The Struggles of Being An Idiot

I’ve been around technology professionally as a web developer since 1998. That was the year of my first job in Porto, Portugal, doing websites on Notepad in HTML4, an exciting new standard that had just come out. Since then, I never left the development world and got even more into technology.

I loved the idea behind remote services. Yahoo was very strong back in the early 2000s, had a bunch of APIs for businesses to implement, and the idea of have information coming from other sites and feeding your site with useful information was a super interesting concept to me.

With the expansion of mobile devices, this concept of remote information got even more interesting, and because of that my interest in college and books just evaporated and I traded the course for dedicating myself 100% to development – I’ve tried to finish my degree 3 times, unsuccessfylly.

Back in those early days of the web development, Microsoft had ASP 3.0 and ASP.NET as scripting languages for the web, a path I chose to follow and make my salary from, getting to know in depth about how VB.NET and C# were the future to me. Receiving an XML payload, transform it in HTML and present to the user in different devices was to me reaching the goal of success carrier wise.

My early “successes”

During that period, I launched,, co-launched and with Leo Xavier. The first site was the first music portal in Portugal, the second one of the few sites at that moment with jokes in Portuguese, the third a mobile devices related website where you could send free SMS’s online (!), get unlock codes for phones (!) and know about the latest models, and the forth a website about one of the biggest soccer team in Portugal. Back then I did most of the code, logo design, and managed the hosting for those sites, in a couple of machines that were hooked to a dedicated telephone line underneath our desks.

I remember very vividly skipping college to go to the office and code. Always with a new idea in mind and wanting my bosses at that time to buy into the ideias and allow me to work on them. I got hooked into turning ideas into a project and eventually into a product.

Those projects were later on sold to other companies, where I did near to nothing, but got all the knowledge and experience on how to launch ideias into website and websites into business. That no one can take away from me.

The year I switched to WordPress and mobile development

Fast forward a couple of years and a bunch of other ideas made reality and failing, others (a few) being acquired by telecom and media companies, I eventually abandoned the Microsoft ecosystem in 2007/2008 and directed myself to WordPress and PHP, which defined my course until now in terms of a career as a developer. During this period, I’ve dedicated most of my time doing client work.

Later in 2011 I’ve tried Apple and developing for the iPhone when iOS 5 came out and dedicated myself to learning how to build tools that could help business get information on the tip of their fingers, an awakening of that early desire and pleasure of consuming services and presenting information. I did a bunch of apps related to photography, a Flickr client app before Flickr had one, a Dropbox client app before Dropbox had one, during the flourished period of easy making-money apps.

But as I got older, it wasn’t anymore the development part that got me fired up, it was the business part of it, being able to create products and turn them into business, what we commonly call entrepreneurship. Basically, a one-man show, doing all to get everything off the ground and getting noticed by potential investors. I started a couple of companies which didn’t work that great, together with a bunch of products (apps for iOS), but again, the learning part was the most important part of the whole experience.

Which areas are you most interest in?

Fast-forward to today, my current struggle as an idiot – a person full of ideas, most of them stupid ones – is that most of them are just that, with little to no time to make something out them, and the enlarged spectrum of my personal interest in music, photography and videography makes things even more complicated. Here are some of the accomplishments I’ve come to achieve because of the interest in an area and investment of time:

  • music: had one of the most successful bands during high school where I played the drums, and later learned how to play guitar, keys and bass guitar, never really gave up and was able to play along accomplished musicians like Rui Veloso and what later became the band called Os Azeitonas;
  • photography: began doing commercial work for companies and later formed a company to shoot weddings and events, where I did 50+ events in 2 years and gave up due to the fact of it being very stressful, but opened the door for my wife to start into the photography business, whose career couldn’t be in better shape today;
  • software development: the struggle between having to do client work to pay the bills and to invest time in my own ideas and products gave me the opportunity to get to know Corry Miller and Matt Danner, where I later joined iThemes and was able to establish important relationships and meet awesome people

What about today?

So today as you probably know, I’m dedicated to being a full-time WordPress/WooCommerce freelance developer within Codeable. I love it! Nonetheless, there’s still this struggle inside of me, pushing to be creative in all the above-mentioned areas, making it hard to choose where to invest my free time or even take part of the time dedicated to work to redirect the energy to the next idea. This is what’s on my mind, a lot of buckets to grab stuff from when I’m about to do something different other than my main work:

  • oh, I could take my phone outside and explore this concept I have for shooting cool “mobile” pictures and publish them on Instagram (before Instagram existed, I had this idea of publishing my pictures, in the midst of the rising of the social networks;
  • wait, I could take my instruments and record another track and get those melodies and chord sequences I have in my head down into Logic and open a Soundcloud account;
  • no, let me get that idea of creating this WordPress related SaaS that is an amazing idea and continue coding on it;
  • wait, I know, open that folder you have with all those apps and ideas and finally decide to take one of them through actually, like really publish it and make something out of it;
  • what about that promise you made last year to write a blog post each month?
  • or how about that WordPress plugin you wanted to create and contribute to the community?
  • you said you were going to learn JavaScript, Kotlin and invest more time in Swift, didn’t you? Did you finish reading that PHP e-book you bought? Right…
  • what about that 1 hour per day reading all those articles you’ve bookmarked and never came back to?
  • didn’t you also talk about getting the 50k+ pictures you have organized into multiple online drives with an awesome backup system and accessible all the time?
  • oh, I see, you promised your wife to improve her website and keep her social media accounts active and implement this new concept for her IG stories;
  • you also wanted to custom paint your motorcycle, being more active on Twitter and Instagram, and dedicate more time to connecting to older friendships you thought of investing more time in…

The struggle is real. Every time I get all these ideas in my head I think of Gary Vee and Chase Jarvis saying: put your thoughts into actions. The question is always, which bucket should I invest in today, right now?

Remember my last post, where I said: I’m ready to just fucking do it? It’s not an easy thing to do.