A few milestones happened to me this year. This blog turned 10, so my Internet writings have been floating around for a decade. DotComIt started its 17th year in business. Personally, I entered another decade. This is intended to be a retrospective mushy posts about how awesome I am. :-)
Social media wasn't a thing when I started blogging. I didn't have a Facebook account, and Twitter didn't exist. All my friends were on MySpace and mp3.com was the place to go to discover new music. When stupid Internet quizzes came up, I would discover them on someone else's blog and would post results here. People used RSS readers to keep up on their friend's blogs, and aggregators could bring you lots of traffic.
Today, most interaction has moved to social media. I think the blog form is relevant for dispensing information, such as tutorials or screencasts, but they do not work as a place for discussion. The end result is that I blog less than I used to. Most of my recent blog posts are curated from the DotComIt technical newsletter, which focuses on longer in-depth articles. I've been writing the newsletter almost monthly since 2008, and that is a lot of content.
On a personal note; I think the design of this blog is in dire need of an update. I uses the default BlogCFC theme, and I haven't updated it in years. It doesn't even feature a rich text editor for writing blog posts, so all the HTML markup is stuff I write manually. I think my blog content could use a high level scrubbing as some of the posts are not relevant. I sometimes think that I should use this domain for something other than a Blog; with some sections dedicated to music and the sort. Such changes will have to wait for another day.
By the Numbers
I've written 686 posts on this blog; which averages to 5.7 posts per month. But, averages don't tell the real story. This graph shows the number of posts I made per year:
The first drop you see is in 2007; the same year I started The Flex Show. It continues to drop in 2008 as I prepared to launch Flextras. The Flextras blog was launched in the beginning of 2009. There is a bump in posts in 2012; the Year I shut down The Flex Show. In 2013 I shut down Flextras, open sourced the components, and started work on the Life After Flex series. Even though the stats of this blog don't show it; I was creating lots of content, just much of it was for other places.
When Life After Flex launched in 2014 and after writing that I took some time off. I'm only now getting back into the swing of things. If I follow my standard, next year will see a lot of blogging. Unless I update my Life After Flex course for AngularJS 2.0 [which is a possibility, but not guaranteed].
Categories Per Year
In my early days, my posts were a lot more varied; with everything from movie reviews to game reviews to whatever I tickled my fancy. Over time this blog became a lot more focused on technical content. Here are some of the top topics per year
|2005||ColdFusion took the lead for my most blogged about topic this year.|
|2006||ColdFusion once again was the top of my blogging list in 2006.|
|2007||ColdFusion and Flex are head to head this year, with 34 posts on each one.|
|2008||Flex overtook CF as my top topic.|
|2009||Flex once retains the top spot.|
|2010||Flex is top again|
|2011||Flex is the top|
|2012||Writing and Presenting has the same amount of posts as Flex this year. I think this is the year when I published all the archives from my ColdFusion Developer's Journal column.|
|2013||AngularJS ties the top spot with ColdFusion and writing and presenting.|
|2014||AngularJS and Writing and Presenting take the top spot again.|
In terms of specific content, I finally wrote a technical blog post that gets a lot of traction. It is a blog post on the solution to a problem I had with AngularJS and refreshing views.
I think the blog post is relatively well written, and was accidentally optimized for search engines. It has a question in the subject line and provides a few different solutions. I bet a lot of people having the same problem typed the exact question into Google. I think it is the rare case where I tackled a problem a lot of people have and wrote a detailed solution to the problem. I also provided plunkers with samples; which I don't often do.
My second most famous blog post is one on customer service issues I had with tracfone, a pay as you go service provider. I wrote it as a on-off post, and it is a bit embarrassing how popular it became.
Personal vs Professional Posts
When I launched this blog, aggregators and RSS feeds were all the rage. I decided to categorize every blog post as either a personal blog post or a professional blog post. That way folks could easily follow my technical content without the unrelated content; or vice versa. This worked out well, a friend even syndicated my personal feed to LiveJournal at one point.
My number of personal and professional posts, are roughly equal, with there being slightly more Professional Posts in most years.
I find the numbers interesting. ;)
ColdFusion vs Flex Vs AngularJS
The three main technical topics I write about are ColdFusion, AngularJS, and Flex mirroring the three main technologies I have used in my career. How do these stack up:
No surprise, here; there is a big jump in ColdFusion posts in the beginning, and that declines as Flex rises to the top. AngularJS is almost non-existent, but you see a slight rise in recent years. If all goes well, you'll see more AngularJS oriented posts next year.
Enough about the Blog; DotComIt has been going for 16 years. Sometimes I feel lucky I'm still around. I have seen a lot of businesses come and go; and many colleagues have started businesses only to grab a full time job shortly thereafter. I've used my consulting success to dabble in multiple different ventures, from Creating Flex Components to self publishing a training course on AngularJS. None of those ventures turned out to be profitable enough to shutter the consulting side of the business, and I'm fine with that. I'm lucky to have a solid base of clients that provide me with flexibility to be me. There is always room for more if you're interested.
Half way through the Flex craze, I noticed that I got a lot of respect for being a business owner. Most of my friends consider me a success and I love talking about business, sometimes even more than coding.
Right now; I'm in a rare spot where I don't have a second venture ongoing; but I can't wait to see what I jump into next.
Thank you to all the clients who have hired me; continue to keep my plate full, and those who will hire me in the future.
What about Me?
For most of my professional career, I have striven to become a leading expert in what I do. I speak at user groups and conferences. I write books, produce podcasts, and participate in user forums. With the decline of Flash, and Flex, the community I attached myself too has scattered and I've lost some focus as a result. I have not decided what I want to conquer next; and do not have a community at the moment.
Looking back, I think I've reinvented myself three major times during my professional career.
The ProgrammerThe first iteration was Jeffry the programmer. At the start of my career I was employed by a business to business consulting firm. I did a lot of Lotus Notes development, but also touched on other technologies such as iCat and ColdFusion. The work was fast paced, and I learned more than I could ever imagine. We pushed the boundaries of technology at the time. But, the pace burnt me out. I only realize this in retrospect. I left there quite hastily to do something different.
The Business OwnerThe second iteration is Jeffry the Business Owner. I left my former employer with no plan. Thankfully the dot com boom was crazy and I was able to get some consulting work via word of mouth. I feel into running a business like no one else should. At this time I also had the opportunity to write a book for Osborne McGrawhill; which I took. I still don't know why the acquisitions editor reached out to me. He actually told me that if he were the Emperor I'd be the one he would clone. I had a knack for meeting deadlines that is unusual in the publishing industry.
The first book lead to more writing and presenting opportunities, and that worked as my businesses promotional arm. It didn't bring me clients directly, but it did help me land projects. When you teach others, people who have no ability to evaluate your skill are willing to assume you know what you're doing. It makes you an easy sell to the business bean counters because it gives confidence you can do what you claim.
The Product Creator
My desire was always to build and support a product instead of getting into the consulting grind. When Flex came along, I decided to go all in. I started work on Flextras immediately. I redirected my writing skills to podcasting in an attempt to build an audience of Flex developers. I started spending a lot of time on StackOverflow to answer Flex based questions.
I think I did a lot right (and a lot wrong); but in the end Flash lost relevance and the product business failed. I fell back to the consulting grind and have been juggling multiple clients ever since.
I have no idea what is next for me. I'm focusing on servicing existing clients; biding my time and vetting different ideas. I haven't had an idea worth chasing after yet. What would you like to see me do?