Week 1, 2019 - Looking Back at 2018; Looking Forward to 2019

My annual look back at the past year, and forward at the coming year. Also, it’s weird writing something called Week 1 of 2019 when it’s still 2018, but that’s how calendars work.

Looking Back at 2018

A lot has happened in 2018. Plenty of good things, and of course not so good things. On the tech side of things that impact me it ranges from fun new toys to play with to politicians being stupid about encryption, and that was just in the last month! However, I don’t have a lot of interest in doing a recap of all the news of 2018. That can be found everywhere and on most of the interesting things I’ve already given my opinion. So, let’s look at what I did instead.

Writing

One year ago, I wrote a similar article and in there I made some statements about my writing plans for 2018. To save you a click, my plans were this:

  • Write one weekly article for every week
  • Write one other article every week
  • Do one “mystery project” per week, where the mystery project turned out to be videos1.

Well, I can say I failed at this quite a bit. I only created 2 videos, both in January, wrote 38 weekly notes2, and 17 other non-video posts3. There was also one guest post by Chris Coombs.

Clearly the goals I set were too ambitious, or I was too lazy. Most likely it was a mix of things, for one I missed a lot of writing time around my wedding and there was a time earlier in the year where I started to feel burned out4 and so stopped writing for a bit.

It also turned out that even just making 5 minutes videos was a LOT of work. I estimate that combined those first couple of videos took me about 40 hours to make. A big part of it was learning the tools and trying different ways of doing things, and no doubt this would have shortened over time, but everything that impacted my writing did even more so for the videos.

Regardless, this means that over the past year 58 new pieces of content appeared on this site. That’s still not bad and it is definitely more than last year.

As a stats junkie5, that means I’m interested in looking how this impacted visitors6. Well, it’s not a 50% increase like last year, as it’s only about 14 to 17% based on what you measure. Still, that brought me at 26.500 page views, which is a big number, and unlike last year the last couple of months actually increased traffic instead of going down. This period is also where most of the increased traffic came from as the rest of the year was flat compared to 2017.

More interesting perhaps are the pages that were visited the most.

The number 1 is still my original Babysteps with CloudFormation article. In second and third place however are two new articles. Conditionals in CloudFormation was actually my most visited page each month from September and both it and AutoScaling ECS Containers using CloudFormation have been in the top 3 since May.

After that, most of the visits went to last year’s remaining top articles. One other item of note here is my Building and Testing CloudFormation Macros which landed in the top 5 for both November7 and December.

As for the videos, combined those two have now had 1241 views while my most popular video (Introduction to CloudFormation Designer) is currently at 8374.

Other

Aside from writing on this site, I did a lot of other things as well that were related to this. First, I became an AWS APN Cloud Warrior, which was recently rebranded into the global APN Ambassador program. This was a lot of fun, and let me meet others in similar positions to me who are highly knowledgeable about AWS. It also ensured I got a ticket to re:Invent, which was obviously great.

Then I gave quite a few talks this year. I presented twice at the Cloud Warrior/Ambassador meetups, one of which was at re:Invent which I therefore count as presenting at re:Invent. I also gave presentations at the AWS User Group Conference in Melbourne, and the AWS Community Day in Sydney. Then there were several repeats of these same talks at Meetups as well as running a workshop. You may notice that all of these talks were about Fargate, which is because that was my favourite toy in 20188.

And lastly, I was volunteered9 to become a co-organiser of the Melbourne AWS User Group, starting with the next meetup in January.

Looking Forward to 2019

Having learned from my overambitious goals from last year, I’ll lower my estimates but will still set a challenge. As I have periods where I write a lot more than other times, I’m not going to focus on having something every week10 but will instead try to put numbers against them that will sound like a schedule, but could happen more irregularly.

  • Weekly Notes: 1 every week
  • Videos: 12 for the year
  • Other content: 26 for the year

I’ve already got some good content lined up in my head, especially after having been able to play with some of the re:Invent goodies. Also, have I mentioned I got access to the GitHub Actions beta a while back? Expect something on that soon.

Of course, I’ll be doing something for the AWS Meetup every month11 but I’m also hoping to talk at some more conferences. While I was quite nervous for them, it’s still a lot of fun and that is mostly what I want to do with this site. A place where I can have fun while hopefully helping people understand things.


  1. Well, obviously I knew what that was going in. [return]
  2. Which is less than last year’s 41. [return]
  3. Not counting a couple of posts I wrote somewhere else. [return]
  4. A mix of being very busy both at and outside of work. [return]
  5. Feel free to skip this if you think stats are boring. [return]
  6. The year isn’t completely over yet, but I doubt that I’ll suddenly have a lot of visitors in these last hours. [return]
  7. When it was written. [return]
  8. That said, following re:Invent Lambda has closed some of the gaps that could be filled in with Fargate. More on that soon. [return]
  9. Yes Chris, a special footnote to thank you for that. [return]
  10. Other than the Weekly Notes obviously. [return]
  11. We’re planning to hold DeepRacer races and do other fun things! Come along! [return]
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