This will be my 5th year review post - so I'm definitely in my tradition shoes now. At the end of each year, I round up what I've been up to personally and professionally and try to set my sights on the upcoming year. This post is primarily for me so I can look back in years to come so I won't appologise if it's overly me-me-me!
More importantly, I'm growing my company (more on that in a moment) so if you're a business that needs our help: get in touch.
From when I started my business back in September 2006, I told myself the sweet spot I was aiming for was 6 people (including myself). For the first 5 years employee head count remained at 1 - just me. Although I've contracted Jon Linklater Johnson for the best past of 3 years - so let's say 1.75 people.
This September, Julie joined Left Logic full time (though she spent the last 3 years organising and running Full Frontal and running accounts). She's now our full time events organiser and company logistics person.
Then quickly after Tom Ashworth joined Left Logic as a full time developer. A talented young developer from Cardiff Uni already having an impact on some of the work Left Logic produces (both client work and open source projects). I'm very excited to have him join Jon, Julie and myself at Left Logic.
I spoke at 12 events this year, across England, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway and the United States. I've been actively trying to keep my travelling down to no more than once a month - to keep near family (and also bringing Julie & Ellis with me to events in some situations). I do love being out at events and being in different lands, but my family comes first which is why I can see myself further dwindling down the amount of travelling I do each month.
A few highlights for me included having the honour of being invited to speak at jsconf.us. Another jsconf highlight was having my proposal for a talk on iframes being accepted by jsconf.eu. I (again) had the honour of speaking at the first jsconf.eu - and returning was an amazing experience where I tried very hard to attend as many talks as I could whilst still enjoying time chatting to friends, old and new.
All the other events were excellent, but one new event (to me) stood out that I whole heartedly recommend: From the Front. An Italian conference in the beautiful Bologna, very much at the indie end of the scale, but run with so much heart it was hard not to walk away wanting to start hacking on project and hug everyone around you.
The biggest project I worked on this year was the third iteration of JS Bin. The entire code base was converted from PHP to Node.js almost entirely to support the idea of "code casting" that I had back in 2008 when I first release JS Bin.
The biggest contribution to JS Bin 3 came from Aron Carroll - a talented developer based in Brighton who volunteered his time (for nearly 3 months) to write the new back end to JS Bin.
Now JS Bin includes (amongst others) code casting (where /watch is included on the url and viewer can see all your code as you code) and remote rendering.
Full Frontal 2012 was another huge success, and for me personally, the best year yet. We sold out in 2.5 hours this year - so there's certainly demand to keep it going, and with discussion of demand over the years, this year I decided that I'd release video.
In the usual indie way, I decided to edit the videos myself which took at lot of time to start, but once in the rhythm wasn't too bad. But for all my fighting with Final Cut Pro, I'm incredibly proud to have released the full conference freely on youtube.
This year has been amazing watching Ellis grow and have his first birthday. Equally Tia's second birthday was unexpectedly hard and she's dearly missed by all.
I consider myself lucky. I'm a man in my mid 30s and ordinarily not having chances to make new friendships in his later years, but the web industry has pushed me in to new places and forged brand new friendships out of nowhere. I'm hugely honoured, and consider this a big hug to tell you your friendship is appreciated.
When Ellis was born, I bought a Canon 550D and good lens (1.4 / 50mm) and continued our 365 project (a photo every day of the year) - and now I've got 3 years of photos to my name. My brother also asked me to photograph his wedding (although I'm still an amateur, I'm pretty proud of the job I did). Below is a canvas sample of my 2012 365 project (though we're planning to print the full 3 years on a single canvas):
One final highlight for me was that .net interviewed me earlier on in the year. I remember back in 2007 thinking the .net magazine was a place I wanted to see my name printed. I've written articles for them in the past, but it was a nice little coup to be asked to be interviewed. The interview also includes a bit of back history and my approach to work - which was nice to share.
What will it bring? Even more time with my family is most important to me - so staying near Julie & Ellis is my first priority.
I'd like to blog a little more often (somehow I've got about 4 blog posts halfway written - just need to finish them up).
I'll continue my 365 project, but in 2013 I'm going to also start using my SLR for photos and try to experiment more (different angles, pin hole photograph, light painting and more).
I also have a few talks coming up where I'm trying to share something personal and how I use technology. So not a "new tech" talk so much, but trying to aim to inspire (I hope!).
Either way - happy new year - and I wish you all the success you deserve. See you soon dearest reader (unless it's me reading, in which case, see you next time you're near a mirror...).