Posted in misc 2021: A Year In Review

Matt Sears | Dec 31, 2021

For many of us, this past year has presented us with quite a few challenges. For many personally, it’s been a few ups and a few downs both professionally and personally. The affects of the pandemic continued to roll on this year much like 2020. For much of the past year, it seemed like the movie Groundhog day - wake up, walk to my office, work on something, and then go home. For this post, I thought I’d shine a spotlight on a couple highlights and some lowlights.

Company Acquisition Complete

First and foremost, my consulting company of fourteen years was acquired and completed the full turn-over in June. I am so incredibly proud that the transition was a huge success and I can’t be more excited about the results. It was a great learning experience to know what it means to prepare, negotiate, and plan for a acquisition successfully.

Running and operating a technology consulting company over the past 14 years has been the biggest journey of my life. I could have never imagined what the company evolved to when I first decided to quit my “big tech” job and venture out on my own. I’ve learned a tremendous amount, not only in all aspects of business, but in interpersonal skills, leadership, how to roll with the punches and the importance of celebrating milestones just to name a few.

Peace out Eyesight

Now for the lowlight of the year, in early summer, my eye vision suddenly started failing in a big way - no doubt from heavy screen use from the pandemic. I was forced off all screens for what felt like an eternity. I’m so thankful as I sit here and write this post in my beloved Emacs, that I’m back armed with my new glasses ready to work. It’s a life-altering event to say the least. I’ve joined the exclusive club of people that are always looking for their glasses.

Relaxing at the beach in the San Juan islands

The positive side effect of losing temporary eyesight is that it forced me off the screens (and also social-media) and back in touch with the analog life. Getting back to nature, I gained a real appreciation for the gifts that have been here all along. I spent many days at the beach, hiking, paddle-boarding and road trips. Not being tethered to my phone all the time was absolutely liberating. Even though I’ve gained my eyesight back, I continue to spend less time online and more time being present in real life.

Hotwire, Ruby on Rails, View Components, and Tailwind CSS

Most posts this past year have been about these topics and most of the year I spent writing and learning on what I called the new era of Ruby on Rails development. It is fantastic. Many thanks to the fine folks at Basecamp and Rails team for ushering in a new way of writing Rails applications. Those that know me, know I’ve never been a fan of writing SPA apps and the amount of JavaScript required is absurd. So when Hotwire and Turbo were released, it was a very welcome addition.

Paired with ViewComponents, it feels like another natural addition to the Rails toolbox. Throw in Stimulus and Tailwind CSS, it feels like discovering the joy of web development all over again.

Favorite books and podcasts

I’ve written about a couple books on finance that have really affect my outlook on investing in a very positive way. In addition to these books, I’ve listened to many many books and podcasts while my eyesight was on hiatus. Here are just a few of my favorite this year.

Books

  1. Notes on a Nervous Planet
  2. Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business
  3. Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life
  4. The Psychology of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness

Podcasts

  1. One Year
  2. MicroConf On Air
  3. Office Ladies
  4. The Rework Podcast

What I look forward to in 2022

I generally don’t set new year resolutions or any new year goals for that matter. I believe that should be done throughout the year. But, what I like to do is set intentions for the year in hopes to shape and navigate the year to come. So this year, I want to set an intention to focus on mental and physical health first and foremost.

I really look forward to doing what I love to do. For work, this means creating and building things from my own ideas in hopes it will help people in their own lives and businesses. For my mental well-being, I want to continue connecting with nature and continue my exercise regiment. Last, but not least, I want to make new and stronger connections to friends and loved ones in this new year. I’m really hopeful we all can make stronger connections again this year.

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all have a happy and healthy 2020.