My Coding Year 2021#review
Another year has come to an end, and it is time for my traditional coding year blog post. I want to take some minutes to think back about the last 12 months and how they changed me as a developer and business.
After writing about my coding year in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 this is now my seventh year in review article. I love to see that so many others started to write about their years. These are some great insights and help both the readers and the authors.
My 2021 Resolutions From Last Year
As always, we start with the resolutions I had for this year:
- Start Tinkering With A New Programming Language (for real)
- Work On My Business Strategy / Plan
- Publish Twenty New Podcast Episodes
- Write Twelve Blog Posts
- Give Streaming A Try
- Publish Two New Products!
- Send A Second 7A Boulder Route
Let's go through each of them.
Start Tinkering With A New Programming Language (for real) ❌
The second year in a row, I didn't achieve this goal. This tells me that it might not work like this. The issue is that I don't have a project or goal with this resolution, making it hard even to start. Maybe I need to be more precisely here when defining a resolution.
Work On My Business Strategy / Plan ✅
In 2021, I found a good balance between client work and my products. It's great to see that I don't have to rely solely on client work to make an income anymore, and I think I'm on the right track.
Publish Twenty New Podcast Episodes ❌
I published 17 podcast episodes this year. It's not bad, and I'm happy with the outcome. 15 is probably a more realistic goal for next year. I like making those episodes, but it's more a fun little side project.
Write Twelve Blog Posts ❌
I did write five blog posts in 2020. I'm sure it's one of my less productive years regarding my blog, but I also know precisely why. It was hard to fit in other channels like my blog and the podcast with me starting streaming this year. So I guess I have to start prioritizing for next year because I can't be super productive on all of those channels.
Give Streaming A Try ✅
Huh, finally, something I can be proud of. I started streaming ten months ago, and I managed to go live 50 times! This is crazy when you think about how much time and energy it takes to prepare and do a live stream. Still, this number already shows that I liked this new way of engaging with all of you.
I truly believe that live streaming is a great way to learn and interact with each other and will become even more popular in 2022. On my YouTube channel, you will find a list with all my streams from this year.
Publish Two New Products! ❌
This year I published the video course Mastering PhpStorm, which helps you get more productive while using your favorite PHP IDE. And then I released... nothing else.
I believe there are two main reasons I couldn't create another product. First, you need a good idea for a product. This is a creative process that you can't force. When there is no idea, there is no product. Secondly, I worked a bit more on client work in the second half of 2021. As a result, I had less time than in the first half of the year.
I'm still not said of this failed resolution because Mastering PhpStorm was a big success. If I manage to release a similar course every year, I would be delighted, and I don't need a second one :-)
Send A Second 7A Boulder Route ❌
Bouldering this year was a big mess. After my great success of sending my first 7A the year before, I was motivated to push myself even further. But because of Covid, the boulder gym was closed several months this year, and I couldn't train as much as I wanted. It's crazy. For me, it feels I'm still trying to get back to the shape of last year, and it feels like a lost one.
What Else Happened In 2021
Mastering PhpStorm Release
In March 2021, I released my third video course called Mastering PhpStorm. I already mentioned that I'm very pleased with the result and feedback. It has been my most successful product by far, and I wrote a long post about the product and the release.
After years of uncertainty, I finally believe that is a path that I can keep following and that I have the ability to make it work long term. I do plan to create some more videos for Mastering PhpStorm in 2022.
In May, I had this little idea of having a website with upcoming streams from the Laravel community. So I decided to build this new side project in public while my streams. Today, 283 commits and 88 pull requests later, Larastreamers has become a fantastic new project of mine.
Larastreamers is a platform that lists upcoming streams. You have to submit your scheduled YouTube stream, and it will be beautifully listed for others to discover. It is also connected to a dedicated Twitter account that automatically notifies you before a new stream starts.
I'm delighted with the outcome of this project and especially the code itself. The code is public available and shows how I currently would build such a platform in PHP and Laravel. Of course, I had a lot of help from YOU during my streams. Thanks a lot for that.
I was lucky enough to speak at five outstanding conferences this year. My favorite subject was the latest "Why Refactoring Is The Best Tool To Write Better Code." I hope I will be able to do this one a couple more times in the next year because I think it is really good :-) You can still watch it on Laracon Online.
Sadly, none of those conferences were in person, and I hope this will finally change again in 2022. I miss it so much!
One of my highlights in 2021 was for sure Laracation. In September, Freek, Nuno, Caneco, Dries, Julien, and I traveled to Lisbon for a get-together weekend in real life. I'm still surprised how we managed to find a time slot that worked for all of us, but we did. We had some fantastic days in a beautiful city, guided by our locals, Nuno and Caneco.
I recorded a podcast episode about how this trip came together called #25 The Story Behind Laracation 21. I'm very thankful for those exciting days with these wonderful humans I can call my friends.
Laracation 22? Hell Yes!
In the last months, I have been working with a new client. I'm helping them with a job platform they currently work on. It has been an excellent relationship, and we plan to keep working together next year as well.
It is still essential to work with clients because it gives me financial security and time to work on my products. But it's also crucial to keep working on real projects and actual problems. I'm a little afraid that if I only work on my products, I will lose touch. Therefore, a mix between working for others and myself seems to be the perfect solution.
I'm thrilled with the current situation and thankful for the wonderful people I can work with and learn from.
New Laravel Core Adventure
I didn't release a second product this year, but I'm pleased about the new videos I just published for Laravel Core Adventures. The Rise Of Laravel Livewire is the new adventure of Laravel Core Adventures. We are diving into the core of Laravel Livewire, one of my favorite Laravel packages.
I truly believe knowing your tools will make you better at using them, and there is a lot to learn from diving into Laravel Livewire.
My Year In Numbers
- 1 New product
- 3 New Clients
- 5 Conference talks
- 5 Blog posts
- 8 New videos for Laravel Core Adventures
- 17 Podcast episodes
- 20 Newsletters send
- 50 Livestreams on YouTube
- 148 Larastreamers commits
- 500 Mastering PhpStorm users
- 28.000 Views on my most viewed blog post about real-time notifications
My Resolutions For 2022
I've been thinking several days now about my goals for 2022, and it's the first time I can't show a long list. Actually,
I just want to keep doing what I love: coding, teaching, and sharing my experiences.
If I can continue to make a living from those activities, I would be a very happy man. Still, there are a few specific things I want to point out:
- Release another product
- A little less client work
- A little more work on my products
- Speaking at a conference on a real stage with real people in front of me
- Make Laracation 2022 happen
- Send A Second 7A Boulder Route
- Don't Compare Myself And Journey To Others