New year, new me?
Refreshing my personal website for 2023. Plus some words about burnout, FOMO, and finding motivation.
Talking Heads - Once in a Lifetime
• Updated Nov 3, 2023
It’s not 2024 yet but it might as well be...
Time has finally come to take a stab at refreshing my personal website — and actually shipping this time.
After 4 months of experiments, traveling, and (years of) procrastination, I’m happy to finally get this thing published. 🥳
The previous iteration has been online for over 3 years now, and while it dazzled passersby folks with its flashy animated WebGL blob and vibrant colors, it did not serve as a good place to showcase work or publish my thoughts.
Going for a modular and toned down approach this time. This site needs to survive the next few years in a way that will enable expressing myself online without getting in the way.
Next journal entry will be about setting up a simple Next.js 13 + MDX blog like this for yourself. Drop your email below if you don’t want to miss it.
"Well, how did I get here?"
I built the old site using an old Parcel starter kit 💀 which ended up breaking completely with a Node update, making it impossible to build locally. So there I was, stuck with a website that could only be updated by pushing changes to GitHub and waiting for Netlify to build it. Every developer’s dream.
✦ Only way to keep the modern web alive is to never touch it again or spend weeks rewriting everything from scratch.
What’s on the roadmap?
I mentioned a modular and iterative approach earlier. Here are some of the things I want to add in the near future:
- showcase of my user interface work
- friends page where I can recommend talented folks
- segmented newsletter options where you can subscribe to only the topics you care about
- much better styling and formatting for journal entries
- cleaning up design inconsistencies
- bookmarks for highlighting cool stuff from the internet
- making a seamless loop of the ✌️ emoji 3D render on the homepage (it stutters a bit)
- light mode for reading
- a moodboard for my current obsessions (tumblr vibes)
You’re only as good as 1,000 of your worst creations
After hitting many roadblocks by experiencing burnout at the end of 2021, imposter syndrome telling me that I will never design anything good again, and a whole lot of executive dysfunction, I am glad to be back with new ideas, new skills, and more energy this year.
Spending too much time on Twitter looking at other people’s work and comparing myself to them was a huge source of anxiety and stress. The constant FOMO of everyone shipping new projects was eating me alive. It felt like 24 hours in a day were not even close to being enough to keep up with the pace of the industry.
I knew I could get to that level if I put in the hours but every attempt was a failure. Every failure made me more angry and unhappy because I wanted to create something great on the first try — something that never happens. Sound familiar?
Taking a 6+ month break finally taught me to stop chasing perfection and start taking small steps towards reachable goals.
Seeing some of my closest friends struggle with similar problems made me want to help them, so I created a Telegram group chat where we shared progress updates and talked about all things "product".
In effect, the group ended up reciprocating that energy — optimism and motivation started naturally flowing in my direction. Having a group of likeminded friends to talk to and bounce around ideas with is something I would recommend to everyone.
Wait, the struggle is... real?
During this process I also learned that my brain’s dopamine receptors are actually broken and I’ve had severe ADHD for the past decade. This explains a lot of struggles with productivity, motivation, broken promises, and some of my behavior in various parts of life.
After talking with a couple friends and the YouTube algorithm suggesting ADHD videos everything started to click... but more on that in a future journal. Working on getting a clinical diagnosis and figuring out how to manage it this year.
It might also explain why this whole journal is disorganized with thoughts skipping all over the place. Writing and publishing things longer than 140 characters on my own domain is at least a small step in the right direction.
Flipping the switch
Can’t precisely count how many hours this site took to design and build but I estimate it to be around 60-80 Fred Again Boiler Rooms.
Before, I would obsess over every tiny detail and never launch it but this time it’s good enough to ship.
Saying goodbye to the old site and hello to the new one.See you around?
✦ Yes, there is a weird jump when navigating from the journal and the video looks 30 FPS. And no, I am not gonna re-record it. Learning to embrace imperfections.
The structure and design of this site has been inspired by many great people and their projects, including:
- Mendicant Bias
- Lochie Axon
- Udara Jay
- Paco Coursey
- Rauno Freiberg
- Emil Kowalski
- Flo Guo
- Jess Wang
- Kathy Zheng
- Lucas Fischer
- Steven Tey
- Gavin Nelson
- Josh W. Comeau
- Bob Obringer
- Nanda Syahrasyad
- Jacob Bijani
- Tigris Li
- Sania Saleh
- Jordan Singer
- Austin Valleskey
- Jason Yuan
- Suleiman Zakari Mohammed
- Jonno Riekwel
- Paul Anthony Webb
- Matthew Morek
- Greg Skriloff
- Pedro Duarte
- Duy Luong
- Felix Krause
- James McDonald
- Hector Simpson
Thanks to everyone for sharing their work throughout all these years and pushing the web forward. Seeing so many talented people create amazing things makes me excited for the future.