Sometimes life has its way, and you need to follow along. In March, I parted ways with Toptal and decided to take a little time off employment to try to build a startup. In the meanwhile, my idea was to do part-time consultancies to fund my startup.
That is why I, with a couple of friends, decided to build Badgie. I think the idea was entirely valid, but I was the only full-time person working on it as everyone else was helping in my spare time. This meant that during the first month, stuff was built very slowly.
The second month in, I started doing consultancies as part-time. I flew to Catania to help Bax Energy and Dino Esposito. Then I was called by Marco "Mario" Rossi to help rejuvenate iSolutions. Then I was called by multiple more customers, many of which I merely turned down to lack of time and resources.
In other words, my consultancy "side project" with Intelligent Hack, the company I built do work remotely, really took off in the second half of the year. This meant no time for Badgie. The other co-founders also decided to do other things, and the project went into hibernation.
That was my 2019. In 2020 it turns out there's much, much more work for Intelligent Hack and so I will need to start hiring remote people to help me starting January and throughout the year. As you can imagine, this is a huge step for me -- I never hired anyone! But, fingers crossed, this is really happening, and it will seriously help me unburden a bit since I've had to work 50-60 hour weeks for the last six months (apart from holidays, without which I would be burnt out by now).
The other big change is that I unknowingly went on a project of self-discovery. Not having a boss, for me, is a fantastic, liberating experience. I don't have to be defined as a developer, architect, team lead, agile coach, product manager, or engineering manager. I am finally free to do all of these jobs as I see fit and be as valuable as I can for the people that want my services. I discovered that they are not mutually exclusive. I coded a lot, I architected a lot, I introduced agile to a group of 50 people, I proposed and helped set up a matrix organizational structure, and did a lot of listening.
Without exceptions, I learned a lot in all these fields, and I grew better at them. Keeping on growing professionally whilst having an impact also helped immensely, keeping me happy, unworried, and positive throughout the semester.
This was a good year. I made unknowingly good choices. I'm looking forward to the upcoming challenges. Ad Astra!
A software engineer & Stack Overflow alumnus. Co-founder of Badgie. I write about software development, coding, architecture and team leadership. I also speak at conferences worldwide.
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