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Tuesday, 17 July


How to kill your freelance demons freeCodeCamp - Medium

Struggling to land the best freelance jobs? Use this solid advice from those whove been there and done it.

With freelancers accounting for 35% of the US population and soaring globally, its getting positively Hobbesian out there. Whether youre dipping your pasty copywriter toe or are a seasoned development guru, theres plenty of work for everyone if you know where to look.

Keep the work flowing with these tips from a grizzled freelance copywriter with plenty of experience in the freelance world.

Hello, World Wide Web?

Unsurprisingly, the internet has quite a lot to offer a freelancer-in-training. But with so many pay-to-work pyramid schemes, and sites promising $10,000 for an article, it can be hard to sort the fact from the too-good-to-be-true.

Perfect for the newly minted freelancer lacking a substantial portfolio, job sites like, Upwork, and Lancelist tend to offer low pay but plenty of variety. Aim for companies who are willing to put you on a retainer rather than one-off jobs which wont translate into regular work.

Workout app developer? Korean food blogger? Theres a directory for that.

Yep, forget about the Yellow Pages, the internet also has a plethora of directories for every career calling your grandparents dont think is a real job. Theres usually a joining fee, so its good to shop around.

Show your beautiful face

From your hairdresser to pub landlord, its easy to forget that everyone is a potential client or clients friend or partner. Approaching local businesses can be a great way to kickstart your portfolio and get recommended to other, more inspiring contacts.

When the clients aint biting, a little shameless self-promotion can donot wonders, exactly, but something good.

Keep an eye out for local business meetings/artisanal bakery takeovers and offer to do a talk on your latest success. Whipping out the laser pointer is a great way to get noticed, and youll probably meet some kindred spirits at the after party to kick those freelance lonelies.

Whether its a local blog, podcast, or reality TV, getting interviewed can help raise your head above the parapet (in a good way). Take every opportunity to get up on the podium. Just dont forget to include a contact, repeat your name, and let people know youre available for hire.

Mine your contacts

Urgh. I know. Cold calling is about as enjoyable as a trip to the dentist in the 1950s, but its a useful start to a freelance career. Send a personalised introductory email explaining what you can do for their company/incubator/dictatorship.

Heres comes the crucial bit: follow up with a friendly ph...


How to design a cold email for a CEO with a 100% read, click, and response rate freeCodeCamp - Medium

The Emailers Guide To The Galaxy: Part II

The start of my cold email

As I explained in my last post, Im 17, so my network isnt too big just yet. For me, cold emails are the easiest and most direct way to reach a founder. Over the past year, Ive sent over one hundred emails to CEOs, founders, and heads of design, and have gotten a response from over 80% of them.

My emails started out unconventionallyfilled with long paragraphs, massive intros, and frankly, very little about the recipient. But, with A/B tests, just the right amount of analytics, and persistence, I was able to notice what stuck.

Most people just assume theyre bad writers, others think it takes a degree in communications. Not me. In this post, Im going to give you a play by play handbook on what I learned in the past year. And, by the end, you should be able to lock down a meeting with whomever you want.

The email address

Depending on whom youre emailing, the address you choose to send your email to can decide your fate.

Why? I get into this in the first post of this series - How to find any CEOs email address in minutes. I touch on deciding which email address to use in the first part of that post. You should probably read that before getting into this one.

Composing the email

The subject line

In the world of email, the battle starts before your message is even opened.

Its your subject line against the rest in their inbox. Youre a mere peasant among the hundreds of others vying for the kings attention. To get in front of the throne, to have the king hear your thought...


How to find any CEOs email address in minutes freeCodeCamp - Medium

The Emailers Guide To The Galaxy: Part I

How do I find that CEOs email?

Im 17, so my network isnt too big, just yet. For me, cold emails are the easiest and most direct way to reach a founder. Over the past year, Ive found out not only how to find a tech leaders work email address, but their personal one as well.

In this post, Ill teach you the ins and outs of searching for anyone in techs email address. So, sit down, download Google Chrome, open your Gmail, and lets get to work.

Part 1: The easy way out

The easiest email to find is a work email, but this is a double-edged sword. Although easier to find, this person could have:

  1. hundreds upon hundreds of emails flooding their inbox every day
  2. a filter to weed your email out, or
  3. an executive assistant (EA) to personally select the emails they should read.

If this is a strictly business-related email, or you know this founder doesnt receive over 400 emails a day, the method described below is the right one for you.

Remember, emailing is all about respect, so weigh the two options carefully. Does this person want you to email them in their personal inbox?

Step 1: Finding an email using

Go to the Hunter website and sign up for an account (also download their plug-in for Chrome).

Hunter is an insanely powerful tool. Were going to use it in more than one way in this post. It allows you to find all emails attached to a certain website, verify that an email is accepted by their server, and even stores your leads for later.

Step 2: Search for the relevant information

Go to your Hunter dashboard and Search for the information youre after. You can type in the website of your persons company. Hunter conveniently finds all the emails associated with the server.

Your persons email might not be there, but whats important is the pattern you find. It most probably would be any of the patterns below:

  • [first_name]
  • [first_initial][last_name]
  • [first_name][last_name]

Now that you have a pattern, its time to try it out.

Step 3: Verify the email in Hunter

Go to the Verifier tab in Hunter:

Type in what you think your persons email is via the pattern. Youll see one of three resul...


How to send an email the right way: track, follow up, and get a response. freeCodeCamp - Medium

The Emailers Guide To The Galaxy: Part III

How can I track this email?

As I discussed in my previous two posts, Im 17, so my network isnt too big just yet. For me, cold emails are the easiest and most direct way to reach a founder. Over the past year, Ive sent over 100 emails to CEOs, founders, and heads of design, and have figured out how to ensure a response.

Contrary to what most people think, emailing isnt as simple as writing, sending, and waiting. Once you click the send button, the journeys only getting started.

Quick note: this is the third post in a series all about cold-emailing. If you havent read How to find any CEOs email address in minutes or How to design a cold email for a CEO with a 100% read, click, and response rate, I recommend giving those a look before starting here.

This post is all about maximizing your chances of getting a response. So, were diving into the specifics of when to send your email, how to track it, and why you should follow up to strengthen your chances of hearing back. So, sit down, open Chrome, and lets get to work.

Before clicking send

Right now, that send button youre looking at does one thing and one thing only: moves your email from your drafts folder into your recipients inbox. To keep an eye on your emails progress, that email needs to be tracker-enabled.

What is an email tracker?

At the most basic level, an email tracker, well, tracks your email. It tells you when its been opened.

But, as you go more in-depth, a tracker can reveal a bunch more info:

  • How many times its been opened
  • Where its been opened
  • Whos opened it
  • When they went to your website
  • Where theyve gone on your website

Why are these things important? With data on where and when your email has been opened, you can infer if they are traveling, are at home, or are even at their office. Figuring out the best time to approach t...


Want to learn TypeScript? Heres our free 22-part course. freeCodeCamp - Medium

Click the image to get to the course.

TypeScript has been gaining a lot of popularity amongst JavaScript developers the last few years. And its no wonder, as TypeScript code tends to be less error-prone, more readable and easier to maintain.

So weve partnered up with the eminent online instructor Dylan C. Israel and created a free TypeScript course on Scrimba. The course contains 22 lessons, and is for people who already know JavaScript but who want a quick intro to TypeScript.

Take the course for free here.

Now lets have a look at each of the lectures in the course.

Part #1: Introduction

In the introductory screencast, Dylan gives an overview of why you should learn TypeScript, and how the course is laid out. He also tells you a little bit about himself, so that you are familiar with him before jumping into the coding stuff.

Part #2: Variable types

Compile time type-checking is one of the most important features of TypeScript. It lets us catch errors related to the types of data at compile time. This lesson explains the data types available in TypeScript.

let firstName: string;
let age: number;
let isMarried: boolean;

You can see how we have types attached to all the variables. If we try to put a string value in place of a number type variable, TypeScript will catch it at compile time.

Part #3: Multiple types

In TypeScript, we keep a single type for a variable but that is not possible every time. So, instead, TypeScript provides us with theany type. This means we can assign multiple types of values to one variable.

let myVariable: any = 'Hello World';
myVariable = 10;
myVariable = false;

Above, weve declared myVariable with any type. First we assigned it a string, next a number, and finally a boolean. This is possible because of the any type.

Part #4: Sub types

Sub types are used when we are unaware of the value of the variable. TypeScript provides us with two sub types: null and undefined. This lesson explains when we should use either of those.

let myVariable: number = undefined;

The variable myVariable has been assigned the value of undefined because, at this point in time, we dont know what it is going to be. We can also use null here.

Part #5: Implicit vs explicit typing

Part 5 talks about the difference between implicit and explicit typing. In the examples above, we saw explicit types whe...

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Monday, 16 July


How to schedule jobs in a Django application using Heroku Scheduler freeCodeCamp - Medium

Recently, I published my first Django application on Heroku.

The application is fairly simpleit lists the score associated with every classical problem on SPOJ.

SPOJSphere Online Judgeis a problemset archive, online judge and contest hosting service accepting solutions in many languages.

You can find the application live here.

The application uses the Python libraries bs4 and requests to scrape the contents of the aforementioned website, obtain the required details for every problem (namelyproblem code, problem name, users and score), and store them in a database.

Now, the score associated with the problems on SPOJ is dynamic. It is calculated using the following formula:

80 / (40 + number_of_people_who_have_solved_the_problem)

So, the score associated with the problems on SPOJ changes as number_of_people_who_have_solved_the_problem changes.

Hence, the data collected by my application will be rendered useless after a certain interval of time. I need to set up a scheduler to keep my database updated.

Now, its a dead simple application. So I wanted to set up the scheduler with the least amount of configuration and code possible.

Custom Django Management Commands and Heroku Scheduler to the rescue!

Let us understand our two saviors.

1. Custom Django Management Commands

Custom Django Management Commands are structured as Python classes that inherit their properties and behavior from class.

They are used to add a action for a Django app. runserver or migrate are two such actions.

A typical example of such a class would be:

from import BaseCommand
class Command(BaseCommand):
help = "<appropriate help text here>"
def handle(self, *args, **options):
self.stdout.write("Hello, World!")

The class must be named Command, and subclass BaseCommand.

help should hold a short description of the command, which will be printed in help messages.

handle(self, *args, **options) defines the actual logic of the command. In this case, we are just writing the string Hello, World! into the standard output. In my case, handle(self, *args, **options) performs th...


Cognitive Bias And Why Performance Management is So Hard freeCodeCamp - Medium

My wife helped me draw this because although we both lacked the skill, she had the will.

Often, at work, you might come across someone who is not doing their job. It can be a peer, a report, or even your own manager. If its a report, well often refer to this as a performance problem. As a manager of managers, I see examples of this all the time with my peers and colleagues.

Its important that you accurately diagnose the problem before trying to fix it. Google has open-sourced its manager training slides*, and they have a great framework for diagnosis. In their framework, performance problems tend to be caused by:

  • Unclear expectations: Your colleague does not know what is expected of them. Maybe their manager (you?) hasnt set expectations for them clearly, or a team-mate has not clarified that they are blocked on their work or harmed by their quality of work.
  • Lack of skill: Your colleague does not know how to perform the tasks expected of them.
  • Lack of will: Your colleague is not motivated or interested in doing those tasks (they lack understanding or agreement of why they should be doing those tasks).

Andy Grove has a similar framework in his High Output Management book:

When a person is not doing his job, there can only be two reasons for it. The person either cant do it or wont do it; he is either not capable or not motivated.
Andy Grove

Have you ever tried to improve one of these situations and made it worse? I have. When I look back, many times its because I applied what I thought was the right solution, but to the wrong problem.

For instance, have you tried to motivate someone to do something that they dont really know how to do, only causing them (and you) further frustration? On the flip side, have you tried to train someone to do a task they already know how to do, but just have no interest in doingbelittling them and further undermining their motivation?

So then its pretty easy, right? Just use this framework, diagnose the problem, and then work on addressing it.

Unfortunately, its not so straightforward. The model is simplistic. Our brains tend to work against us in these situations through what are known as cognitive biases that tend to simplify situations and misattribute behavior.

Cognitive BiasesHow our brains tend to (incorrectly) simplify things

Our brains have evolved to constantly creating simplifications of t...

Sunday, 15 July


Weeks and Years Cassandra Rankin

Sometimes a weekll come at ya and it just wont quit and youll get to the end of it feeling a bit pummeled about the head and neck and then when you think its all done, news will come that could near knock you to your knees but you remember You remember that no matter []

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