I am DVDKOURIL. This is my blog.

What if you already had your followers?

I’ve been wishing for a (social media) following for some time now. You might think it’s stupid and that I’m just a kid that wants to be famous. But I don’t see it like that. I really think that if you do this right, gather around you the right people, use social media to your advantage, things can happen and you can get to opportunities you wouldn’t even dream of.

However, recently I’ve realized that I’ve been doing it wrong. I’ve been trying to get an audience just to have an audience. I’ve been posting to Instagram just to get followers on Instagram. I’ve been following many people and I was thinking about how can I emulate that, how can I take the thing that made them succeed on social media, and apply it to myself.

One problem is that I wasn’t really doing it. I wasn’t putting in enough work.

But another thing, far more important I believe, is that I lost the purpose. I lost my flavor, I wasn’t showing what I want to show, I was showing what I thought people want to see.

I kinda knew it subconsciously—I don’t want to be another lifestyle, food, or fashion blogger (that’s what seems to be “hot” these days). I actually want to do meaningful things (at least meaningful for me).

All this led me to ask myself a question: “What would I do if I already had my followers?”. What kind of pictures would I post? What would I write about? What would I share with these people?

It’s very similar to the  “What if money was no object?” question. I thought about what I would be doing if suddenly I had all the money I needed and a decent number of people following what I do.

My answer is that I would create more. I’ve been artistic for a big part of my life—I’ve been drawing and painting, and I’ve been playing the guitar and making music. Even programming was something that I took up to express myself artistically—by developing games. I’ve been drawn to all these things but I couldn’t really choose one to focus on. I believed (and still do) that to make it in something, you need to be really specific about it. You need to double down on it, and work really hard. And you still might not make it. I was really scared of that (I call it being pragmatic), that’s why I never fully took the artistic route and instead invested myself in programming. Don’t get me wrong—I believe that programming can be as creative and as fulfilling as doing anything that’s considered traditional art. But I realized that I want to steer it a little bit back towards the creative side of coding. That’s why I also fell in love with creative coding and generative art (or whatever it’s called).

I’m still very much interested in programming, software development, and software business. But I realized that the artistic side of me will always be there, that it’s what I would do if I had nothing to do at all, and that it is the thing that’s giving me some kind of flavor.

 

In the middle of a hot summer in Vienna

It’s consistently hot in Central Europe. I definitely like it better than winter (I hate being cold) but sometimes it’s annoying when you sweat through a t-shirt just walking few steps to a store. Our apartment doesn’t have air conditioning—it’s not very common in Czech Republic and Austria—so we are experiencing the heat wave pretty intensively. In the office we do have AC, but it’s 3 of us there and it’s hard to keep the most comfortable temperature for everyone. It makes me wish I had an office for myself a little bit.

Most of the people from work are on vacations. On Wednesday I had to go to Brno to get my Master’s and Bachelor’s diplomas translations. Ticket machine broke while printing my public transport tickets, then the bus back to Vienna had more than an hour delay. But I got the translations so I would say it was a success.

On Thursday I finally submitted the PhD admission (that what I needed the diploma translations for). I almost left the study department because there’s been such a long line of people waiting. But fortunately it moved pretty fast and I submitted everything successfully. Now I have to wait few weeks for the answer if I can do the PhD at TU Wien.

On Saturday we went on a small bike trip/hike. There’s a hill with a castle, or a church or something, that you can see from the city. I’ve wanted to go there since I got here and we finally did that. The route we took was pretty steep but the view from the top was worth it.
Looks like our vacation plans are forming! Gabi has been going through flights and booking.com and she’s basically the one planning the whole thing. She found some quite cheap plane tickets to Kalamata and we bought them. Just like the last year, we will pick the accommodation later, rent a car, and just go on our own.

Talking about vacation makes me realize that it’s almost a year since I started writing the blog. That’s cool. And although I’m not breaking any view records, I have no plan to stop. Looking back, seeing the photos, and reading about the things that we’ve done, or what I’ve been thinking, is just too much fun!

Things slowed down

Last week was veeeery slow. At least to me it seemed. I think it’s because of the contrast to what was happening the week before.

Many people at work are having vacations and I didn’t realize how much it influences the general working morale. I thought I’m pretty self-motivated. Me and Gabi (well mostly Gabi) are looking at vacations too but it’s hard to decide. Last year was the first time I went to a holiday at sea (we went to Kefalonia) and we had the best time ever. I’m afraid that nothing can live up to that. But we want to go in September anyway so I guess we have some time to pick something.

Usually when I have some downtime (nothing huge to worry about), I have a bad habit of thinking and re-evaluating things. Most of the time it’s work-related. Side projects work I mean.

About my side-projecting: I need to have a mission. I need to be learning new stuff. I’ve been like this for a very long time. It gives me a sense of working towards something, sense of getting somewhere. I don’t think it has paid of yet (and maybe if I applied myself that much into the main thing that I’m doing it would be better) but I need to have this kind of distraction. It keeps me excited about programming.

I have some projects that I’m trying to finish. I have things that I’ve committed to learning. But as it happens sometimes, I started to think if I should maybe stop doing this and start learning something different. Javascript in this case.

I get the benefits and why it’s so popular right now. It’s very easy to make something in it. It’s nice that it work in browser. But I just don’t like Javascript. I’m used to “traditional” programming languages like C++. It might be that I’m becoming the stubborn programmer who’s against doing things the new way.

I believe that there are many applications where you just can’t and shouldn’t use JS (and I believe that those are the kind of projects I’m aiming to do). But because it’s so easy to use and show, you end up seeing JavaScript projects everywhere, and it makes you feel like you’re missing out on something if you’re not on this hype wave too. And I don’t think anybody likes to feel that way.

But I don’t want to be complaining here. It’s just something that has been on my mind.

Hungary and Pohoda festival in Slovakia

What an absolutely packed week!

Leaving Vienna on Tuesday, I was going to Balaton in Hungary with our work group for something that’s called Closed Meeting. It has two purposes: a) talk about organizational stuff for the next year, and b) get drunk with the guests we invite (people call it networking).

The real adventure started when I departed on Thursday morning. I needed to get from Balatonszemes, Hungary to Trencin, Slovakia. This meant three trains and a subway ride in Budapest.

I am not very well-traveled. I was used to going on vacations with my parents around Czech Republic. I was 23 the first time I went outside of Czech Republic (and Slovakia, I don’t count that as being abroad). Going with a train in Hungary and getting around in Budapest was really something new to me (don’t laugh!).

I was surprised by how much I actually got used to being in Vienna, how many of the signs and words in German I know already. Hungarian—totally different, not catching anything.

This was my route:I’ve got to say that mostly everything went well. I did miss one train in Budapest because of the queue at international tickets office (and because I was waiting at a wrong place at first) but that “only” meant waiting two hours for another one.

I left around 10:30 in the morning from Balaton and arrived around 20:30 at the festival in Trencin.We had a tent rented for the festival and I wasn’t very well prepared for it. I didn’t think it would be so cold in the night so I didn’t bring a sleeping bag, just some warm clothes and a blanket. I am not a smart man.

We experienced two thunderstorms while hiding in the tent. It was actually pretty nice. I recorded the sounds, I don’t think I will have the opportunity to listen to a storm that closely any time soon.The absolute high point was the headliner on Saturday night—alt-j. If I had to name my favorite band, alt-j would probably be it. The performance was ace. The only thing is that I kinda expected a little bit more emotional experience. In the end, it’s just three people playing music you know in front of you. I felt that I had more “spiritual” connection to their music while listening to it alone at home some evening. But that’s absolutely not something that’s degrading the experience in any way. For me it was a great show and an item crossed out off my bucket list.

I have some bands that I discovered at Pohoda and I’m starting to build up a spotify playlist which I plan to share soon.
I am really glad that we went. It’s something you can’t really appreciate while you’re in it, worrying about having to go pee, then getting water, then going pee again, hiding from sun, hiding from rain, and trying to survive in the middle of all the (mostly drunk) people. But once it’s over you kinda miss it. I guess you really need to see the discomfort as your friend. That’s where the real experiences happen.

Getting ready for a busy and exciting week!

Gabi was gone almost this whole week, she’s on a yacht sailing trip in Croatia with her colleagues.

I’m getting more and more excited about next week. Two things are going to happen:

  • we (the VisGroup, the group where I work) are going to Balaton in Hungary for a “closed meeting” which is a gathering of our group and some guests where we talk about stuff. And then,
  • we (me and Gabi) are going to Pohoda festival in Trencin, Slovakia.

I will be leaving on Thursday and going to Slovakia straight from Hungary. I’m counting on the trip itself to be an adventure.

I’m incredibly hyped up for Pohoda. The biggest headliner is alt-j, but I’m looking forward to the festival atmosphere in general. I’ve been there in 2014 I think and I loved it. I hope we’ll have similarly good time this year.


I’ve seen two things that I very much liked and they had some impact on me:

  1. a documentary about 3D printing and the business around it: Print the Legend.
  2. a GDC talk about the development of a game called Thumper.

The 3D printing documentary was interesting mainly because I don’t really know anything about the technology and the business of it. So it was interesting to see how it all got to be.

The Thumper talk was game-changing for me. I really love that guy’s calm approach to all of it. He’s not complaining how hard it was. He’s just explaining the journey and talking about how they got through. I like the simple approach. Just put something on the screen. And iterate. I like the idea of learning as you go but lot of the time I get stuck and I think that I’ve arrived at an impossible obstacle. But seeing them make this game made me think about the way I approach stuff and be more of a “deliver-it” programmer. I want to deliver things, not to do them right and overengineer it.

That’s it for today, see you next Sunday.