A quick blog post about things learned and accomplished in 2014 and areas of focus for 2015.
By writing them down I hope there’s more chance of me actually following through.
New software/apps/tools for 2014
Some of these apps I had used before, but in 2014 I found myself becoming more reliant on them and working them into my daily routine.
- Slack for team chat & communication.
- Sketch for UI design. It's taken over some, but not all, of what I previously used Photoshop for.
- Wealthfront (US) & Nutmeg (UK) for ETF investing.
- Pocket for saving articles/sites for later (I previously used Instapaper).
- Pebble smart watch.
- GetAround for car rentals.
- Uber for taxi service (previously used Sidecar).
Things I shipped and worked on in 2014
- Open-sourced my Grunt.js email design workflow and a few transactional email templates.
- Migrated the Mailgun blog from Wordpress to Ghost.
- Launched a Mailgun Help Center.
- Continued to release various improvements to the Mailgun website and control panel
- Continued to release various improvements to Codeshare
Books read in 2014
- Remote User Research by Nate Bolt and Tony Tulathimutte
- The Honest Truth About Dishonesty by Dan Ariely
- Just Enough Research by Erika Hall
- Hooked by Nir Eyal
- Nudge by Richard H. Thaler
- Running Lean by Ash Maurya
- Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
- The Expectant Father by Armin Brott
- Brain Rules For Babies by John Medina
- Modern HTML Email by Jason Rodriguez
- One Up On Wall Street by Peter Lynch
- Flash Boys by Michael Lewis
- iOS Design and Code by Meng To
- Get Sh*t Done by Niall Harbison
- Start With Why by Simon Sinek
- Lead With A Story by Paul Smith
- Authority by Nathan Barry
Podcasts subscribed to in 2014
- Shop Talk by Chris Coyier and Dave Rupert
- Working Out by Paddy Donnelly and Ashley Baxter
- Email Design Podcast by Jason Rodriguez and Kevin Mandeville
Goals for 2014
A look back at some areas of focus I set myself this time last year.
1. Projects with (sustainable) business models. Fail. Continued to work on side-projects that I enjoy to work on, rather than those that make money. What can I say, I enjoy hacking and tinkering on stuff. However I did manage to shut down and/or sell a few websites that I felt weren’t going anywhere, freeing up some time.
2. Hardware. Success(ish). Took a couple of classes at Techshop in San Francisco where I built and programmed my first Arduino. My Kano also arrived so I can devote some more time to it. I definitely have a better understanding of how this stuff works, but have a long way to go before building something useful. 3. Educating others. Success. I was a mentor and talked at Lean Startup Machine SF, mentored at Startup Weekend Oakland, gave a couple of Tech Talks on the things I do at Mailgun and wrote a couple of tutorials. 4. Educating myself. Success. Read quite a few useful books. Started Krav Maga training. Started Crossfit classes. Attended a Cooper workshop on design leadership. Took a couple of Techshop classes on electronics, and some development classes on both Code School and Treehouse.
Start a family. Success. Very proud to say my wife and I had a son in November. Life now has a whole new meaning, and also affects my areas of focus going forward :-)
Areas of focus for 2015
1. Focus on doing less. Instead of spreading myself thin and working on lots of things, I plan to focus. This includes projects I take on in work, personal projects and things in my personal life. By being selective I hope I can be more successful at the things I do take on.
2. Investing and wealth management. I’m a noob to what I’ll call “wealth management”. Investing. Stocks. Real estate. Lots to learn here. Now that I have a family I want to have a better understanding of this area of life so I can invest in the future.
3. Writing. I enjoy writing about the things I learn. And I find I learn more when I write or teach. More how-to tutorials, talking at events, hosting work shops, writing a book, teaching in schools. Something along those lines.
Have a good 2015.
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