Moving forward on a very unexpected path: The Setup

I decided to go deeper into the coding world.


I know, this probably goes against everything I’ve written about myself thus far. The only consistent thing in all my writings is that I hated coding and here I am saying that I want to go deeper in that world.

Well, what can I say, shit changes man.


Building an app for product management

Everything started when I wanted to move from development to product management (PM). It made sense for me. I’ve always been interesting in tech in general and more specifically creating applications. The problem was that I thought I didn’t like coding and that every coding was the same. Consequently, I thought to myself that, as a product manager, I’d be able to essentially build or think of the application and then the devs would create it for me ! Perfect plan.

Except that getting into product management is pretty tough. The usual route is to work like 5 years or whatever, make your way up the ladder and then transition into product management (how exactly does an experienced dev suddenly become a good product manager? I have no idea, ask those companies) or you can also get into a great Associate Product Management (APM) program and maybe that’ll improve your chances (I don’t actually know). Being my impatient self, those options were way to slow for me since I wanted to transition ASAP.

The next best thing, I thought to myself, is to simply do the role of a product manager and build some freaking applications ! But then, I didn’t really want to code and that’s how I dabbled a bit in the no-code world by creating 2 silly apps using Glideapps. Those apps were… not really résumé worthy material and just as I was about to dive into the powerful no-code platform, my brother came into the picture.

For those who don’t know, my brother, Alex, is currently a PM… sorta, but unlike me, he’s dead-set on becoming the best product manager, like he’s committed committed (go alex !). Thus, he wanted to get a bit more experience and proposed to me that we build an app together. Since he doesn’t really know how to code (although he probably can, just not interested or something), I was picked as the coding guy by default. I didn’t really like the idea of coding, but building a product with my brother sounded dope enough to go through with it.

That’s why on Thursday April 30th, my brother and I planned our project (codename: WF) and we were all ready to get this thing created. He was in charge of designing the product (his current interest) and I was in charge of coding the whole thing. One small problem that arose here was that I didn’t actually know how to build apps, but I thought to myself that with enough tutorials and stuff, I’d get something working ! And so, I just started coding and following tutorial (I was learning a new framework by the way).

I’m not even going to try and front here, to my utmost surprise, I was actually excited to code for once. Maybe it was because I was creating a product that I envisioned, maybe it was because I was doing something with the broski, maybe it was because I was building it from scratch, maybe just the thought of being able to go from nothing to something was that enticing, but it felt good to code. That is, until reality came knocking on my door and it said, and I quote:

Reality: “building a good web application is harder than you think you dumbshit.”

And that was the truth. I simply didn’t have enough knowledge to build this thing in the time frame that we wanted (~6 months) [for techies, I essentially would have had to learn Django, the REST framework and React/Redux to complete the project].

As a result of that missing knowledge, I came to the conclusion that I’d essentially have to learn from scratch how to create good applications because our goal wasn’t to simply build an app, it was to build a good application. It’s like, I was trying to LEARN how to build a product, but now I had to LEARN something else before learning how to build a product… It required more thinking on whether or not I wanted to invest that much time (we’re talking several months to get to the level I want to be) into it.


Note: For all non-techies who might be confused because I graduated in software engineering and thus “should know how to code applications”. That’s not how it works. The best analogy I can think of is being a chef or learning how to cook. What I learned in school is the equivalent of learning how to correctly follow a recipe (or execute on a recipe) and all the skills involved. Cutting techniques, peeling, etc. I get out of school and if you give me a good recipe, I’d be able to make it (some are better than others at following recipes, just like in coding). But what I’m trying to do here is the equivalent of CREATING a dish (app) for a specific type of cuisine and each of those cuisines have their own techniques (french have sous-vide, asian has the wok, ramen has ramen techniques, etc.) (you can clearly see that I don’t know how to cook neither LOL)


My random decision to start a dopamine detox

While all that was going boiling in my head, on May 8th, I decided to start a dopamine detox challenge. The link is my YouTube introduction to the challenge. I’m slowly realizing it now, but my “dopamine detox” was simply a digital minimalism challenge because the bulk of what I cut out is: YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn (except for things I receive on email), Tik Tok, What’s App and Messenger. If you were wondering why I’m not really answering you on any on those platforms, now you know !

I might or might not write a more extensive article on my detox, but the really relevant part is that for once in my life, I am almost free from external influences. I say almost because I’m still reading books (currently reading Zero to One by Peter Thiel) and some articles.

The reason why it’s so relevant is because I am now able to make decisions based solely on what I’m currently thinking ! Before the detox, whenever I thought I found a path that I wanted to take or was about to do some “life changing decisions”, I’d always be influenced by things I see on YouTube or social media and it would make me rethink my decisions. For instance, maybe I wanted to dedicate my time to long distance running. So I’d make that decision, but then I’d see some YouTube videos of some beef ass guys or maybe some Instagram pictures of some swoll dudes and I’d think to myself “shit, I’ve always wanted to be buff, maybe I should buff up instead of doing long distance running”. And so, after not even a day, my mind would still think long distance running or becoming buff. This also happened with becoming a content creator, YouTuber, videographer, singer, beat maker, rapper, badminton player, coder, etc. I was basically changing directions every other day and consequently, I was simply stagnant in life.

But now that I don’t have any external influences to pull me towards “shiny and more attractive paths”, I can simply think of what makes the most sense for me right now and move in that direction. I essentially, purposely transformed myself into one of those race horses that wear blinkers to only concentrate on stuff in front of me and ignore all the rest.

And so knowing that I had a big decision in front of me (invest the time in learning how to build apps), but that I was thinking independently, what decision did I choose? (Well, you obviously know that from my first sentence !). But the more important question is why**did I make that decision**? What was the train of thought that led me there?

Well, you’ll have to find out in the next episode of dragon ball z my next blog post. 🙂

PEACE, for now.