24 Dec 2015

2015

The travel

I traveled back to US end of June. I needed the holiday. But I had no plans about the where. I didn’t want to do San Francisco. I wanted somewhere different. And it didn’t take Kaya and Courtney much persuasion to narrow my options to Los Angeles. Kaya and Courtney, both from LA, were exchange students I made friends with at the University of Legon, Accra earlier this year. When LA came up, I looked up the tech scene (I didn’t get to do anything tech in the end) and life style and figured it would be fun. I mean, it is Hollywood after all. So I packed up and did it.

I remember being delayed at the connecting airport at Atlanta for like 45 minutes. The immigration officers quizzed me about a couple of things. When asked, I said it was my first time in LA, I don’t know anyone around (my two friends were not in town) and I just want to explore the city. They were surprised at that. After checking my bags and going through my phone, they finally let me go. I actually missed my connecting flight and had to wait a few hours for the next. Then I had to pay $70+ for a Yellow cab to Whittier - most expensive cab ride ever. First thing I did when I settled? I got a SIM+internet for Uber and Lyft. (This disruption is real bro).

So there I was in a big beautiful city. No friends, no knowledge, vulnerable, just armed with apps and the internet. That feeling was beautiful. And like I imagined, LA was fun. I visited a couple of places and made some cool friends. I did a two day trip to San Diego with one. I wanted to go to Las Vegas again and visit the Grand Canyon but I blew my cash on other things and didn’t. And again, I didn’t get to Sky dive. The last two weeks I spent at Hermosa Beach was one to remember though.

The burnout

I thought the holiday would make me feel refreshed. It did, but then I suffered massive burnout in the two months or so that followed. I guess it was the disconnect between both realities. In one, though brief, everything seemed perfect. I had met a guy doing a bicycle ride from Canada to Mexico; got invited to downtown LA by some girls we threw Frisbee with at the beach (my French friend ended up starting a party at the lounge); sat by the beach at 2am with friends and talk about everything; took a 29 miles, 4 hours bicycle ride along the coastal line to Santa Monica and back. In the other, I work hard to meet my responsibilities as a friend, a lover, a first child and a CTO.

So I cut down on coding and started delegating more, disposed (sold) some side projects, started reading a lot and experimented on new technology. I also got some art materials to start experimenting with oil and water colour painting but never got to it.

The house

Fun fact: I have been homeless since March last year.

When I travelled last year, I sold everything I had, left for what could fit a duffel bag and my laptop bag. I hinted this in The last six months. I spent four months in US, arrived in Accra and spent like a week, then came to Nigeria. I didn’t want to go through the stress of getting a place or be bothered about the cost implication. Plus I was yet to make up my mind about where to settle (PS, I don’t like Lagos). So I decided to live the nomad life for a while. I’d spend time with the folks and friends in Nigeria, then do Accra for like two months and come back to Nigeria for like a month again.

The nomad life can be interesting. I was very flexible. I had just the things I needed. I wasn’t tied by location or possession. But there is just how far you can continue with such life style. It’s easier when you are younger. I started finding the need to get a place again later this year. Aj, my old time friend, got a place for us when I traveled. So when I got back July ending, there was a place waiting.

The book

I love APIs. 80% of everything I’ve ever built implemented an API one way or another. I’ve wanted to write about consuming REST APIs since like 2013. But I didn’t get to it. Writing a book wasn’t just as easy as I thought. Committing to it daily was difficult. And writing takes a lot of thinking, validating, experimenting and testing. Or I just lacked the focus to. So after a chapter or two I stopped.

I logged into my Gumroad dashboard sometime in September and discovered Small Product Lab, a project that forces creators to build and launch something within 10 days. I decided to give it a shot. To be able to make the 10 days challenge, I decided to do write about the basics only. It was to cover REST API introduction, HTTP basics, consumption basics, tools and OAuth. The second part, the experiments with platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Uber, Google, Instagram, Dropbox, etc, will then come later.

Needless to say, I missed the 10 days deadline. But the project pushed me to put more time and effort into the book. Since it was my first, and I wanted more people to have access it, I made it free.

The reception has been good. Some people actually donated some money despite being free. A big thanks to everyone that downloaded it, people that donated and friends that helped review the drafts. I have started working on the second part (the experiments) already. You can subscribe at gumroad.com/kehers to be notified once ready.

My name is Opeyemi Obembe. I build things for web and mobile. You should follow me on Twitter (@kehers).