2014 in review

2014 wasn’t the banner year I was quite hoping for but it wasn’t 2013 so at least it had that going for it. There were some very moderate successes that I’m really pleased with as well as some goals I never made it to.

Tools:
If I had to give 2013 a name I’d call it the year of systems improvement except that’s a boring name and nothing should ever be named that. I’m happy with the Evernote, Trello, Beeminder combo I’ve been using (especially considering the new tool I added to the mix, see below). Having that system in place has really helped me continue to be productive and healthy while Deana has been in school. Achievable goals combined with regular prioritization may be the single sentence summary of GTD, but when my energy is low it’s really important to be able to say “I need to do these things today and then it’s okay to quit.”

I added a new tool this year that has really streamlined my use of Trello and Beeminder.  Zapier is a service in the same vein as IFTTT. You choose one service as a trigger and another to be triggered, allowing you to automate new things. For me that means when I move an item to “Done” in Trello I no longer need to enter it into Beeminder by hand. Cutting out that second step has made me a much better user of Trello. Since Beeminder is the record keeper that matters, moving items to done in Trello was often an afterthought. Now I can focus more on the things I need to do and trust that the record keeping is happening automatically.  I really like the idea of IFTT and Zapier, but it wasn’t until Zapier got their Beeminder integration that I found a real use for them.

That wasn’t the only automation I added this year.  I wrote some code to make recurring tasks on Trello easier.  It’s definitely helpful but due to some issues with my server I haven’t actually used it as much as I hoped to.

Blog:
Articles:  8 (up 14% from last year’s 7)
Total word count: 1641, 6.5 pages* (down 29% from last year’s 2298, 9.1 pages*)
Average words per article:  205.1 words / 0.8 pages* (down 38% from last year’s 328.3, 1.3 pages*)
Views:  601** (up 32% from last year’s 454 )
*250 words is roughly one page, hand written
**As of 12/30/14

I’m writing more than I did last year though you wouldn’t know it from looking at these stats.  A lot of that writing is taking place elsewhere.  Here thought it’s been more posts but shorter ones.  Both of those are true in part because I’ve been using very short posts to announce the Crypto Learn-A-Longs I’ve been doing with Matt (more on that below).  Since most of what I do here is document projects there’s a lot more that goes into a blog post than just writing.  One of my goals for next year is to do more writing that stands on its own.  And who knows, maybe I’ll break that article per month barrier too.

Views are up again.  I attribute that to two things. First, the learn-a-longs.  October was far and a way my best month.  It’s also the month I published both learn-a-long articles.  Since those are event announcements I felt less self conscious about sharing them around deliberately and I also had Matt distributing the link.  Second, I took on a variety of projects this year that I think brought in some new visitors.  Both ExtinctionCSS and NaNoGenMo brought new followers and they’re both about subjects I haven’t really written about before.

Projects:
I had a pretty good year on GitHub.

New repos: 4 (and one fork)
Commits: 57
Repos contributed to: 3
Pull Requests accepted: 1

Three of the new repos are responsible for the majority of those commits (ExtinctionCSS, Scheduling Trello, NaNoGenMo).  I’m really happy with my performance in NaNoGenMo. I put a lot of thought into the planning and structure phase and it payed off. I started small and doable, knowing my time would be limited, and built from there.  This was my first foray into generative art and I had an absolute blast.  I’ve got a lot of ideas that came from this so hopefully you’ll be seeing more of this next year.

One project you haven’t seen me writing about has come to a close in December.  I’m moving on from Coyote.  I had a good two years there — I learned a lot, especially about product development and leading a team.  Shout out to my team, Growth Junkies.  Thanks for everything!  I’ll be joining Nielsen Marketing Analytics as a Senior Developer where I’ll be doing a lot more front end development as well as learning some sweet machine learning algos.  To growth in 2015!

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