At first it seemed silly to me to post a “2015 review” as if I do anything all that interesting, but I also know it’s good to step back and reflect on things, so here goes.
2015 can bite me.
I don’t want that to sound like everything was horrible. Back in June I came on board at The Iron Yard to build their Corporate Education / B2B business, and we’re building some incredibly awesome stuff that will be hitting hard in 2016. In addition, I got to play a tiny part in helping bring an awesome new platform for the deaf into play (much bigger kudos to VTCSecure who actually has been working on it for years to bring it to fruition). I also launched an apprenticeship program at my former employer based off of the 8th Light model.
I did some fun talks, too:
- Strategic Play incorporating Wardley Maps and other elements.
- Continuous Testing at the SQE Las Vegas conference
- Choosing Between Scrum and Kanban at TriAgile 2015
- And a Code Katas from the local Ruby users group
Outside of that, this was one of the most challenging years I’ve ever had, even blowing out of the water the time we bought a house and got laid off right after. The year started off promising enough with a new position as the CTO of a local company with 30+ developers, many who I knew personally. There were some interesting projects in the pipeline. But then the worst possible series of events that could have happened, did:
- The team was behind on a critical project with tight deadlines. I was able to rally the troops, and by putting in an extraordinary effort (the final week I believe we worked well over 100 hours) we shipped it.
- However, in the midst of that, my dad got extremely sick. He had to have emergency surgery, and we brought him up to stay with us. During that final project push, my dad had developed a blockage in his intestines that I should have been able to catch, but didn’t because I was at work.
- So the day after we shipped, I ended up in ICU with my dad, where he spent 10 days in the hospital. I was then able to transfer him back to Florida where he ended up in the hospital twice – with me making frequent, frantic drives to Florida from NC – before he passed away in May.
I questioned a lot the decisions I made balancing work and family. Ultimately I couldn’t have predicted things happening as they did, and wanted to be able to be there for my team and my dad. You can’t take back decisions you made, and as much as I talk about work/life balance, I made a decision to not focus on my dad as much as I should have. That’s rough.
Looking back, I’m incredibly grateful for many things:
- A strong family that has supported me
- Friends I could bounce ideas off of
- An awesome team at The Iron Yard who understands diversity and how to make people successful (even if we’re still figuring out the growth thing)
- An amazing group of people I met this year on the Twitter that inspires me: Saron Yitbarek with Code Newbie, Cate Huston, Lesley Carhart, Carina C. Zona, Keri Karandrakis (and her Tweet heard round the world), Coraline Ada Ehmke for her journey, and Ruth Malan for her incredible generosity and motivational tweets. And let’s not forget Taylor Swift for helping expand the reach of security topics to more people than anyone could imagine.
I’m excited by what 2016 is going to bring. Maybe it’s just me coming off the first vacation I’ve had in years, but there is a lot of amazing things all coming together, and I’m ready to uncork a bottle of fizzy drink and celebrate the end of The Year That Shall No Longer Be Named.
So 2015, I leave you with this: