My 2014 In Review

Our Family
Our Family

I had, frankly, a fantastic 2014, both personally and professionally.

Personally, we took the kids on a Disney Cruise, which was mere months after Char and I had returned from a trip of a lifetime in Cancun.  My batteries were more recharged than they have been in a long time, and I spent March through August burning myself out by working full time and putting everything I had left into making BalanceDo a success.

Unfortunately, we failed with BalanceDo. A combination of a bunch of factors killed the project, and in late August the team and I made the painful decision to close down the business.

I promised myself I wouldn’t take on any side projects, and that for four months (September, October, November, and December), I did nothing more strenuous with my non-working hours than play video games.  It was everything I had ever hoped for, completely wasted time where all I had to concern myself with was where my next loot cave was going to come from.

My resolutions for 2014 were:

Looking back at 2014’s resolutions, I made them easy to achieve, but didn’t have many aspirational goals, when I did have aspirational goals, they didn’t have solid time components to them.

Little Resolutions:

  • Grow a Beard
  • Grow my hair – (December 19th – February 21st)
  • Go to bed (and sleep) at 10pm for 3 nights consecutively
  • Do 4 weeks of Yoga consecutively

I grew a beard for a while, and decided it looked dumb.  I grew my hair for a while, and decided it looked dumb, I actually went to bed (and to sleep) at 10pm for 3 nights consecutively within the first week of January when I got sick, and I did yoga for 8 consecutive weeks.  Yay me.

Big Resolutions:

These were more plans than resolutions, while they had good goals, many were lacking the necessary time component.

Enter the 2014 LDEC Business Plan Competition
I decided against this when I read that a company in London was planning a hack school, similar to my plan.  I changed my mind and decided to focus on what I already had.

Work only on things I care about
I planned to work only on  the HeadsDown Business Plan, Comic Shop POS feasibility study and Proof of Concept.  I put a ton of time and effort into BalanceDo, which I cared about immensely, but unfortunately it didn’t scale.  Still, I am going to consider this a win.

Learn New Skills
I had planned to “Learn to teach, Learn to code in Ruby. Learn how to create characters”, I’m happy to say that while I learned to code in Ruby, and I learned to teach, I ended up learning much more than merely creating characters. For three months, I cracked the code on how to do content marketing, and I was getting good traction with the BalanceDo SMBA program before we as a team decided to kibosh it.  The lessons I learned though, can be taken with me on my next journey.

Get published on a fairly large website
It didn’t happen, but it could have happened.  I now actually understand how to make this one achievable, and I’m going to succeed at it by May of 2015.

Speak in front of more than 100 people
Great success.  I did a lightning talk, only 5 minutes long, but amazingly inspiring, on “The Magic Word that Turns Developers into Designers”, I wrote it one night, and presented it the next day at the Chicago Ruby on Rails Lightning Talk.  There were nearly 300 people in the audience when I gave that talk, and it felt really good.

Relax, and enjoy the ride
I said I would “Do more Yoga, Learn to meditate, Get my bike out in the spring, Try the whole “Couch to 5k’ thing”, again, this was more aspirational than prescriptive, if I was just judging my year based on the beginning, I would have said I failed, we had some good fun (especially the cruise), but it wasn’t until September that I really started relaxing.

Overall, I would say I had more successes than failures last year, and I learned a ton of really great lessons that will help me succeed this year.

Stay tuned for my 2015 resolutions.

By Brian Garside

Brian is a digital experience expert, and part time internet superhero. He focuses on digital first design, digital strategies, content management, website usability, and user experience. He was part of the team behind BalanceDo, the co-founder of All New Comics, and the chief strategist at NorthIQ.