Introspections on running Techcoil for the third year

Time flies, it had been 3 years since Techcoil started running. Choosing 101010 to launch Techcoil had been significant to me: in both binary and decimal aspects, it is a easy anniversary date for me to remember. I guess that is how I can remember to chunk some thoughts on this day.

How did I start having the thought of owning a website?

I was a diploma graduate majoring in networking with some self taught Java programming skills.

That was also the year where I got a car moving with Java and Flash, two awesome teammates and one extraordinary project mentor.

I also saw my project mentor launching his own website for people to keep in touch with him. After he did that, he said to me: "Chai Heng, I think you should start one too."

With that motivation and a little bit of confidence, I started picking up php (which is more economical than Java in terms of web hosting), HTML as well as CSS while doing up some design prototypes in order to create a not-so-ugly website.

Major milestones in the last 3 years

Three years neither a long nor short. Quite a bit had happened to Techcoil.

Year 1 of Techcoil was more of a show-what-I-know website. I listed all my accolades, some of my projects and write a few pages about this and that. One month later, I integrated WordPress into my website and wrote my first blog post on Techcoil.

Year 2 of Techcoil was a period when I started to write more blog articles and plan for the next version. At this point in time, I had sort of gotten the hang of documenting some of what I had tried in my work into my blog. The content of the blog grew and I started to see the principle of temporal locality taking place when I constantly reference back what I had wrote while building new things.

Year 3 of Techcoil was a major overhaul. I removed most of the "about this and that" kind of pages. I included 3 new sections:

  • Books: a showcase of some books that I had read and felt I had learnt a great deal out of.
  • Tools: some tools that I had built and will so that I don't have to repeat myself.
  • Pocs: demonstrations of some of the proof of concepts that I had created to evaluate solutions to my work problems.

I also remodeled how my server would serve the HTTP requests directed to Techcoil: including the ones that are responsible in rendering this page. Finally, I reworked the look and feel of the web pages.

What have I learnt from

There are some lessons that I had gotten from creating and running Techcoil for the past three years.

I am a big fat work in progress

For three years, I had been paralyzed by my own analysis. Prior to the first launch, I had been scraping my design prototypes: this colour is not nice; that way of arranging the elements is not creative; that instance variable should not be named as such and so forth. In short, I had been procrastinating and damming my progress.

One fine day, I decided to set Techcoil's launch date as 10th October 2010 and told myself that I would just put up whatever I had done for Techcoil at that point in time.

There is no such thing as a perfect plan, time just keep ticking away. As long as I am about 30% ready, I should just proceed on with my objectives; things will naturally fall in place after that, as long as I keep putting in effort.

Be independent, do not rely too much on others to help me

I don't rely on people to help me create my website design, I don't rely on people to code my entire website for me. I just dive into the waters and get my hands dirty.

Relying too much on others will often hinder my progress. Why wait for someone at that expert forum to give me an answer to my problems when I can be faster at finding the answer myself?

Even when I want to ask for advice, shouldn't I have something visible for people to judge?

I will always have at least an audience for my output if I make them for myself

My workflow for growing Techcoil is to put up things that I will use in future. Perhaps, I could had found out how to go about telling that browser how to detect mouse clicks; or how to create a web server in C# to serve HTTP requests. Yes, I know, there could be some article on the web that does the same thing, but am I able to find it back easily again next time?

In order to give me a one stop access to what I had done, I will create blog articles to remember the various techniques of doing things. And as I hate people plagiarizing my work, I will center the blog articles around proof of concept scenarios which I had created myself.

For me, I don't aim to get as much traffic as possible. Is this technique useful in the future? Yes, blog it. Is there a tool which can help me in my current work? Yes, just build that.

What is next for

They say it is helpful to list down some objectives publicly so that I can be on my way to achieving them. Well, looking ahead, I want to see Techcoil with:

  • at least 150 blog posts
  • at least 50 proof of concepts demonstrations
  • at least 15 tools
  • self-made search functionality

Till then.

And lastly, whoever you are, I thank you for reading this far. It is my pleasure to have you here on Techcoil. 🙂

About Clivant

Clivant a.k.a Chai Heng enjoys composing software and building systems to serve people. He owns and hopes that whatever he had written and built so far had benefited people. All views expressed belongs to him and are not representative of the company that he works/worked for.