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3 min read

A Look Back

It was a busy year. It began with a lot of ambition to build some things on my own, spurred on by Drew Wilson’s book Execute. I planned out quite a few projects, hoping to accomplish one each month for the year.

While I did indeed build or participate in building more than 12 projects, most were not the ones I planned at the outset. I’m okay with that. A major theme in Execute is working when inspired. So, for this year, I let myself be swayed by the project I was most interested in at the time. I produced a lot, started even more projects that I never finished, thought up even more projects to do “one day”, and learned a whole lot of stuff

What I learned

  • The MVC Framework concept (and a few frameworks)
  • Finishing is harder than starting
  • I vastly underestimate (but I knew that, I just know it more)
  • Tons of Javascript
  • PhoneGap iPhone & Android Development
  • Data-driven Dynamic Charting tools
  • Various API integrations (Stripe, Instagram, Facebook, etc.)
  • PHP mysqli and then PDO conventions
  • The Terminal is now my friend (just not Vim)
  • Rallying a team around a project and delegating is hard
  • Selling and Shipping stuff I designed and produced is fun
  • Second baby is way easier than the first
  • I’m not a good manager for marketing events
  • Planning meeting agendas in advance is crucial, otherwise meetings stink
  • I need more checklists
  • I’m totally a hacker (not the steal data kind, the just make it work kind)
  • Being a hacker and desiring perfection cause frustration and balance
  • I like bigger projects with teams more than small single person projects
  • I love learning more about programming
  • Javascript is awesome
  • I now know that I don’t know a lot about Javascript
  • Tricopters are hard to build, just buy one

The Moral is

I’ve realized over the course of this year that the character trait I most desire and most need to be a more successful programmer is DISCIPLINE.

I’m great a learning. I like to build things right the first time. I’m good at planning. But, during this year of pursuing the projects of interest at the moment, I may have too hastily started new projects and not finished others. I’ve learned that I need to plan and prepare for how to plan a new project and be disciplined to follow that plan. This is a goal for 2014, checklists.

I need more discipline. To get it I’m going to make and use checklists. I’m reading The Checklist Manifesto to kick off the year. Then I’ll create my checklists and publish them to GitHub to share.

What I built

That’s great and all, but what all did I end up building. Here is a quick list of things I built or helped to build this year. With the exception of a couple, they were all personal projects.

In Closing

I’m looking forward to another year of projects. I’m looking forward to practicing discipline. I’m looking forward to planning more of a project before beginning. I’m looking forward to pushing my skills, acquiring new knowledge, leveraging my abilities and helping others too.

If you’d ever like to work on a project together or have some awesome checklists to share, find me on Twitter & Github, or email me at austin@jumpsand.com

Happy New Year!`


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