Why I'm Starting This Blog

In a nutshell, I want to! That’s it. That’s the blog post. (jk)

Paying It Forward

If I ever needed to figure out how to do something, some random stranger always had my back and took the time out of their day to post their solution online. This must have happened thousands of times, and I got access to this information without paying a single dime out of my pocket.

After being pushed forward countless times by strangers on the internet to become the software engineer I am today, it only feels right to pay it forward to the next person who aspires to build.

Solidifying Understanding

When you’re forced to put things down on paper, it becomes clear what you understand and what you don’t. I have learned a ton of specific knowledge as a software engineer so far, and I hope to ingrain that knowledge in this blog.

In the best case, the specific knowledge in this blog will provide value to at least one other person. In the worst case, this blog will establish additional credibility for me as an engineer.

Becoming a Role Model

If anyone claims they accomplished something on their own, they are mistaken. We stand on the shoulders of giants. Everyone’s accomplishments, both individually and as a whole, are built on the works of our predecessors and the guidance of our role models.

Just like Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender needed the help of previous avatars to save the world, we need role models to help us persevere and most importantly — to believe in us.

If anyone is an aspiring software engineer and is struggling to find software engineering job, feel free to reach out to me anytime. My twitter DMs are open @visaals. I’ve been through the job hunting process and can confirm it sucks. The unfortunate reality is that software engineering skills do not cleanly translate to demonstrating software engineering skills in while interviewing. I have spent considerable amount of time and energy curating the content I found most helpful, persevering through failed interviews, and ultimately getting four New Grad SWE job offers that more than doubled my intern return offer of 69k annually.

Chasing The Dream of Passive Income

🚨 Update 05/25/2022, two years later and I’ve realized there’s no point in chasing passive income for the sake of passive income. I have enough. I enjoy building (and occasionally writing) things and sharing them with the world, which is what I’ll stick to from now on. The point is to escape the rat race, not join another one.

For the past ~2 years, I’ve followed several creators achieving a passive income through this process:

  1. consistently giving away valuable content for free for years, which leads to
  2. establishing credibility with an unique online brand, with hours of useful content as proof, which leads to
  3. building an audience of people that have gained value from your content, trust your expertise in certain areas, and benefit from your curated content recommendations, which allows you to
  4. utilize your audience as a distribution network for occasional paid content, in additional to the usual free content, with the idea is that the paid content is a form of digital wealth — “create once, sell forever”, which compares to real estate wealth — “buy property, rent forever” or business wealth — “create a profitable business, sell the products forever.”

Here are a few examples of people who’ve followed this exact path growing positive-sum internet economy:

Paving The Way Forward

I’ve always had an inkling of a desire to start a blog since college while learning to program, but, like many others, I second guessed myself with thoughts like:

  • “I’m not really qualified to give advice”
  • “I don’t want to step on someone’s toes with my opinion”
  • “It’s just a waste of time; I might as well be typing into the void”
  • “People are going to think I’m weird!” ← the scariest thought personally, although it’s a true fact lol.
  • etc. etc. etc.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” — Henry Ford

It turns out every single internet creator that “made it” also had these thoughts. The point is that you don’t have to be an expert at something to be qualified to teach something. You don’t need a PhD in math to teach fractions to 4th graders.

With that in mind, I’m going to start off by writing about the practical things I’ve done (so far):

🚨 Update 05/25/2022, it’s been about two years since I originally made these writing commitments. I make no guarantees I will write about the following topics, ever.

  1. Step-by-step: How To Double Your $70k SWE Salary (hint: it’s leetcode using a pen and paper, message engineers that work in Big Tech™ on LinkedIn to get referals, practice mock interviews, build up your resume)
  2. Learn the System, Game the System: how to use the internet to achieve practically anything you want (a meta version of #1, going beyond the common “just google it” advice) (break big scary problems into many small manageable problems, solve those small problems, and do that 100x)

And the stuff I’m currently learning:

  1. How to Quickly Understand a Giant Codebase (currently learning)
  2. SWE’s Guide to Efficient Note Taking (just write stuff down as you learn it and organize it from time to time)
  3. The Most Frustrating Bugs I’ve Come Across And How To Avoid Them, a recurring series

And general interesting thoughts and ideas I have and come across:

  1. How The Internet is The Greatest Equalizer in History
  2. Life as Series of Games

And more, coming soon to an inbox near you!

Final Thoughts

If you’ve made it this far, thank you. If you’re particularly interested in anything above, let me know on twitter and consider subscribing to get notified of new posts.

Special thanks to my friends who’ve endured me talking about starting a blog for years yet still tirelessly encouraging it. You all know who you are :)