lambda logo

Hugo Daniel


Check out Pixnit, my newest project

Bootstrapping rain

Trying to answer the question "What are you doing ?"

It has passed a year and a couple of months since I started bootstrapping “a painting web app”. A lot has happened since that time, here is a quick TL;DR:

  1. I am still living off my savings (with a bit of help explained bellow)
  2. Increase in frequency and amplitude of the emotional roller-coaster highs and lows
  3. I started learning how to dance kuduro, kizomba and semba to cope with 2
  4. Had some unexpected expenses (teeth problems, car problems, general problems, problems problems, etc…)
  5. Lots of noise

Noise that I now take a careful distant look at and collide for you in this blog post by applying three different filters into it.

1. What am i doing ?

Many signals exist in the noise, among these the strongest ones imply that I don’t have a clue about what I am doing. In life.

After all this time one of the hardest challenges I still have is explaining to a random person what the project is about. Come to think of it I haven’t even done it here, how could I avoid my personal blog ? that blog that I personaly chose to neglect. Wait no further, here it goes.

“A painting web app”

This is a really reducing way of explaining what the project is about. Specificity wise I put it right after of “It’s a programming project”, or “It’s a web page”. It doesn’t say much more than these and whenever I use it people stare at me with that awkward face that blends simpathy with honest disapointment.

Here is how it happened

Back in the day I grew tired of my (many) wrong choices in life. This was particularly hard for me since I have always been a lover of what is wrong and bad. “Wasting” huge ammounts of time doing code for no reason/purpose at all is not good and certainly not right. Investing years trying to produce CG code worthy of any unknown demoparty and their attendees acids. Realizing that I am not a good coder and still betting my life on the craft. Travelling through deserts only to hope nobody sees my attempts at hoping to intoxicate with colors.

It is 5am. Another cold winter morning in Lisbon enhanced by the summer optimized windows and walls of my 37m^2 home. The rain leaks through the windows and I move the small ikea table enough to protect the laptop from getting wet. I don’t know why I am forcing myself to wake up this early, perhaps knowing that the queue to heaven is shorter at this time of the day and that maybe god will allow my body and mind the grace of being numb for the rest of the working day.

I can see work blowing up somewhere later in the day, I can feel it devouring my brain. I need this time to breathe. The warm coffee smell keeps me awake, its scent rises above all the burn bruises my hands acquired in trying to make it half-awake. Maybe the blessing will rain down on me today.

I have been reading this article about hexagonal grids for some time now. Fuck! Why can’t I implement it right ? Why is programming so hard for me ? I have been trying to do this for months now. I have no purpose in it besides avoiding the razors in my day.

Offset coordinates ? Cube coordinates ? If I was a designer what would I do ? What would I need ?


ZX Spectrum color palette

It is 7am, my girlfriend will wake up at some point before 8. It is still dark outside, where did I leave the umbrella ? I go out to buy some hot bread to prepare our breakfast.

2. Holistic approach

Romance is a big part of bootstrapping.

3. Mentor

In November 2016 the struggle to explain what the project is about led me to apply to a state sponsored funding. In my mind I didn’t need the money since I was/am living with low expenses on my savings, but they offered free access to a “portuguese mentorship network”. Mentorship that I knew that I could not afford and could not survive without. After answering their questions in a 22 page report I waited 5 months and got the response.

They liked the idea and decided to accept the project. I have been living the past 4 months with 690EUR/month from them. This is enough to increase my life style, cover my expenses and still manage to save a bit each month.

The mentorship has been great. I was not expecting such a high quality work from the mentor that I chose from their huge list of available mentors.

I have since done the first prototype of the landing page for the graphic design web app and we have been focusing on applying this work on colors, grids and patterns on the ceramics industry (for a different, but related, product).

In september I will add a promotional video for the graphic design app and an open demo.