Being self-aware

Do what you’re best, don’t lose time

This may sound bullshit for you, but bear with me, this single advice has empowered me to build stuff in a way I have never done before, don’t take my word for granted, you can check it on Build New Things website.

This is one of the most important advices I have. You may ask what I mean by ‘being self-aware’. This is what I mean:

Know what you are best at, and do it!

For example, I like front-end but it’s not what I’m best at, I’d probably spend a lot of time trying to accomplish something that looks awesome on my mind, and would end up with something mediocre. So, what I do? Once I recognized it, I focus on what I’m best, building the back-end, integrations and API.

What about the front-end then? This part is even more important:

Find ways to avoid what you’re not good nor passioned about.

Well I find ways to have a better result while saving time. I buy it. Yup, I just buy themes! There’s a bunch of great ones out there that would take me hours, even days, to build by myself.

I’m not talking about some ok-free-theme-you-found-online, I’m talking about the real deal, the thing you have to pay for, that looks gorgeous and is extremelly suited to your needs.

Usually I get it from ThemeForest, and pay around USD 7–25 on it.

25 Buck to save me hours, and give an awesome looking interface that I can reuse on other prototypes. Totally worth it.

You can even find mobile HTML + JS + CSS themes in there easily to use on your app project.

Real Case

Here is the latest example I have, right now I’m building a new product to Build New Things, it’s called Church’s Nest, and it’s basically a platform that help churchs to keep track of their need and everything running smoothly, from members to givings.

First, I started building the backend of it, modeling, creating first classes and writing the first tests, usual stuff, using Ruby on Rails. But right after that I needed to find some sort of theme to a web interface and also a mobile app.

I found a free theme for the web interface that totally suited what I needed:

Image of App

Import a HTML + CSS + JS to a Ruby on Rails app can be quite simple once you understand how assets pipeline works (I might write another article on that, let me know if you want to know more about it through twitter or on the comments

What about the mobile app? Another theme, this one a really complete one, you can check it here, payed only USD 11 for it and I strongly believe I’ll user this theme across a lot of other projects. After messing around whit it for a bit this is how it’s lookin right now.

Image of App

If you’re curious about how I’m building this app, you can check my other post on how to use Ember.js to Build Mobile Apps.

This simple decision allowed me to focus on the parts I’m better, also gave me a reliable solution, and make me more vested on the project, because now there somehow, even if it’s little, money involved.

Scale it!

his is kind addictive, once I started doing it on my side projects I started to delegate everything I could, trying to find viable and better solutions that I could provide it myself.

For example, I’m not a video guy, so I decided to buy the intro of Build New Things videos. Now I’m cosidering hiring a freelancer to edit it instead of doing it myself. Replicating the same concept over all my projects, so that I can focus on the big picture and on what I’m better at. I strongly advise you to do the same.

P.S. I’m not undervaluing the awesome job and the huge impact of a tailor made design and interface, but I’m talking about prototypes here, things that you want to validate ASAP. As long as it does not compromise quality, nor experience, and I know that it’s not what I’m the best on, I will definitly go for a theme.

Want to read other post like this let me know on twitter and on the comments