My 2014

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The last time I did a yearly review was 2010. A lot has happened since then, so much so that it was about time I resurrected the yearly review. Here’s My 2014…

The end of 2013 and the start of 2014 were challenging and it didn’t let up for much of the year.

My second little girl, Nyah, was born on the 4th December 2013. We’d been through a lot with Addison when she was first born that my wife and I had joked that if we could deal with that then we could deal with anything and it would just require more teamwork between us to make sure both of the kids were ok. Addison was getting to an age where she was fairly self sufficient to a certain degree although she still was waking up 7 times up until the night Nyah was born and from then on she started sleeping through. That’s right other parents who are reading this, Addison didn’t sleep through once until she was 2 years old and on average she’d wake 4 times a night!

The thing is, we didn’t cope well at all and it was no breeze even though we had so much knowledge from Addison. The amount I could write about this time in my life is far too much for this one post but let’s just say it lasted longer than I’d ever have imagined and wasn’t nice for any of us.

January 2014 saw the launch of, a project I’d joined in October 2013. There were many long days and longer nights done to get us to a launch phase, the product has come a long way and changed so much since then. 12 months has allowed us to get us to know ourselves, our customers and our partners. The next 12 months of TJ will be very interesting indeed.

I had the opportunity to go to Palma for a business meeting, it flew past as I was in and out within 24hours. The meeting went well and we’re still working very closely with that partner. The journey back from Palma was interesting, there were less passengers than there were staff so I did my usual thing of reading offscreen mag and catching up on email for Industry as it was only a couple of months out at this point.

And then there was the launch of the second Industry, the Event for Web Professionals. At the end of Industry 2013 I wasn’t entirely sure if I’d do a second one but it’s hard not to when you get great feedback and support from so many people. Launching an event in December-January is always quite a nerve-wrecking thing to do, it’s in the middle of most peoples downtime but again the support was great and everyone seemed to love the line-up which I’d put together. New faces, diverse topics. A staple diet for Industry.

In April, I did two major things within two days of each other. Industry took place and the following day I started packing to move house. We moved into our new home the following afternoon. I forgot about how stressful it is to move house but the difference between the old and new house were so great especially for the kids that I put as much of the pain and stress to the back of my mind. Industry was incredible and we had some fantastic talks as per usual. Lara Swanson Hogan, Rian van der Merwe, Timoni West, Paull Young, Greg Hoy, John Allsopp, Sarah Sampsel and Harry Roberts joined us providing talks on all kinds of subjects from web performance through to cognitive bias. All of the talks from 2014 are now published on our YouTube Channel and on Vimeo.

Things went back to normal quite swiftly, I pencilled in Industry 2015 in my diary and got back to work with my team relaunching TJ. It was very timely that just days after the conference I made my first hire into TJ and the design team welcomed Kate into the fold. Later in the year I made another hire, Gavin Sim, a front-end Engineer.

In September there was a lot of discussion and talk in the community about Geek Mental Help week, around the same time as I saw the discussions start I noticed that MK GeekNight, a well known and respected event in Milton Keynes were looking for speakers. I put my name forward having done a small talk to the TJ team internally about mental health. The plan was to do a lengthened version of that same talk, but having four hours drive down to the event changed my mind. I stepped through my hotel door at 4.30 in the afternoon and spent the next hour and a half pouring my heart out into writer app, detailing everything that had been going through my head on the drive down.

The feedback to the talk was incredible, I choked up a couple of times but got through and can’t thank MK GeekNight enough for having me there and for the attendees who listened.

During September I had a quick jaunt back to my home county and did some 4×4 driving up Coniston Hill with the guys from Kannku. It was really fun and I’d recommend them to everyone.

November arrived and I was headed off to the first Break Conf, organised by my good friend Christopher Murphy. Following the finishing of Build Conf, Belfast was left with a bit of a void of events. I’m always up for a quick visit to Belfast as I love the city. Two stand out talks of the day for me were Sarah Richards and Jane ni Dhulchaointigh.

In the latter few months of the year I was up and down from the North East to London for various meetings and I was hard at work putting together the line-up for Industry 2015. This was quite easily one of the hardest line-ups I’ve put together but I have so many people to thank for assisting me. The new line-up was launched mid-December and tickets are available right now.

I closed out the year with some much needed holiday time and some rest, the first time I’ve done so in about 5-6 years.

2015 should be easier and better, I hope.