My 2018 Retrospective

Alright, with that 2018 is a wrap. Christmas is a wrap. New Years is a wrap. It’s all done, wrapped up, and time to move on. Well, ok, so maybe a small retrospective! Early in 2018 I wrote a list of resolutions for 2018. How did I do? First I’m going to lead off with the things I have found myself failing miserably at.

Failed Resolution: Write More Code, Build Patterns & Algorithms

Write More Code, Build Patterns & Algorithms: I want to review and go back to some of the coding roots that I haven’t hit upon in a long time. It’s odd, when coding day in and day out one tends to not touch upon a lot of the fundamental basics. I want to start writing about and reviewing this again, keep it fresh in mind so it’s always easy to reach into my mind and explain how things work to who may ask. Goal: Write 0.5 blog entry per week on coding algorithms, patterns, or related core coding concepts and skills.

Oh dear I had a simple goal of writing 0.5 blog entries per week on coding algorithms, patterns, or related core coding concepts and skills. Yeah, I didn’t get anywhere near that, even though I increased my rate of blog posts somewhere around 6x what it was in 2017! Overall, yeah, groovy, I wrote more and that’s great, but I didn’t hit on the topics I really wanted to that I knew would provide more value!

Failed Resolution: Make OSS Workable for Me

Make OSS Workable for Me: Get the OSS projects I’ve started in the last 2–3 years into a more workable state, insure others can take them, build, and get running without issue. It’s been a few years since I’ve worked on and helped with any OSS projects that are actually used, it’s a bummer and I’m going to resolve that this year. Goal: Get two projects into a workable state so others can use them and I can use them for their intended purpose and for teaching and blogging purposes.

I’m so close on this goal. I’ve got the project into a little bit better of a state, but overall they’re still kind of rough. At the rate I’m going among the Twitch streams and such, these projects will be in a nicely usable state soon however! Probably by March or April I’d suspect I’ll have 2 of the projects (Colligere and Twitz) into  a usable state! But from the goal point of view, this is a failed resolution.

Failed Resolution: Get More Active

Get More Active: Take more bike rides, train trips, and spend more time with friends and family in Portland. Goal 1: Spend at least 3–4 days at Pedalpalooza this year, and take at least 4 trips (1 per quarter at minimum) of about ~2 days each in 2018. Goal 2: Participate in at least 1 group rides per quarter in Seattle.

I failed in this resolution miserably. In all honesty, it’s hard to even talk about. It fills me with rage that I failed at this fundamentally important resolution badly. There’s not a lot of things that I enjoy anywhere close to a good group ride, hanging out at Pedalpalooza, and generally being involved in my local community this way and it came all apart on me this year. It even fills me with rage, anger, and frustration with Seattle’s communities and how uninvolved most people are in Seattle itself. After coming from Portland I have tons of frustration with this, but I’m slowly learning to just live with it. Maybe this year, maybe not, I’ve no idea how I’m going to pull this together. I’m going to need to however as my mental and physical health largely rests on being involved in the biking community, with this involvement I generally falter into an angry, apathetic, disenfranchised angry person.

Failed Resolution: Self Health

Self Health: Take more time for myself, allocate appropriate me time to make sure I can keep my sanity. Goal: Write, ponder, introspect, and watch the world turn more often. Blog on the park, lake, boat, train, or place and moment of writing, pondering, introspecting, and watching the world turn by writing about it.

The first part of this year was catastrophically bad for me. However between joining a truly amazing team at DataStax, starting to finally get back to riding around Seattle, exploring, and producing content and learning new tech, languages, and the like I’m doing a lot better. I’ve got a long ways to go still before I’m back to 100%, but I think 2019 might be that year. At least, ending 2018 and going into 2019 I’m not as angry, depressed, and perturbed at society as I was at the beginning of this year. Now I’m just kind of euphorically disconnected and apathetic about the state of the world. It’s a major improvement!

Failed Resolution: Improve Local Communities

Improve Local Communities: Stop getting involved in Internet politics I can’t improve. Get more focused in local politics. Help more people in Seattle, help more people however I can. Help in the fight for better and more housing for all people. Help in the fight for better and more advanced and modern transportation options in Seattle, Portland, and wherever I can. Goal 1: Join Cascade Bicycle Club and the monthly urbanist meets. Goal 2: Keep up with the respective communities ala Bike Portland, The Urbanist, Seattle Transit Blog, Seattle Bike Blog, WA Bikes, and Cascade Bicycle Club.

Alright, I’m angry at myself about this one, but also realize I just couldn’t get to it. Don’t get me wrong, I attended some city council meetings and got involved some. But nowhere near as much as I’d prefer to have done. The simple fact too, is that Seattle political mechanisms are just garbage compared to Portland. It’s hard to know what’s going on let alone how the hell to get something done or improve one’s community, lot in life, or environment here. Seattle is a beast! One day, if we survive that long, it’ll make a great “Manhatten” of the northwest! (Ironically I’ve learned, it once was indeed called “New York City”, which to me seems like the dumbest name since New York was thus dubbed after “York” and before that was called New Amsterdam after Amsterdam, which Seattle has no real relation to in any way whatsoever)

But now, failures aside I digress.


Now it’s time for the successes. Some of these I barely passed, some I beautifully knocked out of the park!

Victory Resolution, “Beer”

Beer: Live a little, treat yo’ self, and hit up at least two happy hours or other meets with friends and coder/tech/hacker crews per month. The Ballard Happy Hour has been a good one so far, and of course the exceptional Seattle Scalability Group I help organize is pretty epic unto itself. The latter often having free beer post meet up. Both meets are good conversations, great beer, and a great chance to just unwind with smart folk. Goal: Attend two meets per month.

Ok, this one wasn’t purely about beer itself, but beer tends to play a large part of the activity. The core of it all was insuring that I get more involved in the local “tech” community here in Seattle. In this I have succeeded! Currently I’m leading the return of the Seattle Scalability Group with my meetup cohort plus the addition of the DataStax team having my back. This is of course only one of the activities I’ve gotten myself involve in again. I hope to also help out and get involved in other meetups around Seattle, and have started plotting the return of ML4ALL (v2) with Troy and Alena! I’m looking forward to this being a continuing resolution, and continually succeeding at meeting this resolution throughout 2019!

Victory Resolution: Communications Improvements

Communication Improvements: Find a new and more efficient way to increase the throughput of my follow ups with everybody. Whether by email, phone, or whatever it might be. Goal: Increase rate of follow ups by 15%.

Oh jeez, this one was easier to accomplish than I thought it was going to be. I’ve since gone through and reviewed. I managed to only drop the ball on ~3 of the over 340 important productive conversation threads I initiated! I’m also impressed with my ability to actually keep track of those thanks to my combination of software tools I started using and will be using for the ongoing future. That puts the increase rate somewhere around 99% and not merely 15%! Major victory on this accomplishment!

Victory Resolution: Cell Phone Disruption

Cell Phone Disruption: Decrease my actual cell phone usage making *phone calls* even further. Regain the privacy, personal time, and focus time that one traditionally had before the time of cell phones invading every corner of existence. How I do this I’m not entirely sure, but I’m betting when I figure it out I’ll blog it. Goal: Make it so that I don’t look at or need my cell phone for anything more than 1 phone call per week on average (vid chat, etc, excluded).

I was spectacularly victories in this goal. I think I’ve taken approximately 3 work calls for the entire year via the cell phone. I’ve decreased my screen time by almost 30%! Overall, I use my device dramatically less than I have in the past and it’s helped me in a pretty significant way. Maybe I could knock it down another 5 or 10% this year eh?

Victory Resolution: Re-initiate in Industry

Reinitiate in Industry: Kick back off and give some dedicated presentations at meet ups and conferences. Goal: Give at least 4–6 talks that are dedicated, focused, mid-level or advanced topics following my standards for speaking, follow up, and improving.

Knocked out three talks: Systemic Deployments, DataStax Developer Day: Operations & Security, and Node Systems for Node.js Services on Nodes of Systemic Nodal Systems. Then, to boot, I allocated some of my talks to Twitch streams and am continuing to step through these on a daily basis. Hope y’all will join me on a future stream, they’re fun! Overall though, lot’s of moving parts going on, and I’m going to likely double my speaking schedule this year. I’ve got a lot of cool things to show ya!

Next up, 2019.

Let’s go!

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