2013 Yearnotes

Last year began with the realisation that as a Polish citizen it was going to be very hard for me to get a US working visa. I missed out on participating in a great secret project, but was looking forward to taking the whole ofJanuary off to have some space to think about things. In the end I never did, because I got tempted to work with my favourite clients on fun projects. Taking holidays is hard when you’re your own boss.

In March I decided to leave Brighton for personal reasons. Many of my friends live in London, and that’s where most of my clients were, so it seemed like the time had come to embrace it. I didn’t think I was going to like it, but my wonderful friends have helped me make it my home.

But why just change one thing at a time? In the spirit of total upheaval I’ve joined Makeshift full-time. I liked the idea of being able to work on a project for an extended period of time, and having the chance to properly immerse myself in it. At Makeshift we work on multiple products simultaneously, so my favourite things about freelance work remain, while I get to work on a project from the beginning and stay with it as it matures. To date I’ve worked on Help Me Write, Attending?, Wrangler and Linkydink.

Despite getting excited about the idea of “blogging like it’s 2004” and promising myself that I would write more, in 2013 I didn’t actually do that. Partially because I was busy reorganising my life, but also because I was writing and practicing two conference talks.

I spoke at the Design and Artists Copyright Society and Scottish Ruby Conference about Thinking through Making (video), which was a compilation of some of the reasons for making stuff. You don’t always make things for the end result; sometimes the exploration of a problem space is just as important.

I also gave a more serious talk, trying to convince the audience of the importance of considering the consequences of design decisions taken when making software. It was titled “Make world less shit NOW” and I’ve presented it at Nordic Ruby, JS Conf EU, as well as a shortened version at Apps World in London. You can watch the video from JS Conf EU.

In March and December I ran workshops for BA Design students at Goldsmiths for the second and third time. In four days I taught them about the basics of HTML, CSS and JavaScript so at the end they could play with APIs and use data as their medium.

In 2013 I had two long-running side projects. I started recording the Amazeballs podcast with my Best Friend Forever, Linda (♥♥♥). I also realised that even though a very small number of people still use Offbott, those who do really care about the service. I’ve been working on making it more maintainable so I can make some small improvements this year.

It’s been chaotic, but fun, and I have enjoyed the pace.