I usually don’t think about a calendar year or do any type of reflection for a specific time period.
I generally feel like I’m always in continuous improvement mode.
But for whatever reason, I started looking back at 2016 to see what (if anything) I felt like I accomplished.
I originally tweeted this on December 31st. Only one of these was actually a “goal” at the beginning of the year.
Blogged regularly in 2016, started a local #dotnet UG, spoke more. Building more on that in 2017.
— Derek Comartin (@codeopinion) December 31, 2016
Funny, was about to write my own "year in review". I do think it's interesting to read others so thanks for posting.
— Derek Comartin (@codeopinion) January 2, 2017
For whatever reason, I decided to dig into my Google Analytics for this blog. I started looking at month over month trends of visitors, page views, session length, etc.
I was pretty surprised how much traffic has increased (3x) since the beginning of the year. By no means do I get an absurd amount of traffic, but people are apparently visiting.
No matter what the stats say, I still feel like nobody reads my blog. I’m always shocked when someone comments or I see a link to this blog somewhere. I still have a hard time promoting any of my posts. I think this is my “don’t draw attention to yourself” mode. I need to improve this in 2017.
At the beginning of 2016, I decided I was going to make a serious effort at blogging consistently. This meant generally putting out a post per week. I didn’t get exactly to one per week, but I did manage to post 44 entries. Which I’m really happy with!
One realization I made fairly recently is that there are no bad posts. One post that I initially wasn’t going to write, because I thought it had no value, turned out to be the best in terms of reception and direct response from readers.
If you are starting to blog, my suggestion is to just publish it. Don’t assume something doesn’t have value to someone else.
In years past, I’ve often thought about starting a local .NET User Group. But for whatever reason, it was always just a thought and I never took any action.
However, this past year I decided to move forward and start the Windsor-Essex .NET Developers Group. I posted about the experience of starting this group in June, as well as the experience of running it for half a year.
One question I’ve been asking myself is: “Why did I finally start a user group after all these years? Why did I finally take action now?”.
Taking action is hard. I think my consistency of blogging helped me realize I can do it. I also made the realization that I love learning and helping other people learn. A user group is a natural fit.
I spoke several times at local user groups this past year. I love talking about anything software related. This is also another reason I enjoy running a user group.
Until this year, I hadn’t submitted to any big conferences. That changed. I submitted and was accepted to speak at CodeMash 2017 for my “Fat Controller CQRS Diet” talk. I’m really looking forward to the experience and to see if more public speaking at larger conferences is something I’m more interested in.
My last venture for 2016 was creating videos. I decide to create the channel on YouTube where I could post similar/related video casts of my blog posts. I figured the amount of effort I was putting into some blog posts could be better suited or paired as videos.
Like blogging, it takes time to build up an audience. YouTube is no different. I definitely want to be more consistent and get into a routine with creating videos. Consistency will enable me to hit the same sort of stride I have with blogging.
I was really surprised about receiving a Microsoft MVP award for all the above in 2016. It’s always nice to be recognized for your contributions and effort. I look forward to meeting some other MVP’s at the MVP Summit come year end.
If there is one thing I’d like to make more of an effort at is OSS contributions in terms of PR’s. I’ve contributed when/where I can however I feel like is an area of serious improvement. On a positive note, I do feel like my contributions to OSS have mainly come in terms of awareness. I’ve blog a lot about Nancy, Cake, MediatR, Hangfire, Exceptionless and other great OSS projects.
My final takeaway for 2016 is that I focused more on the process and being consistent rather than having very clear defined goals. Meaning I didn’t have a goal of “60 blog posts”, but rather being “consistent at blogging” was my goal. Goal accomplished.
So my “goal” for 2017 is to continue to learn how to be consistent.
Continue to share my experience though various forms of content such as blog posts, videos, user group talks, conference talks or OSS. Whatever the medium, share the content I create and see where it takes me.