2018 In Review

D2018 was a year filled with challenges that I never saw coming.

It was the most exciting and stressful year of my life.

And it was a year where the importance of people, emotions, and relationships was made abundantly clear to me.


Daring Greatly

Daring Greatly is not only the name of one of my favorite books from 2018, but it’s also the phrase the comes to mind when I think of the year as a whole.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

2018 was a year where I stepped way outside my comfort zone on numerous occasions in the pursuit of things that had previously seemed out of reach. It was not a year without struggle, but rather a year where those struggles were acknowledged, wrestled with, and progress made in pursuit of overcoming them.


Unexpected Challenges

An Abundance of Speaking Opportunities

My goal was 1 conference talk for 2018. I ultimately gave 4; plus 1 meetup talk and 3 webinars.

I honestly wasn’t fully prepared for the stress that would come with giving my first 2 conference talks within two weeks of one another. It didn’t help that the talks were unique and had to be prepared separately from scratch. I gave my first talk at Droidcon Boston, and followed that up with the second talk at ChicagoRoboto.

I went through a similar process again later in the summer when I gave another round of back-to-back talks at Android Summit and Droidcon NYC.

Over the course of the year, I also had the opportunity to participate in several webinars where I had the chance to share thoughts and expertise and a variety of topics such as career development, Kotlin, and Android app architecture. These were really fun for me because I really enjoy interacting with the international developer community.

Burnout

Another unexpected challenge in 2018 was that of full-blown burnout. After the stress of my first two conference talks followed up by a trip to Google I/O, I was worn out physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I had never experienced burnout before, so I didn’t recognize it at first. Only after several weeks of irritability, lethargy, and a complete lack of motivation did a therapist help me see it for what it was.

Once I could name it, I was able to take the proper rest and relaxation needed to work my way back to a better state.

The time spent in burnout this year was a fairly dark period for me. It was a strain on my marriage, my job and my relationships. Many days, I struggled to do anything but lay on the couch and actively do nothing.

This period really illustrated two things for me.

  1. The importance of taking care of yourself and avoiding burnout altogether
  2. The importance of seeking out help when dealing with struggles like this; whether that be from a therapist, spouse, friend, etc

I now understand how bad burnout can be, and the impact it can have on you and those around you. In many ways, I’m glad I went through this because I can now related to others or warn them about overwork, but I hope others can avoid it entirely.

YouTube

I absolutely did not expect to have a YouTube channel at the end of 2018, but here I am. I have a channel with nearly 1000 subscribers, and have uploaded weekly content for about nine months now.

Creating content for YouTube has been quite a learning experience. From learning how to recording/edit/upload video, to better understanding how to teach a topic, to tracking the avalanche of ideas I now seem to have; I’ve learned a great deal this year.

Perhaps the greatest lesson has been to avoid comparison and to understand that some people are not going to appreciate what you create. I still struggle with comparing myself to other channels on YouTube that I see doing amazing things, but I’m working on it.

YouTube has also been an unexpectedly fun way to interact with developers from around the world. My goal with the channel was to simply help individual people learn and grow in their careers, and every time I receive a positive comment I experience a real sense of joy at having been able to assist that person in some way.

I’m excited about the possibilities that my channel provides, and can’t wait to see where it goes in 2019.


Highs & Lows

2018 was a year of many highs and lows. There were exciting triumphs, and some pretty serious struggles.

Highlights

  • My wife finished grad school
  • My first Android conference talk
  • Attended 6 conferences
  • Developed numerous friendships with people around the world
  • Discovered new creative/educational outlets through YouTube channel
  • Developed a much greater sense of emotional understanding and regulation

Struggles

  • Experienced serious daily anxiety at times
  • Burnout
  • Android GDE application was rejected
  • Decreased emphasis put on my health
  • Getting laid off
  • Time management
  • Comparison

The Importance of People, Emotions, and Relationships

Perhaps the most important lessons for me in 2018 where those centered around people, emotions, and relationships.

I developed a much greater appreciation for the importance of emotions, emotional intelligence, empathy, and so called “soft skills.” I now recognize just how vital those are, and am actually starting to think those are where the interesting challenges are in much of the tech space.

I was extremely fortunate to meet many amazing people from all over the world, and have seen first hand the power of having a community of people in your corner as a support system. Whether it has been for emotional support, answering questions, mentorship, or helping me in my job search, I’ve seen countless times how people are willing to help one another.


Top Fives

Books

  1. Daring Greatly
  2. Crushing It!
  3. Kotlin in Action
  4. The Gifts of Imperfection
  5. Vlog Like A Boss

Travel

  1. Google I/O
  2. Glamping on the Olympic Peninsula
  3. ChicagoRoboto
  4. Droidcon Boston
  5. Droidcon NYC

Created Content

  1. React Native: A retrospective from the mobile engineering team at Udacity
  2. Modeling ViewModel States Using Kotlin’s Sealed Classes
  3. Android Things: From 0 to Hello World
  4. Should I Learn Java or Kotlin?
  5. Learning Android: What Android Devs Wish They Had Known

Top Tweet


Looking Towards 2019

In this new year, I feel like the possibilities are endless.

My wife and I have exciting travel plans to Hawaii and hopefully to Europe as well.

I’m co-organizing Droidcon Boston 2019, as well as working to start a new mobile meetup in Seattle, AND hopefully working to bring a new Android conference to Seattle as well.

I’m looking forward to the continuation of my YouTube channel and applying everything I learned last year towards what will hopefully be more engaging and helpful content.

I’m hopefully going to have the opportunity to teach a college course on Android development.

I plan to write my first book over this coming year.

I can’t wait to see where this new year takes me! I wish you all the best in 2019.


I love to meet/talk/discuss and help where I can. If you want to chat or ask a question you can follow me on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.

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