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2017 In Review

A Recap…

Well all, this thing is most certainly in the bag. 2017… The year that brought us Trump. The year Space X figured out how to save a rocket. The year a total solar eclipse occured and sadly a plethora of natural events that terrorized the Carribean, Mexico, Texas and Iran. With plenty more fellow humans passing in official terrorist attacks around the globe.

So… not the best year. It certainly wasn’t the reaper of famous folks that 2016 was, nor did it have the summer movie blockbuster set list of 2015. However, it’s hard to look back on this year and not remark on it’s intrigue. Its’ calm before the shitstorm poise that’s been so intoxicating that it might squeeze into yours truly’s top 5.

First of all, and thanks American Airlines, for the most amount of miles flown in a year. Sure being strapped into a mostly cardboard tube and hurdled through the air at brake-neck speeds isn’t for everyone but, it’s always intrigued me. Over the past few years, Laguardia has been a pitstop in a rather simple flight path up to the wonders of Montreal. That’s Canada if you were unsure. However, this year the shoe shine guy at Laguardia actually let me out and into the city.

In The Beginning!

Early on this year, some of the fine folks from Dynamo migrated from the agency lyfe over to the startup world. 13 of us began working full time at Glossier. A beauty and skin care startup located in the heart of Manhattan. Having worked at a few of these ‘startup’ things before, there wasn’t too much that could have blown a set of socks off. This right here, this expectation, was one of the few things bet incorrectly against this year. Sadly, Bitcoin’s meteoric price increase was the other.

The time that has been spent at Glossier has easily been the happiest of the past 10 years. It’s almost natural for your brain to hypotheize that it’s never (or always) greener on the other side. For many reason’s it usually isn’t. This has been one of those happy times where this saying has come up short. Moving to a somewhat larger team, with even loftier business goals, has been nothing short of a blast.

Many of us who were used to working in an agency setting, after a few shocks, embraced the fast paced Startup World. Working on a much larger, much longer project often times changes the mentality of a programmer. It leads to consistantly weighting the cost of maintainability versus getting shit done. This, coupled with a good team structure is really all that’s needed to have small teams produce good results. This phenomenon didn’t happen immediatly upon moving to Glossier but, as the year waned on, we found our groove and began to build quality bits.

A Hiatus.

In late 2016, some of us got together and planned a remote month. The idea? Take a large group of individuals who usually only work together, and plop them down in some tropical space, far from most of humanity. The idea behind the whole trip was to see how far we could stretch the ‘remote working’ bounds. The place decided upon? El Tunco, a small beach town on the Pacific coast of El Salvador. For an entire month we rented out a hostel on the beach where we spent the mornings surfing and the afternoons working until sundown.

On the weekends we ventured out around El Salvador, climbing volcanoes and diving off of restaurant balconies into mountain-top lakes. As for working and stretching the remote bounds, we did it. Prior to almost everyone’s rhetoric (aside from Basecamp’s), working remotely and effectively is 100% doable. The best part? The entire experience drew everyone closer together as friends and coworkers.

The Failures

Not everything get’s to be a grande success! There have been plenty of miss-steps and mistakes that were made throughout 2017. Some of the more memorable ones were:

  1. Not calling the success factor that Bitcoin has turned into. Financially, this is one of the largest mistakes of my life. A friend pushed me on my thoughts concerning crypto currency in general late last year. My response? That it wouldn’t go much over 1000$ per BTC in 2017. Serious facepalm with that projection.
  2. My language learning this year was supposed to focus on isomorphic JavaScript. This held true until maybe April, when there was a serious slow down and reshuffle towards languages with less tooling. After this time, there was wonderful love affair with Crystal and Elm. As the year began to close there was also another change to Rust and ReasonML. Having stuck to a single language or re-learning a previous one in the past, this year was a spectacular disappointment.
  3. The amount of code added to the open source world through my fingers was minimal at best. This also includes writing in this very blog. The only real open source work that happened was growing our local JavaScript meetup. This will be something that will be actively reversed in 2018.

All Good Things Must End.

It’s unfortunatly the truth of most good things: they rarely survive indefinitely. The folks who worked for the wonderful little agency named Dynamo felt this all to well. Some of us remember running down the road to pick up lunches at Olive and Gourmando, waiting for phantom bathroom participants to leave the one bathroom we shared, and having Christmas parties at places like Nora Gray’s. Others, remember the SAW 2 set we called home for several years, trying to tip over random floats, photo bombing weddings, and launching websites from our mobile phones before heading to the Habs game.

Then there was the new office, Beerstitutions, DJing the even larger Christmas parties, Boris’ vacations, tacky chalets, beer pong, beer, beer, and even more wine and coffee. It’s hard to walk into any office, big or small, and find a group of people who for the most part, really did love working with each other. Maybe it was a combination of all that wine and coffee but, it always seemed like we respected each other when we walked through those ever changing, always evolving doors. Whether it was in the Old Port, the set of SAW 14, coworking at La Gare, or our new office, we all worked to make every client (well most) as happy as humanly possible. The passion, the team, and the life produced a special kind of beauty. Something so powerful, unique, and bizarre; it will likely never be seen in this form again.

This is all OK. Times change and we are all made better for it. None of us will forget our time here and we will always be closer for it.