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DeveloPassion's Newsletter - Looking left and right

DeveloPassion's Newsletter - Looking left and right
By Sébastien Dubois • Issue #36 • View online
Hello everyone! I’m Sébastien Dubois, your host. You’re receiving this email because you signed up for DeveloPassion’s Newsletter or the Dev Concepts project. Thank you for being here with me ✨
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Welcome to the 36th edition
Another week, another newsletter! I hope that you all had a great one 🤩
This week I’ve started working again. Not that I ever stopped TBH 😂. But since I was on parental leave after the birth of Raphaël I got to do other fun things for a while. Now I’m back in the corporate world (half-time). It’s been great reconnecting with some colleagues, but it made me realize how much I’d prefer not to be part of that world anymore!
I’ve learned to play a few more board games this week. The one I had the most fun with was Warp’s Edge, a solo bag-building game. Simple to learn, but not that easy to win ;-). I’m tempted to create a small section about board games in this newsletter; what do you think about this idea?
Alright, let’s go! 🚀

Some of the things I've learned this week
Some of the things I've learned this week
Looking back
When I was a child, my parents taught me to always look left and right before crossing the street and to always use pedestrian crossings. I wish they taught me that, sometimes, we should really create our own path in life. They were definitely not entrepreneurial ;-)
As we get closer and closer to the end of the year, I prepare my plans for the next ones. I always start this exercise with a look back. Looking back is a great way to identify things that have worked, things that haven’t, and appreciate the progress so far.
When I look back, I actually go wayyyy back! Over the years, I’ve realized that as I age, my point of view about my own past evolves. Decisions that I initially considered sound and logical now look silly and immature, and things I didn’t pay attention to before now have much greater importance.
A summary of my journey in the corporate world
A summary of my journey in the corporate world
When I started working back in 2006, I thought that I wanted to switch jobs every 1-2 years, that I didn’t want to “rot” in one place. I did switch once, but it was the first and the last. It seems that I wasn’t actually that eager to move around. I ended up working at the same organization for 12 years. I didn’t stand still though, and I certainly did not rot 😂. I’ve moved around within the company, exploring different job types over the years. It was both challenging, and fun. Most importantly, it felt interesting enough for me to stick around. I did not get bored!
Aside from work, most of my time was dedicated to my family, learning more about IT, programming, Open Source, blogging, photography, and video games.
That went on until 2018. That’s when I understood that this work environment was not fulfilling for me anymore. I needed to explore and try other things. In retrospect, I think I just needed to challenge myself; I just didn’t fully realize it at the time. That’s when I decided to become a freelancer and to create my own company.
Since then (3 years now!), I’ve learned a metric ton of things. I may have “lost” a lot of money in the process due to opportunity costs, but I’ve grown a lot, opened my mind about many ideas I wasn’t even aware of, and that’s invaluable. Even more so is the fact that I’ve taken that time for myself and my ideas.
I have no regrets about the past. But it’s important to look at it objectively, based on who I am today. And today, I feel like I could’ve started my entrepreneurial journey much earlier.
My Twitter thread about building alternative sources of income 👇
I’ve co-founded a startup and ultimately failed after two years. I’ve published 3 books, and am going to write a few more real soon. I’ve blogged a lot more, started coaching/mentoring, worked on interesting projects, launched this newsletter, created cool online communities, and other fun things.
I could’ve realized much faster that my startup project was going nowhere. I knew in my guts, but I just wouldn’t listen. I wish I had read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell a few years earlier! Our unconscious mind is actually much faster and much better at decision-making than we are. I had to learn that lesson the hard way.
It took me a while to get back on my feet. Realizing that two years of work have just didn’t yield any significant result is hard to swallow. Especially given my situation. I have risked a lot “playing” this game. I could’ve played the entrepreneurial game very differently and taken more risks if I tried it back when I was 20. Today I’m clearly not in a position to take huge risks needlessly. I have three kids, loans to repay, etc.
One important thing I’ve noticed is that what has had the most impact on my life so far is my writing. That’s why I really want to keep writing in the future.
Life design
A while ago, I’ve realized that I now care much more about life design than I did in the past. That wasn’t even a thing for me in the past.
When I was 20-30, I cared most about my family, learning, and working on interesting projects. I also focused on enjoying my free time as much as I could. I was satisfied with the constraints of my life. I accepted those without ever questioning those, and didn’t even notice that a big part of my life revolved around work and was impacted by it. The schedule I was imposed, where I had to go to work, the commute every day, what projects I could work on, when I could take vacation, who I got to work with, how I had to organize my projects and my work, etc. There were countless imposed constraints.
Now I pay much more attention to the landscape of my life, and I want to carefully design my life. I don’t want long commutes anymore. I don’t want to have a boss anymore. I want more responsibility, more control, and more freedom. I’m not interested in the 9 to 5 at all. I prefer to organize my schedule. That’s a very different perspective, and it has a huge impact on my future plans.
For instance, my position as an employee is definitely a great safety net, but it’s not part of my long-term plans. It’s actually a constraint that I want to remove in my life and a big reason why I’m building alternative sources of income.
It’s also clear to me that consulting is not a long-term goal either. It’s just a short-term necessity. Freelancing does give me much more freedom, but depending on the clients I still get imposed so many constraints that I’m not interested in.
This highlights a clear fact: plans for the future need to be reviewed regularly because we change all the time.
Looking ahead
By looking back, I’ve identified my wins, my mistakes, my failures, and my learnings. But also what I want and don’t want anymore.
Today I’m an author, blogger, entrepreneur, bootstrapper, full-stack developer, team leader, project manager, solution architect, DevSecOps specialist, coach, mentor, and freelancer. I only mention this to make a point: I have choices. There are an infinite number of possible futures. And that’s fun! But it’s a double-edged sword. Having a choice is good, but sitting in front of too many possibilities may result in analysis paralysis (and we don’t want that). Whatever I choose means letting go of other things. Ultimately, it’s about sensing what feels most aspirational, and what will definitely push me to grow.
To clarify my thoughts, I’ve written down my current ideas, challenges, and motivations:
My ideas, challenges & motivations
My ideas, challenges & motivations
Miro is a great tool for that kind of brainstorming session.
Thanks to that first step, I’ve identified a few quick wins and major projects I want to focus on in the coming years.
Reflecting some more, this led to the following plan:
My current plans for the future
My current plans for the future
In the coming months, I plan to get back to writing Dev Concepts, write more blog articles. I also intend to build another startup and continue exploring with small and riskless bets. Aside from that, I’ll continue exploring design, and read more.
Next year, I’ll also get started with YouTube. I’ve been reluctant to speak for a while, so that is probably where I need to go next. I think that I’ll start by introducing software development concepts, one at a time.
I’ve also made plans for +3 and +10 years, to give me a sense of where I (i.e., who I am today) want to head towards.
So these are my current plans for the future. It’s a work in progress; a draft. It’s unstable, incomplete. And it’ll always remain so, and that’s wonderful!
Our whole life is just a draft, that we get to rewrite day after day.
Product development
This week, André and I have continued working on the user interface of our product. We’ve learned more about Figma. We now know how to define styles, how to use design libraries, how to create complex layouts, and yet some more 🎉
We only had a few hours to work on our project, but we made those count. We’ve defined styles and have harmonized the colors, fonts, and effects across the design. We’ve also designed and polished a few more components for our interface:
Draft of the event details popup
Draft of the event details popup
Draft of our context menu
Draft of our context menu
Finally, we’ve also started drafting the storyline for a video that we’d like to create. This video will highlight the key features and differentiators of our app.
André and I are onto something cool, I can feel it. We’ve got a ton of positive energy, and ideas are flowing in our sessions ⭐️
👉 Join the waiting list if you’d like to be amongst the first to try our product: https://apps.developassion.be/productivity
Recent articles
No new articles this week!
How cool is that?!
Tailwind CSS v3.0 – Tailwind CSS
Tips of the week
Tailwind CSS Cheat Sheet - Flowbite
Books corner
Station Eleven: Mandel, Emily St. John
Quotes of the week
  • Perfection is found in accepting your imperfections
  • You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great
Links of the week
Here are a few links that I found interesting this week:
CSS aspect-ratio is now supported cross-browser!
Kubernetes 1.23: The Next Frontier
It's Time to Evolvex ∴ Svija ∴ A Radical Web Building Solution
PostgreSQL 9.4
Testing an NgRx project - Tim Deschryver
Victor on Twitter: "ALL you need to know to make your text look GOOD 🔥 Ten practical typography lessons 👇"
That’s all folks!
I hope that you’ve liked this edition.
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