In the last 24 months

Aug 22, 2014Blog

The last time I wrote something here was in 2012. What happened since then?
It’s been quite a ride actually. I lived in 3 different cities on two continents and had some realizations on the way I want to work and the importance it had on my life.

If you (still) follow me on twitter, you might have seen some changes. I’m tweeting more and more in French and less and less about technologies. It didn’t went unnoticed to @clochix and he asked me what I was doing and if there was a chance that I could wrote about that somewhere.

In the last 24 months, I left Paris and lived in Montreal, Berlin and now Amsterdam. I met a whole bunch of people, made new friends along the way and basically hadn’t too much to worry about because as I often say to people I meet “when you’re a developer, you can basically work from anywhere”. The freedom you get by doing that has its obvious drawbacks, but the upsides are really fun.

In the last 24 months, my views on work changed as well. As I was reading on autonomy and independence, I realized that being an employee was unsatisfying to me. It has its good sides but it was mostly frustrating in the end. I decided to become a freelancer. Who doesn’t need some php/symfony2/golang expertise in this world right now? Of course, there’s more to that: I wanted to
create something from my hands and my brain. This is something incredibly hard to do when you’re in an office for 5 days a week and that you also happen to enjoy your evenings and your weekends. Freelancing gives me the possibility to balance my workload between my clients and my projects. With freelancing, I can confront my classic gen-x/gen-y developer bullshit to the real world. And I can’t really tell you how good it is. In times where offices are transformed into playgrounds and that your company is paying for your breakfasts and your friday booze, trying to accomplish something by yourself can be seen as mad. Why would you refuse all these privileges? I don’t really know, but I just had to the feeling that I should do it.

In the last 24 months, I must admit I lost interest in the IT industry. I could state a lot of reasons for that but it would raise endless debates because none of us would be right or wrong. The fact is that I can get bored quickly when things look and act the same. This industry has bored me. I’ll get more involved again when the monoculture is less strong.

I tried to build (alone) different products but somehow always failed developing them past a certain point. This is something utterly frustrating.

Luckily during the Symfony Live 2013 in Berlin, I had the chance to have a few conversations with Dustin Whittle, Fabien
and Francois Zaninotto who gave me really good advices: “Don’t create a business alone”, “It’s harder than you think, but rewarding”, “Think of the future of your product and how it will evolve”, and “expose your projects to like-minded people”.

Now the funny thing in life is that if you give room for surprises to happen, they might actually do. At the beginning of the year, a conversation with my good friend Flore led to something like that (jokes, usual stupidity and facebook stickers removed for clarity).

  • Her: “I think I want to start a record label, but it’s tough”
  • Me: “I never told you that but I have this idea in my mind since quite a while now.”
  • Her: “Well it would be fun to do that together. We should think about that maybe…”
  • Me: “Yeah, let’s think about it”

A few weeks later, it was on. We were creating a record label. This is a new adventure and even if I’m clearly out of my comfort zone, I enjoy it more and more. Music is my passion
and I’m glad I can see tech not as an end, but as a mean. I often asked myself who would create a time-consuming small business in the worst industry to do business at this time? The only answer I got is “Maybe the same guy who doesn’t like his office to look like a playground.”