Developers: David Colgan helps you escape 9-to-5 employment by building an effective freelance business you'll love to run.

Talks, Appearances, Guest Articles, References, and Accomplishments

Hi, I'm David Colgan! I started Less Boring with the hope of building a life with less drudgery and more excitement. Early on I realized that making my job less boring was one of the best ways to make my life less boring, as most 9-5 jobs take up most of the day's time and energy.

I was inspired by Paul Graham's ideas on startups, being captivated by the stories posted on Hacker News about founders full of excitement and passion.

But having tried it for myself, I found it difficult to replicate their success. I had to get over my own insecurities, bad time management, lacking business skills, and interpersonal skills. Freelancing was the key.

I've done a few things around the internet and sometimes in person.

I love giving talks and would love to to speak at your meetup or conference. Email me at

My talks are usually heavily visual and fast paced, and my favorite topic is the intersection of business and tech since a developer who understands both has superpowers!

Effectively Running Unit Tests with Vim-Test

Vim Chicago, June 29, 2018

An interactive demonstration of how to greatly speed up your unit test workflow using the wonderful plugin Vim-Test. I still use this plugin to run my own tests.

Meetup page

Interviewed for CIO on IT Risk Management

Article source, April 25, 2018

Cool writer friend Bruce Harpham interviewed me for his article on managing IT risk, published on Did you know that having good backups is important and not necessarily without gotchas to consider?


Why Django is (Still) a Good Choice for Building Your SaaS Startup

Talk at Indianapolis Python, February 13, 2018

A talk about the tradeoffs involved when choosing a web framework for a SaaS startup, and why it might not make the most sense to choose something shiny and new compared to the battle-tested and mature Django framework. Django is the tool I chose early-on in my career to build webapps due to it's power, stability, and maturity.

Newer frameworks can be powerful, but for many use cases choosing a less mature framework will be an unnecessary business liability.

Meetup page


A Brief History of Vim

Vim Chicago, January 16, 2018

Due to having fewer signups than needed to fill the full time, I gave a 20 minute talk at this edition of the VimChi Lightning Talks. I spoke about the history of Vim, from all the back in the days of Vi to Bram Moolenaar's Vim to the recently forked NeoVim.

Since I was out of town, they agreed to let me give this talk remotely over Zoom!


Meetup page

Big Idea Pitch Contest Entry: Backups for IT Companies

Pitch contest entry, November 6, 2017

I entered the Muncie Indiana Innovation Connector's pitch contest with an idea for a business doing backups for software companies. You can see my pitch in this video:


How to choose the Javascript Density for your webapp from a Business Perspective

October 26, 2017

I gave a lightning talk at the wonderfully awesome Open Source Open Mic Night meetup, hosted by Joe Walnes and Matt Godbolt. I talked about how to choose a Javascript methodology for your webapp that is neither too light or overkill:


Entering and Exiting Insert Mode with Style

Talk at Vim Chicago, October 17, 2017

Given at a lightning talks night, I gave a very specific talk about the i, I, a, A, o, and O keys, as well as some advice on how to learn Vim gradually and incorporate these keys without being overwhelmed. Also I think I averaged about 10 slides a minute in this talk. Gotta go fast!


Meetup page

Minimalist React

Talk at Indianapolis React, April 24, 2017

The early days of React were kinda chaotic. A talk about how to not get caught up in all the shiny new toys of webdev and choose tools that will be effective for your project, along with a brief history of the internet for good measure to explain how we got to the current web dev landscape.

Meetup page


My Client Gave Me Data in A Word Doc! Cleaning Up Messy Text With Vim

Vim Chicago, June 21, 2016

I gave an interactive demo on some Vim wizardry I've used to effectively munge data from an unusable format (Word) to shove it into a database. Highly useful in a freelancing context.


Meetup page

Vim and Ergonomics

Talk at Vim Chicago, March 15, 2016

A brief lightning talk about how to make the already pretty ergonomic Vim editor even more ergonomic by moving keys normally hit by the pinky finger to the thumb.

Slides Meetup page


Code experiment, 2015 - 2016

I invented type checking in Javascript before Typescript or Flow existed! To some degree at least. An experiment for adding type annotations without any precompiling to Javascript. It was especially pretty when used with Coffeescript.

Source code

Look What I Made Weekend

Community Organizer, 2013 - 2015

A game jam of sorts that allowed submissions of creativity of all kinds, including games, art, writing, physical creations, and cooking. The community was primarily from my livestream on Twitch.TV.

I along with a few contributors built the contest site from scratch using Django.

Site source code

A Hand-Wired MIPS CPU in a Simulator

Undergrad project, January 26, 2011

My most technically complicated undergrad project in probably most most favorite class: Computer Architecture. Throughout the semester we built a complete MIPS architecture CPU in VHDL that would actually run in a simulator. Theoretically we could take this spec and print out a physical chip that would work.

Included in the Git repo is a single-cycle version and a pipelined version.

Source code

A Rockband-Playing Robot

Undergrad project, May 16, 2010

The final project for my undergrad computer vision class, my group and I successfully created a real life actual robot that played the rhythm video game Rockband by literally watching the TV with a webcam and pressing the buttons on the guitar controller with solenoids.

We processed the webcam's input using OpenCV in real time to determine when the buttons should be pressed. Then we sent that data to an Arduino connected to solenoids assembled with a hand-wired breadboard circuit, a battery, and a janky wooden frame thing.

We learned just enough actual electrical engineering to make the physical part work. This was one of my proudest moments in college, as our professor literally told us we couldn't do it and we managed to impress him. Chalk one up for the Less Boring philosophy!

As you can see in the video, we were pretty tired having pulled an all-nighter, but it was worth it to complete something that cool.