Hello world

What this blog is about

Throughout the years, ever since I got into web development back in October 2019, I’ve been through many design & tech iterations for my blog and quite a few domains too.

At one point I even owned alexlazar.com, but I let it expire (back in 2017).

This time around the goal is to make it as simple as possible, and to keep it that way so I can focus on writing.

What to expect from this blog:

  • web (& software) development tips
  • updates on work & personal projects
  • thoughts on tech, software, and the web
  • maybe a sprinkle of personal stuff

I think it’s also worth summarizing my journey so far, or at least some checkpoints, so here it goes.

My journey so far

Back in 2017 I build my first website using WordPress for personal use. It was a simple blog, but I ended up integrating WooCommerce and a few other things too. I tried eCommerce among other things, but I didn’t really make any money from it.

In 2019 I convinced someone (a total stranger then) to hire me as a freelance web developer and I built a WordPress website for them. It finally clicked “I can do this for a living”.

So I started learning more about web development, looking for clients, etc. I struggled and didn’t make much, but by late 2020 / early 2021 I started to make a decent living from web development, especially in my home country, Romania. I also had dropped off WordPress in favour of ‘real’ web development, using PHP, React, etc.

In 2021 I also got an intro to crypto. Many of my clients liked investing in crypto & they were selling online courses through Gumroad. So I figured, what if I built a Gumroad alternative, but with crypto payments? I started working on it, got some seed capital too. But couldn’t get any traction so we shut it down.

I did learn a lot about web app development & crypto though, so it wasn’t a total waste.

A guy who I met through a client ended up being my mentor for a while. This guy is really smart and I owe a lot of my career to him. He pushed me into crypto in 2021/22.

Late 2021 I started contributing for free to a crypto project called Toucan Protocol. This was precisely part of the advice I got from the mentor: offer your services for free to get your foot in the door.

It worked. I got a job offer from them in early 2022. I was amongts the first 20 employees. It was a pretty damn good job, the first time I felt financially comfortable ever and I was learning A LOT, more than I ever did before (a team does that).

I only stayed there for a year and a bit and that’s because I was getting offers they just couldn’t match. I ended up leaving for Dextrac to build PRISM. I’m still there at the time of writing this and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.

A few opinions I hold strongly

  • You could use crypto for day-to-day payments and it would actually be a great experience. I’ve been getting paid in crypto for years and I love it.
  • When building software there are no universally correct answers, only trade-offs. Often you don’t know what the trade-offs are until you’ve made them and lived with them for a few years.
  • Git commit hooks are junk. Checks belong in the CI.
  • Not all code needs automated tests. Manual checks can be a viable solution.
  • The boringness and repetitiveness of Go is a feature. It promotes maintainability & easier on-ramping.
  • PHP is actually good now and truly the most web native language.
  • Setting up your own VPS is actually not that hard, it’s cheaper and ultimately most web apps do not need more than a single VPS. Just make sure you use Docker and have a good data backup strategy.
  • Your first year as an engineer is the hardest. But once you make it through, life’s pretty good.
  • You don’t need college or a bootcamp. You can learn everything you need to know for free online or on the job.
  • You need to be product and business-minded as an engineer to excel.

Anyways, thx for reading this. I hope you’ll find something useful on this site. If you do, please consider sharing it with your friends or colleagues.