2018 Year review

So this is my first year review, a blog post that just a few months ago i wouldn’t even consider to write!

You know when you see others posting their year’s review and you feel they achieved great things while you are so “shy” that you think other people won’t find interesting your goals and successes? Well, definitely, you are not alone!


2018 has been a great year for me, both for my personal life and job. I don’t like talk too much about my private life so i’ll focus on the “business” part of the review! Before digging in the year’s review let answer one question: why should i write a year’s review? Well, in my case, simply because it’s a way to get conscious about what i’ve done, what i’ve been able to accomplish and to sum all the little things i’ve done and learned and see the great reward they provide to me in their entirety.

Life summary

As i wrote before i don’t like to talk too much about my private life but 2018 was a great year especially due to one simple great event: my daughter (my second child) was born on August. I think it’s really hard to discuss any other achievement when there is a major one like this!
Nothing, IMHO is comparable to a new life that springs. Nothing.

But i must be honest, i’m a very lucky man and that wasn’t the only thing i’m grateful to 2018 for my private life:

  • i’ve been able to do a good amount of bushcraft experiences (one of them at the beginning of the year with a group of great people that incidentally are also great bushcraft masters: see the adventure from Pescho’s video and the one from Omar)
  • i’ve decided to celebrate my 500 months of living! Yes i was born on April 15th 1977 so on December 15th 2018 i turned 500 months! Without digging too much in the details i’ve asked a few good people of mine to take at least 10 minutes for themselves and to reflect on something they are grateful to themselves. And as a present for me i asked them to write me a message, would it be a word, a sentence a citation or whatever but to write something for me.
    I have received a series of sentences, quotations and thoughts that have moved me and that will make me happy every time i think about it again! Definitely, this was a great great great way to celebrate 500 months and to receive messages that warms the heart!
  • i started meditating quite regularly thanks to Headspace app

There are some other great milestones me and my family are achieving and they will take place in the next year but their foundations are laid in 2018 so, these achievements i will talk to next year started in 2018.

Business side

Ok, 2018 may be one of the most important years from mine business point of view. Let’s see what happened:

  • definitely decided to drop iOS development: it was to hard to be professionally prepared on both iOS, Android and Spring server side development: i had to drop one.
  • i reduced my job as a consultant on site for a customer of mine and started collaborating at the creation of a cryptocurrency exchange: that work started quite as building a simple POC and then evolved in creating a complex trading software[1] that required me to work almost fulltime on that single project, reducing any other consultancy to zero except for a few minor tasks on other customers’ projects.
  • suspended contract work to start dedicating myself to self-funded projects [2] assuming a new general target: trying to gain a reduced income through a lot of small/non-ambitious projects
  • as a consequence of team work on the crypto exchange i decided to start considering other technologies in addition to the Java stack so i compiled a list of tech stuffs[3] i’d like to practice and started messing around with NodeJS
  • took an office in July (i have been working as a freelance from my house for the last 9 years but now two children make a little bit harder to work from home) but i have to leave it by the end of the year (today, December 24th will be my last official day here :( ) since i had and office location contract that has been ended since all the offices near mine have been rented to a software company…i’ll have to work from home again until i find a new solution
  • i started a blog devamountain.com! using Hugo framework (see my article about creating and hosting a static site for free)
  • created a project to automatically track Amazon prices in Google Sheets using Hugo and Google Cloud functions (same as Amazon Lambda) and discovered the world of serverless and server side javascript[4]
  • started working on another project completely based on NodeJs (i think i will write an article one day comparing the experience of developing web applications with Java Spring stack vs Javascript NodeJs with Express and Sequelize) that is going much longer that i wanted
  • started another project with a friend of mine which i met 4 years ago as a customer of mine that become a partner in a project, then a friend and now we are embarking on another list of projects :D
  • started at the end of the year to approach life and business planning, organization and self motivation techniques: the “me” of 10 years ago would have consider self motivation techniques just a loss of time…what a change!
  • started compiling possible project list: i wouldn’t have believe to be able to find so many possible projects when “releasing pressure”

Future proposition

This is just a small preview since i want to dedicate an entire article to this topic. So:

  • do market research before creating any project: i know, this is a quite common mistake we makers tend to do
  • planning: planning release dates as if it would be a project contracted with a customer so to be able to have always a general overview of the project and of the project contextualized to all the new year
  • trying to achieve a routine (not a morning routine but the best of it) in my job and life
  • start getting income from my self funded projects
  • writing encouraging propositions! Yes something like “i can loose one year of incomes because if i seed well i’ll gain a lot more later!”

Final thoughts

I’m in rush since i want to publish this article before going home, this is my last day at the office but i want to thank myself for this amazing 2018: i wish me the best and i hope to be able to achieve all my goals and i want to congratulate with me for the brave choice i took (not having an income is not easy to accept!).

Not anyone is capable to take this risk and to live it and always remember that i would regret too much not having tried at it that simply having lost one year of incomes while trying to achieve a dream.

Side notes

[1] The work has been done in team with other people and i didn’t work on the “cryptocurrency details” so i just had a partial vision of what is that world and honestly i don’t like it. I mean, cryptocurrency are a great concept but current implementations lead only to a devastating world energy consumption and to (obviously) economical speculations (i don’t like those too). So i have great hopes for blockchain or distributed ledgers technology but applied to non-economic fields.
[2] When mine consultancy for the cryptocurrency exchange ended it was August and my daughter was born a few days later. I took time to stay with my family and started reflecting on something that i was considering for a long time: suspending contract work for a year and work on personal business projects
[3] 2018-2019 tech list i’d like to practice and learn:

  • NodeJs web development
  • Python
  • Docker
  • Golang (i don’t have a good feeling toward it but i had the same bad feeling foj js server side and i had to rethink myself!)
  • Playing with Kotlin, RaspberryPi and Arduino
  • I obviously wanted to play with a js frontend framework too and i’d choose immediately Vue but honestly, React seems to still have a wider market share and React-Native is much supported than Vue and NativeScript so if i will have to choose one for my projects it’s probable i’ll go with React

[4] I had better expectations for it and it didn’t run well as i had wished but i learned a few things like “do market research before building” but i wanted to experiment with the underlying technologies and it is still a WIP so it is OK and the project is still but not dead

Alberto Plebani Written by:

Alberto Plebani is an italian software engineer currently working as a freelance developer. Happy father, happy bushcrafter!

Find him on LinkedIn
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