Yesterday, Jessica tweeted out what I worked on for months, even close to a year. However, the majority of the current product was done over a few weekends in the past month, with barely any engineering or major operational work put into the final product… because the reality is that it’s just a WordPress website that I cooked up over those weekends. Here’s how it stands as I am writing this post:
I first start thinking back in August of last year, when I contacted her on supporting her on Pateron, and my willingness to do a website for her. My background is a few years as a DevOps engineer working for Chegg, where my learning ability flourished more than any other company I had worked with in my life. The gaps of knowledge for every piece of technology started to get filled in and how web architecture built out in scale just started to make sense.
Working on my own, with no senior or mentor to lead me… I had to encounter pitfalls and struggles on how to build software/servers or applying that knowledge in technology when starting from nothing. What made this even worse was my condition with having ADHD… because my current knowledge was how to build things to scale up and adding those to an already existing project.What I did have as my strength that has guided my entire life was the ability to take blueprints or some that had an example, showed me how it worked and I could recreate it/understand it easily. When I was a kid, K’Nex was my favorite toy, because I always had the blueprints, it showed me the examples and I could build this super quickly.
As I built the first prototype, I was learning containers at my job. I wanted to combine my new learning experience with this project. As I was first thinking what to build and how to build it, I had to remember that this project is not paying me and anyone who would come and help me would also not be getting any $$$. This wasn’t a business venture, the desire to build this website was not to make money. I wanted to create a home base for people with ADHD. As Jessica loves to say, we are a tribe and we look out for each other.
So the first idea was to build the website with Drupal, content management system and having help with another person who could handle developing the front end. AWESOME! I built it out using some technology that could allow for easy container deployment… MORE AWESOME! Great! Now we gotta start thinking about all the things up for when we wanna scale it up!
What am I gonna do for monitoring? Wait… what I am going to do for DNS, caching, database, multiple environments, security, repositories, private clouds, QA, user experience, release, build tools, website management, high availability, configuration…and all the different options to use to solve said problems?!
This is where the ADHD and the sensory overload started to kick in. I don’t really enjoy going out to parties or clubbing or to bars because I get overwhelmed by everything. And that’s exactly what started to happen with this project.
But I didn’t just stop on developing and giving up on the project, I tried my best to start solving these problems, this was a challenge, this is my opportunity to prove I can use and understand everything!
The project just stalled, I got done with nothing, and my personal life and professional life needed me to put more time into those avenues. Overthinking everything from around January to early June… I lost my ability to have my executive function… and everything stalled due to my life just getting overwhelmed. I took my personal leave for a month away from everything and I wanted to get back to working on https://howtoadhd.com in mid July with a refocused attitude. And I really realize that a programmer cannot be interrupted that much when trying to develop. Adding in the ADHD part makes this programmer comic just so much more real:
During that time, a co-worker helped explain to me what MVP stands for, which was the most important and crucial detail not only for software development… but for anyone with ADHD:
Minimal Viable Product:
The idea of a development technique in which a new product or website is developed with sufficient features to satisfy early adopters. When I understood this concept, I had decided what I needed to do was to tear everything down, trash it, all those months of hard work, the scripts I made, the disorganized mess I had, it wasn’t gonna work. I saved it and put it away, but I had to start fresh.
So after a few weekends, I was able to get it ready. This time, I also didn’t do it alone. I had some buddies look over my simple MVP which was just a WordPress site. And as things need to scale, I’m there to put them in as we need to do it. I was so happy to finally get something out the door and now that I’m just gonna do small additions, small changes as it grows and people start to use it. Get feedback and to add specific content to help out ADHD people.
Finishing this article, I actually stumbled upon on something I sent over to Jessica last year… and it’s exactly what I needed to see.
The idea of success and the road to success is not a straight line. It’s twists and turns and failures. That’s how you achieve and sustain success. And the journey should never be forgotten or tossed to the side. That’s how we live.
Embrace the journey