Wholesome Django 🥰💻 #0018

October 30, 2022

Happy Sunday!

First of all, I would like to acknowledge the fact that I have not sent out a newsletter in more than a year. I want to start by letting my subscribers (the ones that have not left me by now 😉) know the reason behind this.

A lot has happened in the past 1 year and I would not be able to compress all of that in this newsletter, so I will do my best to share an overview of what I have been going through. 

Reason for my hiatus

The reason is simple - I was burnt out. Building and managing DelightChat had taken away a lot of my energy to the point where I was no longer happy with what I was doing on a day to day basis. 

I did not enjoy managing people, assigning/fixing bugs, solving our cash flow problems and even writing code.

The last one really got to me. 

Coding is something I have always enjoyed and derived fulfillment from, so the fact that it turned into a source of unhappiness made me realize that I needed to take action.

So I took a break. 

Thankfully we have some great folks working for us at DelightChat who are keeping the ship running while I try to recharge and get back the zeal that I once had. In fact I am still on a break. 

I’ve been journaling, meditating and trying to figure out what I want from life so I can be cognizant about why I am doing what I am doing rather than just doing it because that’s what my peers are doing and the same is expected out of me.

To quote someone that has been helping me get through this phase - “Design your own game vs playing somebody else’s game”. So that’s what I am up to right now - designing my own game.

Why restart my newsletter?

Speaking of designing my own game, I asked myself why I started this newsletter in the first place. The answer I got was because my co-founder Preetam was doing it and I felt like perhaps this is what people who want to be successful are supposed to do - write about their journey actively.

As you can probably tell, this was the wrong reason for starting a newsletter and since the starting point itself was wrong, the motivation behind this newsletter was always things like how many subscribers I gained in a week or how many likes my blog post got on Reddit/dev.to etc.

This leads to more unhappiness. If one’s mental state depends on subscriber count/likes it’s just a matter of time before one goes down a dark path. I realized this was happening and therefore stopped writing blog posts altogether.

This break helped me gain perspective on what should have been the correct reason to start a newsletter.

After doing some journaling and reading some of my old blog posts, I got reminded of why I originally started writing - because it was fun and therapeutic. And there you have it, this should have been the real reason behind sending out the newsletters. This should have been the starting point.

The moment I started optimizing for getting more traffic to my website, this fun activity got corrupted and added to my burn out. The pressure of having to send out a newsletter every Sunday was not helping either.

From now on I will write for the purpose of performing an activity that helps me achieve flow state for a while and reinforces my mental health by allowing me to have a channel to express my thoughts. 

In this process, if I manage to help other people with bettering their lives or help them become better software developers, that is a bonus that I would like to claim and therefore I am restarting this newsletter.

However I will not put any pressure on myself to write something every week and instead do it only when I really feel like I have something valuable to write about that would help me and other people as well.

That said, I do have something that I found to be valuable to talk about this week:

Noteworthy things that happened this week

Exploring no code tools

I would like to clarify that I am taking a temporary break from writing code. I definitely intend to get back into it soon and I am starting to do so already with small projects within DelightChat.

That said, my break from coding had one positive outcome - I started finding ways to perform tasks without having to write too much code.

This week I automated our onboarding emails by creating a no-code automation using make.com and sendgrid.

DelightChat sent ~ 5mn WhatsApp messages this month

It has been a great month for DelightChat in terms of volume of messages sent. Folks have been sending WhatsApp campaigns for Diwali in full force. 

We had to ensure that our system was able to handle this load and we managed to do this by designing a simple autoscaling system using a periodic celery task and AWS autoscaling groups.

I will be writing a dedicated blog post on this very soon!

Launched an in house replacement for htmlcsstoimage.com

We have been using htmlcsstoimage.com to convert HTML code to images for the last 6 months and it has been costing us $450 a month. 

This cost was not sustainable so we had started working on our own in house service.

This week we launched this service and It has been running quite smoothly. 

I have been deriving a lot of pleasure from the fact that we are generating about 4k images a day using this service and it is costing us less than $10/mo now in terms of infrastructure costs.

This too deserves a blog post of its own but I would prefer to write one once I am confident that we have created a very capable replacement to a tool that is battle tested and used by many folks.

What to expect in the future?

As I previously mentioned, I am in the process of designing my own game. During this process I would definitely be writing my experiences and continue sharing tips that are valuable for developers. 

However, I would not be following any fixed schedule. I will continue to focus on my mental health and arrange my life to optimize for happiness. 

During this process, I will be sending out a newsletter whenever I feel confident that sharing my thoughts will have a positive impact on me and my readers.

To those folks who are still subscribed to me and want to continue with me on this journey you have my respect and well wishes. See you next time!