Each year I like to set goals at the beginning of the year, just to give myself some good direction.
My Big Rocks
You may have heard of the theory of the "big rocks". It's a demonstration involving containers filled with rocks, sand and water. You can watch the video, but the main point is that you should start with a handful (1-3) large goals and make them the focus and plan everything else around that, otherwise it easy to get distracted by all the other stuff going and not find time to fit those things in.
My biggest goal for this year is the podcast. It's taking up a large amount of time and energy and I'd like to figure out how to monetize it. Now the point of creating the podcast is not strictly to make money. It's to serve the community and to serve as marketing, yet it would be nice if I could find a way to at least break even and maybe make a few dollars. I'm in talks with several potential sponsors, so that should be doable. The trick is to do it in a way that respects the purpose of the podcast.
My business is split in 2 parts. On one side we do project based work, where we write the code ourselves. On the other side we do training/coaching/consulting work, where our clients write the code, but we point them in the right direction. The past 2 years, the project work has dominated, so I'd like to work on developing the other side of my business. I'm playing around with some new ideas on how to deliver workshops and maybe incorporating some pre-recorded online components and different scheduling options. I'd like to develop and deliver a TDD and a CI workshop this year. I'm also in talks with DSH Workshops about maybe doing a joint workshop at GDevCon NA. Expect lots of activity on that front this year.
Lastly, while I'm still a fan of LabVIEW, I'm not entirely sure of its future. I did just start a LabVIEW podcast, so there is still some optimism there. I am trying to hedge my bets though by learning some other languages. Since Python integrates so well with LabVIEW and TestStand, it seems like a natural choice. Last year I took a Python Course from EnThought. I've already signed up for another EnThought course for 2023 and I am planning on several more. My goal at the end of all this is to find a gig where I can get paid to write Python code, hopefully one that involves integrating LabVIEW and Python. Taking courses is great, but I feel like the real way to learn is on the job.
It the past I have used the acronym PIE, which I picked up from Mark Lund, when setting yearly goals.
- Professional - Your technical skills.
- Interpersonal - How well you play with others
- Exposure - How well others know you exist
If you look at my 3 big rocks, collectively they hit all 3 of these categories. The podcast gives me exposure. I get to work on my interpersonal skills during the interviews and I get to learn a lot from some really smart people. Teaching workshops also fits all 3. In prepping for the workshops I increase my own technical knowledge. I work on my interpersonal skills while interacting with the students and the more workshops I teach the more exposure I get. The last rock, learning Python, is purely professional. I'm just adding another technical tool to my toolbox.
Every year I put together a reading list. It's more a guideline. I gather what I think is a reasonable list and then throughout the year I'll call an audible if I find some other book not on this list that is more appropriate. I'm happy if I get through 1/2 these books by the end of the year.
In no particular order, here is this year's list.
- Secure By Design - Dan Bergh Johnsson, Daniel Deogun, Daniel Sawano
- Are Your Lights On? How to Figure Out What the Problem REALLY Is - Donald M. Gause, Gerald M. Weinberg
- The Design of Everyday Things - Don Norman
- Debugging Your Brain - Casey Watts
- S&T Happens. Surviving and Thriving in a VUCA World - Rob England and Dr. Cherry Vu
- A Philosophy of Software Design - John Ousterhout
- Kill it With Fire. Manage Aging Computer Systems and Future Proof Modern Ones - Marianne Bellotti
- How to Talk about Data - Martin J. Eppler & Fabienne Bunzli
- Cybersecurity For Small Networks. A No-Nonsense Guide for the Reasonably Paranoid - Seth Enoka
- Accelerate - Nicole Forsgren PHD, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim
- Ethical Hacking - Daniel J Graham
- Modern Software Engineering - Dave Farley
- Test Driven Development by Example - Kent Beck
- Technical Agile Coaching with the Samman Method - Emily Bache