Windmills in the distance

Oh, the Places You’ll Go

So what did I do in 2017?   I made a conscious decision to focus on goals last year and had a lot of success because of it.  Here are some highlights.  Many of these started as  New Years resolutions or expanded from things I annually focus on.  I generally believe you need to have focus (or more specifically time) dedicated to five things; your family, your faith, your career, your health (intellectual & physical), and your community.  The list below represents the fruits of the time I spent on the last three of those things.

Teaching

I am the CTO of Automation Integrated so teaching isn’t my career, it is something I do to give back to the people entering this industry.

I never wanted to be a teacher.  My dad was a grade-school teacher before becoming an administrator and I remember how hard it was, how disproportional that work seemed to be compared to the compensation.  Boy, was I wrong!   I love teaching.  I love the students.  I love this industry and getting to introduce it to other people.  I love watching them fall in love with technology the way I did.

Documentaries

I love documentaries and made a new years resolution to watch 12 as an excuse to justify changing the channel from the second season of “Stranger Things” when I’m too numb to even read a book.  Overall, I’m really impressed with the quality of “YouTube” documentaries but it is hard to beat Ken Burns.

  1. Al Jazeera English: The Caliph, Part 1
  2. The Roosevelts: An Intimate History: Get Action
  3. Al Jazeera English: The Caliph, Part 2
  4. Hjernevask: The Gender Equality Paradox
  5. Al Jazeera English: The Caliph, Part 3
  6. Hjernevask: The Parental Effect
  7. Oklahoma City
  8. Hjernevask: Gay/Straight
  9. Ekip Films: The Hittites
  10. Hjernevask: Violence
  11. Hjernevask: Sex
  12. The World of Compulsive Hoarders
  13. Hjernevask: Race
  14. Last Chance U: Season 1
  15. Hjernevask: Nature or Nurture

Of all the documentaries Hjernevask is by far the most controversial and exceedingly interesting.  The Roosevelts coincided with the obsession with Teddy I had at the beginning of last year.

Public Speaking

I spoke or was a panelist at a number of technology related organizations last year.  Two of the presentations were because of the interest in non-relational databases & Big Data.  The other three were related to my role with Automation Integrated.  All of them were a lot of fun, primarily because we have amazing technology people in Oklahoma City!

  1. 1 Million Cups:  A Tale of 2 Companies
  2. OKC Big Data: Introduction to Non-Relational Databases using CouchDB
  3. OKPSA: Innovating in a Brick and Mortar Business
  4. Open Source Databases Meetup: CouchDB is Awesome
  5. Innotech Panel: Key Components in Getting IT Projects Approved

Running

I finished the year with exactly 500 miles.  The final 8 were done the last day of the year on a treadmill due to the weather, but done non-the-less.  I didn’t start tracking my outdoor runs until late in the year but some of them are on Strava.  Probably the most mileage I’ve had in a single calendar year, although there was a 12 month period in 2008-2009 I had more.

Reading

I love Goodreads because of how easy it is to track the books I’ve read or listened to.  There is also a Chrome extension that tells me what books on my reading list are available for electronic checkout at my library.  I was able to finish 69 books last year with my favorites being Ten Philosophical Mistakes by Mortimer Adler and The Lessons of History by Will Durant & Ariel Durant.  They were also two of the shortest books I read.  Here is a link to my summer reading post, and a specific winter reading post should come soon-ish.

Being Fat

I had already lost about 20 lbs by the time New Years came last year.  My goals was a modest 10 lbs of additional weight… I eventually lost 30 more.  In fact, I dropped all the way down to 160 before I started working on building up some after the weight loss.

Writing

Two articles I produced as part of my PSA presentation were also published.  I’m particularly proud of these as I’ve never had a third party publish anything I’ve made previously.  The were Cultivating a Technology Innovation Mindset and Breaking Barriers to Technology Innovation.

Summary

Some of the success I had last year stems from two realizations:

1) I need a measurable way to track my goals if I’m going to do well.   I see more success when I use apps like MyFitnessPal, Goodreads, and Strava.

2)  Goal setting is HUGE for me.  Even if I fail to reach a specific goal the overall result is dramatically better if I start out with a goal in mind.

Next year?  I’m thinking guitar, writing, and resistance training… and more teaching & reading,