Blog

Changing gears

6 years and 8 months ago · listen

Almost 10 years ago, me and some friends created excentric, a digital marketing agency. It was a big adventure, with ups and downs, with some huge successes and some defeats. We were able to put together an amazing team of really talented people, who sticked together on the bad moments and were capable of partying like animals when the situation deserve it. Thank you guys, you are the best.

But my role on it is now over

excentric merged with Grey, a WPP agency, back in 2013 giving birth to excentricGrey, and for me it was fun to get back to the multinational world. But I missed the hands on, get your hands dirty, you know, being a doer instead of an enabler.

excentricGrey is now fully owned by WPP, and since the first of January I'm no longer part of the company.

Changing gears

My wife and I decided that I should stop for some time. Our third kid was on his way (borned in late February), so it was better for us if I could stick around to help. In the meantime, I started to poke around with some side projects that were in the drawer, learn new skills, and start building stuff.

First of all, design the new resume

I started working with the Internet in 1996. In 20 years, I made a lot of different things, had a lot of different roles and learned a lot of different technologies and skills. In summary, it's a mess, and is hard to fit it into one single bucket. So I tried to solve it by putting my entire IT career in a graphic. It was a fun problem to crack, and as a bonus, I’ve learned a lot about vector images (the CV is fully scalable).

My first (published) mobile app

Every day I had to go the office, I had to go by a bridge, the 25 de Abril bridge (in Lisbon). And every day was a lottery, I didn't knew how traffic would be. It could take me 32 minutes to get to the office, or it could take me 2 hours. And the unknown is a big source of stress for me.

The company who runs the highway that ends on the bridge have traffic cams, but the website interface was awful and cumbersome (there's a new website, but some of the original problems persist). So I decided to make a mobile app, for personal use, which would get the images from that website, present them in order, in one single page. And I use it every day for years.

Some friends saw it, and those who got the same problem asked for a copy, so I sent the apk to some of them. Those who had iPhones had no luck, since I only made the Android version. And people start saying that I should publish the app. So I did. Since last week, 25deAbril is available for install in Google Play, for free.

Surf and math

Surfing is more than a sport, it can be a mystical experience. It's hard to master, but when you manage to get up and ride some waves, you feel like the king of the world. But surf is also hard because it depends - a lot - on the weather conditions. There are a lot of factors in play, in order for you to have good waves to surf, and I always got attracted by this complexity.

After some study and experimentation, I started to be able to predict when and where the best waves would be. And my live as a surfer got a major upgrade. It's all about swell direction and swell size, crossed with the beach type of bottom, and beach orientation, multiplied by the wind speed and direction. Pretty simple, hum? Ok, if your name is Sheldon, I should warning you that I was being ironic.

So I coded this type of algorithm and dress it with a website, properly named Where To Surf Today, where you can see the best beaches to surf today (and tomorrow), shown by location (after all, you are interested in the best surf near you, right?). For weeks I checked the algorithm results with real time conditions, and fine tuned until I got pretty satisfied. It only have beaches in Portugal (at least for now), and I've just released version 2.0.

One last thing

Online betting is getting hot, a lot. You can bet on casinos, sports and even fantasy. You can bet with money, with credits, or be part of a fantasy league. Placard, the new betting game by the portuguese lottery is a huge success. New laws and operation licences are being drafted in Portugal, and in the summer there will be dozens of new players on the market. Did I say it's getting hot?

Betliga is a website I’m developing, which is now in pre-release mode, where you don’t bet (so kids can play it), you pick. There are football games (Portuguese League and Uefa Champions League for now), where you can have 3 picks: pick the winner, pick the number of goals scored, and pick if one, all or none of the teams score. For each pick you have 3 options, so it’s a very simple game.

After a game is closed, and its result known, the odds for the game are calculated and each player earns points if he got it right. There are competitions based on the week classification, month and season, some badges, the hattricks ranking (when a player gets all 3 picks right), and classifications for people with more opinions, likes and reach. Yes, being social is also prized here.

Targeting beginners, there are a lot of contextual help across the site, explaining the principles of the game, and teaching some betting concepts (like, for instance, how odds are calculated). People don’t have to manage credits, or decide how much they want to bet in a game. They just pick.

People can gather in groups, and create private leagues, where the classifications (and other scores) are calculated considering only the members of the group. This is great for groups of friends and family to finally know who knows best about football.

The regular season is ending, there are 2 more fixtures in the Portuguese League, and a handful of games in the UCL, but you still can join and have some fun at http://betli.ga

Everything will be ready for the Euro, hope to see you there.