Hi! I'm Sergiy, I write here about diverse topics. I do software development, currently working full-time for a company.
I started writing to clarify my thoughts and to create an additional space to ponder about various topics. Also, this process helps me enhancing the language as it isn't my native one(I'm a Ukrainian).
How I started programming
I became curious about Internet things in 2012. I was thinking about how those websites work and can I create a similar one for me. There was a popular website builder, I chose a template and had a full CMS to manage my first website. I then needed some customizations. Started learning HTML and CSS to edit the pages. It felt great. A few lines of markup and you see the results on a browser!
I created a few more websites using WordPress and other CMS. Got familiar with PHP and created a simple website from scratch. That one was for creating puzzles, they were categorized, users might create their posts.
Then I took a long pause distracted by studying at school and then university. I tried various kinds of service work while being at the uni. It was good to get familiar with different experiences. It assisted me in understanding what I don't want to do in life.
One day I thought why can't I continue doing what I was curious about and liked. So I started learning programming almost from scratch. I created a bunch of projects. Learning with books and Speed tabs were the biggest at the time of my learning journey.
After 3 months I got my first "job" experience as a trainee. There I wasn't doing anything interesting at all. Merely were going to work every day to rename icons. And after a week I found my first real programming job. I met smart people and was doing exciting tasks. I started as a backend developer(Node.JS). After a while, I was doing React, React Native, DevOps stuff. Many interesting things we were building.
While working full-time, I was interested in trying to build things. I created a Telegram bot to help students find a schedule for their lessons. It also was looking for any updates from the university's resources(website, YouTube, other communities) and sending them to students. There were a few other features. 1000+ students were using the bot.
First indie journey
In 2018 I created FableBee - a LinkedIn scheduler. There were a lot of such tools, I made an emphasis on simplicity. The tool was super simple. I made a few pricing plans, a landing page. I was reaching out to some people on LinkedIn who might be interested in the service. A few responded. I asked on Reddit.
The questions were something like "Would you use this service?". People told me they were excited to try. I launched. Made posts in communities with a link to the website.
I got several visitors on the first launch day, but no sign-ups. I continued to reach out to LinkedIn folks with messages "Would you try...? I created the tool".
After a few months of no interest, I closed the service. However, the experience gave me some thoughts to consider. Plus, I learned a lot while was creating the product. The main lesson is to not create something that nobody wants.
- Don't create something nobody wants.
- Don't think of ideas, but problems people have.
- Don't ask questions like "Would you use it?", "Would you pay for it?" to your potential audience. The words don't correlate with future actions.
- Don't waste a lot of time creating MVP.
- A better approach is to pre-sell a product before building it.
An attempt to build an audience in a domain I wasn't excited about
After a lot of related readings on the topic, I came up with an idea to create an audience first. Then, ask them what they want, simply put. And build that!
I chose to dive into the catering domain. I bought a domain, bootstrapped a website, a newsletter. Wrote one post. Reached out to catering professionals on LinkedIn to do a quick call with me to help the community of caterers and people who are interested in the domain. The website helped, they took me more seriously. I did several interviews, noted the insights. The difficult thing for me was writing every day to people proposing an interview. A very small percentage read the messages. A few responded. And a few percent of those few people agreed to the call.
I realized I don't want to continue spending time writing a hell of a lot of messages and getting one reply.
A lesson learned:
Don't spend time diving into a domain you're not interested. Anyway, you need to give up a few years to understand what's going on there and what problems worth solving. Even if I realize a problem to solve, I need a lot of time to adjust a solution to people's needs, to dive deeper into an industry I'm not excited about.
After reading books about AI, I was ignited with an idea to create an engaging experience like in movies...or, in games. I like to play simulation or strategic games. So I reasoned it would be enjoyable to create a game where you can play as AI that tries to understand its purpose and to escape from human control.
I pictured possible story plots. Started to implement in a tech I know - React Native. Though the storyline is short, I wanted to get any feedback from people. I released the game to open testing in April on Google Play.
What things interest me
I like the Rust programming language. The compiler is hugely helpful and the language itself is great. However, I don't have much experience in it. Created a few projects. For example, this one generates a CV from JSON. https://github.com/SergChr/qcv
I created a bot that assisted me in moderating my Telegram group. It checked spam(the algorithm is very explicit: it checks for spam words, recognizes some spam text patterns).
I love to read non-fiction literature. Especially the information that benefits me explicitly. E.g. how the X in this world works, why. I admire physics and how our Universe operates.
I enjoy enhancing my learning process and work with memory. For some time I practiced mnemonics. See my learning process in this article.