SW engineering, engineering management and the business of software

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2020 Year in Review

This is a set of bullet point lists about variously things I’ve done, experienced or come across in 2020. Items listed in no particular order.

Inspired by Fogus.

Past editions: 2019 Year in Review

Jobs:

Advisory:

  • Two companies, both doing well.

Programming Languages & Technologies

  • Go (Golang) Many many many thousands of lines
  • sh, bash High hundreds or low thousands of lines
  • vue.js Thousands of lines
  • Tailwind CSS & Tailwind UI (normally I don’t consider CSS or CSS libraries a language, but tailwind is a different mindset. It’s almost anti-CSS)
  • Elixir & Phoenix web framework Low thousands of lines

I like very much all of the above technologies. Elixir in particular, I’m very happy with. It is relatively new to me though, so I may be in a honeymoon phase.

Content:

  • Number of blog posts: 14
  • Personal Journal Entries: 39

Popular Content by me:

My most popular content of 2020 According to Analytics:

Some of those are ancient. There are 2011, 2012 and 2013 era technical tutorials still getting SEO hits for some reason.

Apparently, my engineering management or recruiting content doesn’t rate.

Content I’m proud of:

It doesn’t get any SEO juice, but I’m proud of the management content I write.

Also I’m quite proud of what I stream at https://twitch.tv/amattn It’s mostly Elixir content these days, but hoping to do more around engineering management and recruiting.

Health:

  • So I got sick the second week of March. I don’t know if it was Covid-19 or just a flu because there was no access to testing. The whole family got it, but recovered in about 4-5 days.

  • Mental health much better

  • During shelter in place orders, I tried to go for 30-60min walks (keeping the 6ft distance) with the family. Did this most days.

    • In particular, I used a habit tracking app (first ticktick.com then my own https://habit.show) and logged a continuous streak from the end of October through the end of the year.
  • The habit tracking was particularly useful. I also used to to build of five days/week for six week meditation streak. Next year, I’m planning to go longer.

Learning:

  • State of my personal wiki:
    • Character: 553,437
    • Words: 92,650
    • Pages 135

Roughly a 5% increase. This isn’t really indicative of learning however as I’ve been using the Notes.app built-in to MacOS and iOS far more lately. as of today, 907 note entries. around 300 of them were created or edited in 2020.

  • Biggest Doh!
    • Biggest is by far was a fairly sizable professional slip up earlier in the year that cost me some consulting work and importantly a hit to my rep and confidence.
    • We moved in 2020. Upgraded to a larger place. We probably should have done this a couple of years ago.
    • I started a writing habit end of October. I probably should have done this much much earlier.

Best Blog posts or other content read

The best stuff I come across I will typically post on twitter.

Best Books Read

Overall number of books read in 2020: ??? across paper, kindle, iBooks.

  • The Mom Test (The book on customer development)

Favorite Media:

  • Ted Lasso
    • Possibly my favorite. As both an NFL fan and casual EPL fan, the conceit got me to watch the pilot, but the writing feels like it was made for me.
  • Hamilton (Disney +)
  • The Mandolorian Season 2
  • Soul

Disney+ is killing it with content suited to my tastes. The family prefers Netflix, but I’ll likely be a D+ subscriber for a long time.

Favorite Gadget:

One of those little round robo-vacuums.

Favorite Life Tip:

Inspired by this reddit thread, I think this could be a great question to ask to learn something quickly:

What feature of X is used very often by experienced programmers/users/etc, but not so much by a newbie?

Travel

Obviously, not a big year for travel.

  • One camping trip in the fall.

Conferences

Obviously, not a big year for conferences.

  • BangBangConWest 2020 (Managed to sneak this one in Feb.)

Recap: Todo in 2020

The 2020 Todos were originally published in my 2019 Year in Review

  • Done:

    • More Elixir
    • 24 or more blog posts
      • 14 posts here and misc writing in other places.
    • Average a tweet a day
      • a shade over 400 for the year
    • Play around with Raspberry Pi more
    • Get back into meditation habit at some point in the year
      • Started a good streak in October, but fell off again after a month and change. For next year, I’ll write the goal a bit stricter
  • Partial Credit:

    • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
    • Ask for help more. Especially from strangers.
      • I’ve gotten a lot of help from my network, but not so much from strangers
    • Write more about recruiting
    • Write more about engineering management

Did not accomplish:

  • Principles by Ray Diallo
  • Learn more awk
  • Automate some of the stats in this post (tweets, blog posts, maybe books read?)

Todo in 2021

  • Launch one or more businesses in 2020
  • Principles by Ray Diallo
  • Learn more awk
  • 30-60 min walk everyday (or equivalent exercise)
  • Average at least five meditation sessions a week
  • Write 5 times a week
  • 24 or more blog posts
  • Average a tweet and half a day
  • Get better at marketing. Try to average markting efforts daily.
  • (Late January add) Learn more about options trading.


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