Expedition Signals: Episode 3.
On Shaping Monolithic Apps, Prototyping New Products, Writing, Hiring, Achieving (And Preserving) Freedom, and Other Crazy Stuff.
Happy New Year! I hope you had a nice holiday break.
Here we are back again, beginning a new exciting year with a refreshed look at the future.
As you may already know, if you’ve followed this newsletter before, everything here is about growing more sustainable lives, businesses, and products. And in this episode, I have some new lessons and tools to share with you on this matter.
But first things first. Here is what I’ve been up to since the last episode.
First of all, I refined my creative system. This newsletter was initially intended to happen once or twice a week. Yet, it’s turned out more into a quarterly one. It’s been plenty of things happening around, lots of learning, and much stuff I’m having to get used to, so it got hard to keep up with all fronts.
But that’s no excuse so, to improve matters, I’ve been refining my creative system to become more prolific and get a better handle on things.
In this sense, I reviewed my workflow and refactored my second brain. It’s been a full review of the system from the ground up that I’m putting to the test right now.
I hope (and genuinely feel) this will help me enhance my output both in quality and quantity. I’ll tell you more in future episodes if everything goes as expected.
In another vein, since the last episode, I also built a prototype for an exciting SaaS project I am collaborating on.
Related to that, I wrote a short article where I go through the work I did and why prototyping before building the actual system might be a clever idea for you as well —but more on that below.
On the other hand, continuing my last article on the topic, I published a new essay on software engineering. Titled “The Majestic Monolith Demystified“, here I dig further into how to engineer monolithic web applications in a more sustainable manner.
Apart from that, and to wrap up the chapter on writing, I also published “Sustainability is Your Unfair Advantage for Hiring,” a reflection on how to hire great folks when you’re still at an early stage.
And last but not least, I kept publishing and engaging on Twitter. As I told you in previous episodes, I’m highly focused on growing the community and audience around me. Investing in Twitter is one of my main bets in this respect.
What I’m Doing Next.
With the end of a year and the advent of a new one, it’s time to zoom out again to re-assess the current state of affairs and set the direction for my next steps.
Keeping up with my previous efforts, one of my main priorities will be growing my community and audience. To do so, I will invest further in engaging and helping people online to build meaningful relationships. That will happen on Twitter and other online communities.
Regarding content creation, I’m going to double down on shorter-form content. I have many things to share but, since the day only has 24 hours, long-form writing has become a bottleneck. I sincerely enjoy it, but it takes too much time to produce, so I will experiment more with shorter-form content.
That’s not to say I’m going to give up on long-form. I’ll keep posting articles, but I’ll combine them with other, more condensed pieces —like tweets or Twitter threads— for more quickly experimenting with ideas and shortening the feedback loop.
Finally, I want to build my first info product and start a new SaaS project. In the last episode, I told you I wanted to begin a new small software project. I couldn’t get my hands around it. Yet, my desire is still latent, so I’ll try harder this time.
I’m not sure yet what those two projects will be about, but I have some ideas. I’ll keep you posted as I make progress on this matter.
Things I’m Thinking About.
The Majestic Monolith Demystified.
A monolith becomes majestic when it makes life better for its users and makers alike. It becomes majestic when it remains easy to understand and work with. It gets majestic when it can quickly evolve smoothly and consistently with the business and the rest of its environment.
Building a monolith instead of microservices is usually a safe choice when starting a new business. But is that enough to grow sustainably? How can we shape our monolithic app to move fast today without paying the price in the future?
Keeping up with the last article I published on the topic, here goes my final essay for 2021.
Want to have a look? Here it goes.
Prototype Before Building the Real Thing.
Consumer research and design over paper can only bring you forward up to some point. Once there, you need to see the solution. You need to touch it. And you need to test it in the real world to fill in gaps in your understanding.
When creating a new product, we usually do research, write specs, draw sketches and diagrams, and a long etcetera of activities for finding the right shape.
However, there is a cap on how far we can go with these tools. There is a moment when we feel stuck and need to move into the concrete.
So what should we do then? Should we go all-in to build the actual product?
In this short article, I try to provide some answers. You can check it out here.
Sustainability is Your Unfair Advantage for Hiring.
Getting people on board when you’re still not ready, when you stand on weak foundations and a wrong direction, will only get you off track sooner. And what’s even worse, it can trigger harmful side-effects further down the road you can’t anticipate beforehand…
I’ve been there multiple times.
You excitedly begin your new startup adventure only to soon crash into the cruel reality: hiring is tough. You compete with perks, security, salary, and a whole bunch of things that other bigger, more established companies can offer.
Apparently, you start from a position of inferiority. But is that all we can offer?
Or is there anything we can do to get over other, more established businesses?
In this article, I try to throw some light on those questions. Want to find some answers?
Prescriptive Solutions Sell (And Break) More Easily.
The more prescriptive a solution, the easier it is to sell.
Thinking is exhausting, so simpler, pre-cooked solutions are usually easier to digest. The problem often comes when you discover they have essential flaws and do not fit your context well.
So…is there a way to design flexibility in a prescriptive (more sellable) solution to get the best of both worlds, or are these mutually exclusive by nature?
This was the core of a discussion I held with Edo Van Royen on Twitter a few weeks ago.
They are opposite ends over the same scale. We can say that the more prescriptive a solution, the less flexible it is, but also the more marketable it is —and vice-versa.
Prescriptive solutions tend to sell better, but they also break more easily upon changes in the environment they operate in.
Gems I Found.
Here is a brand new tool I’ve been trying out lately. Built by Tony Dinh, it radically dopes your Twitter experience.
Especially powerful for me to set reminders, schedule retweets, and replies, or see the history of interactions I’ve had with specific people. Very much needed features that have been missing on Twitter for too long.
And to top it off, everything stands as a browser extension that magically blends within the same Twitter UI. It’s like having an integrated CRM to get in control of your community, a renewed Twitter, on steroids.
Want to level up your game on Twitter? You can learn more here.
David Perell’s Three Principles of Writing.
If you want to grow a sustainable business these days, writing is one of the most valuable skills you can cultivate without a doubt.
In this short piece, David Perell outlines his three principles of writing: write from abundance, write from conversations, and write in public.
The three are interconnected and propel a virtuous cycle. More abundance of ideas drives better conversations which in turn leads to more (and better) ideas.
Writing in public is an amplifier. It propels conversations one step further, broadening the exposure of your ideas to new, more diverse contexts and perspectives, again leading to more (and better) ideas.
Want to read the whole piece? Here it goes.
On Liberty, Constraint, and Coercion.
If we must coerce our sisters and brothers, it should be done with the utmost respect and reservation. Anything less is an insult to liberty.
These days, society is extremely polarized. From the naive libertarian views to the coercive, authoritarian stances, most people seem to be leaning towards the extremes.
What both sides have in common: they all usually speak in the name of freedom. Obviously, something is quite not right here.
As usually happens, in reality, things tend to be fuzzier than what many try to make them seem.
In this article, Joe Norman brings up a much-needed perspective that I deeply believe we should be trying to recover as a society. We are still on time.
Want to take a look? You can check it out here.
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” —Marcus Aurelius
Thanks for reading Playing the Long Game. Did you enjoy it? I hope you did.
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And that's all for now.
Have a creative time.