2020 - A retrospective

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I hesitated to write this for a while.

Why?

Because it means talking about many failures.

And I’m just thinking about personal things: not even mentioning the political or healthcare landscape.

Achievements and things learned are small, but still noteworthy and I’m proud for trying my best.

This “2020 in review” will be in form of a retrospective, namely the 4 questions retrospective".

What went well?

Blogging

This was the year of blogging..

Managed to write 87 blog posts (avg 1 every 4 days) about Programming, Node.js, Privacy, Raspberry Pi and IoT, Marketing and more.

Improved my SEO a bit, coming from 2.5k visitors a month to 4-5k visitors now.

Brought back ads, ethical ones though. This helps me get 5-15$ a month to “cover costs” symbolically.

Namely ethicalads.io. No affiliation here, just like their mission and implementation.

Newsletter

In 8 months I managed to grow my newsletter from 0 to almost 100 subscribers.

By having a form on this very website in the articles people found through search engines, HackerNews/Twitter/Reddit.

Sent out 7 issues of my newsletter.

Learning

Learned a ton about Testing, Refactoring, Node.js, MongoDB, even Python and Elixir.

Oh, also Darklang was a fun one.

Improved my Ansible skills and tried to understand better what Machine Learning is about.

At the end of the year I learned about Python notebooks, visualizations in D3 while learning about data visualizations and statistics.

Content Marketing, Marketing in general, Landing pages and SEO are proud improvements for this year.

Free time

At the end of July I left my job.

To enjoy my time, for 6 - 12 months or so.

At the time of writing I’ve been doing my own thing for 5 months and wouldn’t go back.

DIY and wood working

In the past months I made a number of creations with wood and electronics: from a hidden camera, to a wireless charging phone stand, to a cigarette dispenser.

I see it as a very relaxing and slow build phase, contrary to programming where everything is super fast and “needs” to be immediate and done yesterday.

I think it helped me gain a different perspective on the “speed of living” / hectic we impose ourselves in our lifes.

Crypto

Bitcoin. One word. Nothing more.

What didn’t go so well?

Projects

Oh dear. The shitstorm started in February, when I shut down pomodoro.cc.

Right in time for the pandemic to really kick in.

After that I tried to launch productlistings.app which aimed to be a dead simple eBay template generator for humans. Reached out to dozen of sellers. At the end I lost interest and shut it down.

Then comes the idea of privacy friendly Twitter reader, based on Nitter: decent.social was born and shut down after a few month of “passive interest” from people. People would come and go, but no one was interesting in the paid service. Did my best to validate the idea beforehand, but I got the idea wrong.

ThreadBuilder.app as the name suggests, was a Twitter Threads creator and scheduler. I was fed up with the stress it caused me and I also (in hindsight) didn’t like the idea to create a product on top of a platform (from which I was slowly walking away).

Blogging

This is in both sections “What went well?” and “What didn’t go so well” because I had a goal to write a blog post every x days.

But the results were not as expected. My inital goal was to reach 10k visitors a month, coming from 2k visitors a month at the beginning of the year.

Now I’m at 4-5k visitors a month, so there’s still a long road ahead.

I think I also got distracted by the writing itself, in the sense that I needed to do serious keyword planning and research before hand. But at the same time I see it as a personal progress log, so that’s not too bad after all.

I wrote about what I learned and obstacles I found and how to solve them. That’s not that bad afterall.

What have I learned?

Appreciating time. And also that time is a bitch.

I appreciate time more because this year made me reflect how hectic my life was (unnecessarily) and how my I took time for granted.

Advanced my programming, read a few books.

Also learned quite a lot about 3d printing. 2021 will be the year to experiment a lot with it and build useful stuff.

But the most important thing I learned was to give nothing for granted.

Be it time, people, health, privacy, whatever.

What still puzzles me?

So many things, I can’t even think where to start.

I think 2021 will be a good year to declutter my thoughts and understand this fucking world a bit better.

2021 - a prediction for myself

Books.

Courses.

DIY and electronics.

New job.

Sport and health.

Chill the fuck out.