2015 in Review
Well, it’s that time of year again, so I hope you won’t mind a slightly self-indulgent post where I look back on what I got done in 2015, and think about what’s to come for 2016.
I Launched a Product!
In January I finally went live with my Skype Voice Changer application. Selling a product online represented completely new territory for me, and although it’s not been a runaway success, I have met (and slightly exceeded) my financial goal which was to raise £3000 towards a building project for my church.
It kept me very busy for the first half of the year, but for the second half, I just left it generating “passive income”, and if anything, sales have been slightly improving, with December being the first month I averaged a sale a day. I’ll probably post more about Skype Voice Changer’s first year later.
I Learned F#!
At what point can you say you’ve “learned” a programming language? Well, one of my goals this year was to get to grips with F#, and I made slow but steady progress. But the biggest progress came in December where I solved all the Advent of Code challenges in F#. The discipline of daily practice really paid off and while I’ve still got plenty more to learn, I now feel comfortable coding in F#, and can write basic programs without constantly having to search Stack Overflow!
I Launched Two Pluralsight Courses!
In May I announced a new course on Creating Modern WPF Applications with MahApps.Metro. It’s a fantastic open source library, although ironically, since creating that course I’ve done very little WPF in my day job (for reasons I’ll share shortly).
Then in August I released a course called Creating and Selling a Digital Product, in which I shared everything I’d learned in the process of launching Skype Voice Changer. To be honest, with this course I had a bit of a sense of “imposter syndrome” – as I’m by no means an expert in this area. But the course has been well received, and I trust will be a useful guide to anyone who wants to attempt a similar journey.
I Became a "Cloud Architect"!
I’ve relished the challenge of getting to grips with a lot of new technology, and you’ve probably noticed a bit more of an Azure theme on this blog this year.
However, there have also been times when I’ve felt a bit out of my depth, particularly wading into some new areas relating to security, resilience and continuous deployment. I’ve learned a huge amount on these topics this year, but there’s a lot more hard work ahead of me.
I moved NAudio to GitHub and got it a logo!
Although I’ve not had as much time to devote to NAudio as I would like this year, it did go through a major transition, moving to GitHub and gaining a logo. The move to GitHub has made it far easier for me to accept contributions, which is fantastic, and last year I accepted 27 pull requests.
I launched a YouTube channel!
Finally in December I went a bit crazy and ended up creating 4.5 hours worth of youtube videos solving every day of the Advent of Code challenge in C# with LINQ and in F#. Whilst a dozen subscribers is not exactly the pinnacle of YouTube success, it’s a start, and I’d like to do a few more YouTube mini-series in the future.
There was even more stuff I didn’t do!
As always, to get things done, you need to make sacrifices, and there were plenty of things I wanted to do this year that I didn’t. There was no 1.8 release of NAudio, I didn’t record any songs, I didn’t give any user group or conference talks (although gave plenty at my work), and I fell well short of my usual target of reading 52 books a year. But despite these disappointments, I’m happy with what I did manage to achieve this year.
What’s on the radar for 2016?
Well, I’ve got another Pluralsight course in the pipeline, and regular readers will probably have already guessed what it’s about. I also want to get a 1.8 release of NAudio out early in the year. And I want to complete the DuoLingo French tree this year.
Apart from that though, I’m not setting too many big goals for this year. I’ve actually moved this last year to a monthly goal setting model, where I decide at the beginning of each month what I want to get done that month. This has worked really well for me so far, and gives me more freedom to change direction through the year, rather than feeling tied to goals I arbitrarily came up with in January. We’ll see how well that works out in a year’s time I guess!
So all that remains is to say Happy New Year, and thanks to everyone who’s been a subscriber to my blog, a customer of Skype Voice Changer, or watched one of my Pluralsight courses.