Celebrating Successes of 2017

One of my favorite aspects of the end-of-year holiday season is the time I spend relaxing and celebrating the past year. I am not one to champion my wins too much — success is often met with a happy acknowledgement and then it’s back to work — but this year, I wanted to share some of the items that made me proud.

Release of Blockade.io — Last year, I used the holidays to write Blockade — a browser plugin to block malicious infrastructure — that I then released in January. I really enjoy this project for a number of reasons: it’s open source, freely available to anyone and a great demonstration of how serverless infrastructure can be leveraged in security. In keeping with tradition, I worked on some new features this holiday season and plan to release them next month.

NinjaJobs Community Growth and Premium Offering— For a large portion of the year, I made a big focus to grow NinjaJobs, both in terms of user base and revenue. Adjusting our website, improving our SEO, automating social media and enhancing the platform resulted in over double the site traffic and thousands of new users. This uptick in traffic brought a steady flow of premium job listings and was very successful. It’s incredible to think how successful this platform has been — thousands of jobs filled by hundreds of companies.

Learned the Value in Leverage — When I first joined RiskIQ, I thought the two-man startup approach that made PassiveTotal successful would easily translate to a 140 person company. Not only was I so wrong, but in trying to take on every role, I often burnt myself out. This year, I doubled-down on a different approach — leverage. Instead of writing code myself, I enabled teams of engineers. Instead of trying to balance product direction, I consulted with the product managers. Instead of trying to help close deals, I built materials to make sales more comfortable. In short, I played the long game to scale what I knew I was good at by enabling others and it’s been amazingly successful.

Defined Product Management within RiskIQ — Despite being given the role of VP of Product for RiskIQ in 2016, it wasn’t until this year that I really embraced the challenge. For the first couple of months, I suffered from immense feelings of imposter syndrome. Instead of letting it bury me, I transformed those feelings into fuel to learn more. I spoke with others in the industry, watched videos online, read books and adopted practices that were proven to work. In closing out the year, I still feel like there’s so much to learn, but instead of being filled with fear, I am excited at the prospect of what’s next.

Started Roasting Coffee and Released a Roasting Platform — I’ve been obsessed with coffee for years and decided 2017 was the year I take control of another part of the process, roasting. Using videos from Youtube, I learned about coffee roasting and bought my first roaster. Unsatisfied with the existing roasting software, I built a platform to help organize my coffee data and it’s now my primary toolset for tuning roasts. Roasting coffee has been extremely gratifying and has unlocked a lot of new opportunities.

Collected New Tools to be a Better Person — Deep stuff, I know. In all seriousness, I was fortunate enough to attend a leadership class midway through the year that focused heavily on understanding the perspective of others and being in tune with your own behaviors. What I enjoyed about the class was that all the tools they offered were already within me as a person, it was just up to me to apply them. I still find myself struggling to apply every lesson I learned and know I will never be perfect, but I am doing more now than ever before to be a better person.

Improved my Health and Cutback Drinking — I’ve been working out on a regular basis for well over a decade now, so my fitness level has always been great. This year, I started spending more time watching my diet — mainly what I was eating. I also took note of my alcohol consumption and made a dedicated effort to assert control over my drinking by introducing dry periods. I learned a lot from experimenting with different ways to stay in shape and look forward to keeping the practices next year.