Last week, the Punchmark team attended JCK Las Vegas to promote their services to big time jewelry retailers and vendors. This left me out of the office for about a week. Naturally, I moved into a local coffee shop for that time and set up my mobile office, grabbed a small black cup and a bagel before settling in for 9 hours.

Here are three things I learned from doing full-time work out of a coffee shop.

  • No Smooth Sailing

When working on a system as complex as web development infrastructure. Nothing goes smoothly. At first I noticed that I could not access the live server from my offsite location. I assumed it was because of whitelisted IP’s. I discovered that I could tunnel through the dev server to ssh to live but with my measly 3Mbps, the input lag was enough to slow work and train of thought considerably. The next day my supervisor added the coffee shop’s IP to the whitelist and I was back to using SFTP in my text editor like I was used to. However, a script I had written during development made enough invalid requests to block my IP from viewing any of our client’s sites. It was a DoS prevention technique that, again, shunted progress.

Not much I could have done about this. The system was not set up for offsite development from anywhere. Why should it be? It’s a huge security risk. However, debugging these issues, and communicating with my supervisor throughout the experience helped me to understand the complications behind the mobile developer.

  • Distractions are Everywhere

People chatting all around, rowdy kids dancing on tables (yes this happened), and of course, the endless abyss that is the internet at my disposal. These distractions are relentless in prying my eyes off the screen and my attention from the problem at hand.

Headphones, a determined attitude, and a steadfast resolve. The toolkit of the coffee shop developer.

  • Self-accountability Must Skyrocket

No bosses. No fellow employees. Everyone there is enjoying their afternoon or doing some light reading. Every excuse to stop working and go for a skate session or bust out my Kindle to finish that chapter of Ready Player One starts filling my head.

Staying on one task for several hours is not my most favourite thing to do. Is it anybody’s? Reminding myself to stay focused and let those thoughts pass without consideration is a skill. A skill that I got ample practice with this week.

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