A temporary hiatus for a productive and unproductive 2018

Career Jan 27, 2019

Only 27 days late! Story of my 2018. Trying to keep myself honest by doing this, and I promise I'll explain more by the end of this post. If you want the TL;DR, just scroll to the bottom.

This year has been quite an experience for me. I quit my cushy, corporate Software Engineering job last January to be a millennial full time. And by "be a millennial" full time, I mean start my journey of building my own startup from scratch. So I left my cliche Silicon Valley job for a .....cliche Silicon Valley dream.

Woo hoo? But before I get into that, let's do the usual and review how several of my projects have performed.

Passive success within unproductivity

I will first say that I've totally dropped the ball on a lot of things I promised to do with my blog and open-source projects. I was ready to see some failed goals on this aspect of my work, but with that said, the results has been a bit surprising.

Blog metrics

This blog has performed much better than it ever has. I've more than doubled my yearly reader count (From 8.1k to 20k), the majority of my readers now come from Google, and people still find my older content useful even today. That's fantastic news! Not only that, this network effect has also passively increased my total Github projects star count from 276 last year to 552. That's exaxctly a 2x increase! Don't believe me? Do the math yourself1 276 * 2 = 552 Still not convinced? 552 / 276 = 2 The math is sound.

Despite the success that I've accomplished on my blog and on my Github projects, I can't help but feel regret for not being more proactive. I only wrote 4 posts in 2018 and I have barely contributed to my existing projects or delivered on the ones I promised on. Luckily I've had some awesome folks that helped contribute to some of my older projects, so I'd like to extend a huge hug of gratitude to all of them.

My lack of contributions have mostly been due to a shift of priorities (as mentioned in the opening). It was a lot easier to keep up to date with my blogging and github projects when I rarely had to worry about anything outside of my full-time work. I sincerely apologize to those who've been patiently waiting for more content - I have failed to deliver.

Dealing with ambiguity whilst having huge productivity

As I mentioned in the opening intro, this year has been my year to take time back for myself and work on what I'm passionate about. If you remember from my previous year of refletion my theme for 2018 was boldness and selfishness, and that's exactly what I did. As a result, it's been a year that has been wrought with some highs and lows (admitedly, a lot of lows).

...we're tackling obstacles with our best intentions and what we believe is the best path forward - heeding the advice from the experts before us, but not necessarily taking it as law

It was very much a year spent having to learn and do things that I've never done before, relearn things I thought I knew but soon realized I didn't know well enough, and go about each day with ambiguity on what the next couple of weeks may look like. My sleeping habits are pretty stupid now, I'll have huge bursts of code binnges, random spurts of doing nothing but brain storming, instances of pivoting and reprioritization, reading lots of books, and listening to lots of great advice to then choose some to throw away as the same "generic spiel".

But despite having these lows and moments of uncertainty, it was an extremely productive year. We've learned A LOT and even though we don't have something quite as tangible to show off to the masses just yet, it was not a wasted year by any means.

What does 2019 look like?

I will be taking a break from blogging and my GitHub projects for a little while to continue to focus on this venture. Even though we're still spending time finding product market fit and constantly iterating with only a small handful of users, we're tackling obstacles with our best intentions and what we believe is the best path forward - heeding the advice from the experts before us, but not necessarily taking it as law. We're focused on "building something that users love so profoundly, that they can't imagine going back to the old way" (cred: Scott Cook).

Obviously my decision had its fair share of nay-sayers; "friends" who were quick to pass judgement that I've spent my year bumming, those who truly believe I'm an idiot for throwing away my hefty salary (flex), and others who believe I'm just being an entitled millennial going through a phase. So with 2018 done, my new theme for this year is to Be Positive. Because in the moments of uncertainty, staying positive is what'll keep us focused and moving. After all, if I'm not the one doing it, who else will? Be on the lookout, this is the year of make or break, so let's do it.

Jake gif

TL;DR - I will be taking a break from blogging and GitHub projects while I currently prioritize building a product that users love. Huge apologies to those who've been patiently waiting for some of my newer content, and I'd like to ask that you wait just a bit longer. I'm still available for any questions, so please comment wherever appropriate or shoot me an email anytime at [email protected].