It’s always hard to write about yourself. You’re the world’s biggest specialist in the subject, but suddenly words fall short. You find yourself in trouble to even start it. So, to make my life easier, I’m splitting this into several topics. If something is important to define who I am, it has a section. This approach will make it easier to expand and improve the page in the future. Since I’m a moving subject, it makes sense to craft this page to be as well.
The one-paragraph summary
I’m a 37-year-old software developer from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. My biggest passions are programming, gaming, MMA, game development, movies, music, reading, and writing. My current goal is to stop being lazy and to use my skill set to create something cool and useful. My first attempt at this is the book I’m writing about remote work.
If I had to choose the starting point for much of what I am today, I’d choose a seemingly uneventful Sunday when I was 5 years old. That was the day I had my first contact with a video game. I was at my cousin’s house, amazed as I moved the joystick and watched the car moving on TV. I can still remember how magical that game (Enduro) looked at the time. I was immediately hooked.
My parents had no peace until they gave me an NES on my next birthday. After that, they had even fewer moments of peace, as I wanted to play all the time on the only TV we had. But this was just the beginning of my journey with video games. I had many consoles after that: Master System, SNES, Game Boy Color, Nintendo 64, Game Cube, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, and a few others.
I still play every single day for at least one hour. And in case you’re wondering, here are my favorites games, in the order I played them:
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Resident Evil 2
- Final Fantasy VIII
- Red Dead Redemption
- The Last of Us Part II
But even though I wasn’t a complete stranger to the art of spanking a keyboard in the hope that a piece of software will come out of it, college was the first actual test of my decision. When my first semester there started, I had the confirmation that I wasn’t wasting my time. For the first time in my life, I was studying something that I had a real interest in.
The first programming language I studied in college was Pascal, as it’s the tradition. Even though Pascal it’s useless for all practical purposes, I liked my 6 months with it. I had the opportunity to write a lot of small Pascal programs, and that helped me to develop my logical thinking.
In the second semester, I was learning Java, and it quickly became my favorite programming language. I liked it so much that I was already planning my career with Java at the center. Then I found Ruby, and everything changed. It was love at first sight. Ruby was everything I wanted in a programming language. It was clean, expressive, and fun. It also had Ruby on Rails, a web framework that was many years ahead of its time.
By the way, Rails deserves a paragraph of its own. Ruby is an incredible programming language, but Rails is its killer app. Ruby wouldn’t be as popular as it is without Rails. It leverages everything it’s good in Ruby into a full-featured package. It’s the most productive option for creating web applications. I have many ideas for web applications I want to build, and Rails it’s my choice for almost all of them.
When you find something that deeply resonates with you, everything else in the same category pales in comparison. Suddenly, Java wasn’t so interesting anymore. Actually, because Java is so different from Ruby, it was much less than merely uninteresting. It was a monument for everything I didn’t want for my career.
However, my love for Ruby didn’t make my life easier. An internship with Ruby was a rare sight in 2007. After a long search, I had no other option but to give up and accept an internship with Java. But life sometimes smiles at us. After a couple of weeks of coding with Java, my manager let me use Ruby for a new project. Most likely, he was tired of me talking about Ruby all the time, so he decided to take the risk just to make me shut my mouth. This was my first professional experience with Rails, and I loved it. It was such a pleasure to develop a web application with it. It was in stark contrast with the previous weeks when I was using Java with JavaServer Faces.
After my internship, I was more confident than ever about focusing my career on Ruby/Rails. I believe it’s fair to say I’ve been successful on this mission. I’ve been able to work with Ruby for most of my career. But luck was also a factor, considering Ruby was never really popular in Brazil.
Although Ruby is still my favorite programming language, and the one paying the bills, I tried other languages over the years. I was heavily interested in Objective-C and iOS development for a while. I was even considering becoming an iOS developer, but I came too early for the party. There were very few open positions for mobile developers in 2012. I also felt discouraged in investing my career in a closed platform controlled by one of the big tech companies.
In 2017 I started studying Elixir, and I loved the language and the platform. Elixir was even my favorite language for a couple of years, and I still believe it’s one of the most interesting programming languages in the world. But my interest in Elixir decreased when I realized it was hard for me to get a job with it. There were few jobs with Elixir, and I wasn’t in a good position to fill them because of my lack of experience with the language. But Elixir remains my second favorite programming language, although I haven’t used it lately.
I studied several other programming languages throughout the years, like C, C++, Python, Lua, C#, and a few others. I liked some of them, others not so much, but none of them caught my interest like Ruby and Elixir. But that doesn’t mean I won’t ever use them in a project.
I’m confident that new languages will be part of my life in the future. I love programming, and I love learning about new programming languages. That’s why I know these are just the first years of my career as a software developer. I really can’t see a future where I’m not writing code on a regular basis. It’s hard to turn my back on something that enables me to create something out of thin air. And this is what programming is about for me: a tool that allows me to create stuff.
Considering the two previous sections, it’s no surprise I’m into game development. After all, it joins two of my biggest passions. But the truth is that I was interested in game development even before I knew how to program. It’s natural for a teenager who plays video games all day to aspire to a career where you’re paid to make games. But when I searched about it, it seemed like an impossible dream, at least in Brazil. So I quickly dismissed game development as a career option.
Some years later, when I was in college, I realized that game development could be an unrealistic profession, but it became a very achievable hobby. I already knew how to program, so using that knowledge to create games shouldn’t be that hard. I started studying the subject, and then I learned that most commercial games are built with C or C++. If it worked for the games I was playing, it should work for me, so I started learning C++. Despite the bad reputation C++ has, it was a fun process. A few weeks later, I was competent enough with C++ to take the next step.
Games are a very special kind of software. Because of that, they need specialized libraries to deal with their many requirements. After becoming sort of competent with C++, I started searching for this kind of library. Again, I decided to follow the industry standards, which was DirectX at the time. This is where things started to not work for me. I didn’t like DirectX at all. It was incredibly verbose, unintuitive, and poorly documented. Even drawing the simplest shapes required a ton of work.
Since DirectX wasn’t working for me, I decided to try another library. I found Allegro, which was considered a simpler alternative. And in fact, it was simpler than DirectX. But Alegro was still too primitive for my taste. It allowed me to draw sprites, and handle input and sound, but it left too much to the programmer. I was still an inexperienced coder, so it wasn’t a good match. I wanted something with all batteries included, not a library with only the basics.
I tried to push through with the options I had, but it didn’t take long to realize I wasn’t having any fun. I was doing it only as a hobby, and it was failing its most important requirement. Again, I came to the conclusion that game development wasn’t for me, and just followed with my life.
I had a lot of fun with Phaser. For the first time, I was having a good experience with game development. There was only one problem: Phaser was built for the web. You can create a lot of cool and inventive games that run in the browser, but for the games I want to make, the web it’s not the best option. So I had to keep searching. But because I had such a positive experience with Phaser, I was excited to try new libraries and engines.
LÖVE was the next framework I tried. It’s a nice and small game framework built with Lua. The problem is that it’s too small. It doesn’t offer many features beyond the basics. It seems to be a framework aimed at people who want to create small games. I had the same impression about DragonRuby, but the fact it uses a Ruby runtime is enough to keep me interested in its future.
Then, after rewatching Indie Game: The Movie, I decided to try XNA. It was a very popular framework among indie developers. If some of the best indie games have used it, then it was worth a try. However, it was popular at the time the movie was released (2012). Microsoft stopped supporting XNA in 2013. So it wasn’t in a good spot when I tried. Even installing it required some complicated steps. It was clear that it wasn’t a solid option.
XNA wasn’t the answer I was looking for, but it led me to the next step on this journey: MonoGame. MonoGame is a modern implementation of XNA, kept by the open-source community. It’s a well-made framework, but Phaser has spoiled me. MonoGame doesn’t offer many basic features a game needs, like animation and tilemap support. You need to code them by yourself or use an external library, like MonoGame.Extended. The lack of good books about recent versions of MonoGame also bothered me. In the end, I liked my experience with MonoGame, but I felt I should keep searching.
I tried XNA and MonoGame because some successful indie developers used them several years ago. After that, it was time to try what more recent indie games were using. I searched for games like Hollow Knight, Ori and the Blind Forest, and Cuphead, and they were all built with an engine called Unity. Out of the box, Unity can deal with absolutely anything a game developer can need: sprites, 3D models, audio, inputs from different devices, physics engines, cameras, animation, scene management, tilemaps, and many other features I won’t discover until I need them. It also has a great marketplace, where you can buy resources like 3D models, sprites, audio files, and plugins. So, it’s exactly what I want: a complete solution that can target many devices, including video game consoles.
I had a blast learning Unity. I had some experience with C# because of my time with XNA and MonoGame, so the programming language wasn’t a barrier. And there’s so much information available about Unity that’s easy to start. I was able to quickly build something meaningful, and without having to write dozens of files just to have some pixels moving. I have finally felt that I have an engine that can empower me to build the games I want.
My search is over, and now I have the engine I’ve been looking for all these years. So I’m building a game, right? Not exactly. I love game development, and I read and learn about it all the time. But now I’m focusing on writing a book about remote work, so I’m not working on any game at the moment. I plan to do it in the future, but now I’m trying to focus on what has the highest chance to become a profitable project.
I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t watch movies on a regular basis. It’s probably my oldest hobby. I don’t even know how it started. I have no idea what was the first movie I have ever watched. But in many of my oldest memories, I’m watching a movie.
Movies are so important in my life that I considered studying film in college. However, I knew that was a bad idea for a few reasons. The more important of them is that I like programming more. Aside from that, becoming a movie director in Brazil is not an easy task. Most people who study film in college only manage to direct TV commercials.
Although becoming a software developer was the right decision for me, making movies never left my mind. It’s still something on my bucket list, but it changed a little bit. I eventually realized that the most interesting part of making a movie is creating its story. So I became more interested in writing movies than directing them. I’ve read a couple of screenwriting books and then I practiced by writing small scripts. But I’ve never written a complete movie script, even though I have some ideas for stories I want to develop further. It’s something that I’m okay with postponing to a future that might never come.
Regarding my favorite movies, it’s very difficult for me to choose a few of them as my absolute favorites. By the way, I’m not very good at choosing favorites in any category, despite the fact I’m always curious about other people’s favorites. Anyway, these are some of the movies that came to my mind while writing this section:
Maybe you were expecting a list of obscure movies, like The Seventh Seal or something from Akira Kurosawa. That is what is usually expected from someone who defines himself as a film lover. I do watch movies like that, but most of them don’t get a place among my favorites. Many of my favorites are movies that most people have heard about. The whole point of watching a movie is how it makes you feel, so I don’t care how praised it is. If a movie produces a strong emotional response in me, that’s enough, no matter its score on Rotten Tomatoes.
When I was a kid, every Saturday was dedicated to watching movies. I’d go to the movie store with my dad, then I’d choose 3 or 4 movies to entertain me throughout the day. What makes this relevant to this section is my selection of movies. Most movies I used to choose were martial arts movies, like Bloodsport and Kickboxer. Surprisingly, after growing up watching hundreds of hours of men punching and kicking each other, I didn’t turn out to be a violent person. But it certainly made me a martial arts fan.
Some years later, I found a VHS called The Ultimate Fighting Championship while visiting my favorite movie store. It was in the shady section of the movie store, right next to things like Traces of Death. It had footage from a martial arts tournament where fighters from different backgrounds fought to discover what was the best martial art. It was basically the plot of Bloodsport, one of my favorite martial arts movies. It should have been an easy sell to me, but I didn’t watch it. At the time, I didn’t believe the footage was real, considering the company it had on that shelf. And being honest, part of me didn’t want to watch it because I was afraid of it being too gory for my taste.
As the years went by, what was called Vale Tudo when I first found that VHS evolved into a more structured sport called MMA. Then, around 2010 I decided to finally give it a chance. A few minutes in and I felt like an idiot for taking so long to start watching a sport that was tailor-made for me. Since then, I’ve never stopped following MMA. Sometimes when I’m having a tough week, a good MMA event on the weekend it’s all I need to endure the weekdays.
MMA was also the reason why I started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2016. I trained for 3 years, stopping as a blue belt. Even though I was really bad at it, I liked it. But it got difficult to keep training as I was transitioning to a remote job, and the gym was far from my house. Sometimes I think about returning, but I wouldn’t bet I’ll do it in the next couple of years.
My story with music started early, probably not much different from most people. The first album I ever had was the soundtrack from Saint Seiya, the favorite anime of most Brazilian kids in the ’90s. I have probably listened to that album hundreds of times.
Despite the early start, it took me many years until I was seriously interested in music. It wasn’t a lack of influence. My dad had a great collection of vinyl records, with classic albums from bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. But in my young and stupid mind, I thought that anything my dad liked couldn’t be cool. So even though I grew up with some of the best albums ever recorded playing in the background, I didn’t give them much attention. I was fine just listening to some Brazilian rock bands once in a while.
It was only in high school that I started to pay more attention to music. The catalyst was the third edition of the Rock in Rio festival, in 2001. Everyone was talking about it, so I wanted to know what was all the fuss about. I searched for songs from some of the bands performing at the festival, and that’s how I discovered some of my favorite bands up until this day: Iron Maiden, Guns N’ Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and a few others. At that moment, I finally understood why so many people were so into music.
As it’s typical for me when I find something I like, I wanted to know more about this newfound passion. So I listened to countless albums from many different rock bands, including the entire discography of many of them. In this process, my musical taste ended up being centered around heavy metal. And like many heavy metal fans discovering the genre, I was too closed-minded in the beginning. I didn’t listen to many bands outside heavy metal, and even fewer bands or artists outside rock.
At this moment, my interest in music was at its peak, so I decided to learn how to play an instrument. The electric guitar was my instrument of choice. What followed was a sad realization: playing guitar is much harder than it looks. I tried, but I was a terrible guitar player. But it wasn’t only a lack of talent, I didn’t put enough time into properly learning it. It also didn’t help that I tried to learn on my own for a long time, instead of taking classes. But my lack of skill didn’t stop me from playing in a band with some friends. We weren’t any good, and we only knew how to play one song: Seven Nation Army. It wasn’t a random choice, Seven Nation Army is one of the easiest songs you can learn. That doesn’t mean we did a good job playing it. But at least we had a cool name: The Choppa.
Like many activities that you start when you’re a teenager, playing guitar didn’t find its way into my adult life. At least I was still a music fan, always searching for new stuff to listen to. And as I was getting older, I was allowing myself to appreciate music from all genres. This led me to expand my listening habits to include a little bit of everything, from Eminem to Johnny Cash. Even so, many of my favorite bands are still the ones I discovered in my teenage years:
Nowadays I don’t even have a guitar anymore, and I also don’t listen to music as much as before. I still like the same bands and artists, but I can’t connect in the same way with music created in the last 10 years or so. But I’m not stupid, I know they’re good and have value. I’m the one to blame here, as my musical taste is frozen in time. It’s a tale as old as mankind. In the end, It’s hard not to belong to an era.
When I was growing up, the internet was not as present as it is today. We could only use it after midnight, otherwise, the telephone bill would be very expensive. And truth be told, there weren’t a lot of things to see on the internet at the time. Because of that, I got used to searching for information in a relic of the ancient world: magazines. I used to read magazines about anything I had a slight interest in: games, comic books, music, RPG, and a few other topics. In the ’90s that was how a teenager in Brazil could dive into a subject. This also kickstarted my love for reading.
After reading piles of magazines, it was natural to start reading books. But unlike most readers, I don’t read fiction very often. Although I’ve read many novels related to some of my interests, like The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Ready Player Number One, I usually read books that teach me something. So every time I want to learn more about a subject, I read a book about it. That was my approach throughout my career, and also with hobbies such as games and screenwriting. In a world drowning in video content, books are still my favorite source of learning.
Because of my reading habits, it’s hard for me to choose my favorite books. In the end, many of them have taught me something valuable, and many of them were entertaining. But I believe the following list it’s a good representative of my preferences:
- The Lord of The Rings (the whole trilogy)
- Getting Real
- Masters of Doom
- Steve Jobs: A Biography
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (the whole series)
However, the eternal fear of missing out that lives in all of us is pushing me to read more fiction. I’m planning to read at least some of the most classic books. Maybe there’s a good reason why they’re classic.
It’s not by chance that writing is the last item on this page. I didn’t grow up writing stories. I’ve never felt that writing was my true call. Actually, writing came to me somewhat later in life, when I was about 20 years old. It was the age of blogs, and that’s how I started writing. But even though I enjoyed writing blog posts, none of my blogs lasted long. It wasn’t a priority to me.
I didn’t write much after my blogging years. On a few occasions, I started writing a book, but it never got far. I’ve always had too many things going on in my life, and writing wasn’t important to me. But as time went by, the urge to share my thoughts grew stronger. That’s why I created this website.
So, even though I still don’t feel like a writer, I’m now more inclined than ever to write. And I’m not just talking about the articles on this website. I’m also writing a book about remote work, and after that, I plan to write a bunch of short books about programming. It took 37 years, but writing finally climbed some spots on my priority list.