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EXECUTION The CASE and CAPE Master Plan

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by Andreas Thiel, Sep 2, 2018.

  1. Andreas Thiel
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    Andreas Thiel Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Hi all,

    I posted an introduction thread and am now thinking about ways to get to where I want to be:

    INTRO - Process guy, trying to take the steering wheel

    Eventually I want to work on my big ideas, but I feel that I need a liquidation event first to do it properly (aka "not alone").

    The current plan is creating either an Information Product business or a SaaS subscription product ... or even combining the two.

    For the Information Product, I am considering:
    • DoByLearning.com
    • FirstCodeContact.com
    • StartupExample.com
    • CodeAndSucceed.com
    To create a SaaS business, I could create JavaEE based REST services that provide APIs and bring them together using a Liferay based portal.
    I have no great ideas for a promising (CENTS) SaaS solution (with the exception of my two big ones), so I am considering a hybrid for now:
    • AllGotchas.com
    • OYOGuides.com
    Here I want to create portals for user created step-by-step Guides (OYO = On Your Own) with collaboration and mashup features in any category and a Gotcha Database (in any category and maybe with an integration to OYOGuides.com).

    Those would probably be really hard to monetize directly, but I can create an Information Product that teaches people to create their own SaaS solution the same way (step-by-step).
    Ideas Are Worthless - A SEO optimized Gotcha database

    The platforms could also help people over time and with SEO optimization they could touch the lifes of many people at some point (the way StackExchange does every day).
    They could lead to opportunities that I cannot even conceive of at this point and they would be proof that I can execute / deliver.

    The issue I have with this plan is that selling an information product based company might be more difficult than selling a SaaS business, but that is probably something I should not worry about at this point.

    The two big ideas are:

     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
  2. Rabby
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    Rabby Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    My advice is act and observe the results. Act such that all your resources are not expended by the action.

    You can get stuck planning and saving... what's the point of saving and planning for 10 years if you burn out or suffer from a stress-related medical event? That would be wasting your best resource, you.

    If you habitually act toward your goals every day (I recommend early morning, before the *&^% hits the fan at work or whatever), you not only have the results of those actions, but you gain a feedback mechanism.

    Your brain works on feedback, it's the Wheaties that make it stronger, as opposed to rumination which are the Lucky Charms that give it type 2 diabetes. Ok bad analogy, probably. But really, make something, gauge the market response, talk to customers or potential customers. That's how you find out if it's working. The path become much more clear much more quickly.
     
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  3. Andreas Thiel
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    Andreas Thiel Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Well, as a huge fan of "The Power of Habit", "So Good They Can't Ignore You" and "The ONE Thing" I have wanted to turn working on my business into a habit for several years. I just have yet to find a way that actually works.

    "Miracle Morning" attempts f*cked me up, fortunately not beyond repair. That sleep pattern does not work for me. I will not touch that BS with a ten foot pole ever again. Also, whenever I work on my projects early, I am preoccupied with personal project challenges at work and underperform.

    After work, I often pass out for a while, so I probably need to put in the time late in the evening and on weekends. The only option I see is benefiting as much as possible from what I learn at my day job (which will be true for Liferay, soon) and limiting the things I need to figure out to the marketing and business aspects - as much as possible.

    You pretty much answered your own question ("... what's the point of saving and planning for 10 years ...").
    I need to "Act such that all my resources are not expended by the action.". At some point I will need to work on my project full time. I am familiar with the theory behind idea validation, outreach and marketing, but making a habit out of that while I have a day job ... I do not see any way to approach that.
     
  4. Rabby
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    Rabby Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    To be clear, I'm not saying either do or don't quit your day job. I can't say what's best for you, maybe nobody can.

    I tend to disbelieve the idea that I'll die of starvation if I make a mistake, so personally my tendency would be to stop working for others, or at least cut hours, and put all my energy into my own thing. Think, what is literally the worst outcome if you don't succeed? Get another job or downsize the house? Your outlook and motivations may be completely different from mine though. Your project might be possible just by working weekends on it.

    When I say "expending all your resources" I don't just mean money. Your life is also a resource, and again this is just my opinion, but if you spend too much of it on something that isn't a good trade for you, you'll just be wasting more and more of that resource on a bad deal. Money is important in that it can be set aside to feed you while you work on your project, but (and this is not just my opinion) it's not the most important resource you have. You can tell it's not, because someone is willing to trade your entire income for one year of your working hours... that year of your working hours is more valuable to them than that dollar amount, plus taxes and benefits.

    I wasn't a fan of Miracle Morning either, btw. But it is quiet in the mornings, so I can write or make things without being disturbed.

    Best of luck! I look forward to hearing about your progress and challenges.
     
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  5. Andreas Thiel
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    Andreas Thiel Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    You are probably right ... and as I am reading UNSCRIPTED, I think I see more clearly again.

    On Thursday (6th of September) I have an appointment: founding consultation.

    Last time I quit (5 years ago) I was derailed by the regulations relating to social benefits entitlement. Probably the fears that stopped me are mostly illusions.
    Now I want to fill in the blanks so I can actually do the math of how long I could pay the rent and live on a really small budget in different scenarios. Money I have saved / monthly rent = more than 28 Month. So probably there is a way to opt out for a year or more by paying for a voluntary insurance without losing my entitlements.
    I do not even know the exact probability of the option to tap my entitlements in the form of a monthly founding subsidy. The option exists, I have just read it is not easy to get that approved.

    I do feel a moral obligation to work the new job for at least two more years, though. I can probably create a Master Plan that allows me to make progress during that time.

    UNSCRIPTED also helped with the vision of what I want to go for, first.

    I disagree with something that I keep reading again and again: that it is usually clear what we should do, but we find excuses and just don't do it.
    All the information is supposedly out there, but in my reality finding a comprehensive guide / tutorial is really hard, even for pretty basic processes. Too often there are only simple "Hello World!" tutorials.

    Now I think there might be more value than I thought in the OYOGuides idea, and DoByLearning could itself work as a Portal that primarily brings Gotchas, Facts and Processes / Steps together with a book as the secondary product.

    One of my WHYs is also "to provide products and onramps for the unfortunate" because "Don't Sell to Losers" advice keeps triggering me. The idea behind OYOGuides is turning people into makers. That sound like it could provide value.
     
  6. Andreas Thiel
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    Okay, this is BAAAD. I keep coming up with excuses and falling back into bad habits.

    I keep thinking that the lack of a profound "f*ck This Event" is holding me back ... and there is some evidence of that.
    I keep action faking. For example, I keep updating my 3 Wikifolios ... trying to convince myself that this is a "Process" that contributes to "Financial Literacy" which I will need once I have more money. I even used the part about saving money regularly (to condition yourself to think in terms of freedom fighting money) to rationalize the time spent that way.

    What will I do about it?
    I will dedicate one weekday for Wikifolio updates and commit to not checking share prices on any other day.
    That means I will also have to make sure some positions in my actual portfolio will have to be converted into less risky ones.

    Regarding the overall Master Plan, I want to focus on working on DoByLearning.com now.
    Rather than designing a Site around a book, I will now ...:
    • Provide a Home for Step-By-Step Guides
    • Worry about the Value Attributes (compare with topic specific blogs and communities, books and information products) - the assumption is now that platform effects could create immense value in that space
    • Work on a Portal / Data Services as long as it takes to start a controlled experiment (at that point I will start an actual company to make sure I can limit liability when I collect user data)
    • Pivot as much as it takes to either invalidate the idea or see convincing signs of a productocracy
    • In case of success: propagate until I have at least 18,000 subscribers that pay 5€ each month
    • In case of failure: come up with a new Strategy and prepare to strike again (and soon)

    I had an appointment and talked about my options. Obviously working on a project for one year is a real possibility. I would be operating at the financial redline, though ... and any large expense would be painful.

    For now it probably makes more sense to create the foundation as a side project.
    Regarding my "lack of a f*ck This Event", I will simply keep reminding myself that the process is what matters.
     
  7. Andreas Thiel
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    What has happened in the last few days?? ... let's see.

    I cleaned up my Jira / Confluence environment to make room for DoByLearning sprints.
    That means all other projects that I had created there have been deleted.

    Setting up my new iMac (I posted a picture: FEATURED! - Post Your Desk or Work Area! (The Workspace Thread)) takes more time than expected. Fortunately I have a colleague who has suggested Homebrew. How do you "discover" something that essential if nobody points it out to you? Damn, I was lucky.

    Originally I wanted to read the book "Liferay in Action" cover-to-cover and then go through it again while working on a sandbox project. Turns out it does not work that way. The pages-read-per-hour metric degraded consistently over time and now I simply can't continue without actually following the steps. My brain just says "no way"!

    Now I am trying to get the Liferay IDE set up, a Liferay test environment deployed and a Subversion server going. That is more of an issue than I expected.
    Thought I could just freestyle and take one random step and then another, but it looks like this requires some planning.

    Thought about the branding as well. I think gamification (inspired by the Oatmeal Kickstarter campaign) could work. I just fear that a critical mass of eyeballs is a prerequisite for that, so I need to find another way to reach early adopters. Any organization that has to provide tutorials for their products could be a "customer" if I get the value attributes right. Manuals are often an afterthought and an inconvenience - so taking the dread out of that to some degree should provide value.

    Thoughts regarding a Usability concept are stored only in the back of my head. I think I discovered more challenges than solutions that I can get excited about. That said, I don't think there is a huge issue that makes me question the viability of the idea altogether.
    I will need a concept for "Variants" of Step-By-Step instructions. The main challenge is that a multi-dimensional solution might be needed.
     
  8. Andreas Thiel
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    Oooone step at a time ... sloooow progress.

    Eclipse is now set up with the Liferay IDE plugin.
    I am starting to get acquainted the the iMac. I regularly have to figure out how to type special characters.
    That seems like bad product design ...

    Blade is installed, which is a tool that streamlines some development tasks in the Terminal.
    I downloaded a Liferay Portal bundle, but now progress has slowed down painfully again.
    Installing PostgreSQL using the brew convenience solution might actually slow me down more than it helps because I might need a more low level understanding of what the installer did exactly. I might skip that step and use the embedded database initially. If I transition to a container based local development environment any time soon, the time I spend on this now is not a great investment.

    Countdown until my current job is over and my new job starts: two weeks.

    I might actually have to slow down a little to make sure I am not a complete mess.
    It would not help at all if I made a horrible first impression.
     
  9. Andreas Thiel
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    Just want to kill myself now :thumbsdown:.

    I was fully motivated and going to brute force through any challenge until I have Liferay running, but now I just want to die.

    I followed the instructions to get the Portal running, now all I see are StackTraces / errors all over the place.
    Google tells me that it is probably a Java Version issue. Easy fix ... probably? No, I'll need to study for probably a friggin year to wrap my head around the hacks required to use a different default version:
    Mac OS X and multiple Java versions
    (okay, slight exaggeration)

    Plus, I really do try to focus and ignore any distraction or urges to read all the valuable information here ... but I read a few sentences of DigitalOcean or StackExchange solutions and my mind just wanders. Five minutes pass until I realize I have to start over. No control over it.
    There seems to be a subconscious limbic lizard urge to make more dramatic moves, now that my current plan of working on a side project for probably a year in total isolation is at odds with getting accustomed to outreach and networking.

    It is the kind of situation / struggle that I have been in hundreds of times in my day job. There, it also consumes days ... and those days are 8 hour days. I have 2 - 3 hours to work on my side project per day if I pull all the stops.
    The math is not compelling.

    Might have to think outside the box and do some research to see if there is another way to set up a development environment.
    I could read the Manning "Docker" book that I bought earlier than planned, but that would be a huge detour and highly speculative.

    Bleh. Argh. D'oh!

    [EDIT]
    Planning to take my own advice now and organize my thoughts by writing something that resembles an academic research project paper.
    [/EDIT]
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
  10. Rabby
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    Rabby Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Been there with the technology frustrations, including the Mac OSX Java version. I think just using Homebrew like they mention in that SO thread is what I did, and it worked well.
     
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  11. Andreas Thiel
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    Oh, you have? My condolences ;) ... guess I will have to look into your post history a little at some point.

    Thanks, yeah ... should be doable. Guess it is just overwhelm that aaails me :(. Earlier today I thought I might as well follow my own advice and write a document in the style of an academic paper to organize my thoughts, prioritize the tasks and find all the comprehension related issues.

    First I tried wrapping my head around the homebrew solution again and read additional tutorials - to see if I just had a non-warranted breakdown yesterday.
    Everything should be set up correctly now, but Tomcat still seems to use a different version than the one I set using jenv.
    None of the tutorials I read explained any theory. They just throw steps at you that are probably all outdated by now.

    I will go for the academy style breakdown and then decide if it makes more sense to set up a VM (Linux) to host the Liferay Portal, Set up a VM with DOCKER and use containers or figure this s**t out locally with Homebrew.

    It should not be THAT hard ... but well, that is how I know (and no longer love) Java programming.
     
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    I don't envy the frustration ;) Tomcat is either loading something other than your defaults from its config files, or whatever project you're using embeds Tomcat and Java parts together. If they aren't working together, I'm guessing it's the first possibility. Eclipse will have a way to change the project environment variables, or Tomcat will. Alas, I'm not a Java expert so that's all I've got.

    That said, my go-to would be setting up a Linux VM. Friends who are more active developers than me would set up Docker. Either way it's an improvement, because you have something you can deploy on the web without having to tinker with environment variables and dependencies again. Just make a build script or instance for your server, and deploy it somewhere when you're ready.

    Sometimes to keep the mess off of my own computer, I start a Linode (or other hosting company instance), secure it, and start tinkering/developing whatever the app is I'm working on, on the server, from the beginning. Bonus: I can use any computer anywhee to develop the app, as long as I have my private key for ssh access. Again if I was a little more modern, I would use Docker in a similar way. Habits.

    Do you have local geek groups that can help you flatten out the learning curve? Meetups, etc?
     
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  13. Andreas Thiel
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    Thanks for the pep talk :)

    At work, my colleague and I talked after a little rant (me broadcasting, mostly).
    He is a huge Apple fan and we looked at a few StackExchange replies.
    Turns out checking the reply with the 2nd most replies can pay off, even when it is 700+ vs 170+ votes:
    Aaaand Liferay is running with zero issues.

    Yeah, I want to go for the more sophisticated solution that can be used in production - at some point.
    Just wanted to have the freedom to tackle that as a marathon and buy time with a local development sprint.

    Unfortunately I do not know (m)any people that I could discuss such topics with. Will look into joining local events and meetups to network, but that is hard to incorporate into my schedule.
    My big hope is that there will be more experienced colleagues at my new job.
    I should pick up a lot there either way. They have been developing for Liferay on Macs for quite a while, so even if I can't connect with anybody on a personal level, my personal projects will benefit from what I learn in the 8h at work.

    I have, umm ... soome ... experience securing Linux environments. I pay for 8 virtual servers and have written shell scripts that take care of a few steps that I found in free online tutorials.
    Stuff like that:
    Code:
    #!/bin/bash
    #######################################################################################
    # Programmtyp:  Bash-Skript
    # Programmname: setup_server.sh
    #
    # Purpose: Securing a fresh Ubuntu 16.04 server - 1 / 2
    # Based On:
    # https://www.thefanclub.co.za/how-to/how-secure-ubuntu-1604-lts-server-part-1-basics
    #
    # Author: Andreas Thiel, DareDevelop
    #
    # Date: $Date: 2016-08-16 09:31:19 +0200 (Tue, 16 Aug 2016) $
    #
    ########################################################################################
    . ./logging_setup.sh
    SCRIPT_LOGLEVEL="$LOGLEVEL_INFO"
    REVISION="1"
    VERSION="v0.1.${REVISION}"
    EXECUTION_START="$(date +%Y%m%d%H%M%S)"
    YYYYMMDD="$(date +%Y%m%d)"
    YYMMDD=$(echo $YYYYMMDD | sed 's/[0-9]\{2\}\([0-9]*\)/\1/')
    LOGFOLDER="/var/log/setup_$YYMMDD"
    LOGFILE="$LOGFOLDER/$(basename "$0" .sh).log"
    function createLogfile() {
        if [ -e $LOGFOLDER ]
        then
            touch $LOGFILE
        else
            mkdir $LOGFOLDER
            touch $LOGFILE
        fi
        echo $LOGFILE
    }
    function enableUncomplicatedFirewall() {
        log_verbose $LOGLEVEL_INFO 'Enabling Uncomplicated Firewall' $LOGFILE
        apt-get install ufw
        ufw allow ssh
        ufw allow http
        ufw enable
        ufw status verbose
        log_verbose $LOGLEVEL_INFO 'A reboot is now required' $LOGFILE
    }
    function secureSharedMemory() {
        local tmpfsline="$(awk '/^tmpfs/ { print $0 }' /etc/fstab)"
        if [[ "" == $tmpfsline ]]
        then
            log_verbose $LOGLEVEL_INFO 'Securing shared memory' $LOGFILE
            echo "tmpfs     /run/shm     tmpfs     defaults,noexec,nosuid     0     0" >> /etc/fstab
            log_verbose $LOGLEVEL_INFO 'A reboot is now required' $LOGFILE
        else
            log_verbose $LOGLEVEL_INFO 'Shared memory is secured' $LOGFILE
        fi
    }
    function createAdminUser() {
        log_verbose $LOGLEVEL_WARN 'Admin user creation not implemented yet' $LOGFILE
    }
    setLogLevel "$SCRIPT_LOGLEVEL"
    createLogfile
    log $LOGLEVEL_INFO '' $LOGFILE
    log $LOGLEVEL_INFO "Starting script $0" $LOGFILE
    log $LOGLEVEL_INFO "Script Version: $VERSION" $LOGFILE
    enableUncomplicatedFirewall
    secureSharedMemory
    createAdminUser
    log $LOGLEVEL_INFO "End of script $0" $LOGFILE
    log $LOGLEVEL_INFO '' $LOGFILE
    
    ... and a few additional manual steps are required. Somehow I am not confident that this is good enough, especially because I do not have a sufficient understanding of what is going on.
    I am hoping that I get better results by looking into more modern technologies in the coming months.
     
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  14. Andreas Thiel
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    My new job has started and the first two days are behind me. For now it seems that the new employer managed to fool me again.

    This first impression might be wrong, because I do not have a complete understanding of what kinds of tasks there usually are and how appropriate the software architecture is to deal with new requirements efficiently, but everything they have done seems to be impulse driven.
    They mostly want urgent issues fixed, there is little big picture awareness / planning and all the decisions they make seem more emotion based than anything.

    My hope that I might learn relevant skills and facts for my project has died an immediate death. They do use Liferay, but they don't use most of the features that actually speed things up - apparently to "maintain control". Sounds reasonable, but in this case they accomplish nothing as far as I can tell. The sophisticated code still only works in the Liferay platform and most of the code that they "isolate and protect" that way seems like it is mostly about getting data from the database to the controller - which could be rewritten in no time.

    All that is fine, I suppose. Just need to make sure I survive there. Stress might become an issue, because they have bitten off more than they can chew and the ambient pressure is felt by everyone.

    Regarding my personal projects, I have not gotten anything done because I did prepare for the 01st of October.
    That has come in handy to some degree. I did not struggle with the Mac keyboard shortcuts and did not get a heart attack when I was supposed to use Homebrew to install Java and get the Liferay Tomcat bundle up and running. As outlined above, I had already struggled with that earlier :)

    Still, it will be a challenge to get on track with DoByLearning again. I did start a thread with a question: Double Down or set Stretch Goals ... my current plan is not going for any stretch goals at this point, because the new job pushes me out of my comfort zone more than enough. If that changes, I have some ideas of things that I can try to push my boundaries a little more. I will reevaluate around the 1st of January to see if stretch goals make more sense by then.
     
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    I've worked at the same place you're working, except it was a different place.

    Here is what you can learn there.

    Look at how they see business, and how they see their job as owners and managers. Help them as much as you reasonably can - they are paying you for brainpower after all. But see if you can identify things they can do to help the business, make it more organized, make it less reliant on minute-by-minute owner 'control', while still showing them that they have assurances that 'the business' will not go out of control.

    Yes, this sounds like more than they are paying you for as a programmer, and it is, but two things...

    1) you're going to need to organize *your* business at some point, so you can start thinking this way now;

    2) it will help them, and alleviate some stress, assuming you can take even one thing that they are hyper-managing and automate it or build a control/dashboard/process/routine/tool for. Or convince them to use an existing tool for (such as the framework features you mentioned). Even if the routine is something that is manually checked less often (weekly vs. daily), you're improving the lives of everyone in the office. And probably the customers. That's impact!

    3) I know I said there were two things, but it will also make you look and feel cool, and that's worth something.

    Seriously, a company with problems can be as valuable to work inside as a perfect company. The problems may be organizational, operational, even cultural. Your mindset is a variable influencing whether you benefit from studying these problems, or just fall victim to them like the rest of the company. Fixing those problems can be cathartic, with perhaps only a dash of "why am I doing this" outrage. Whatever, it can teach you a lot. I learned a lot this way.

    This is all assuming you stay there for some time. It sounds like you'll be there until at least January? So make the most of it. Good luck :)
     
    Andreas Thiel likes this.

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