The Paradox of Becoming World Famous by Isolating Myself — Part II

Thomas Backlund
Oct 30, 2017 · 4 min read

After having decided to quit my job, give up my apartment and get rid of my material belongings, I experienced a relief more powerful than I would have thought. It took about a week of random strangers coming to my apartment and grabbing stuff for free or for cheap money until I was sitting on an empty floor, with no bed, no sofa, nothing.

Or actually, I had my outdoor gear. So I slept in my sleeping bag on the living room floor for the last few days. For my outdoor adventure, I had packed a tent, sleeping bag, solar panels, water purifier, laptop. That was it. No, it was more, 35 kg of stuff actually. On the 9 May in 2013, I set out for the forest.

Before I become dusty and skinny

The destination was a forest south of Stockholm, where I had seen a lake on the map figuring it would be an awesome place to spend the first night. It was not. It started to rain even before I could get the tent up. Wet and lonely I crawled into my sleeping bag actually thinking “what the **** have I just done?”. I called my good friend for some pep talk. He told me: “Listen that place obviously has bad vibes, tomorrow morning you pack your stuff together and move to another location”. Ok, sounded like a good plan.

The next morning I found my sweet spot at another lake! I got my solar panels out and my laptop too, brewed some coffee and started coding. Finally! Now, this was the feeling I was longing for: FREEDOM!

One of many sweet spots. Solar panels and portable chair.

Even though I got an unbelievable food poisoning the third night, vomiting and passing out through the rest of the day with the feeling like being teleported back and forth between different universes, my forest adventure continued.

A fire is good company

Friends did come and visit every now and then, and so did journalists. The paradox of this story is that while isolating myself in the forest, I simultaneously became famous in different corners of the world (read: Front page of Hacker News — Life is complete!).

This is how I cooked. I lost 11 kg over five months.

Apparently I was big in Brazil for a while, and thanks to all the media coverage a coder named Maicon got in touch with me because he sympathized with my lifestyle and wanted to help me out. I could tell he was a skilled low-level coder by his profile and he started working with me on the Blockie code while I was still in the forest. Our cooperation is truly one of a kind and Blockie would not be what it is without him, his total dedication and professional touch with everything he does. Thank you Maicon! 4+ years and counting o/

Now this is how you make coffee in the office

I got a lot of coding done in the forest and I actually thought I would have a product ready before winter came. But when the last leaves were falling from the trees it became clear that return to Stockholm was inevitable since there was a tonne of coding left for me to do.

Upon my return to Stockholm I stayed with friends and family for a while. Being back in town didn’t bring me any more clarity but at least I was on Sweden’s largest morning radio show, and had a blast.

However, nature was not done with me yet. In a strange turn of events a few months later I was in the forest again, but this time in the Costa Rican jungle. Four months, a house on a mountain side, no electricity, nothing really, just water coming from the mountain. But that is a different story

Sleeping in the jungle. Fierce rain flooding the ground but the hammock was perfectly dry inside.

After my jungle adventure, the vision for Blockie evolved and so did the world. Blockchain was becoming well known and smart contracts were invented.

This made for an even more grandiose vision, where our products could be paired with blockchain technology in order to bring it to an entirely new level. But the only problem with big pictures is that they require terrifying amounts of work. Fortunately, I came in contact with Carl Gärdsell through the Meetup group Decentralized Camp on the topic of Ethereum which I started in Stockholm. He came onboard and immediately proved valuable to the business side of Blockie. The team now consists of myself (tech and vision), Maicon Filippsen (tech), Micael Palmgren (design), and Carl Gärdsell (business). We have partnered up with and we are now entering into a new and exciting phase for Blockie. We have started to release our code open source and are just an inch away from launching our first product.

Follow BlockieOrg on Twitter to see what we are up to.


Thomas Backlund

Written by

CEO, Co-founder Superblocks