We can have a job that completes us, that fills us up and that we like. And I, of course, have experienced it and it is super satisfying.
david bonilla (@david_bonilla) has been creating digital products and services for more than 20 years (he has created everything from a video game search engine to a e-commerce of empanadas), and is currently the founder and CEO of Manfred: a company of recruiting specialized in the technology sector that does not seek to close selection processes, but rather to help candidates find a job that really suits them and their long-term personal and professional goals.
In addition, David is the author of Bonilista, one of the leading newsletters on technology and digital business in Spain, and he is also the creator of Tarugoconf, a conference on the design, construction and marketing of digital products and services that is already its sixth edition.
In our conversation, David and I cover his entire career, from his beginnings in the world of programming to today, which is one of the benchmarks in the sector and runs a company with more than 20 employees, and we talk about topics as interesting as…
- How David discovered his passion for programming, and why according to him it “saved his life”
- What was the reason why David decided to leave his job as a technical manager in a large company to create his own projects
- What mistakes did David make in his first startup and what were the lessons he learned from that experience?
- How David came up with the idea to start Manfred, and what caused the project to come close to death shortly after launching it
- What are the keys to building a successful career as a programmer, one of the most demanded professions and with the best working conditions today?
David is a real reference for me, a generous guy who really works his ass off in everything he does, and also has a super inspiring story, so whether you work in the technology sector or not, I think this interview is for you. love 🙂
But hey, I prefer not to tell you anything else and let you discover it for yourself, so without further ado I leave you with the great David Bonilla.
Where to find David:
Mentioned in the episode:
1:45 – Presentation of the guest
3:42 – Start of the interview
6:54 Why did it take so long to get your driver’s license?
10:59 – Where does your need to know the why of things come from?
13:03 Why did you decide to study law?
15:09 – How did you do in law?
4:16 p.m. – Why did you decide to enroll in a master’s degree to learn programming?
17:54 – How did you do in your master’s degree to learn programming?
18:58 – Why did you like programming so much from the beginning while studying law was the opposite
21:43 – What happened to your law degree when you started programming
22:45 – How he found a job as a programmer with only one year of training
12:03 p.m. – Did you consider studying computer engineering?
12:36 p.m. – How in just 3 years he manages to go from junior programmer to CTO
29:34 – How was your experience as a manager, having people in charge?
32:59 – Why did you decide to leave Sixservix?
34:43 – Who is Jero?
36:21 – Why you started working for Atlassian when you left your previous job to start something of your own
40:03 – Why were you clear that the recruiters from Atlassian did they have to come to Spain yes or yes? And how do you convince them to include the city of Madrid in their hiring tour?
44:35 – Right when you start working for Atlassian, you launch your personal blog: Bonillaware.com. Why does he decide to start a blog right then and why does he start it? What did you want the role of that blog to be in your life and in his professional career?
46:49 – In addition to the blog, he launches a weekly newsletter called “La Bonilista”. What was his idea when he created La Bonilista? What did you have in mind and what were your expectations? And why did you decide to create a newsletter in parallel to the blog?
49:41 – Parallel to your work as an Atlassian ambassador, you start working with Jero on their first joint project: a video game browser called Otogami. How did the idea come about and why did they decide on that one in particular?
54:26 – What plan did they have financially?
56:40 – How are the first 6 months since they open the web to the public. Is the project well accepted? Are your growth and revenue expectations met?
58:27 – What things had they overlooked or not taken into account when designing the product, the business model and the growth strategy?
1:01:07 – In November 2013 they raise an investment round of €330,000. What is it that makes you change your mind about the issue of external financing and what did you plan to use that money for?
1:04:29 – What did they plan to do with the money to accelerate results?
1:10:34 – Why did they decide to leave the affiliation model and start selling the shoes directly?
1:16:01 – They decide to request public R&D aid, consisting of a grant of €18,000 and a loan of €348,000 to be repaid in 5 years to explore the possibility of using Otogami’s technology and all the price histories they had stored to create a tool capable of predicting the evolution of the price of a video game, and at some point selling access to this tool to companies in the sector. Why do you decide to take Otogami in this direction and why do you ask for this loan?
1:19:11 – When you change the business model from affiliate to a marketplace, the needs of the company change and suddenly you have a lot of customer service and marketing work that they are not prepared for. On the other hand, within a few months of starting work on the “price forecaster,” they realize that it doesn’t make any economic sense. Even so, they are forced to finish the research project, because they cannot give up the loan. How do you remember this time in your life?
1:24:30 Why did you decide to sell the company?
1:30:11 – How did you feel after the sale?
1:32:40 – In February 2017, he decided to start a new adventure as CEO of Comalatech, a company established in Vancouver that bills several million dollars selling add-ons for Atlassian products. How did this opportunity arise?
1:36:52 – How was the experience as CEO?
1:38:15 – What was Manfred Daily about and how did it come about?
1:46:53 – Where does the name Manfred Daily come from?
1:48:01 – What did Manfred’s MVP consist of?
2:02:03 – In 2019 they managed to close the first process. Who was it, how did they help you and what did it mean for the company?
2:04:21 – What lessons did you learn during the first few months that helped you be more successful and how your way of working has evolved
2:08:42 – One of the companies they work with during the first half of 2019 is Sngular: a fairly large IT services company that they help find the perfect candidates for various positions they had open in their US office. Sngular is so happy with them that they call them up to talk about how Sngular could empower Manfred going forward. How is that conversation going, what was Sngular looking for, what were they looking for, and what agreement did they reach to help each other?
2:16:22 Why did you decide to sell?
2:21:35 – What has been the impact of the sale on both the company and David
2:32:02 – What kind of professionals do they help and what do they have to do to work with them?
2:38:02 – Why he started an empanada shop
2:42:19 – How the idea of setting up a conference arose, to whom it is addressed and why it is different from other conferences
2:49:29 – Where can you buy tickets for the conference
2:50:40 – What is a typical day in David’s life like?
2:51:03 – Are you happy with the life you have created?
2:52:54 – Do you regret having worked too much and having made many sacrifices?
2:54:03 – How do you currently see the programming market in Spain?
2:55:20 – How do you think the programming market will evolve in the future?
2:55:58 – How are the salaries in programming
2:57:31 – What advantages and disadvantages do you see in the profession of programmer?
2:58:23 – Is it a male sector?
3:00:08 – With effort, can everyone become a programmer or are there people who have innate talent?
3:01:51 – What do you recommend to someone who wants to reinvent themselves professionally as a programmer?
3:02:48 – What programming language or technology do you think needs to be learned today?
3:01:27 – What other skill do you think is important to develop?
3:04:25 – If I want to get my first job, what options do I have, what types of companies would be interested in such a profile
3:06:51 – How is a standard selection process in the world of programming
3:08:17 – What do they look at in the selection processes, what do they give the most importance to
3:09:16 – What allows a programmer to access senior positions with more responsibility
3:11:41 – Can you build a good career in Spain just by programming?
3:12:31 What do you think about going to work abroad?
3:14:53 – In addition to programmer, there are other positions in the sector. How do you get to those positions and how much demand is there?
3:17:27 – What future plans do you have?
3:18:36 – What are your three favorite wines?
3:21:08 – Final tips
3:22:39 – Where to find David
3:23:39 – Farewell
(1 ratings, mean: 4)