2010 in Quick Recap
- Finished my degree
- Girlfriend flew over from Sydney
- Realised freelance career was going down the toilet
- Completed the Christopher Howard "Billionaire Bootcamp", "Rich Heart, Healthy Mind", and "Warrior Spirit" trainings
- Realised several deep things, put an action plan together to get ontop of things, and become incredibly successful and happy
- Started contributing to the amazing Aloha Editor project on the side, and became part of their core team
2011 in Recap
Perth, Meetups, and History.js
In the January meetup, Keith Pitt talked about the problem with hashes when used in dynamic websites, and how the HTML5 History API is the solution. This was an area which I had an incredible amount of expertise in with my jQuery Ajaxy and jQuery History projects. Keith was right, the HTML5 History API provided a solution to the problems that hashes introduced. Shocked and amazed that this was actually an area that other people (especially companies) are having issues with, I spent the next 3 days in The Frontier Group's office hacking away creating the first version of History.js - a cross browser compatible interface to the HTML5 History API. It exploded instantly.
Aloha Editor and DocPad
In January, another amazing thing happened. The small side project I had been participating in for free, a project called Aloha Editor confirmed that they would fly me over, all expenses paid, to speak and participate in their first Aloha Editor Developer Conference held in Vienna, Austria. Needless to say, I was ecstatic. I would leave late February.
Entering February, we booked the tickets - a time that I also made another impactful decision. My girlfriend had already moved back to Sydney to fight for custody of her two children from a previous marriage. Deciding that is where my love, and the money in Australia is, I took the plunge and routed my flights to leave from Sydney, and take me back there afterwards.
I spent the days hacking on History.js and Aloha Editor, watching them both grow side by side was an incredible experience, while my girlfriend worked as a barista to help pay the bills for the tin garage we where livin in.
Leaving Vienna, I visited a series of old friends in Switzerland - one of those friends was Rob Schnieder, and his roomate Sven Vetsch - both security researchers and hackers at some top firms in Zurich. The days where spent pigging out on swiss chocolate, drinking tons of beer, eating indian food, flying toy helicopters, watching Breaking Bad, and most importantly hacking every chance we got on things. One night, Sven was telling me how much he hated having to write his security documents in Miscrosoft Word, especially as they had to contain a lot of code samples, and in one instant he said - their must be a better way. Intoxicated with a challenge, and with some inklings from an earlier conversation I was having with semantic expert Henri Berguiss about building Jekyll in Node.js, we put on our thinking caps. Over the next 3 hours we brainstormed use cases, researched possible solutions, filtered out anything that wasn't essential for our use cases, and started hacking. In 3 hours, we had the first working version of DocPad. It was a legendary experience.
On top of the world, but absolutely broke…
Flying back to Sydney, our cash started running out, and the rent for the garage we were renting was raising all the time by the crazy landlord - to top it off, apparently the whole living in a garage thing is illegal and the government told us the crazy landlord would be fined, and we have to move out.
So, it was now time to find a job, a job that could bring in enough to cover our monthly expenses. So I posted a request for work on twitter. Over the course of three months, I worked with Nikki Durkin from 99dresses, Andrew Jessup from Noosbox, and Zac Altman from UniRadar to revamp their user interfaces and brainstorm new ideas. This worked out quite well, the work was awesome, and so where the incredibly bright people - though I was still struggling to hit our monthly expenses.
Time to re-evaluate things.
Re-evaluating things, Hello Corporate.
At this point in time, time was running out, and the expenses where getting higher, and I was working later and later. To top it off, I was still contributing to several free projects with the big promsie of a pot of gold right around the tunnel. You know how it goes, "you're an expert, help us with this, we're presenting it investors… okay, we've presented, they need more from you, but after, you'll have the big bucks… repeat." - needless to say, when we started missing rent, and I had to work later and later, I realised I was getting burned really really bad, and cut those people out right away.
It's been amazing working at Acid Green, the work has been really great and the people are really smart. Those projects are now finishing up, so the big question now is what's next?
Million Dollar Challenge
On August, 29 I set the goal of earning a million dollars by August 29, 2012 - dubbed "the 365 day million dolllay challenge". I'm still actively pursuing it.
Since July, I've no longer been operating as a sole trader, but instead through my own company Bevry. Companies offer several advantages over sole traders, including:
- less tax when you start earning the big cash
- damage control if a patent troll comes after you
- better public image
- easier to scale
It should still be considered a startup.
DocPad is what I consider to be the greatest thing that I have ever done, and ever will do for a while. It is the thing that I want to do, even if I fail. Why do I like it soo much? Because it rethinks web development, and cuts out anything unecessary, but still provides you with the same key infrastucture features you'd expect from the largest CMS systems - but with a fraction of the code, and a fraction of the time. It will allow a time and an age, where you can say, what do I want to build today? [chat application/blog/website/signup page/book/whatever], what do I it to look like? [theme 1, theme 2, theme 3], what else do I want? [comments, markdown, coffeescript, store, search, whatever]. And bang, you've got your website, a local website, a website which you can hack away in any languge you desire, with the tools you already know, without any limits, a website that you can deploy anywhere and everywhere, a website that can scale infinitely in every and any direction - the ultimate website.
It's a really cool project, and everyone should check it out.
Overall, married life is pretty sweet. It's a lot more stable than not being married, with higher-level challenges - though challenges none the less. It's been hard, but we are confident that we will stick it out and make it work.
- "What do I want to do, even if I fail?" - make that your life.
- Money has absolutely no correlation with quality, it only has to do with perceived value. This is an essential learning for anyone who charges money.
- You cannot become a billionaire by selling your time, you need products, and you need to spend your time very very wisely.
- Advice is auto-biographical, it may have worked for them, but it may not work for you - their values and personalities will be different from yours, expirement, and keep the pieces that work, and throw out the pieces that don't.
- Be constantly willing to change into someone better. Who that someone better is, is up to you to constantly decide.
- Failure is only feedback, be sure to listen and learn from it.
- The 4 Hour Body by Timothy Ferris is awesome - I'm ripped with only 9 minutes of exercise a week, I eat healthier, and still get to eat junk food.
- The Learn Startup by Eric Ries is awesome - Every single startup needs to read this (seriously), stop wasting your time with things that aren't actually adding value to your company, and find out what will.
- Think & Grow Rich by Napolean Hill is awesome - Every single person on the planet needs to read this (seriously), it is the mindset of success.