Makerlog #9 - No More Reinventing Wheels


One of the biggest mind-shifts I have made since I started working, is to stop being a re-inventor. Stop doing everything yourself.

Back in the day, when I started working on a project. I would quickly encounter problems that needed fixing. Where will I host my stuff? Where will I store my data? How will I handle Authentication? Etc…

I quickly started to google for solutions and stumbled on pre-made solutions. But what is that? 20 euros for a database? Per month? I can do this myself on a 5 euro Digital Ocean droplet! Hosting another 10 euros? I can run Apache on that same droplet and save some more money.

I did try to control and manage everything myself, after all, why not? I could be sure of my bill at the end of the month, with no pay as you go plans. I retained control of all my data and my code. I felt so productive when after a whole day I could save my users in my database. Life is great!

Soon, however, weeks would have passed and I’d only have the basics of my project set up. Discouraged by the lack of progress, I’d abandon the project and start something brand new. The first thing I did on the new project? You guessed it, setting up another database and all the other basic infrastructure.

When I started working with managed Google Cloud products I was shocked at first by the price. Why would I pay so much if I could set this up myself? When I started comparing it to my hourly rate it started to make more sense. If I spend 2 days setting it up, at a meager 40 euros per hour rate, that would cost 640 euros. That would be 5 years of using a managed service at 10 euros per month.

It even made more sense for me when I started to understand that I abandoned side projects because it took so long to finish them because I wanted to do everything myself. My mindset shifted from “Why would I pay for this, if I can do it myself” to “How can I get this out as quick as possible.” I

Now I use a lot more services. Need to build a website? Webflow. Database? Firestore. Authentication? Firebase Authentication. I wrote a blog post on my current stack.

Now when a cost would spiral out of control, I can still optimize it later. But that would be an indicator that the thing I built is being used by more people, so it would be a good problem to have.

I mainly wrote this post for myself, to remind myself it’s okay to cut corners and pay a bit more for the convenience of putting your work out there better and faster. But if I can convince you to try it too, that would be even better!