Hello and Happy 2019! It's been a while since I've written, hasn't it? My last blog post was published almost a year ago! So what have I been up to?

Let me tell you... I felt so overwhelmed throughout most of 2018 that I didn't make time to write about any of it. But, today is the first day of a new year, and that means it's time to reflect and celebrate past accomplishments before raising the bar and setting new goals in 2019. My 2016 Year in Review was intended to begin an yearly tradition of this, but, for reasons you'll see this post, I didn't get around to writing at all last year. So, here's my Year in Review for 2018!

Software Design & Development

I made 959 contributions to Github in 2018.

Screen-Shot-2019-01-01-at-7.12.54-PM

This partially helps to explain why I was so busy last year. That's more than 3 times as many contributions as I made in 2017, and it doesn't count all of the contributions I made to Bitbucket repos, for which I can't seem to find any metrics.

Here are a few of the projects I contributed to in 2018.

In addition to writing code, I spent quite a bit more of my time contributing to UI and UX design. I used to think I was a terrible designer because I wasn't good a knowing what looks good. This year I learned rules that have made app design much more intuitive and enjoyable for me. For the first time ever, I feel competent as a designer and I like what I create!

I went to 3 "hackathons".

Business

While I believe in radical transparency in business, and I share company's financial metrics with my entire team every month, I won't be making Code Hangar financials public in this post. Instead I'll share some other info that sorta illustrates how we did this year.

Clients

  • We signed on 1 new client.
  • We turned down 3 prospective clients.

The numbers above go to show that success often depends upon how willing you are to say "no thanks".

Team

We hired 5 people. We let go of 1.

This was the first year we did any hiring, and it was really tough. Hiring is an investment that doesn't pay off immediately, in fact it increases your workload for a while via management, training, communication, and cleaning up messes. Its really hard to go from competent developer to incompetent manager and keep up motivation while you watch your quality of service start slipping. I hope to do more hiring in the new year and hopefully it goes a little smoother now that I have some experience with it.

Misc

  • We started a group healthcare plan in which the company pays for 100% of employee healthcare!

Community

Speaking / Writing / Knowledge Sharing

Travel

  • Spent 10 days in Finland.

Death

While 2018 was an amazing year of growth for me personally as well as for my business, the end of the year challenged me hard with the death of my Grammi. She had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in the summer of 2017, experienced a medically induced stroke during her initial biopsy, became paralyzed on her right side, lost her ability to form coherent sentances, and finally passed away in November of this year. Prior to the tumor she was so healthy, active and independent. We never expected her life to end so soon. We all expected her to live to be nearly 100 years old, just like her mother, but as we learned so harshly, life isn't always within your control.

In losing her, I lost my most trusted mentor. She showed me what a strong independent woman looks like. She was who I depended on for life, education, and financial advice. Now, I could use her help more than ever, and she's not here. Her memory and spirit continues to guide me. I've begun to prioritize family in a way I hadn't previously. I've stopped caring as much about the superficiality of social media.