Building Personal Infrastructure160113 2020-10-04 12:11
To enjoy a life of building software, media, and community as a hobby (all things here are NOT related to my job) / for pure pleasure - why build personal infrastructure? And what are the strategies and executions to grow hobby projects? What is my current progress?
Playing Chinese copy of Tamiya mini 4WD
And play computer games on DOS.
Introduction to programming with Macromedia Authorware
- Built a website with Microsoft FrontPage to track Iraq War 2003
- Built a text-based game with QBasic on Digital Dictionary
And then you can play in the classroom behind piles of textbooks :)
- Built with Lego Mindstorm RCX for FIRST Lego League Challenge
- used SQL injection to add 20 CNY credits to our school’s meal card for my roommates. However, two days later, they were called by the cashier… LOL.
- sniffed an audiobook app and then, based on its API, built my own Android App to get free audios.
… the fascination of fashioning complex puzzle-like objects of interlocking moving parts and watching them work in subtle cycles, playing out the consequences of principles built in from the beginning.
— The Mythical Man-month
- Builders build for themselves anyway. Why not share them with others?
- Builders build things anyway. Why not make them big?
Meanwhile, I came across some mind-blowing articles.
- Ben Thompson on Amazon’s Business Model
- Stephen Wolfram: Seeking the Productive Life: Some Details of My Personal Infrastructure
- Amazon’s flywheel is built for business with high fixed costs and optimizing returns to scale.
- My life is with high fixed costs (limited time and energy), and scale economy is worth pursuing in this case.
- I can achieve more than I think with a powerful personal infrastructure that gains progressive advantages over time.
Plus, some take-away from my previous pre-PMF startup experience
- Seek retention-first, data-driven growth. Sean Ellis: “Focusing on customer acquisition over ‘awareness’ takes discipline… At a certain scale, awareness/brand building makes sense. However, for the first year or two it’s a total waste of money.”
- Table stakes are table stakes. You don’t need VC to build initial product. Ideas are just ideas. Build your team, build your product, and collaborate with people.
Here is the architecture of my hobby projects.
Technologies: React, React Native Expo, GraphQL, KOA, TypeScript, AVA, Webpack, Airflow, MongoDB, Python Pandas and Flask, svelte, Metabase, Golang, etc.
Servers and APIs: Heroku, DigitalOcean, Azure, AWS, Github Pages, BunnyCDN.
Focus on building, not wasting time on SRE
“This architecture is not future-proof! / does not scale!”
- Services are mostly stateless and horizontal scalable
- Service collocation is a problem but you have to segregate them anyway when collaborating with various people and achieving Personal IaaS (individually-sellable).
- Can always evolve to kubernetes.
Living a balanced life and keep everything on track, measured by data
The key metrics for a “retention-first growth” is cohort analysis.
Benchmarks for reference:
|Industry||Day 1||Day 7||Day 30|
- Values in unit of %
- Beancount.io: Double-entry bookkeeping made easy for living your best financial life
- touchbase.ai: Personal CRM: Smartly engage more in meaningful relationships
- coderoma.com: One coding challenge per day
- onefx.js.org: Building web & mobile apps with speed & quality
Helped my friends’ projects to start from scratch
- CocuSocial: Discover a different food and drink experience
- helped my day job at IoTeX to build staking portal, blockchain explorer, desktop wallet, etc.
- not to mention some other failed projects…
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