Quarterly Review: 2018 Q4

20 January 2019

Here’s my final quarterly review of 2018, and a quick look at 2019.

If you’re eagle-eyed, you’ll notice that there wasn’t a Q3 review. I’ll explain why later.

My current side projects are:

Clever Builder

User numbers for Clever Builder rose to 19,564 - not much of an increase, but that’s because I didn’t really add any major new content to the site, and didn’t improve existing content either:

Clever Builder 2018 Q4 stats

This quarter, I wrote one new article. Yes, just one article:

This one article was just a quick braindump of things I found out when I went to see a customer.

Other than that, I found it really hard to find any time to update the website.


Having no time

I was pretty busy in the second half of this year. Work got busier, and with more travelling involved.

I had a few weekend breaks with some amazing friends.

As a result of both, I was flying almost every week.

That used up a lot of my energy, and I felt I had less drive to write articles, or even work on the book.

If I’m spending all week travelling and working intensely on a computer, I just don’t want to stare at a laptop screen on Saturdays and Sundays.

I managed 1 blog post on Clever Builder, and even that was a really quick write-up of some rough notes I’d had!

I also didn’t write a quarterly review on this site either.

Lesson learned: travelling and side projects don’t mix easily!

Delaying launching

I originally slated Camel Step-by-Step for completion towards the end of Summer 2018 – and by this, I was meaning around August.

But this date slipped… a lot!

The book is meant to be a general guide to Apache Camel for beginners, but defining the boundaries of what a beginner needs to know is very difficult. This means it’s hard to know when the book is “finished”.

So I kept adding more chapters to the book, and then I started to produce some bonus content (six sample Camel applications).

I’m satisfied with the book now, but I know in future that I need to be more strict on knowing when a project is “done”. Scope creep is even a real thing on personal projects.

Reading list

I read more books in 2018 than I probably have in the previous 5 years combined. My highlights this quarter were:

  • Anything You Want by Derek Sivers - an excellent guide to how Derek Sivers started and grew CD Baby. It’s such a tiny wee book but packed full of useful stuff about how to create what people want.

  • Do Open by David Hieatt - a great book on starting and growing an email newsletter.

  • The One Thing by Jay Papasan - one of those motivational books that are a bit of an enjoyable waste of time. The takeaway message: just focus on one thing, rather than flitting about between different things. (At least, I think that was the message!)

Goals for 2019

This year has been a big experiment for me. I’ve written a book and released it into the world. YIKES.

I’ve learned so much. I know for sure that I don’t want to work on another book just yet.

In 2019 I’m not currently planning to launch anything major. I just want to continue to grow Clever Builder, and concentrate on creating useful stuff for people.

Thanks for reading this quarterly review! I hope you found it interesting. If you have any comments, or if you’d like to know more, let me know in the comments below.