2013: Year in Review

Wow, that was an incredible year! Easily in the top five years of my life, which is saying something seeing as how 2012 was also a great year.

It’s worth saying that if you’re reading this and 2013 was not a great year for you, don’t be discouraged! I have a clear memory of standing in Zurich on December 31st, 2010 as it drew near midnight, turning to The Wife and saying, “Well, that was about the worst year ever!”  We read so many vapid accounts of great years online, and if you’re in the camp that I was a few years ago, know that it can and will get better.  Find a few things.  Focus on them.  Make some changes.  You can do it.

Travel in 2013

  • Paris, France (twice – once to visit family and see the French Open, and once to take The Wife to Euro Disney for her birthday)
  • Inverness, Scotland (twice)
  • Zurich, Switzerland (speaking)
  • Dallas, USA
  • Dubai, UAE
  • New York City, USA
  • Auckenlich, Scotland
  • Pitlochry, Scotland
  • Sutherland County, Scotland

Best Books I Read
Ultimately, I didn’t read quite as many books as I wanted to (goal of 24 last year), but I did manage to read a few. Here are some of the best. Non-cyclists won’t care about the cycling books.

  • The Dark Tower (Books 1-3)
  • Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage
  • Strange Stones: Dispatches from East to West (best book of the year)
  • Seven Years in Tibet
  • Christians and Politics: Uneasy Partners
  • The Great Train Robbery (re-read)

Cycling Books

  • The Story of the Tour de France Volume 1
  • Lanced: The Shaming of Lance Armstrong
  • The Rider
  • The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France

Books I Hated

  • The Museum of Innocence
  • Cloud Atlas (loved the movie though)

Highlights of the Year

  • Attending the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (again)
  • Spending Thanksgiving in a 18th century Scottish estate (again)
  • Three cycling events: Tour of the Borders, Caledonian Etape, and Lafuga trip to Tuscany
  • Attending the French Open
  • Our success at work – Administrate doubled its revenue in 2013

Cycling

This became my main hobby in 2013, despite the concern I’d not stick with it. I bought my first road bike in January, not really knowing what to expect, with a goal of riding the Caledonian Etape (81 miles), and trying to stick with it, mainly for health reasons.

I ended up riding and finishing the Tour of the Borders, which was one of the worst (best) events I could imagine, in the worst possible weather conditions I’ll probably ever ride in again. I finished.

Went on to ride a 50 mile sportive in Aviemore, attempted a 110 mile sportive from Glasgow to Edinburgh (DNF – destroyed tire), attempted a 100 mile Glasgow sportive (couldn’t make it due to rental car issues), and booked a three day cycling trip in Tuscany.

Overall for the year, I rode more than 1,800 miles and climbed more than 104,000 feet of elevation. Pretty happy about that.

Speaking

One of the big goals I had last year was to speak more. It’s something I really enjoy, it helps us recruit top notch developers, and I love hearing from other speakers at conferences, so for me, it’s a win-win-win. Two things I love to discuss are teamwork and great products, and I developed two talks around these topics which I gave several times around Europe. I also began to speak more and more (mostly locally) on why I believe Scotland is an incredible place to run a startup.

I spoke in Edinburgh four times (Lean Agile Scotland, Scotch on the Rocks, Turing Festival, and University of Edinburgh), London once (Digital Shoreditch), Zurich (FrontEndConf), and I was invited to speak in Poland, but just couldn’t make it due to some unfortunate scheduling issues. I’m hoping I can make that conference this coming year instead. I was really happy with the opportunities I received, and hope to continue the trend in 2014.

Work
In some ways we had a very challenging year at work, but almost every challenge ultimately paved the way for a really rewarding and successful year of growth. We wrote more about the success our team had on our company blog, and I was really proud of everyone pulling together to achieve our second year in a row of doubling in size.

Family

We added a “real” niece this year, and a “fake” niece to our collection of “fake nephews” in our third family.  And for Christmas this year, my family came over to Edinburgh to spend a few days which meant we all got to be together, explore the city and surrounding towns, and The Wife and I didn’t have to fly home for a manic tour of the States.  That was a huge relief.  Speaking of The Wife, she and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary and spent most of the month of December celebrating her birthday which was a lot of fun.

Summary

2014 should be interesting, like every year. I’ve got some goals, but they’re mostly progressions of what I’m already focused on: work, cycling, speaking, and travel. I’m incredibly lucky, and blessed, and hope you have a great start to your year.  Stay tuned!

2012, the Year in Review

Here’s a review of what for me was one of the best years I’ve had since college.

Travel in 2012

  • Paris, France
  • Aberdeen, Scotland
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Mallaig (Harry Potter Train)
  • London (Olympics), UK
  • Dubai, UAE
  • Boston, USA
  • Beirut, Lebanon
  • Campbeltown, Scotland

It’s really hard to choose which trip was the best for this year, but I’d probably give the nod to Paris, followed closely by Copenhagen.  I also had an amazing business trip to Beirut, which is an incredible place.

Best Books I Read

Highlights of the Year

Plans for 2013