This is the first of what I hope to be many review posts. I want to actively assess my life rather than just watching years slip by. In agile software development at the end of every sprint you assess what went well, what you need to improve, then finally your commitments for next year. This post covers last year, next weeks post will cover plans and goals for 2012.
What Went Well
My son Oliver Patrick Barry was born September 20th, 2011 at 1:30 PM. He weighed 7 lbs. 15 oz. and was 20.5″ long. Photos are here. I was able to take a couple weeks off work to spend with him and Hilary. He has changed my outlook on life and how I spend my time. I can’t imagine going back to life without him.
My biggest goal for 2011 was to learn iPhone/iPad development. I am really happy with my progress. I know feel confident enough to program a small application myself. But still need help on the occasional problem. I am in debt to Chris Brandsma for his extensive help and programming explanations.
In addition to developing my own apps I have designed and/or coded 3-4 apps for friends and family. My iOS portfolio is growing quickly and I hope to work on even more apps in the new year.
3 App Releases
January 8th I released OneVoice, followed by Fluent in October, and Commit in December. With each release I learned more about sales, marketing, and development.
- OneVoice produced the most revenue and made the largest impact on people’s lives. Check the archives of this blog for a whole series of posts about OneVoice. But with $20,000+ in profit for the year I am pretty happy.
- Fluent was written as a hobby to practice programming. I was able to write it myself (with extensive help from the internet). Sales have been less than stellar (Under $50 total), but I think I know what went wrong. While it is a great app that I love to use every day, few people understand at a glance how it is different from every other flash cards app. I may improve it in 2012, or just let it sit. I haven’t decided yet.
- Commit was also written to practice programming, but the sales results look like they will be significantly better than Fluent. It has received great reviews and several sites and has made it into a few top charts. It has been out for just over a week and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.
Blogging and This Website
Back in July I committed to publish a blog post every Tuesday. This post will mark 25 posts in a row. Before that with my sporadic blogging I was getting about 100 unique visitors a month. Now I average over 200 visitors per day. Here are a couple of the most popular posts:
- How I made $19,000 on the App Store While Learning to Code
- How to Never Miss a Blog Post
- One Year With iOS
- The Story Behind OneVoice
- I Quit My Job
Consistent blogging has really made the difference. Many of my posts never get more than 1000 people reading them, but then I have a couple home runs like the top two above.
Quitting My Job
This was the second biggest change of the year (after Oliver). On October 14th I left Unity. I’d been there, leading the software design team, for almost three years. I worked with fantastic people, learned a huge amount, and had a good time. But it was time to move on. I wrote more about it here.
What Did Not Go Well
Travel is really important to me, so the lack of travel this last year was difficult. Having a full time job and Hilary being pregnant made arranging long trips difficult. Previous years we’ve been to France, Monaco, Hawaii, South Africa, and the Caribbean (not all in the same year). We usually do a large trip (Europe, Africa, etc) and a small trip (Hawaii, Caribbean) each year. We did make it down to Mexico on a cruise with some friends from college and we went to Northern California twice to visit family. Just missing the large trip. I guess we’ll need to make up for it in 2012.
Now with the job out of the way we are much more free to travel. Especially without the requirement of keeping our plans within an allowed 2 week window.
Travelling with Oliver will be more difficult, but we are committed to trying it. Starting with a trip to Hawaii in a couple of weeks.
Work this last year caused for more stress than necessary. I invested myself pretty heavily in the success of Unity and the company went through a roller coaster this last year. Between lost contracts, pay cuts, and extensive layoffs I was pretty burnt out by the time I left. I survived three rounds of layoffs before I decided it was time to leave. Now the company appears to be stabilizing and I wish the remaining team the best of luck.
December 2010 I ran the Honolulu Marathon. Then I followed it up by not running for 3 months. My exercise habits throughout the year were sporadic at best. I spent a long time getting in shape for the marathon and then failed to maintain my strength and habits.
I really don’t have an excuse, but my exercise habits will change in 2012.
My inability to focus on one thing for any stretch of time is starting to become a real problem. Just writing this post I have had to surpress my desire to check emails and Twitter far too many times. I want to spend the majority of my time creating rather than consuming. I am still figuring out my plan to do that.
I’m pretty sure that covers my thoughts on last year. Next week I’ll talk about what I plan to change going forward.
How was your 2011?
Cover Photo by Rebecca Anne Photography.
2 Responses to “2011 in Review”
Seems like you had a great year, filled with the positive changes. It’s interesting how you treat the creation and consumption and the focus. I have a very similar approach and have been thinking about it for quite a while now. You might find a couple of my blog posts on this interesting:
Dennis J. Smith
Thanks Nathan. I think recapping the year gone by is a great idea. I just got your newsletter e-mail and that is why I am reading this now. My biggest problem is staying focused and keeping my eye on the prize. I think I am going to recap my months so it helps me to work harder at obtaining my goals.