On working solo

July 2022 Β· Koh Samui Β· comments

The beauty of solopreneurship is that you can play with different technologies. There are so many things you’ve always wanted to try! It’s just a dream to play with tech while having no one to report to. No need to convince rugged seniors and top management that your ideas are worth it. Just do what your heart wants.

Dreams quickly dissipate when you realize that, unlike employment, the number of days you spend in a playhouse directly affects your ability to pay bills. πŸ“‰

Switching between frameworks? πŸ’° β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–‘β–‘β–‘ 75%
Over-engineering? πŸ’° β–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–ˆβ–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘ 50%
TDD everything? πŸ’° β–ˆβ–ˆβ–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘β–‘ 25%

Nothing is as refreshing as watching your bank account balance dip. When you’re solo, you don’t need a burndown chart. Your bank account is the best reflection of how much value you have delivered.

Today everybody is bashing their employers and teaching them how to live. I don’t think engineers really appreciate what they have.

  • When working in a company, you can learn new tech and have fun at no risk while also enjoying a high stable salary. Companies are absorbing all risks and inefficiencies of our decisions. Not to mention marketing, sales, accounting, paid time off, training budgets…

  • Because engineers don’t have skin in the game, holy wars, never-ending tech debates, and engineering for the sake of engineering are so common. When you have skin in the game (or at least try to think like CEO), life forces you to be pragmatic. And punishes you when you’re not.

  • The further engineers are from the business/product/customers, the worse is their ability to make business-friendly decisions. The situation gets only worse over time. It’s a reinforcing loop.

  • Many developers want to go solo not because they want to work solo, but because they don’t know how to β€œsell” their ideas to others, find consensus, and handle confrontation, which is part of working in a team. Bad news: working solo involves even more communication, sales, and marketing. Good news: you can develop these skills and turn them into your competitive advantage.

  • In startups, engineers will inevitably feel the downside of slow/bad tech decisions, so incentives are more aligned in startups than in large corpos. Joining a startup, even temporarily, will make you a better engineer. And you will learn to appreciate what your imperfect employer offers.

❀️ Now go and give your company the love it deserves.