End of year reflection

I don't use to write posts like this one, but I will try to get out of my head some things happened during 2019.

First and most important, I came back to Thailand in June, after two years living in Spain. In 2017 I ran out of money, I came back to Barcelona, I got a job as Traffic Management Engineer and started from scratch. It took me two years living frugally and saving money to come back to South East Asia. And here I am.

Thailand has changed in a lot of ways since 2017. It's impressive how quick things are developing here. Like for example, the new shopping mall near On Nut. Just in front of Tesco, suddenly appeared a massive building full of restaurants and a cinema. Apart from that and among other things, in Bangkok there are new BTS stations, Jatujak Night Market is now closed and Wat Arun is not under reconstruction anymore.

Cities in Asia are developing quick

Fast grow equals to higher prices. THB is one of the strongest currencies in the world right now. For average guys like me, it means that whereas in the past I got 37 THB for 1 EUR, nowadays I get only 32 THB. Exchange rate is ~15% more expensive. But not only exchange rate is worse than a couple of years ago, food and groceries are more expensive as well.

Bangkok is still cheap compared to other world capitals, but if it continues to grow at this pace, it will be difficult for me to live here in a few years.

Not only prices are getting worse, but also immigration controls are becoming stricter. In the past you could stay in Thailand easily while living on tourist visas. The trick was to get out from the country every two/three months, applying for a Tourist Visa in a nearby country and coming back to Siam again.

You could repeat the process ad infinitum, but nowadays it's impossible.

After three times leaving the country and coming back, immigration stops you at the airport to ask what the hell are you doing in the land of smiles.

I have applied for an Education Visa during 2020 to avoid this situation (and it's also time to learn thai). The amount of paperwork that you need to fill in is insane. And even with an Education Visa, you need to extend your stay in Thailand every three months (after you pass an examen proving that you were in the country learning thai and not playing pool in Nana).

Is it worth it? I don't know. Time in Thailand is cheap compared to other cities in the world. Here I have time to code, write, read, go to the gym, swim and meditate. And I do all of these things almost every day.

Closing projects

During 2019 I closed various projects. Most of them weren't going anywhere.

Software is difficult. Producing something people want is even more complicated. There are a lot of brilliant people launching good products. We all know chances of success in software are low. But I guess that if you are constantly doing things, you end up building something useful.

Anyway, I guess that one of the keys is lowering your expectations to play this game. The worst that can happen is going back to a normal job.

What I did in 2019

In 2019 I launched two projects (until June I was working full-time):

  1. Kapturo: An app to get URL's from screenshots.
  2. Tabloner: An app that allows people to book spaces (spanish version only).

What I want to do in 2020

I don't plan far ahead. Sometimes you are building something and that something leads to a new idea worth to implement it. But at 2020 I want to build two things:

  1. A timer which I am working on and testing since two months ago.
  2. A simple blog platform to publish posts quickly.

I am publishing things on internet (mostly in spanish) since 2015. I began using WordPress and nowadays I use a static site to display the content.

The problem of using a static site is that after writing an article, I need to build the full site, which requires a lot of time. And, of course, if I want to write something with my phone, I can't.

Apart of these two things, I am running a thai community since 2015 that I don't want to throw away. I will keep improving the site and trying to create a nice website with a nice community of people.


Paul Graham told Brian Chesky before they became successful that AirBnB was a bad idea. But he liked the guys who were behind it because they were like cockroaches (they are difficult to kill) and funded the idea.

The goal is the become like a cocroach.

Hi, I'm Erik, an engineer from Barcelona. If you like the post or have any comments, say hi.