2017 Year In Review

Published 3rd January 2018

As has been my tradition for the last seven years now I like to spend a bit of time at the end of the year reflecting on the year that has been and looking ahead to the year that is ahead, and note down some of these reflections for posterity.

Professionally

In many ways 2017 was a quiet year for me professionally. Selling my company at the end of 2016 meant that 2017 was always going to be much quieter than previous years. I managed to pump out a few side projects over the course of the year, but it was definitely a relief to not have to worry about creating a “success” or keep revenues up. Most of the side projects I worked on in 2017 were chosen purely because I enjoyed building them. Which was a nice change of pace from running a software product company.

It’s been another great year working with the team at Delicious Brains. We officially launched Mergebot in August which was a great relief as we had been working on it for about two years at that point. It’s not been an easy ride since launch either, as I’ve basically had to learn to be a Devops as well as a Web Developer. But I love to learn and I really feel, despite not having a clue what I was doing most of the time, the experience of building out an auto-scaled application capable of handling millions of queries per day has been invaluable. Learning how to build an app, then learning how to build an app that scales, has been tough but a great experience and one I’m happy to have had at this stage in my career.

Another Delicious Brains highlight this year was our annual company retreat to Nova Scotia. As always it’s great to meet the guys I work with every day IRL and spend some time chilling out with them. It was also nice to meet the new members of the team and get to know them a bit better. One of the highlights of my whole year was eating freshly cooked Nova Scotia lobster on a warm August evening by the sea 🦐

First time eating lobster 👌

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Since October 2017, I started working 3 days a week in a local co-working space. This has been a great experience so far and really helps motivate me by getting me out of the house and reducing the feeling of cabin fever. I’ve also found it beneficial as Joshua is now a proper toddler (almost 2) and starting to be a bit more distracting around the house. I hope to maybe share a proper “co-working review” some time in 2018.

Personally

2017 started with Fiona and myself faced with a difficult decision. Fiona had just finished her maternity leave and was due to go back to work in January. However, we really weren’t sure about her going back to work and wondered if she should be a full time mum. We even got to the stage of putting Joshua in for some test sessions at a local child minder (he was ~9 months old at this stage). In the end, we made a late decision that Joshua’s wellbeing should be the priority at this early stage in his life and, combined with a fortunately timed pay rise that allowed us to afford for Fiona not to work, she stopped working in February. We still feel this was very much the right decision and have felt the blessing of being able to be around to watch Joshua grow up.

Otherwise 2017 was full of the usual business of life. My brother got married, I became an uncle for the first time, I turned 30, I got into Bitcoin in February and made good money when the boom came later in the year, I switched from an iPhone to a Google Pixel 2 etc. In many ways it has been a busy and good year for me personally. Lots of things to be thankful for.

2017 will go down as the year I started drinking coffee properly. At the beginning of the year I got a Dolce Gusto machine from my Mum & Dad that they weren’t using. It was a game changer for me. I began to drink good coffee on a daily basis (I’m now up to 2–3 cups a day). Then for my Christmas my family got me a proper bean-to-cup machine. I’m looking forward to discovering the big, wide world of coffee beans in 2018 ☕☕☕

Mmmm freshly ground coffee ☕ #coffee #coffeebeans #littup

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2017 was not a great year for me in terms of fitness. In 2016 both Fiona and myself had made a good effort to lose weight and get fit. During 2017, however, I stopped playing sports altogether in the summer and didn’t replace that with any other form of exercise. Thankfully my weight hasn’t gone up too much, but this is something I definitely need to work on in 2018.

On the up side, I finally got around to doing something about my desire to start drumming again. As it was my 30th birthday this year, I decided to treat myself to a decent practice kit I could have in my office so I could jump on the drums and play them whenever I wanted. It’s been great getting into playing the drums again and, while I’ve not practiced as much as I would have liked, I now have the capability to improve my technique and practice on a regular basis.

Looking ahead to 2018

We don’t have too many plans for 2018 at this point, so I’m looking forward to seeing what the year will bring. Joshua will be turning two in March, and the next Delicious Brains company retreat (currently planned for May) will be two highlights I’m sure.

As always it is my prayer that in 2018 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 past year and pray that he will continue to equip us in 2018 for whatever the year might bring. I wish you all a Happy New Year and best wishes for 2018 🎉🎆🎉