Hello 2017, Let's See What You Bring
As we enter a new year (again) I thought it would be a wise opportunity to reflect back on the prior year and look ahead to 2017. 2016 started off with a bang for me (as some of my coworkers will attest to) in a not-so-good way so I'm hoping to change that as we go into 2016. However, as the year went on it largely improved so I'm hoping to continue that trend into 2017.
1. Blog Regularly
Some people may or may not know that I actually started blogging way back in 2013 with a how-to blog related to cyber security. It went well and I used it as a learning opportunity for things I wanted to do but wasn't sure how. However, I ended up not having the time to dedicate to it and it fell by the wayside. In 2017, I plan to change that (kinda). I'm setting a goal for myself to publish at least 1 blog post a week about whatever topic is on my mind at the time. Not all blog posts will be "how-to" style but all will be my thoughts on things I've been working on recently and/or my adventures. I have a number of blog post ideas written down on my whiteboard ranging from cool tech projects to a review of the iPhone 7 camera in some harsh photography environments (ever tried to take a picture of lasers, fireworks, and projection mapping simultaneously?). We'll see what else strikes my fancy.
2. Speak Publicly
In some ways, I am the stereotypical developer...very introverted and quiet. I frequently joke with my friends that if they are looking for me at an event they should check the corners of the room for a group of people I already know and I'll probably be standing with that group (although they keep telling me this isn't true). However, if you ask my coworkers they'll tell you that I'm a great public speaker and that I am a natural at it. I'm not sure what it is, but something about speaking publicly allows me to put my introverted-ness aside. Over the past couple of years I've been privileged to speak at a number of different events including Drupal GovCon, Baltimore DrupalCamp, and DrupalCamp PA. Looking at them, you'll notice that they are all focused around 1 thing -- Drupal. In 2017 I'd like to expand that further into more general development as well as leadership and other topics. I'm actively looking for conferences, camps, and events to speak at so if you know of any please let me know!
As part of my introverted-ness I tend to keep to myself. And that means staying local and not really going anywhere. Last year I started to change that by traveling a few times to cities like New Orleans, Las Vegas, and Orlando. I'd like to continue that trend in 2017 and continue to visit cool cities throughout the world. Where that takes me, I don't know but I do know that a trip back to Food and Wine Fest is definitely something I'd like to pull off this year so we'll see where that takes me.
4. Build Something Different
At my core, I'm an engineer. I build things. Maybe websites, maybe desktop applications, maybe mobile apps (although not as often). All of these are interesting projects and have presented interesting challenges each time. I also build things like light up t-shirts to wear to conferences. In 2017 I'm thinking bigger and cooler with the goal of blending hardware and software into a something that makes people go "Wow!". I have a couple ideas and as 2017 plays out I'll be working on gathering supplies and figuring out exactly what to build. Once decided, I'll blog about it here.
5. Contribute More To Open Source
Almost all of the software I write is based around some form of open source software. Whether it is a Content Management System like Drupal or WordPress or just a simple ORM like RedBean I have benefitted from the work of others. In 2017 my goal is to open source as much of my work as possible and blog about it here. Some of it will be software related to websites I build, some of it will be tools I've written to optimize my workflows, and some of it will be related to my project from #4 above. Whatever it is, my goal is to get as much of it as possible up on my GitHub profile.
6. (A Stretch Goal) Guest Narrate The Candlelight Processional
Every year Epcot puts on a show called the Candlelight Processional which is an impressive showing of local musical talent, professional singers and orchestra, and story telling during the holidays. It truly is an impressive experience. The story telling is done by a guest narrator each night that is pre-determined and has included celebrities such as Whoopi Goldberg, Neal Patrick Harris, and others. As part of my push to increase my public speaking throughout the year I'm setting a goal for myself to (eventually) guest narrate the Candlelight Processional. If anyone from Disney happens to be reading this, please reach out. I'd be incredibly grateful for the opportunity.
So there we have it. Five tangible goals for 2017 plus one stretch goal that is outside of my control. The only thing left to do now is execute on them. To everyone reading this, I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2017. Let's make it a great year together.