My name is Vasilis Filippos Skarleas, but you can also call me Philip. I am 17 years old and I am from Greece. I am passionate about new technologies like robotics, mechatronics, and applications.
What do you do?
I am currently active in the field of website development, Internet solutions, and iOS app development. In the meantime, I am working as a freelancer on websites. In addition to that, I am developing several internet services that aim to improve day to day life.
I am a fervent supporter of human rights and I strongly believe that every human being should have access to services promoting the common good, without having to pay for them or get bombarded by ads in order to increase profit at the expense of users' data.
What is the VS Speedtest and the CheckingMail Service and where can we find them?
In general, Speedtest is a web service that provides free analysis of Internet access performance metrics, such as connection data, internet speed, rate and latency. Under the OOKLA network, I developed my customized speed test with no annoying ads. I think anyone would prefer an ad-free product. You can find it by visiting https://speed.madebyvasilis.site.
CheckingMail is a free anti-phishing service that can be used with any email account and needs no setup or access to your emails. CheckingMail Service offers you a masked email address under @madebyvasilis.site shield, that points to your original email address. Every email that is sent to the masked email address, after a couple of seconds, has been queued and processed under test against spamming and phishing algorithms. In fact, my servers are processing more than 13.6k requests per month and my encrypted bandwidth rate is 99.45%. You can learn more HERE.
I have to mention that all these services have been made with 3rd party services that cost money for maintenance but again, the right to the security of the information and the information itself is of greater importance.
How did you become interested in web development?
When I was in 6th grade, I had the opportunity to participate in WRO (World Robotic Olympiad) which led me to STEM. This is where I was first introduced to programming logic. Then, 4 years ago we needed to make a website to help rent a property. After that, programming, design, minimalism, logic and connections became the force that started my journey with website development and marketing solutions.
What is the process of building and maintaining a successful website?
Everything begins with a meeting with the client. You need to understand the philosophy behind their brand and their needs. In the second meeting, you need to find out which software you are going to use to develop the website. After many discussions and blueprints, the designing process starts. You need to collaborate with graphic designers and follow the design of the brand (fonts, colors, etc.).
Personally, I also offer marketing solutions. This is why in all of my projects I am integrating pro marketing tools like analytics software, in order to have prepare for future needs of the brand. When the marketing team needs these tools, the foundation will have already been laid, even if they don’t know how to use it yet. Last but not least, a strong network and first in class hosting is what you need to keep a website up and running without downtime.
Are you completely self-taught? How did you navigate the process of teaching yourself a new skill?
Yeah! I am completely self-taught. Having a background in HTML programming language helped me a lot to find out more during database development and the discovery of new technologies - programming languages.
At what point did you decide to create a web development business to help other businesses?
When I saw that international brands had a lot of badly designed websites. If we look back in 2016, the websites didn’t have any effects, animated images, or any bubbles popping up from the corners.
What is your approach while designing websites and other services?
I design digital platforms that elevate the customer experience.
The brands I build and the experiences I create live at the intersection of clarity and surprise. They reflect the brand's culture through shared values and ideals.
How do you keep up with new web development technologies and services?
Mainly, I get informed via online technology magazines like TechCrunch and of course through newsletter updates that I am receiving from my partners including Wix, Databox, IMXPRS, Squarespace, Papaki, Google etc.
What is the most rewarding part of being a web developer?
When my work is appreciated through the website’s visits and the sweet messages from people who like it. When my clients come back to me and say thank you.
What advice do you have for young people interested in learning new skills or building a business?
Don’t be afraid to try new things because, in the end, you might find out that there is one more thing that could suit your personality. These are the experiences that will let you discover what exactly you are capable of.
And, as Steve Jobs said: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”. This is the same for me!
How do you get more eyes on your portfolio?
I make continuous connections through LinkedIn. I am trying to stay active as much as I can in all of my professional social media accounts so that more people can find my projects and my work.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to start a service for a business?
A deep understanding of other people’s behavior and being a good listener is the key for a successful service business.
All good things don’t come to an end. They are a cycles that continue at a certain point in the future.
What are your hobbies and passions outside of web development?
I like to fly out my new drone - to edit the footage and share it with people on YouTube and Vimeo. 3D printing is another activity I enjoy outside web development. Lastly, podcasts and music production. In the meantime, I am preparing a Christmas EP with a friend. Hanging out with friends and watching Netflix can not be missing from the list.
Do you have any time management and organization strategies?
I am always trying to keep a balance between school, hobbies, and work. When I finish my school obligations, I am making a website, developing a new app, brainstorming for the next project, or fixing my homemade 3d printers. But for my work obligations, I use the Reminders App on my phone and of course the classic way: post-its.
What does the future look like for your business? What does the future look like for you? (college, dream job)
I am looking forward to booking a project with a real estate agency here in Greece which is going to be the biggest project that I have undertaken so far. I hope to pursue my studies in computer science, electrical engineering, and mechatronics in France. I would love to be part of the Media Lab team one day.
What are your favorite things about living in Greece?
It is actually quite difficult to think of things we don’t like about living here, although of course, human nature as it is, we do always find a few things to complain about. But not for me! Greece has a great variety of different destinations for vacation including the beautiful Greek Islands and the small villages on top of a mountain. I really like to visit new destinations to learn more about their local tradition and history. Moreover, the weather is pretty good, so I am very happy about that!
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Canada because it’s beautiful and underrated with many hidden treasures. I’d definitely love to visit Tokyo, Japan, having been inspired by my graphic designer. I’d also love to go to Australia
Check out Vasilis' Website and Social Media!