Let me start by wishing everyone a happy new year! This post is a little late as I wasn't 100% I was going to write it, and I kept fiddling with it and hovering over publish button, but I got there in the end!
2019 was a fantastic year and full of firsts. It's also been tiring and stressful at times, but I really wouldn't change a thing. So what were the highlights of 2019?
The most significant achievement for me this year was being nominated and receiving the MVP award from Microsoft. It was certainly not something I went out in search of, in fact, I would never have believed you if you told me that one day I would be an MVP.
I can't thank Ed Charbeneau enough for the nomination and advice he gave me. Also to Tom Morgan, who again gave me some great advice and encouragement.
My First Podcast - .NET Core Podcast
I did my first ever podcast this year, I was a guest on the .NET Core Podcast hosted by Jamie Taylor. Jamie contacted me on Twitter and asked if I'd be interested, I couldn't reply quick enough.
I've been a fan of Jamie's podcast from the start, he's had some great guests on the show. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't feeling a bit of imposter syndrome after the invite. We had a great chat before the recording and Jamie was very good at making me feel at ease, and before I knew it we were done!
I loved the experience, and I hope to do more podcasts in the future. If you haven't heard the episode, then you can check it out here.
My First User Group Talk - .NET Cambridge User Group
I gave my first ever talk at .NET Cambridge in June. I'm not going to lie, I was terrified on the drive down. A good friend of mine came with me and kept pointing out that maybe I should ease off the accelerator a bit otherwise we'd be there an hour early!
I was the first speaker of the night, which really helped, I could get straight into my talk and then enjoy the rest of the meetup. The first 5-10 minutes were really nerve racking, but I'd been given some great advice from my Dad, who's an accomplished public speaker. He told me to remember to breathe and focus on talking slowly. I also practised that first 10 minutes so I could repeat it in my sleep, this really helped as well, everything was muscle memory.
Once I got into my stride, I loved it. It was great to see people in the audience reacting to what I was saying and nodding at the times I hoped people would be nodding. All to quickly I was done, the talk was around 40 minutes, and I pretty much hit my timing spot on, which I was amazed by. I then spent the next 20 minutes fielding questions from the audience, which I really enjoyed.
I came away from the night absolutely buzzing. I had survived! I'd not burst into flames or thrown up, or screwed up one of the 1000 ways that had run through my head. As an added bonus, people had seemed to really enjoy my talk. I had some great feedback and so many questions, which even spilled over into the break and at the end of the event.
I want to say a big thank you to Andrea for allowing me the opportunity to speak, as well as giving me some great advice about writing a talk and presenting.
My First Conference Talk - DDD Reading
After the success of my talk at .NET Cambridge, I was in search of another opportunity. I was scrolling through Twitter, and I saw a tweet asking for submissions for Developer Day 2019, one of the DDD events. It was being hosted at Microsoft's HQ in Reading which I thought was really cool. I put together an abstract and submitted.
DDD events are a bit different to other conferences as the talks submitted are voted for by the public, whichever talks get the most votes are accepted. I was on holiday at the time when I received the email telling me my talk had been voted in - I was really excited.
I travelled down the day before, there was a speakers event that night. We all met up for a drink and a really nice curry, everyone was so friendly and welcoming.
On the day of the event, everything went really well. I was first on again - which I was quite thankful. The talk seemed to go well again and resonate with people in the audience. Some of the other speakers, who I'd meet for the first time the night before, came and sat in the front row to give me some support and encouragement which was terrific.
All in all, I couldn't recommend the DDD events enough. It's a very welcoming experience if you're a new speaker. Everyone is really friendly and ready to help if needed. The events are also free for attendees!
I hope I can speak at many more of these events in the future.
I've managed to add a few more packages to the Blazored organisation this year. As well as help some members of the community to get going hosting their packages on Blazored. I find open source a really rewarding experience. While it can be hard fitting it all in at times, it's definitely worth the effort.
We managed over 50k downloads across all packages in 2019, which I feel pretty proud of.
2019 has been my second year of blogging, and I would like to say it's getting easier but it still takes me forever to write a post. I'm really not a natural writer, but I also have a terrible memory, and I need to write this stuff down! :-)
I was pretty happy with managing to publish 37 blog posts in 2019, which is about one every week and a half. In terms of stats for 2019, I had:
- 116,422 unique visitors (298% increase on 2018)
- 349,218 page views (239% increase on 2018)
- published 37 posts
I was pretty stunned when I looked at these figures. I find it amazing that so many people have viewed my posts and I hope you've found them interesting or helped solve a problem for you.
And remember, if you haven't already, you can subscribe to my newsletter so that you'll never miss another post. Just use the link at the top of the page or the end of this post.
Looking Ahead To 2020
I really amazed at everything that's happened in 2019. There have been some great highlights, but what's the plan for 2020?
I'm definitely going to be trying my best to do more talks in 2020. I've already got a few planned, you can check these out on my Speaking page. An early highlight though is the .NET Conf - Focus on Blazor event which I'm really excited about.
I'll be attending my first ever MVP Summit in March. This is going to be a fantastic experience and I'm really looking forward to meeting all the other MVPs from around the world.
I will be continuing to blog in 2020 and I've been working on some new ideas for posts. I'll also be continuing my work on open source and Blazored. A goal for this year is to add better documentation for the libraries, hopefully in a central site somewhere. I also have some ideas for additional libraries I would like to add to the collection.
To finish up, I want to say a massive thank you to everyone I've meet/spoken to/text chatted with, in 2019. Let's see what 2020 brings!