Part 5. Career programmer. Middle. A crisis. First release

Part 5. Career programmer. Middle. A crisis. First release


Continuation of the story "Career programmer" .

2008th year . Global economic crisis. It would seem, what have the loner freelancer from a deep province? It turned out that even small businesses and startups in the West were also impoverished. And these were my immediate and potential customers. Everything else, I finally defended my diploma at the university and other classes, except for freelancing - I had no choice. To heaps, I broke up with my first client, who brought a steady income. And after him, my relationship with a potentially future wife collapsed. Just like in that joke.
The “black stripe” came at the moment when the time of opportunity and growth was to come. It's time when ambitious young people rush to build a career and plow in for five, getting a promotion at lightning speed. I had the opposite.

One-on-one, with the oDesk freelance exchange and rare orders, my life flowed. I still lived with my parents, although I could afford to live separately. But I did not like living alone. Therefore, mamma's borscht and papkny hundred grams, brightened gray days.
When I have never met with old friends from uni, talk for life, share the news. The SKS company from the third part of this story made a pivot and migrated to freelancing. Now Ilon and Alain, just like me, were sitting at home with my trousers, earning money for existence. That's how we lived: without goals, prospects and opportunities. Inside, everything rebelled, I categorically disagreed with what was happening. It was a system error in my head.

The first attempt to change something was a large-scale web service.

Namely - a social network for job search and networking. In short - LinkedIn for Runet. Of course, I did not know about LinkedIn, and there were no analogues in runet. Only just before my "Los Angeles" fashion reached VKontakte. And finding a job was very difficult. And normal sites on this subject was not in sight. Therefore, the idea was sound and I, the first time I came to the “gym”, hung 50 kg pounds of pancakes on both sides on the bar. In other words: having no idea what IT-business is and its construction, Ilon and I started nipping LinkedIn for Runet.

Of course, the implementation zafililas. I was able basically only for C ++/Delphi desktop. Ilon was just starting to take the first steps in web development. Therefore, I made the layout of the site on Delphi and gave it to outsource. Having paid $ 700 for the development of LinkedIn, I had no idea what to do with it further. At that time, there was something like this: make a website, put it on the Internet and start making money.
Only we did not take into account that between these three events, as well as in the process of them, a whole million different trifles are happening. And also the site lying on the Internet turns out by itself does not earn.

Freelance


For a long time I clung to my first client, Andy, with whom we worked together for over a year. But, as I wrote in the last part, Andy decided to quietly close the contract while I was on vacation. And on arrival, he began to twist the ropes and pay a teaspoon per month.
Initially, he raised my rate on oDesk'e to $ 19/hour, which in those times was above average. Such experienced freelancers like Samvel (the person who led me into freelancing), had a rate of $ 22/hour, and were the first in the search results of odes. This high bid turned against me while searching for the next order.

Despite everything, I had to write Andy that I would look for another client. This format of cooperation does not suit me: “Fix dozens of bugs and add features for 5 times less price”. And not so much in the money was the case, but in the fact that the tale of a major investor, with a bag of money over his shoulder, turned into a pumpkin.The project was not needed by the market, or, more likely, Andy could not sell it where necessary. Type at least the first users and so on.

Understanding that it was time to look for a new order, I rushed to send out applications for posts about work. The first two orders, after Andy - I successfully failed. Accustomed to the fact that you can work as much as you like, and at the end of the week there will be a round sum in the account - I was not very happy with the prospect of starting everything from the beginning. Namely, to take a small fixed-price project - & gt; gain customer confidence - & gt; move to a more adequate payment. Therefore, in step two or three - I broke off. Either it was too lazy to work on trust, or the client did not want to pay the $ 19 rate established for me. It bothered me to lower the rate to $ 12/hour or even less. But there was no other way out. There was almost no demand in my desktop niche. Plus a crisis.

A few words about oDesk'e those years (2008-2012 year)


Unnoticed, like a bolt from the blue, residents of the tea republics and other Asians began to fill the exchange. Namely: India, the Philippines, China, Bangladesh. More rarely Central Asia: Iran, Iraq, Qatar, etc. It was some sort of Zerg invasion from StarCraft, with a rush tactic. One India, every year, graduated and graduated 1.5 million students of IT-specialties. I repeat: one and a half million Indians! And of course few of these graduates immediately find work in the community. And then this ball. Register on oDesk and get twice as much as in your Bangalore.

On the other side of the barricade, another major event happened - the first iPhone came out. And enterprising Americans, they immediately knew what a quick cache could be made of.
Of course, launching your iPhone application for 3 kopecks on an empty and fast-growing market. Curved, oblique, without design - rolled everything.
Therefore, with the release of the first iPhone 2G on oDesk'e, an additional category Mobile Development immediately appeared, which was simply overwhelmed with requests for creating an application for the iPhone.

To get this device and Mac for me was a difficult task. In our country, few people had these gadgets, and in the provinces they could only hear about the existence of this miracle of technology. But as an alternative, over time, I bought HTC Desire based on Android 2.3 and learned to cut applications for it. What later came in handy.

But not the point. My main skill is still C ++. Seeing that there are fewer orders for C ++, and more and more ads on C # .NET appear, I slowly crawled onto the Microsoft technology stack. For this, I needed the book “C # Tutorial” and one small project in this programming language. Since then, I have been sitting mostly on Sharpe, without twitching anywhere.

Then came major projects in C ++ and Java, but I always preferred C #, as I consider it the most convenient, and more recently, the universal language for any tasks in my niche.

odesk-2008-02
oDesk in February 2008 (from webarchive)

First Big Release


So often it happens that if you are a developer in outsourcing or freelancing, you can never see how your program is used in real life. Frankly, from more than 60 projects that I completed on freelancing, I saw on sale from the strength of 10. And how other people use my creation - and have never seen at all. Therefore, having passed the depressive years 2008-2010, when there were almost no orders, I took the bull by the horns in 2011.

Although the need to constantly work and earn - I did not have. Housing was food was. I sold the car as useless.And where should I go to a freelancer? That is, I also had money for any entertainment. It may seem that this tunnel thinking - either work or have fun. But at that time - we did not know another. We did not know that it was possible to live differently: to travel, develop, create our own projects. And in general, the world is limited only by your consciousness. This understanding came a little later, when the lower 4 levels of Maslow's pyramid were satisfied.

image
Maslow was right

But before that, it was necessary to take a step back. Having rushed around a couple of years on small projects, I decided to lower the rate to $ 11/hour, and find something long-term.
Maybe the profile had a bigger figure, but I remember exactly that spring evening when Kaiser knocked on Skype with me.

Kaiser was the owner of a small antivirus company in Europe. He himself lived in Austria, and the team was scattered around the world. In Russia, Ukraine, India. CTO was seated in Germany, and skillfully followed the process, although he rather pretended to be following. By the way, at the beginning of the 2000s, Kaiser was given a state award for innovative contribution to the development of small business. His idea, to build a team entirely from remote employees - was really unusual at the beginning of zero.

Our man, what will he think about it? - "Yes, this is some kind of kidalovo," most likely it will be his first thought. But no, Kaiser’s company kept afloat for more than 6 years and managed to compete with such giants as ESET, Kaspersky, Avast, McAfee and others.
At the same time, the company's turnover was only half a million euros per year. Everything was based on the Holy Spirit and faith in a bright future. Kaiser could not pay more than $ 11/hour, but he allocated a limit of 50 hours a week, which I had enough to start with.
It should also be noted that the CEO did not press anyone, and made an impression of a good uncle who distributed gifts. What can not be said about the CTO, with which I happened to meet a little later. And work more closely at the time of release at night.

So, I started to work remotely in an antivirus company. My task was to rewrite the back-end of the antivirus that was used in most of the company's products. (You can find technical details on this post ).
Then my first post in the Habr sandbox was born, about the virtues and virtues of C ++, which still hangs on the second place in the hub of the same name.

Of course, the tool itself is not to blame, but the drug addict who wrote the last antivirus engine. He fell, buggy, was multi-threaded on his head and did not respond well to testing. Not only did you have to install a bunch of viruses for your test on your machine, but the antivirus also did not have to fall.

But little by little, I started to get involved in this development. Although it was not clear, since I was doing an isolated component that other programs use. Technically, this is a DLL with a list of exported functions. How other programs will use them - no one explained to me. Therefore, I reversed everything myself.

This went on for almost a year until the roasted rooster pecked at the CTO and we did not start preparing for the release. Often this training took place at night. The program worked on my machine, but not on its side. Then it turned out that he had an SSD disk (a rarity in those times), and my fast scanning algorithm fills all the memory, due to the quick reading of files.

In the end, we were released, and my scanner was installed on tens of thousands of machines around the world. It was an indescribable feeling, as if you had done something significant. Brought something useful to this world. Money will never replace this emotion.
As far as I know, my engine works in this antivirus to this day.And in the inheritance after myself I left the reference code, created according to all the recommendations from the book “Perfect code” “Refactoring” and the series of books “C ++ for professionals”.

Finally


In one famous book it is written: "The darkest hour is before dawn." It happened to me in those times. From complete despair in the 2008th year, to the founding of his IT company in the 2012th. In addition to Kaiser, who consistently brought $ 500/week., I got myself another client from the States.

It was difficult to refuse him, as he offered as much as $ 22 per hour for a rather interesting job. Again, I was moving the goal of accumulating more start-up capital and investing - either in real estate or in my own business. Therefore, revenues have grown, goals have been established and there has been a motivation to move.

Having finished the Kaiser project and slowed down with another project, I began to prepare for the launch of my startup. I had about $ 25k on the account, which was quite enough for creating a prototype and looking for additional investments.

In those years, there was real hysteria around start-ups in Russia, Ukraine, and throughout the world. The illusion was created that you can get rich quickly by filling in some innovative piece. Therefore, I began to move in this direction, study profile blogs, meet people from parties.

So I met Sasha Peganov, via Zuckerberg Call me (which now vc.ru ), who then introduced me to the co-founder of VKontakte and the investor. I recruited a team, moved to the capital and began to create a prototype at my own expense, for further investments. What I will discuss in detail in the next section.

To be continued ...

Source text: Part 5. Career programmer. Middle. A crisis. First release