The new year is here, and with it the traditional “year in review” posts.
I didn’t do one last year, and I ended up regretting it. Not because I think anybody else cares, but because I think it’s nice to keep a record for yourself. So here goes!
After spending the holidays in France, I came back to Japan mid-January. I can’t remember much from that month, probably because the harsh Japanese winter numbed my brain cells.
- Went on Product People.
- Bought a skateboard and started to learn to skate.
I spent the first part of February working on Flat Pixels, my essay about flat design and skeuomorphism.
It turned out to be my most popular piece of writing ever, and even if I’m still waiting for that multimillion dollar book deal, I really enjoyed the chance to flex my writing muscles.
February is also when we started writing Discover Meteor (at the time, still just “The Meteor Book”).
Creating the book’s basic outline only took us a week or two, but fleshing out the chapters would end up taking a lot longer.
- Started writing Discover Meteor.
- Designed a logo for Sidebar.
- Published Flat Pixels.
- Acquired three goldfishes, two of which are still alive at the time of writing.
I was pretty busy with the book, so March ended up going by pretty fast.
In fact I did so little else that I couldn’t even find a good way to illustrate this month. So here’s a random photo of a shibe.
- Worked on the book.
- Bought a second skateboard.
- Did a hangout with the Hunie crew.
- Talked about email marketing hacks at HNKansai.
Like March, April was mostly spent working on the book, although I did get a chance to enjoy the sakura with some friends visiting from San Francisco.
- Kept working on the book full-time.
- Went on the Upfront podcast.
May ended up being the most exciting month of the year. It was certainly the one with the most flying around, since my travels spanned across three continents.
First, I went to San Francisco for Discover Meteor’s release party. This was also the first (and to date, the only) time I met Tom Coleman, my co-author.
Then, a few days after coming back from San Francisco I headed for China for my brother’s wedding. Apart from the wedding itself, the highlight of the trip was assuredly eating bee larvaes, bamboo worms, and some kind of enormous grubs just to gross out my wife.
After that, I then flew to France to see my family, before taking the train to London for the .net awards.
- Launched a book in front of 150 people.
- Attended Meteor meet-ups in three different countries.
- Got made fun of by Josh Widdicombe for coming all the way from Japan and not even winning an award.
- Ate a bucket-full of insects. Actually liked it.
After coming back from France I would’ve been happy to take a break, but there was still a lot of work to do on the book.
I had stopped training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since moving from Kyoto to Osaka in order to focus on Telescope and the book. But in June, I knew it was time to go back to the gym.
- Released the Premium Edition of the book.
- Started training again, felt like a white belt after an 8-months BJJ break.
- Went hiking a few times; saw a boar and some snakes.
I can’t remember much of what I did in July, apart from eating a lot of watermelon. It’s pretty much the only way to beat the heat of a Japanese summer. That, and air conditioning.
- Launched my portfolio site after sitting on it for a year.
- Went to Okinawa.
I spent a big chunk of August working on a new landing page and refreshed design for Folyo, in hopes of giving what I consider a failed product a second chance.
- Held a hangout about self-publishing with Nathan Barry, Justin Jackson, and Paul Jarvis.
- Redesigned the Folyo homepage.
I headed back to France in September for some family matters, but it was also a chance to meet up with old and new friends.
- Was part of the judging panel for a startup idea competition for Recruit.
- Went on The Walking Web (french).
October was yet another busy travel month, as I headed to Beijing for the second time this year to attend the ADCC, the most prestigious submission wrestling competition in the world, where two of my teammates (from France and Brazil) were competing.
I also seized the occasion to co-organize the first ever Beijing Meteor meetup with Brent Abrahams, which was a lot of fun.
- Rubbed elbows with some of the best fighters on the planet, including ex-UFC champion Benson Henderson.
- Went to an MMA event in China.
November was refreshingly devoid of any meetings, travels, or event.
- Expanded the Telescope site with a blog and a showcase section.
With my wife gone away on a scientific research mission for six weeks, I decided to do my own thing as well and catch the first plane to San Francisco.
The highlight of the trip was assuredly Discover Meteor Day, an offline/online event that saw 50 people come to a live workshop at the Meteor HQ, and more than 10,000 join them online to access the book for free!
- Spent my first Christmas in the U.S.
- Spent my first New Year in Japan.
So there you have it. One year of coding, writing, designing, and wasting time on Hacker News and Reddit.
Also not mentioned here at the countless hours spent hacking on Telescope and Sidebar, updating Discover Meteor, and writing emails and blog posts.
Overall I’m pretty happy with what I accomplished: I succeeded in focusing my work on a smaller number of projects (I’m pretty much down to Sidebar, Telescope, and the book now), and also managed to turn two of these projects into financially viable endeavors, which is an important milestone for me.
Work-wise, I pretty much only have a single focus for the first quarter of 2014: Discover Meteor. With Meteor 1.0 coming up sometimes this year, I’ll have my hands full.
And in any case, I find that forcing myself to focus is refreshing, especially. after a few years of jumping from one thing to the other.
Once that’s done, I would love to drastically improve Telescope and Sidebar, and give Sidebar the attention it deserves. I know Sidebar has huge potential, it’s just a matter of finding the time.
On a personal level, I really want to improve my Japanese. So far I’ve been “studying” by watching japanese dramas, and although I’ve picked up a lot of vocabulary my grammar is basically non-existent.
I also want to travel to more new places, get back into producing music, and do more strength and conditioning to complement my BJJ.
I guess we’ll see how much of those I’ll manage to accomplish in 2014!