I once read somewhere that you should do things that make you uncomfortable. I took this to mean that if you grow by doing new things. Doing new (and learning) things makes you grow. If you stick with the familiar, you often stagnate. By all accounts, 2007 was a great for me and DotComIt. This is my obligatory "look forward / look back" post.
Here are some of the things that gave me the willies this year:
- I started The Flex Show with famous RIA Blogger Ryan Stewart. If you want to talk about unfamiliar territory, this was it. I don't talk if I don't have to, so filling up 30 minutes of space with [who knows what] scared me. It still does today, and I feel a little bit of nervousness before every interview! Next year, will be equally uncomfortable as I find and train a new co-host, start soliciting sponsorships, and add video to the mix.
- I learned Adobe Flex. I'd been focused on ColdFusion for so long, this was a big step outside my comfort zone. Especially when I started contributing to posts on the Flex Coders list. I think there is a contingent of people whose purpose in the world is to make me eat my words. 2007 was a good year for them and they spent a lot of time on the list, correcting my posts and recommendations. It was quite humbling to go from a "Big fish" in the ColdFusion world to a "little fish" in the Flex world. Thankfully a lot of programming knowledge is easily transferrable. I learned Flex a lot easier than I learned ColdFusion, which I learned a lot quicker than iCat, which I learned a lot quicker than Lotus Notes, etc... I also threw some .NET and AIR development into the equation last year, which makes for an interesting mix. 2008 will be a year of a lot more Flex for me.
- I equate the "butterflies in my stomach" feeling with the diving board at the YMCA where I took swimming lessons growing up. This year I took quite a different sort of dive, and hired a business coach. I haven't decided whether I like the process or not, but I'm sticking with it for now. Greg and I speak routinely and he has pushed me to give focus to DotComIt. For the past 8 years, I've used DotComIt as a "jumping board" or other ideas and ventures. This is the first time I'm investing back into it. It's hard to think that 1 year ago today, was investigating a biz opportunity unrelated to programming or computers.
- Speaking of DotComIt, I expect to release a line of commercial Flex Components next year. The purpose is to extend the Flex SDK to help developers create more effective interfaces. I wanted to chat with people about my ideas, and ended up sponsoring Flex Camp Boston. Flex Camp was a 1 day event that gave me the ability to get feedback on the things jumping around in my head. I'm still in the planning phases, but expect to start the ball rolling in 08. I'll blog more specifics when I know them.
- I decided that, since I've run my own business for 8 years (and change), it's completely okay for me to be quirky. Instead of denying my quirkiness, I'm going to embrace it!
So, what have you done outside your comfort zone?