2018: A Year In Review

A look back over 2018, and a look forward to 2019.

Last year when I put out content around the new year about my plans I got a spike in traffic. I guess something about the personal nature of the post was attractive. Based on how much people seemed to like those posts, I thought I’d do another.

A round up of 2018 — and a goal set for 2019.

 

Looking back at my goals for 2018, it seems apparent that I went into the year with a better head space than I came out of it. My big goal was to do things with more clarity and purpose, but somewhere along the way I started taking on extra projects and work that I shouldn’t have. I definitely think that was related to not taking enough time away to think things through and spending time with my nose far too close to the grindstone.

2018, The Year Of: Writing

Okay, so it makes sense to review first the one thing I wanted to get better at: Writing. I wanted to improve how I write, write more, write for different publications and generally experience more as a writer. In the end, I wrote nearly 30 posts for different edited publications — and got a paid for a whole bunch of those, too (see: Hit Subscribe).

Generally speaking, getting better at writing significantly helped my ability to communicate. I feel that I’m more precise and direct. I spend a lot more time thinking about things upfront, rather than as I go, and I take a lot more time to think hard about a message. I think this reflects when you’re in meetings, giving updates, or even just asking questions.

In terms of best articles, and responses from readers: this article definitely took the biscuit. People were all over it. I did some thinking about why this particular article was so popular and there’s a couple reasons: it had real life examples, it challenged a norm and it was in-depth.

Reflecting back on a pretty aggressive year of writing I really miss the personal side of writing. What drew me in was how writing made me take time to reflect, understand and synthesise my own thoughts. The more I write for the purposes of SEO etc it seems to suck the joy, and the essence out of my writing that I enjoy.

I’m grateful for the experience, and I think I’m a better writer because of it, but I don’t think I’ll want to do a whole load more of that type of writing going forward. Instead I’d like to revert to doing posts that are interesting to me and focusing less on metrics, or what people think about the content. I think in order to play the long game, this is a better approach.

And, here’s a couple of articles I wrote this year:

Progress With Apps

The other part of my year was building out both Splitoo, and Hacktopia. So I wanted to speak to that a little. Whilst I wanted to see success on these areas, I didn’t really call them out as focus areas, and the results reflect that.

Splitoo

For Splitoo, early in the year (around February) we went officially live with Splitoo in the UK.

Putting Splitoo live was an amazing feeling. Watching the payment transactions flowing through with real money was one hand frightening but on the other super exciting. It feels good to have finished something. Whilst it’s not done, it’s out there, functioning and delivering value, and that’s a huge milestone.

For Splitoo, we’ve had meetings with investors, and started exploring that as an avenue for growth — but at this stage we’re not sure what’s right for us. So in the mean time, we’ll keep building it out ourselves and see where we can take it.

Hacktopia

Hacktopia this year we wanted to get up and running with the production app. A big blocker was getting out the website, that really showcased the USP and what we were trying to communicate with the product. That took up most of the time in the year.

We saw some high profile clients come and go because we simply couldn’t keep up the contact and feedback speed required to keep them interested and keen. In the new year we’ll look to take on someone part-time to run the development and support and have a go tackling the support issue that way.

So, what about 2019?

This is the hard part.

I’ve pondered what I will see through 2019 a lot. Part of me really wants to start speaking at conferences and I also really want to do some training courses, taking content from things I’ve already written. But I’m forcing myself now to pick a single area that if I make significant progress in that I’ll be happy.

Based on how progress has been with Splitoo, I will to continue to grow the app. For me, I’ve found great satisfaction in deepening my mastery, so I will take what we’ve got, refine it, polish it and make it something I’m really proud of.

By the end of 2019 I will be updating you with:

  • Splitoo migrated into a permanent cloud-hosted solution
  • Appropriate monitoring & logging tooling added
  • A full build and test pipeline (with continuous deployment)
  • Well structured, fully tested code (unit, end-to-end)

For 2019, that’s what will be done.

Nothing else.

So let’s get to it.