"I just love to get practical and start coding"
Christian Schulze (andinfinity) is building in public while also holding a SaaS CTO role. He is currently working on two projects:
- 2markdown: transform websites into clean markdown for LLMs
- Newsletterify: a better way to read and receive newsletters
How do you stay up-to-date with technological developments, and how do you incorporate this knowledge into your projects?
I read Hacker News, scroll my Twitter feed, and read a bunch of newsletters to stay up to date. This gives me inspiration and points me at new things to try.
What advice would you give to a smart, driven builder yet to experience any “success”? What advice should they ignore?
Forge your own path and don't follow footsteps of others. Not only the path to success is individual, but your definition of the very same is as well. Read a lot, ignore most of it. Sometimes you have to do the wrong thing and that's exactly what makes you successful. There's a lot of survivorship bias in success stories. You need to find out what works for you, and that can only be done by actually trying.
What is your process for starting a new project? How do you decide on an idea to pursue?
I just love to get practical and start coding, even today. I chug out a lot of code in the first few days, so I use that drive to get up to speed. I then try to verify it as soon as possible.
How many failed projects do you have, and how have they set you up for success? Or what is a failure you are grateful for?
I started coding 17 years ago and always loved to build apps and products, so more than I can count! But oftentimes the knowledge I gained was useful later down the line. Time is the biggest factor for me to stop a product idea (and that's where I have a lot to improve upon!), so I have a lot of unfinished ideas. But new ideas really tend to be a mixture of old ideas and projects. So I'm grateful for every last one of them, because you'll connect the dots at some point.
What is your tech stack and why?
I've been using macOS for well over 10 years now. In the last year or two I switched almost entirely to Go for my side hustles or other projects because of the DX and productivity. In my day job we use Kotlin along with Gradle multi modules, which is kind of magic on a bigger scale.
If I need to write a web app, my current favorite stack is just go-fiber, postgres, gorm, htmx + alpine.js. You can iterate very quickly and don't need to reinvent the wheel. You're also not bogged down in big dependencies dictating how you do things. I also almost exclusively use the ports and adapters and domain-driven design architecture to structure my projects. It gives me the freedom to reimplement and reiterate isolated parts of any app without having to rewrite half of it, because everything's intertwined. I'll also out myself: I always write tests because I like to sleep well at night ;)
What does a productive day in your life look like, and how often do you have days like that? Or what is a regular day like?
You'll be glad to hear that I have a more "creative" day so to speak, and not the hyper strict itinerary you oftentimes see. I prioritize good sleep, so I sleep until 7-8:30 (preferably wake up as early as possible) and my mornings are very blurry structure-wise. I get on my MacBook as early as possible, while still trying to catch some sunlight. Sometimes I do a 10-15 minute HIIT workout, depending on my energy levels. 60-90 minutes after waking up I drink my first coffee. After showering I head to the office, while meditating for 12 minutes in the subway. I arrive anywhere between 9-11 am. At 12 strict (because I often do intermittent fasting) I eat lunch.
I structure my day based on my energy levels, so I use the late afternoon for work as well, only heading home somewhere between 6-7pm. If I'm not meeting with friends I'll just continue a mix of coding (my day job is that of a CTO, so coding only in the morning/evening), watching series, movies, and a bit of gaming here and there. I finish my day with cleaning up while listening to an audiobook or reading on my Kindle. I try to be in bed by 10:30 to 11pm.
I also have an air fryer, do cold showers and stuff like that, but my daily routine is nowhere near as perfect as some people want you to believe theirs is.
What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.)
Hands down just investing in my personal development, reading a ton of books and going to therapy. We all have a lot of sides of ourselves which we rather not look at, but they drive our decisions and often enough block us from being happy. My biggest goal in life is to live a happy and fulfilled life, so I'm very keen on keeping in touch with myself, tuning in to see how I feel, what I think is and always will be the most important investment I can make.
I don't want to go down a path just because of misaligned goals. Making sure I do something for the right reasons is a very important thing for me. So even though it sometimes is hard, I try to be bored and not do anything for a bit each and every day. If I resolve stressors and gain clarity on my feelings and motivations my productivity and creativity skyrockets.
What are bad recommendations you hear about building?
A lot. Maybe most of them. There's always a trend, be it lean startup, VC-funded startup with hyper-scaling, or Indie Hacking. The truth is: not one size fits all. They are all valid for some ideas and goals. You need to make sure it's the right approach for the idea and for you. Be clear on why you do it before you do it.