Looking back at 2014
I was in New Orleans, LA at the beginning of 2014. Fitting, as the Crescent City played a huge role in my life this past year. Meg and I were in town planning our wedding and decided to stay and celebrate New Years in our favourite city.
Our normal abode (and future wedding venue), the Maison de Macarty in the Bywater, was fully booked that night so we were temporarily relocated to the Hilton Riverside hotel. After a nice evening out, we decided to get a bottle of wine and go back to our hotel room before the countdown began. This turned out to be a wise move as when the clock struct midnight, we were treated to a spectacular fireworks display over the Mississippi river. It was the perfect way to ring in what would become one hell of an eventful year.
It’s still January, so I reserve the right to pretend that it’s not unsually late for a reflective New Years Day kind of blog post. 2014 was a big year for me so I want to take some time and properly reflect on it. What follows is a list of highlights recorded mostly for my own sake.
On March 8th, shortly after one of the coldest Mardi Gras on record, Meghann and I got married in the backyard of the Maison de Macarty. We were surrounded by people we love in a city we treat as our second home. It was perfect. Seeing so many of our friends and family in New Orleans was a great feeling. We had people travel from Boston, New York, Toronto, Dublin and beyond. It was truly remarkable and I’ll never forget how I felt that week.
I got a lot of travel in during 2014. As mentioned, I started the year in New Orleans. Meg and I ended up fitting in 4 trips to New Orleans in total. We also spent a long weekend in Austin.
Work sent me to Tokyo in February. My trip overlapped with Music Hack Day, so I got to catch up with old friends from that scene and I managed to see the Crocodiles who were playing their first show in Japan.
In August, our great friends Erin and Andrew hosted us in Maine. We met them at Boston Logan airport, spent a few days meeting their families and seeing where they grew up, then drove back, stopping in New Hampshire and Vermont on the way.
Meg found ridiculously inexpensive flights to Seoul. We spent a week and a half in total with a few days in Tokyo. It was great going to Tokyo for the 2nd time in less than a year. Seoul was great as well. We enjoyed wonderful hospitality from Meg’s cousin Derek, his wife Jill and their new baby Logan who’ve been living there for a while now. Oh and we ran into Kevin who was also taking advantage of ridiculously cheap airfare.
In terms of fitness, I’m calling 2014 “pretty good”. I started cycling again (more than just to and from work) and got into running. According to Strava I managed just over 2000km on the bike and about 170km running.
I went for runs in Toronto, San Francisco, New Orleans, Tokyo and Seoul. I participated in the Ride to Conquer Cancer (200km over 2 days) and a 110km organized ride.
The Ride to Conquer Cancer was especially meaningful for me as I rode with my brother, father and brother in law (and 7 other teammates). I’m riding again this year, hoping to raise $2500 for cancer research. Proceeds go to the Princess Margaret Hospital. Ya’ll should donate.
For 2015 I’m looking to double my total ride distance (4000km) and participate in my first 10k organized run.
Professionally, 2014 was hit and miss. I left SoundCloud at the end of 2013 to start a new position at 500px. I managed to do a lot of great work and I’m proud of what my team and I were able to accomplish. We evolved the architecture of the application, introduced Go as a language for backend service development, moved the organization further towards a DevOps culture, and improved response time while reducing infrastructure costs.
At the end of the year though, I decided that 500px was not the right company for me and that it was time to move on. Nothing dramatic, I still love the people and the product and wish them the best. I started 2015 with a new challenge that I’m very excited about, but that’s for different blog post.
I did two conference talks in 2014. One at DevOpsDays Toronto and another at QCon San Francisco.
2014 was a great year for me. I married the love of my life, traveled to great places, accomplished some personal goals and generally had a blast. I was surrounded by wonderful friends, family and colleagues. I feel like I totally lucked out.
Reflecting on the past year may seem like naval gazing, and maybe it is a little, but it also helps me appreciate the things that have happened, and focuses my thinking as I make goals for the next year. Here’s to a great 2015.