resources to design the way that fits the lifestyle you want are currently out there. All it takes is to figure out how you want your life to look like and get into work. At the time of writing this post, it has been about one month after quiting my Software Engineer job in order to spend enough time to truly understand how something like this can be achieved.

Thankfully being cautious of my spending habbits allow actions like this. I stick with buying the essentials I need and unless I truly believe that something is really going to improve my life directly, I think twice before buying it. Favoring home cooking meals instead of takeaways not only saves you a ton of money but also can help with mood and overall health given that you know what goes in your food and you can cut down a lot of excess calories.

I have set a few goals for this coming year which I will be working towards:

  • Launch and maintain at least one profitable product - Needless to say this is a stretch goal. Figuring something out for the first time is always the hardest and there are countless stories of people taking them years to see any profit. There is no expectation to see any profit straight from the start but it sets a clear target which I can work backwards to figure out how to get there.
  • Improve my full stack skills - Coming from a mobile first backgroung my full stack skills are somewhat rusty. Native development is fantastic when it comes to user experience but realistically if the solution is simple enough, a native approach might be a waste of resources.
  • Improve prototyping skills - Prototyping an app or feature in order for the team or customers to play with and explore potential product concepts has deemed increadibly useful in the past. I am confident with my Android app prototyping skills and I would like to be able to do the same no matter the platform. So far faking an app via a website and running it on a device seem the way to go but I am sure there are better solutions out there that I am not aware of.

Building anything that is only profitable doesn't seem like the way to go though. Even though profit is important if I want to continue doing this for a long time, products created need to be within a field or topic that I have an interest or passion about. It wouldn't make sense not to do this. Otherwise I will be going full circle with what I described in the start of this post.

Next steps are to continue working towards the first public launch and get more ideas for future products along the way.

Thank you for reading. You can follow me on Twitter to follow along this journey, where I share everything I learn as I grow my business.

Photo credits to Reuben Teo