January 4, 2015

So here we are. 2015.

Last year around this time I posted an article here that wrapped up 2013 and set some goals for 2014. The slate has once again been wiped clean for the new year, but now’s as good of a time as any to reflect on the past year and set new goals for the coming one.

These are last years goals and a short word on how I fared….

Weekly Blog Post
Out of 52 weeks, I posted 8 times – the last of which was in May. I’ll get into why the writing stopped below, but that’s not even one each month. Yikes.

Update Design and Add Portfolio
This just flat out didn’t happen.

Add Items to Etsy, TurboSquid, and PhotoDune
I added a few things to Etsy, but limited interest (and the new difficulties of adding things to TurboSquid) drove me to abandon this one. I had other ways I could use that time.

Create Some Drupal/Photoshop/jQuery Video Tutorials
This one I’m particularly bummed about not getting to. Before the beginning of 2014, I purchased a new microphone, wrote a list of topics to “tutorialize”, and loaded some screencast software on my computer. While I recorded a couple of little things for family, I never created anything I intended to share with the general public.

My Self-Evaluation (and, as a bonus, a Justification of Failures)

So I felt short on these goals hardcore. To be honest, I fell short of a few of my personal goals as well, which were posted here. There was one that I posted on The Burnette Adventures blog – and I’m not sure why I didn’t include it on this site – that I actually was able to accomplish. And it, in fact, became a larger project that took over the time I would have spent accomplishing the other goals.

The idea was to “create some product that I make available online (paid or not) that would be of benefit to people”. I think I had a small twinkle of an idea when I wrote that resolution, but I didn’t realize it would, over the course of the year, become my first business venture. That site is FlipQuiz.

FlipQuiz is doing well, with over 16k registered users creating over 14k quiz boards. A respectable number of PRO users have also signed up for monthly/yearly plans and are cloning boards, using the teams feature, and giving their students flashcards. Not bad for less than a full year of being up and running!

What to Expect in the New Year

We all know how this goes. Set a few specific goals → stick to them for a few weeks → call it a good effort → reason with yourself that everyone else has already failed as well → go on with the rest of your year as usual. Instead, here are a few things I’d like to accomplish in a general sense and, if I make reasonable attempts and manage to learn something new, I’ll call it a success.

Design more. And share it.

I’ve been craving design. For the last couple of years, I’ve really focused on getting better as a developer. While I think I’ve done all right there, I could be a better developer still. Nevertheless, I started out as a designer until my job demanded otherwise. I still have a creative soul and have been dying to get back to designing things. I also want to make it something that I share. Keeping design to myself (and, therefore, relatively undocumented) almost makes it feel like it doesn’t exist. Like CodePen’s motto says, “Demo or it didn’t happen.”, right?

Draw Daily (or at least once in a while)

Despite being a designer, I’ve never been great at drawing. I can hold a pencil and have a vision, it just never seems to come out on paper. That’s largely why I’ve stuck to using a computer to design. In any case, I want to draw something as often as I can. Doesn’t have to be anything big, but it does need to be done by hand on paper. And, like above, it needs to be shared somewhere.

Write More

Like last year, I want to write. I need to write. I don’t want to put a stipulation on it like what I should write about or how often, but I do need to write more articles this year.

Learn a New Dev Technology

In this ever-changing world of technology, so many things come and go. It just doesn’t even make sense to try to keep up with every new piece. There have been some to stick though that I don’t know much about. I need to do something about that. This year, I need to delve into a few things like Drupal 8, node.js, ruby on rails, or any of the fairly new techs that are making a case for the long haul.

Clean Up My Digital World

Sasha Grief recently wrote an article on The Pastry Box Project talking about our filthy digital worlds. When is the last time I cleaned out my file folders? When did I last inventory which sites I still need to host/update? Too long. This year I need to take a good look at the data waste I have accumulated and do a bit of housekeeping. It’s easier to dismiss in this little metal box, but it’s there. And it’s slowing things down and making it ever-harder to find things.

Continue to Grow FlipQuiz

This one will happen whether I write about it or not because, well, it’s a business now with customers that I want to keep happy. I have a number of ideas in my head that need to be turned into real features and there’s probably some cleanup I can do to help speed the site up overall.

I also want to make sure that I continue to keep up with support requests and Twitter/Facebook conversations. I think I’ve done a decent job this year, but as the site grows, the requests will too. I want to make sure that everyone gets timely (and helpful) responses.

What Not to Expect

I’ll wrap up with what not to expect. Don’t expect me to consider this year a failure if I don’t hit all of the above out of the park. My overarching goal this year is simply to grow. I just want to get better.

Also, don’t expect every article to be this long. If you made it this far though, thanks for sticking with me to the end!

Wanna chat about this article or any others? Feel free to DM me or mention me on Twitter @marcusdburnette to start a conversation!

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