2016 Year In Review

Published 31st December 2016

As has been my tradition for the last six years now, I like to spend a bit of time on the last day of the year to reflect, consider the year that has been and the year that is to come, and note down some of these reflections for posterity. What a year 2016 has been.

Professionally

The biggest change in 2016 in my professional life has been the sale of my WordPress plugin business Dev7studios. As I mentioned in my reflections last year, I had been feeling a bit disillusioned with constantly chasing the “success” I first had with the Nivo Slider which ended up with me creating lots of failed projects and feeling washed out mentally. So this year I finally took the plunge and decided to get serious about selling my business. Thankfully I found a motivated buyer and after a few months had a successful sale without any real hassles.

It has been a great relief and weight off my shoulders to not have the burden of running my WordPress plugin business any more. Not to mention the financial injection from selling my business has been a real blessing to us. One of the lessons I learned last year, and managed to put into practice a bit this year, is to work on side projects because they are enjoyable and they offer the opportunity to learn new things, not because they have to be a great success financially.

Apart from selling my business I’ve had an excellent year working for Brad and the team at Delicious Brains. Iain and myself been working hard on Mergebot all year and we finally launched the beta a few weeks before Christmas. This will definitely be something to look out for in 2017. Other than that the highlights of the year have been the company meetups (regionally in London in January and Edinburgh in November, and as a whole team in Vienna in June for WordCamp EU). Working with a growing team of talented developers is such a great experience and has pushed me to become a better developer myself in so many ways.

Personally

By far and away the biggest change in 2016 in my personal life has been having our son and first child Joshua. It has been such an amazing blessing to have a health baby boy to cherish and look after. People always talk about the amazing privilege it is to be a parent and now I understand what they mean. There are so many experiences that people talk about when they are parents, and a lot of them are experiences you can’t prepare for. You simply need to be a parent to understand fully what that experience is like. There is also so much to learn when having a child. It feels like every day there is something new that you need to learn about, and we definitely felt way out of our depth at the beginning (and I’m not sure we really feel that much less out of our depth even now). We found that accepting the fact you know nothing and getting on with it anyway is a good approach to take :)

One way we have been very blessed with Joshua is that he has been a great sleeper (sleeping all night from about ten weeks) and a very contented baby. Despite the touch of guilt and imposter syndrome this gives us, we’re very thankful for a year of mostly full sleeps. It has also been far less of a distraction having a baby in the house while working that I thought it would be which has been great. It’s amazing to think he’s now more than nine months old (he’s crawling about my feet as I’m typing this). It seems like it was only yesterday that we were coming home from the hospital, and yet life before Joshua seems like a lifetime ago. There is simply not enough time to recount the many blessings there have been for us this year in relation to Joshua, suffice to say I look forward to every day I get to spend being his father.

Other than having a child 2016 has been full of the usual busyness; family holidays, my sister in law getting married, my brother getting engaged, Joshua’s dedication, a big birthday for Fiona etc. My health has continued to be much improved this year and both Fiona and myself made a decent effort in the summer to lose weight, which has been partly successful and something we’ll probably make more of an effort for again in 2017. This year I switched from playing a lot of football to playing basketball regularly which I’ve been enjoying very much. Sadly my desire to play drums again hasn’t materialised in 2016. Maybe in 2017.

Looking ahead to 2017

We have lots to look forward to in 2017. Joshua’s first birthday and becoming a toddler, my 30th, doing more travelling with work and my brother getting married (I’ll be doing my first best man speech). And that’s just the things we know of.

As always it is my prayer that in 2017 I will continue to walk closely with God and that he will continue strengthen, encourage and grow me in spiritual maturity. We are so thankful to him for all he has given us this year and pray that he will continue to equip us in 2017 for whatever the year might bring. I wish you all a happy new year when it comes and best wishes for 2017.