Homecoming & Adop.tools

Eight months travelling through South and Central America with over 250 spent hours in buses, learning Spanish from street vendors, and becoming a DiveMaster in Colombia – I am now entering the final phase of my trip, one with unique challenges: Job Hunting from Guatemala.

Living in the paradise that is Lake Atitlan, its a tough contrast to go from working in a bar drinking cheap rum, taking candle lit yoga classes and swimming in a volcanic crater and then switch to a more professional attitude, trying to find computer time in an absence of WiFi to reach out to recruiters and apply for roles on the other side of the world – but here’s to hoping my pro-activity will eventually pay off.

In fear of getting too future-focused on my trip of a lifetime, I have decided to pull reserve funds to enjoy my final two weeks of travelling and enjoy my current situation which I know I am very lucky to be in. But at the end of those two weeks will be a fairly rapid transition back to reality, travelling from the South of Mexico to Auckland, via Los Angeles in less than 36 hours – and into Corporate board rooms for interviews less than 24 hours later, perhaps enough time for a hair cut and shave.

Other than the obvious, one of the things I am most excited for, is to return to one of my side projects AdOp Tools that I began 18 months – originally started in the process of learning the basics of coding, but somehow it came along a lot further than I expected and since I left New Zealand has been used by over 600 users across New Zealand, Australia, United States & United Kingdom without any additional development in 9 months – a some what impressive achievement considering how specific the website actually is.

The idea stemmed from my days in Ad-operations with Trade Me, where I would use a number of complicated sites on a daily basis to calculate CPM’s, Cost to Client, add UTM codes, test TPAs – so I decided to bring it all together, simplistically.

I found a good domain name and registered it, smiling to myself thinking ‘I am half way there’, grabbing a beer from the fridge. I sat down, opened up NotePad++ when I realised I had no idea what I was doing.

Cue the first google – ‘How to start a website’, 711 million results – Great. I opened the first one and began a 9 month journey. There was a lot of frustrating late nights and a few complete restarts, I moved past HTML and into CSS, from Javascript into PHP and before long was setting up a Google developer account to leverage their API’s.

I know the site needs a lot of development, especially on mobile/low resolution screens and unfortunately I haven’t been able to dedicate any time to it in the last 9 months but it is reassuring that the site is still being used in my absence, even being referenced on the Ad Operations sub-reddit sidebar and I even had a number of my calculators/tools included on AdnGins ‘The Complete Ad Operations ToolKit: 26 tools‘.

From the onset my Adop.tools project has been more about learning that actually monetizing the concept, but just like the travelling trip of a lifetime – the 250+ hours sitting, learning new languages and taking on new challenges are the best part.

See you soon reality, I hope the beers are ready.

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