Why I don’t eat meat

There are many reasons why I do not eat meat. These reasons are my personal reasons and I do not force anyone stop eating meat. We all have free will and we can decide what to do and what not to do. You can freely decide stop eating meat as I did.

Meat industry and moral reasons

If you knew how meat industry works, you would probably stop eating meat. Or you would be at least terrified. Maybe you will stop eating meat later when you fully realize what meat really is.

Billions of animals are artificially breed and then unmercifully killed just to satisfy appetites of people. This is not just about meat industry but also about egg and dairy industry.

Please don’t take this as a propagation of veganism. I just want to show you why I do not eat meat and also eggs if possible. You should know what eat.

You can simply ignore how meat industry works and you can eat meat if you like it. It’s up to you. It’s your personal decision. You can continue supporting meat industry and suffering of animals. Or you can at least reduce consumption of meat and maybe you will realize that you do not need to eat meat at all as I did.

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR HUMANE SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL - Humane Society International’s China specialist, Peter Li, visited dog meat markets and slaughterhouses in Yulin, where locals consume dog and cat meat to observe the summer solstice (21 June). HSI has been working with local groups to end this suffering in China. Although some slaughterhouses remain in operation, the dog meat trade is in decline. In this image, released on Tuesday June 2, 2015, dog meat is displayed in the marketplace. (AP Images for Humane Society International)

79986.ngsversion.1422285291749.adapt.768.1 dog vs. other meat

Realizing what meat really is

The meat you can see in supermarkets does not grow on trees. What you call meat was a living being like you and me. Plants are also living beings but they are different from us. We can see emotions of animals, but we cannot see emotions of plants. We can see suffering of animals, but we cannot see suffering of plants. Animals are too close to us on evolutionary scale that we can see they are similar to us. Especially mammals. Plants are too far away on evolutionary scale from us and they are totally different from us.

Give a child an apple and a live chicken and see what the child will eat and what will be his friend.

If you knew that the meat you eat is your friend, would you eat it? Would it be tasty? When I ate my last meat, I fully realized what it really is. I knew that the animal had to die to satisfy my appetite. My last meat was not tasty at all because I fully realized what I eat. When you realize that the meat you eat was a living being like you and it had to die to fill your stomach, you will rather eat vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts. Once you fully realize what meat really is, it will not be tasty any more. You will find a lot of tasty foods without meat.

More energy

When I stopped eating meat, I noticed that I have more energy. When you eat meat, the body needs much energy for digesting process. When you eat vegetables or fruits, your body can digest it faster and it consumes less energy for digesting process. That’s why many carnivores feel tired after eating meat and they often need to rest.

Life without anger

When I ate meat I was quite aggressive and angry. I thought it’s my nature. But when I stopped eating meat, aggression and anger disappeared.

Other reasons

There are other reasons why people don’t eat meat. For example health reasons. But my health was quite good when I ate meat so it’s not my case.

Will you eat meat?

This question is for you. Ask yourself if you want to support killing animals and their suffering. Ask yourself if the taste of meat is worth it.

If you decide to go vegetarian or vegan, you can find a lot of tasty recipes on the internet.

Have a beautiful day!

Conscious life

After publishing my article “Why I quit programming” I got this message:

Hi my name is Michael I’m 25 and from Scotland.

Your article has really spoken to me this morning. As I’ve battled frustration and anger my whole life. Blaming other people for my own actions and issues inside my head and causing a lot of hurt for family and myself. Trying to as you said, change others and not my own perception.

Right now the main reason why I’m so frustrated and angry once again is I’m in a lot of debt which I am deciding whether to go bankrupt and start again. To get this chain around my neck taken away and relieve all stress, I had taken out a loan to go traveling around Asia with my girlfriend as My ex partner who I have a son to stopped me seeing him for 3 months so I went away for two months to try and find myself.

It was good but I still don’t think I used my time there to the absolute best I still felt the same trapped emotions about money and being away from my son etc. So I had to come home. I’ve been home almost a year now and it’s just the same again if not worse as I got into a lot more debt etc. and repeating the same mistakes.

I have a 4 & a 1/2 year old boy to a previous partner and I can see similarities in him from when I was a child, and what I felt from my angry father, and I really want to break the cycle as he is very intelligent but I can see the anger will let him down in life as it did me.

I’m just now getting some answers and I’ve often thought about meditation but really I am unsure on how to go about starting. Do you have any tips or any help I could maybe download to begin with?

Thank you for you time,

Michael

My answer

Hello Michael,

thank you for your story. It’s very interesting and I think many people come through similar issues. Existential problems, fear, blaming, anger, depression… You at least know that something is wrong and you want to change it. That’s the first important step for a change.

You can learn about meditation and try to meditate. It can push your consciousness forward. There are many types of meditation – mantra meditation, sound meditation, guided meditation, breath meditation,… and also many types of yoga – karma yoga, hatha yoga, bhakti yoga, jnana yoga, raja yoga,… so many ways to change your perception of life. You have to study a lot and then try to pick some tool (meditation, yoga) which you like the most and try it. Each person has a different path and each person likes different tools. Some people can’t even meditate. They just can’t sit and calm their mind, meditation is not for all.

But everyone can learn to live consciously instead of unconsciously. Many people live unconsciously and they are driven by their emotions. It’s a problem when people are driven by fear, anger and hate. To live consciously means to be aware of your emotions and work with them. If you are angry, ask yourself: “Why am I angry? Do I really have to be angry? Where does the anger comes from?“. I got angry quite often and I created a mess around me. The anger in me was not a good feeling and I realized it. I didn’t want to be angry so I started working with anger consciously and asked the questions above. I was able to find the reason why I was angry and then I could work with it. If you have a problem, you can try to solve consequences but if you don’t solve the root of the problem, you will have to solve consequences again and again. Once you solve the root of the problem, the problem will disappear.

So once you get angry, ask yourself why you are angry and try to find the root of the anger. Be sure that it’s really the root. Go as deep as you can. Once you find the root, you can work with it and you can stop being angry. You have to realize that anger is not a profitable emotion neither for you nor for others.

It takes some time to learn to live consciously but if you can do it, your life will change. You will be no more ruled by your emotions.

Conscious life includes more than just working with your emotions. Conscious life means to be aware of every action you do and its consequences. Ask yourself: “Why do I do this and that…“. For example if you eat, you should ask: “What do I actually eat? Where does the food comes from? Is the food healthy? When I eat this food, do I support something that I don’t want to support?“. People do unconscious actions, they don’t realize what they cause by their actions. That’s why we can see the world as it is now. Air pollution, water pollution, global warming, food waste, meat industry, milk & egg industry, excessive use of palm oil and ruining rainforests, poverty, debts, wars, violence, murders… this and even more is the result of unconscious living. To stop this madness we all should live more consciously and realize what are consequences of our actions.

Good luck with your conscious life!

What programming really is

There was a stereotype that a programmer is a weirdo that is sitting all day in the basement with his computer.

It was true a long time ago. Programmers are not like that nowadays. At least not all.

If you are a programmer

There is a lack of good quality programmers. If you are a good programmer, you can choose who you want to work for. For example Google, Facebook or Apple. If you are good enough, you will probably get a job. And if not, you can try to get a job in any other IT company because almost every IT company is continuously looking for programmers.

If you are a skilled programmer and you have online portfolio, you will get new well paid job offer each week. You can choose where you want to work. You can get any programming job you want if you are good enough.

The advantages of programming

There are many benefits for programmers.

Many programmers do not have to go to work. They can work from home or from any place in the world. This is quite a big advantage for many people.

Programming jobs belong to the best paid jobs in the world. As a programmer you can earn per hour more than regular people earn in regular jobs in factories per day. That’s crazy.

Being a programmer sounds like a dream job, but it’s not that bright.

The dark side of programming

Programming can be fun and it can also be a pain in the ass. It depends…

Learn to code is not a problem at all. Everyone can learn to code. As Martin Fowler says:

“Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand”

So programming is an art. Programmers are artists who write nice readable code. The problem is that any fool can write code that a computer can understand and call himself a “programmer”. There is a lot of unexperienced programmers that write ugly code. It takes a few years to learn to write nicer code that is readable also for humans. The main challenge of programming is not to write functional code, but to write code that other programmers can read and understand quickly. The minor challenge is to write functional code, to make a computer do what a programmer wants to do.

programming-reality

It’s not a problem to write code. The main challenge is to maintain code. There are many challenges for programmers.

Programming features

Features like registration, login, uploading files, processing forms and others need to be programmed. There are usually hundreds or even thousands of ways how to program a feature. The more complex feature the more ways exists. Each programmer would program the same feature in a different way. The same functionality, but the different code. It’s like you would tell people to draw a person. 10 persons would draw 10 different persons.

It gets complicated if the feature is complicated. There are many ways how to approach a single algorithm. One application usually contains thousands of lines of code. If you are a programmer and you start working for a company, you will usually work on a project that has thousands lines of code. You will probably be confused how the code works. Especially if the feature is complicated. You will have to study that code for a few days to understand it so you can make changes to it and extend the feature.

Complicated features contain many algorithms that needs to be written properly. If there is just one mistake, the program might not work.

Fixing bugs

With programmed features there comes bugs. If a feature does not work as expected it is called a bug. The more features, the more bugs exist. The more complicated features, the more complicated code and the more tricky bugs.

Tests

Fortunately, a programmer can write tests for his code to test it and see if it works as expected. Unfortunately, approximately 80% of programmers do not write tests. Some of them would like to write tests but they don’t know how to do it or they are busy with programming features so there is no time for writing tests. Many of them think that writing tests is a waste of time. In fact, waste of time is to write code that is not covered by tests. There is a much higher chance to cause a bug in code without tests than in code with tests. There is a much higher chance to find a bug in code with tests more quickly than in code without tests.

If you do a change in code without tests, there is quite a high chance that you will break something and you never know whether you break something unless you see something wrong in you application. There might be hidden bugs that you might not see. For example you don’t immediately see a bug in a form unless you send the form and see that something is wrong. If you don’t have tests in your code, you have to test everything manually. Once you program a feature, you test it if it works as expected and if yes, you mark the feature as done. Sooner or later there will be a need to change that feature and you will have to test it again. If it’s a big feature, it will take a lot of time to test everything. If you don’t test it properly, there is a high chance that you caused a bug and you don’t know about it. It might be a critical bug. For example some data are not processed correctly or not at all. Your users will not be happy.

So the moral of the story is to write tests to avoid unexpected problems. Tests can save your ass. If you cause a bug in your code and you have it covered by tests, you can see the problem immediately and you can fix it.

The problem with tests is that you have to learn how to write them and how to write testable code. It takes some time, but if you learn it, you will become a better programmer. If you are able to write tests for your code, you can save a lot of trouble in the future. Writing tests can take some time from the start, but it will definitely save time later. I know it’s a big temptation to write code without tests, it might seem that you are saving time when you don’t write tests, but it’s a devilish practice. You will pay a high price for not writing tests. If there are no tests in your code, your code will become a big mess that no one wants to touch.

If you have a big project and you hire a new programmer, he does not know all the dark sides of the code. If you don’t have tests and he touches something, he can break a lot of things without knowing it. He will cause a lot of bugs. Features that worked before suddenly do not work now. What happened? He changed just a small thing in the code. That’s the dark side of the code that is not covered by tests. If you don’t know the code, you can break something very easily without knowing it. It happened to me many times. I was desperate. Then I learned to test my code and I was desperate when I got a project without tests. It was a pain in the ass.

So if you want to have happy programming career, write tests and avoid projects without tests.

Why I quit programming

Career of a programmer is interesting. Sitting on a chair at least 8 hours a day watching a computer screen and typing some commands that computer can understand and do what a programmer wants to do. Sometimes. Sometimes computer just says “Error” and do nothing.

How/Why I started coding

I write about it in this article: “How programming changed my life“.

What programming really is

I write about it in this article: “What programming really is“.

Coding career

My coding career was great. I started my career after I quit college in 2012 and I ended my career in 2015. I learnt a lot. I started working in a small web development company and after a year I was able to work on my own as a freelancer. I have a portfolio on hromnik.com. I have built a lot of web pages and applications. But unfortunately a lot of applications do not exist any more. They were not successful. The most successful and useful application I built is CoderMania – an e-learning platform for learning to code interactively. Unfortunately, I stopped developing it because I changed my priorities in my life. I started teaching people to code but I realized that there is something more important than coding and teaching people to code.

Changed priorities

I started meditating in April 2015 and I realized in September that teaching people to code is not something that the world needs right now. I realized that the world needs something else. Something more important. The world is full of suffering. There are wars, fear, hate, violence, poverty and a lot of other terrible things. I realized that people can live without these terrible things. I want people to live in harmony, love, happiness and abundance as I do thanks to meditation.

Meditation as a highway to a happier life

Meditation is not something alien to us. It’s a natural activity for humans to gain and retain the state of unconditional love and happiness. There are wars, fear, hate, violence, poverty and other terrible things because people don’t meditate. Many people live unconsciously instead of consciously. They don’t live their lives at their full potential. Many people live in fear or even hate. Quite a lot of people are able to hurt other people and other living beings. It’s not necessary. People can live in harmony if they start living consciously instead of unconsciously.

Once people get a certain level of consciousness they will not be able to hurt any living being if not necessary. They will live in love and happiness instead of fear and hate. They will understand that helping each other is important. Selfishness will go away. Trust me. I was selfish, fearful and angry. I could get mad about any small things. I started meditating and my life changed dramatically. I realized a lot. I can see things that other people don’t see. It’s interesting to see that people create all their trouble in their minds. I can see that people can live in harmony, love, happiness and abundance. I don’t live in a wonderland. I live in the same world as you. I see what’s happening. I see a lot of terrible things. But I also see that it’s not necessary.

You might say: “Ok, but what can I do about it? I can’t change the whole world“. Albert Einstein said: “The world is not a dangerous place to live because of bad people, but because of people who don’t do anything about it“. You don’t have to change the whole world. You can change at least yourself and your surroundings. Once you manage to change yourself, things will happen in a magical way.

Mahatma Gandhi once said:

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

You can change yourself through meditation more quickly than without it. You might say: “Oh thanks, I am content with myself. I’m not the one who should change. Others should change”. That’s what I thought too. But it doesn’t work like that. You cannot change others. You can just change yourself and inspire others to change. Once you can live without fear, anger, hate and judging, others will wonder how you managed it. They will probably want to know how to live happier life. And you will tell them: “I just meditate a few minutes a day. I listen to my inner voice, my heart and do actions according to it. That’s my recipe for happy life“.

And people will probably tell you: “I don’t need to meditate. Meditation is a waste of time“. I know, I had similar thoughts about meditation. But I started to meditate because I was curious what meditation can bring to me. And I was very surprised after a few months, how it purified my consciousness. It’s mind-blowing.

If you want to open a new dimension of life – life full of love, happiness, abundance and harmony, you should practice daily meditation. Yes, daily. It’s not enough to meditate once a week. If you want to feel effects of meditation, you have to meditate every day. If you want muscle, you also have to work out more often than once a week. Meditation is similar to body workout. It needs to be done often and regularly. Start to meditate at least 5 minutes a day and you will feel results after a few months. You will feel much better and you will understand a lot of things about yourself, life and the universe. 5 minutes a day. It’s a minimum for beginners. Everyone can do a 5 minutes meditation. Everyone can change their perception of life in a few months. Everyone can be happier.

Happy people are more important than happy computers

So the main reason why I quit programming is to teach people how they can live without fear, anger, hate, judging and others not so nice thoughts and feelings. People should learn how to live happier life as soon as possible. That’s the most important thing. I have learned a lot and I want to teach others how to live happier life. Once everyone is happy, I can teach coding and maybe even code again.

The second reason why I quit programming is that I want to work with people instead of computers. I want to switch my life from virtual reality to the real one.

Working with computers is nice and comfortable, but I don’t see meaning in it while people live in fear, hate, anger and other miserable feelings. I want to talk to people and show them how they can live happier life.

What will I do?

You may ask: “And what about money?“. This is the most frequent question I get. I know that many people need a lot of money for their living. That’s a trap of The Matrix (this system). I was able to minimize my expenses and I need money for just food, cheap accommodation and travelling (which can also be free – hitchhiking). That’s all. I was able to save enough money to live more than year without a paid job and do what I like – to write articles on my blog, to create videos, to meet great people and this all created and still creates new opportunities for me and others. I haven’t been coding for more than 10 months and I am one of the happiest people in the world. I can work in kids summer camp. I can also work on a farm. I can make and sell food. I can do a lot of things that I love. I don’t need to earn much money. I am happy when I do what I love, when I eat great food, when I am surrounded by great people. I am a new age hippie and I am happy.

Do what you love and be happy too

I don’t like to work 8 hours a day, 160 and more hours per month. This system is not for me and also not for many others who want to disconnect from The Matrix and want to do what they really like no matter how much money they earn. Money is a trap of The Matrix. Humans are the only species who need to pay for living. Many people just can’t stop working and be free. They are slaves of their expenses and money. It’s a terrible life. It’s a modern slavery which produces stress, fear, anxiety, cancer and other diseases. I could talk about the Matrix even more but you probably already know it. You live in it. But you may not know how to get out of it. Just minimize expenses, earn enough money so you can leave your current job and start doing something you like, something more useful and meaningful. Do what you love, be free and be happy. I hope more people will be happy and more people will help each other. We can create true paradise here on Earth. Together.

May the love be with you.

EDIT: Doing something that I love does not mean that I can’t earn a living as many of you may think.

How programming changed my life

I started programming in 2008. But why and how I started to learn to program? And how it changed my life?

I don’t want to work for minimum wage

I graduated from high school in 2008 and then I needed to decide what I want to do with my life next. I didn’t know what to do so I took temporary job in a warehouse. I have been working there for 2 months, 5 days a week, 12 hours a day. For minimum wage. That was not something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

I was thinking what I would like to do, what I liked as a kid. I liked computers and computer games. I was fascinated how everything in computer works. I borrowed a programming book and started to learn to program in language C. I wrote my first program “Hello world”, then I wrote “Hello Tomas”. I liked it. Once I learned something more, I was able to write a program that asked for my name and age and wrote it in output: “Hello Tomas, you are 19 years old”. I was amazed. I was able to ask people for information, process the information and provide the information.

I wanted to learn more about programming and computers so I applied to college. I prepared for entrance examination and I was able to pass it.

College life

I was full of enthusiasm. I wanted to learn as much as possible. I learned a lot, even things I will probably never use. But it’s good to know more than you need because you never know when you will need it. College will give you wide knowledge of various topics and technologies.

I was at 3rd degree when I told myself “Enough! I will not try to finish exam of math, if I fail, they will expel me. I don’t understand the math, I don’t want to understand it. I want to learn things that I like. I like when people can see my work online, I like web development.” We didn’t learn web development at college, we learned mostly mature technologies that old companies still use. I wanted to create my own web applications that everyone in the world can use. So I left school and started learning on my own again.

Building my first web application

I already knew HTML and CSS and I created a few web pages in PHP before and I knew that I can also create a web application in PHP. So I started learning PHP properly. I didn’t want to build an application in pure PHP, so I also started learning PHP framework Zend. I was able to build my first web application for online food ordering in 2-3 months. It was a dummy application but it worked and I learned a lot. I wanted to sell it to restaurants but I was not a salesman. I liked creating applications, not communicating with people and trying to convince them that my system is the best for them. I wanted to create another application and learn something new.

I wanted to learn Nette framework which was popular in Czech republic. So I started building new application in Nette called “Share a ride”. It was Facebook application where people could offer seats in their cars from place A to place B. People could also create demand that they need to travel from place A to place B. It was not beautiful app but it worked. A few people used it. It could be used by more people but there was Facebook group “Share a ride” which people liked and they didn’t want to use “Share a ride” app because they were used to use the group. Again, I didn’t want to persuade people to use my app. I built it because I thought it will be better than the group and I wanted to learn Nette. Thanks to this application, I got my first job offer. A friend of my friend saw Share a ride app and asked me if I wanted to work in his company. Why not? So I started working in his company. I was happy.

Working as a freelancer

After a year working in a web development company I learned a lot. I wanted to try to work as a freelancer from home. Working from home was my dream. I was able to find my first job as a freelancer. It was 2 years old project written in Nette. The code was ugly and I was able to work on the project for a half year. Then I told myself and my boss “STOP!” I can’t handle this madness anymore. I was frustrated by the project. So I stopped working on the project and I wanted to work on my projects again.

I had an idea for an app called “Seenist” – app where you can create a list of bands you have seen live. Seenist was online after 2 months of development. I wanted to learn something new again so I built it in Meteor.js. And again, the app was not used by many people. I found out that it is quite useless app for most people. But it was useful for me and a few other people. I run out of ideas and I wanted to start working for a startup.

I found and joined one startup in Brno. We were building the startup from scratch. It was a discount portal similar to Droptilyoushop. After 4 months of development and 2 months waiting for a payment gateway we could finally launch the project. We launched and we failed. We had programmers and salesmen in our team but none of us knew marketing. We highly failed at acquiring customers.

After working for a failed startup, I needed to earn some money. I found a job in Meteor.js. After earning enough money I could start a new project. I had very strong need to teach people to code. I did a few in-person programming courses where I used Jsfiddle for code examples and exercises. Jsfiddle was good but I needed a place where I could see student’s code. So I started working onCoderMania – e-learning platform for learning to code JavaScript and later HTML & CSS. I use it in my courses and most students are able to get through lessons quickly and without my help. I was very surprised when I saw their progress. I think CoderMania helps students to understand code quickly. Building something that have impact on how people learn to code is very exciting and motivating.

Changing the world

As a programmer you have incredible power. You can build something from nothing. You are like God. You can change the world. You can build something that will change the world.

Many people think that learning to program is hard and you must have some special skill set. No, you just need to know basics of math and logic. You can start learning to code today and if you like it, you can build your first project and find properly paid job. Or you can build your project and make money on it.

So, how programming changed my life?

I can do what I like and I get paid very good money for it. As a freelancer I can work any time, from any place in the world, on any project I like. When I get an idea, I can work on it. I live my dream, you should too!

What actually happens if you step out of your comfort zone regularly

There has been written many articles about stepping out of your comfort zone. You have probably read about it. If you haven’t, just search for “Step out of your comfort zone” in your search engine and you will find a lot of articles. I will describe what’s the problem of not stepping out of your comfort zone and I will describe my personal experience with this topic.

Are you lazy to read? Listen to it here: https://soundcloud.com/elfoslav/step-out-of-your-comfort-zone

Small comfort zone

Many people have very small comfort zone nowadays. They need hot water to wash themselves, they need to eat each 3 hours, they don’t want to get wet if it’s raining, they put themselves in their bubbles which protect them from discomfort zone.

People are afraid to step out of their bubble, to step out of their comfort zone because everyone wants to feel safe and comfortable. It’s natural to want to be in comfort zone. Unless it’s not.

Need to discover

Except natural need to stay in comfort zone, people have natural need to discover new things. We want to discover what’s behind boundaries of our knowledge. If we want to discover new things, we often have to step out of our comfort zone. Stepping out of our comfort zone means facing our fear. We have fear because we don’t know what’s outside of our bubble. We have fear of the unknown. Once we discover there is no reason to fear, we will want to discover more and more.

From comfort zone into discomfort zone

When we get out of our comfort zone, we literally feel uncomfortably. We want to get back into our comfort zone. But if we persist in discomfort zone, we will discover that it becomes our comfort zone.

From discomfort zone into comfort zone

Once we discover the fact that discomfort is not in fact discomfort any more, the discomfort will become our comfort zone.

comfort zone

We will not have fear of the unknown any more and we will enlarge our comfort zone. This will significantly improve our life. Someone calls it magic.

where the magic happens

Stepping out of your comfort zone means pushing your boundaries.

You will basically become a superhero. Your comfort zone will be much bigger than comfort zones of other people’s. You will not have a problem to do things that regular people don’t do. comfort zone of other people

Getting out of my comfort zone

I had known about benefits of getting out of comfort zone for a long time before I tried it. I would probably never try it if the following thing did not happen:

It was 3rd January 2015 when I wanted to take a shower. I found out that hot water did not work. I needed to take a shower so I underwent a cold shower. It was not so bad as I expected. I told myself that I will take a cold shower instead of hot shower since then. It was hard to abide by this resolution. I was tempted to combine hot water with cold water to lessen the discomfort. But I realized that if I resist the temptation, it will improve my willpower and it will have positive impact on other things in my life too. I like to do things that majority of people don’t do. Majority of people don’t take a cold shower (at least in my country). If I tell someone that I take only cold shower, they say: “Really? I don’t believe you”, “Why?”, “You are crazy”,… you will get the same reactions if you do something that other people don’t do. If you will get out of your comfort zone.

Regular visiting of discomfort zone

Regular visiting of discomfort zone is important. If you step out of your comfort zone just once, it will have almost no impact. If you step out of your comfort zone regularly, you will see the result after a few cycles.

When I started taking a cold shower, I was resistant, but I persisted. I noticed that cold shower has really positive impact on my life. My hair started to grow more rapidly. I had no problem to swim in a cold lake whilst my friends had. And I started visiting discomfort zone more often. I tried to walk barefoot in a city, now I walk exclusively barefoot. I talked to homeless people and made friendship with them. I was able to talk in front of people at a conference without stage fright. And I will surely do a lot of uncommon things in the future.

I know how hard is to step out of your comfort zone. But once you start and you will do it regularly, your life will change significantly in a positive way.

The problem of many startups

What is a startup?

First, let’s clarify what a startup is:

“A startup is a company working to solve a problem where the solution is not obvious and success is not guaranteed,” says Neil Blumenthal, cofounder and co-CEO of Warby Parker.

From this definition we can understand that startup should solve a problem. Do you know what’s the problem of many startups? They do not solve real problems. They make problems. They make problems for their users, customers, partners,… I have worked in a startup that made problems. The startup didn’t solve any real problem. The “startup” was an e-commerce solution for selling discounted goods. It was not just an ordinary e-commerce where a user can choose from many items. There were only 3 items at a given time on the screen. The items contained title, image, description, price and a button for freezing price. The price was falling down continuously and when it felt down to a certain value, the item was replaced by an advert for 6 seconds and then was replaced by another item. It looked really cool and it was cool to build it. We copied the idea from droptilyoushop.com and we run it in Czech republic.

We had been building it for 5 months. We launched it and we failed. The main issue was with acquiring new customers. We were not able to earn enough money after a few months because we didn’t have enough customers. We didn’t have any marketer in our team. That was the main fail. But beside this, I realized that it was not the true startup by definition. It was garbage. We didn’t help anybody in fact. We didn’t solve any problem. I realized that many startups are garbage. They don’t help anybody. I have built a few useless applications that didn’t help anybody.

Startups should help

I have realized that I want to help to make this world to be a better place to live. I want to build something that will help someone. I have decided to teach people to code because there is a shortage of people in IT. I have decided to create a Web development school where I will make web developers from regular people. How will it help to make this world better? That’s a good question. Many people have ideas in their heads but they don’t have skills to bring the idea to life. Once they learn to code, they will be able to build something cool that can help people. They can learn to code by themselves but the Web development school will speed up the process. My web development school also helps companies to find good quality web developers.

Will your project help?

If you have an idea in your head, ask yourself these questions: “Does my idea solve a real problem? Will my project help someone? Will it make this world better?”. If you answered “yes” to all the questions, congratulations. You have an idea that can be labelled as a startup idea. Try to bring this idea to life to make this world better. If you don’t have a team, you can and should try to do it yourself. You will find the right people who will help you with your project later. Trust me. I have started building CoderMania without a team and random people offered me help later when they saw that the project is cool and helpful.

An idea is still just an idea. Execution is the secret ingredient of success. Just start.

I found my life purpose

I recently found my life purpose. It feels good! I wish everyone could find his life purpose and fulfil it. When I read this article: “Life purpose“, I had already knew I found my life purpose.

This perfectly describes me:

Once we get out of the bubble, and see things with a wider view, we can start a journey along a path like this:

  1. We can start to see the needs of others, and feel for their suffering.
  2. We then work to make their lives better, and lessen their suffering.
  3. Even if we aren’t good at that, we can learn skills that help us to be better at it. It’s the intention that matters.
  4. As we go about our daily work, we can tie our actions to this greater purpose. Learning to program or become healthy (for example) isn’t just for our betterment, but for the betterment of others, even in a small way. This gives us motivation on a moment-to-moment basis. When we lose motivation, we need to get back out of our bubble, shed our concern for our discomfort and fears, and tie ourselves to a bigger purpose.

My life purpose

I found my life purpose recently when I started to be interested in spiritual life. I found my life purpose at age 26. My life purpose is to teach people. It does not matter what I teach. I can teach web development, spiritual practices, how to become a better person, inspire others to make the world a better place to live. That’s my mission in this life and I really love it. And people love it too! I enjoy what I do, people enjoy what I do. I enjoy when I can give my knowledge to others and they are grateful for it. I can feel the energy that flows between me and my students. It’s perfect. It’s hard to describe how I feel. It’s like you would win the jackpot in lottery. Really.

Find your life purpose

If you don’t know what your life purpose is, read this article: “How to Discover Your Life Purpose in About 20 Minutes” and I hope you will find it.

Revolution in e-learning

You can learn almost anything online nowadays. I will focus on learning to code in this article.

There are many resources for learning to code online. It’s hard to choose the right one. As a beginner you don’t know if the source you are learning from is the better one or the worse one. Most of learning resources don’t provide feedback. Feedback is important factor in the process of learning. Feedback can improve learner’s skills prominently. I learned to code from non-interactive resources like text or video tutorials and tried to build apps myself. These times are at the end.

Learn to code with feedback

Year 2015 is the year of interactive learning. I have built an e-learning platform for learning to code called CoderMania. Students can learn to code thanks to automatically evaluated exercises and they can even ask for help if they get stuck.

Learn to code | CoderMania 2015-01-15 17-59-11-level2

This way of learning is better than reading or watching tutorials. There are also other sites for learning to code interactively. But CoderMania is the best at least for JavaScript IMHO ;-).

Learn to code with instant feedback

It’s great to learn to code interactively with ability to ask for help. But it takes some time while a student gets feedback. What if a student could learn specific topic like HTML, ask for help and get instant feedback? That would be great, right? And that’s where stream platforms like livecoding.tv, coders.tv and watchpeoplecode get on. I have tried all of them and I have chosen livecoding.tv because it has nice profile page for streamers, schedule of streaming events, big community of streamers and viewers, nice user interface and big potential. I will use livecoding.tv for my Web development school. Initially, I wanted to teach people mainly via videos on Youtube but (scheduled) streaming seems to be a much better option. The only disadvantages of livecoding.tv are that they delete videos shorter than 20 minutes after one week and they don’t provide an option to download videos. I don’t know why. But that’s not that big problem for me. I will try to make sessions longer than 20 minutes and it does not matter to me where videos are stored. Livecoding.tv continuously improves their service and that’s the best about it.

Is instant feedback really needed?

I don’t know. Watching videos and reading tutorials is great option for learning but that’s not interactive. Interactivity is the key for attractiveness.

Interactive learning is the future

And the future is now. Interactivity is important part of learning. When students can interact with teacher in real-time, that’s really engaging. As a teacher, I have tried to write tutorials, make videos and even an e-learning platform but none of them are as interactive as streaming. Streaming gives teachers and students the missing part that they would naturally have in real school – real-time interaction. That’s pure awesomeness. When I have tried to stream for the first time and realized that people from around the world can watch me and ask questions, that was a great discovery and feeling!

I will do streams about web development (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Meteor.js, MongoDB) on a regular basis. You can watch them on https://www.livecoding.tv/elfoslav/. You will be able to learn to code with interaction with teacher as you would sit with him in the room! You can also choose any stream from the schedule. You can even stream while you are learning and you can get feedback from viewers.

I hope you will enjoy live streaming as I do.

Startup weekend Brno 2015 – a big surprise for me

Startup weekend Brno took place on 19th June – 21 June 2015 at KoPlac. I didn’t go there as an attendee because I had been at 2 startup weekends in Zilina before and I told myself I have to work on my projects, not on someone else’s project. I went there primarily to see pitches and final presentations.

International startup weekend

I was surprised that this startup weekend was in English. There were people from Australia, UK, Peru, Austria, Estonia, Czech republic, Slovakia…

Pitches

There were 10 pitches and about 25 attendees. One pitch was exceptional and it changed my mind that I just want to see the pitches and go home. The pitch was about helping people to learn to code. As you might know, I work on my own e-learning platform called CoderMania and I do an online web development school. When I heard this pitch I immediately wanted this idea to be selected. And it happened. The idea got the most votes and what’s surprising, 10 people joined this team. Originally, I wanted to go home after the pitches but I couldn’t. I had an urge to join this team.

IMG_0018

The initial idea

The initial idea was to help people to learn to code locally. To create communities around the world, to translate learning resources, to do local workshops etc.

Progress

As we had 10 people in our team, there were a lot of ideas. We diverted away from the initial idea. There were ideas for creating a game that should teach people to code. That sounds good, right?

I asked: “Do we have developers for building a game?”

The answer was: “No, but we will find a developer later”.

“Are you sure? You know there is a shortage of developers, do you think you will find a developer who will be able to build the game?”, I asked again.

When I saw their faces, I knew the answer. Actually, I had knew the answer before I asked the question. The answer was: “You are right, it will be hard to find a developer”.

We all knew it. Everyone who pitched at this startup weekend needed a web or mobile developer, or both. There were not many developers. Even if there were developers, they were busy with their full-time job, so they could not continue to work on a project. There is a shortage of developers and we would hardly solve this problem by creating a game that would teach people to code. Moreover, the game already exists. We would have to explain to the jury how we differ from it. I wanted to create something unique.

So I told how I see the problem and the solution.

The problem

The problem is obviously a shortage of web developers and developers generally. We needed to go to the core. Why there is not enough developers? Probably because students don’t learn practical things at school. Probably because people struggle with learning to code. I know many people who want to learn to code, but they don’t know how to start. They can’t afford to pay expensive coding courses.

The solution

The solution is to offer free or donation based coding courses. Education should be free. I would never go to college if it costs much money. We could teach people to code for free and make money from recruiting. We could ship our students to companies and companies would pay for it.

Team’s reaction

“You are a genius!”, okay the reaction was not exactly like this but the team liked the idea.

We improved the idea, created a business plan, web page, video and presentation.

The result

The result is surprising for me. We have done a lot of work, but the most important for me was our video and presentation.

People laughed a lot about this video during our presentation. When I saw this video for the first time, I had tears in my eyes how much I laughed. I think it will become viral soon, haha.

We got positive feedback from people after our presentation. We also got business cards from our potential partners/investors. That’s a good start I think.

We would like to do long term coding courses in duration of 6 months. Something like code school. A student who knows nothing about coding will be able to build his own web or mobile application during this school. We would like to increase quantity and quality of developers, train them according to needs of individual companies so students can get a job. I think this idea is unique and that is exactly what I needed when I started learning to code. I would like to have someone who could teach me technologies that companies use.

Final presentations

There were 5 final presentations. You can watch them on Youtube! Coderhood‘s presentation is at 01:06:15.

The winner

We didn’t win. We ended up on the 2nd place. The winner is mySmarties (44:45 on the video above). Congratulations!

startup weekend Brno 2015 winner

It’s not important to win but to participate. I think all attendees of this startup weekend learned something new. And not only that, they made new friends and connections. I think they are all winners.

The people

I went to this startup weekend to meet new people. I met a lot of people, I can’t even count it how many people I met. This weekend was crazy. Like a big roller coaster.

rollercoaster

The friendships and connections I made during one weekend are incredibly valuable. At least, I think so.

Thank you startup weekend

I thought I will not get new experience as this was my third startup weekend but I learned something new. I learned to better cooperate with larger team. I understood I cannot do everything. I need to delegate work so I can focus on what I love to do – programming, writing and teaching.

Thanks to my team that helped to create something unique. The team was passionate about Coderhood idea for the duration of the startup weekend and I hope their passion will last longer than just a few days.

Special thanks to the organizers of the first startup weekend in Brno. This event would never see light of this world without them. They even allowed me to join this startup weekend later so I could work on what I am passionate about.

Thanks to all attendees for coming and I hope I will see you soon. Good luck with your projects!

Some photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1612044319077056.1073741839.1486335158314640&type=3