The Cursed Year

Today is the last day of the Year.

Yes, it is. At least is the last day of my year. The worst year I’ve probably had in my life. The year I’ve come to refer as The Cursed Year. Mainly because of working problems, that derives on financial problems, that derives in personal problems.

365 days ago I started working on a beautiful project. Good idea, hugely profitable, great design team… project looked good, maybe too good.

I was the development-only force of the project. Usually we don’t accept to delegate management of the project to other parties if we’ve not worked with them before, in order to ensure everything happens smoothly.

This time we made an exception, based on the reputation of the project manager. Bad move. Never trust reputation; nothing can replace the evaluation quality of first hand experience. I’ve learned to just trust a few things on this world:

  • My wife.
  • My family.
  • My partner, Alberto.

Initially the project gave its first steps without problems. First internal release of the site was done in a few weeks, customer was happy and I spotted a few unicorns on the green pastures of my beloved Basque Country.

A few weeks later, after my 31st birthday, when project was mainly finished -or that was what I thought at that moment- I moved to Iceland. Moving is always a stressful process but what came after the moving was the more stressful period in my whole life.

Project manager just dissapeared and was replaced by another person that instead of focus on finishing functionality first, started to fill hundreds of support tickets with copywriting details and misunderstadings about how certain interactions should work (obviously because was absent in the previous project’s phases).

The management of the tickets took me literally hours every day. Big fails in basic interactions of the site like the signup process appeared and suddenly there were more features to implement. Just to make it worst, features that were supposed to be simple, keep growing and growing out of control.

In a normal project, as the project manager I’d have been able to take control of this featuritis, but this time I was only the “developer”. Frustated, tired, working every single day for 3 months… I got depressed.

The worst project in my professional career almost ate my alive, but after months of delay and after becoming project manager de facto, we were able to launch the project publicly… and in Monty Python’s words… there was much rejoicing.

I don’t know why but this project was the starting point of a terrible chain of problems in my small company Linking Paths. In the last 12 months:

  • Prospective customers declined our estimations, in favor of other companies that were owned by friends or family members of the customer.
  • Prospective customers used us as dummy providers in projects that were agreed to be conceded to another company without our knowledge.
  • Almost signed contracts went down the drain by reasons not related to us or the customer.
  • Customers paid us late and sometimes only after many attempts.
  • We sent dozens of estimations, but we were unable to convert most of them on sales.

Just to make everything more funny I personally wasted thousands of euros due to different reasons: resources I financed hoping it will be used for good by my friends, greedy renters that refuse to give me the deposit back without reason, stupid conference organizers that force me to buy planes tickets in the last moment…

So right now I’m utterly broke, depressed and angry.

I don’t know if all this poison that have been brewing within me has left an imprint that can’t be removed or if possible to just forget all these bad moments and start again… but we’re going to try it.

Today, even without knowing if we’re going to have money to stay in Iceland for another week, my beautiful, always supportive wife and me have decided to end all this shit and allow ourselves a new start. A new start where hope is more important that the deep, frustrating hole we’re into.

Because today is the last day of the Year.