2018, Month by Month
2018 has been a year of many challenges for me, both professionally and personally. Although it has been hard, I have probably grown more this year than any other year in a while.
In 2018, I…
- Visited 10 countries, 4 of them new 🇧🇯 🇵🇹 🇬🇧 🇳🇱 🇸🇪 🇩🇰 🇺🇸 🇷🇸 🇫🇷 🇪🇸
- Wrote 35 articles, 30 of which were written in 6 weeks!
- Published 7 videos, 2 of them vlogs
- Spoke at 6 conferences
- Read / listened to 10 books
- Made 1,208 GitHub contributions
I’ve been doing these end of year reviews for a couple of years now (2016 and 2017). Since this year was so busy, I thought I would take the year month by month and write about (some of) the highlights of each month.
On the 1st of January I started reading the book, “The life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo 📖 and it was the perfect book to begin the new year with. It started me on a path of being more conscious about which belongings I choose to keep and this behaviour has stayed with me all year.
I also listened to “The Last Black Unicorn” by Tiffany Haddish 📖 this month which was absolutely hilarious! It’s always interesting to read about other people’s lives, especially when they are so different from yours, but her life story is particularly fascinating.
In February we held the second ever Frontstack meetup, which was about how to use APIs. The event went really well, I wrote a recap of the event on the Frontstack blog which you can read if you’re interested in finding out more. Because of how busy the rest of my year went, I wasn’t able to organise another event, but I definitely plan on doing so next year, so stay tuned :)
The highlight of March was celebrating my 27th birthday! I went on a trip to Benin Republic 🇧🇯 with a few friends for the weekend and it was incredibly fun.
I was also featured in the Guardian Life magazine, which my mum was very happy about 😁.
In April, I got to visit a new country, Serbia 🇷🇸. I spoke at the ITKonekt conference in Belgrade about Making Web Accessibility Easy. The event went really well and I also got to experience the city which was lovely.
I also created the Feature Queries Manager, an extension to developer tools to help you better work and test your feature queries. I wrote about how I created the extension in an article for Smashing Magazine.
In May I travelled to California 🇺🇸 for Google I/O. As always, I/O was an incredibly overwhelming yet exciting experience. What made this year even more awesome was I got to partner with Google to make a video sharing my journey to and at I/O. You can watch my introduction video below, and the full highlights video here.
After I/O, I stayed in California for a few extra days because my startup, BuyCoins, got an interview for the Y Combinator 🧡 accelerator program. The day of the interview was, without a doubt, the craziest day of my year. Perhaps one day I’ll share the story of the interview and that day in general, but just know it was a whirlwind of emotions.
Also in May, I was lucky to be invited to Microsoft’s Influencer Day in Redmond 🇺🇸, where Microsoft shared some of their plans for the Edge browser and got feedback from us about developing for it.
I also published my write-up on the scholarship program I did — the good and the bad.
In June, I moved to California for the summer to take part in the Y Combinator program. Living in California was such a great experience, especially as someone interested in technology. You get to experience new technology as soon as it’s released. I even got to drive my dream car, the Tesla Model S!
I also briefly visited Amsterdam 🇳🇱 to speak at the CSS Day conference. I made a short (and overly edited 😂) vlog about my time in Amsterdam, which you can watch below.
The focus for July was work work work. I barely had time or energy for anything besides working on BuyCoins, but it was worth it as we managed to launch the app at the end of the month.
One thing I did have time to do though, was to get my first tattoo! I also made a (better edited) vlog about this, which you can watch below.
Like July, the focus for August was work. We had our YC demo day in mid-August, so everything we did before then was just to prepare. On the day, Timi Ajiboye killed our presentation and things took off massively from there.
The last day at YC was bittersweet. It was a relief to be past that stage of hard work to another, but at the same time it was a once in a lifetime experience. Going through YC is such a blur, it’s hard to enjoy the experience when you’re in it because you’re so focused on getting shit done!
A book I read this month that I really enjoyed was the “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” by Heather Morris 📖.
In September, I moved back to Lagos 🇳🇬. This was also bittersweet because I loved being back with my family and friends but Lagos isn’t exactly the easiest place to live, especially compared to the Bay Area!
I was also interviewed for net Magazine, a frontend-focused magazine I’ve been reading for years. This was a pretty big deal for me because I remember just getting started in web development and reading each issue religiously. At the time, I never thought I would one day be in the magazine myself!
October was a quiet month for me. I mainly settled back to living in Lagos and focused on building BuyCoins.
November was the busiest month in terms of travel. I visited 7 cities and 5 countries in the span of these four weeks.
I started in Sunnyvale, California 🇺🇸 for the Google Developers Experts Summit. I love attending this summit because it’s great to be around so many intelligent individuals who are genuinely passionate about helping their communities.
Next was Chrome Dev Summit in San Francisco 🇺🇸. CDS is always the most valuable conference for me as it’s entirely focused on frontend development and every talk gives me something I can bring into my daily work.
Next up was Øredev in Malmo, Sweden 🇸🇪 where I spoke about Making Accessibility Easy. Because they don’t have an international airport, I had to fly into Copenhagen, Denmark 🇩🇰 and drive across the border to Sweden so I got to visit and spend time in both countries.
After Sweden was Belfast, Northern Ireland 🇬🇧. I spoke about CSS for the Next Billion Users at Pixel Pioneers, which was such a lovely conference!
Finally, I went to Lisbon, Portugal 🇵🇹 for a mini holiday.
In addition to all this travelling, I started a challenge to write a blog post every weekday until I had written 30 articles. This was, as you would imagine, incredibly difficult but I managed to power through.
I published my 30th article on Christmas day and have been, besides writing this article, taking a break from writing and work in general.
See you next year! ✨
What about 2019?
Working on BuyCoins has been incredibly fulfilling. We have a lot of goals for the months and years to come which I unfortunately can’t share, but know that there are exciting things coming!
What I learned from my daily blogging challenge was that I really respond to strict and consistent schedules. So although I won’t continue the daily blogging as it isn’t sustainable for me in the long run, I aim to publish every week like I did when I first started my blog.
I did less speaking this year than I did the year before. I don’t think this was necessarily a bad thing, as going to conferences and developing talks takes a lot of time and effort. My goal for next year is to work on improving the quality and delivery of my talks. Public speaking has never been a strong suit of mine, and I think I have improved through doing it a lot over the years, but I would like to be a great public speaker.
Every year, I set myself a goal of reading 12 books and every year I fail. I came close this year, with 10 books, but I’m going to try this again for 2019.
This year I developed a great habit of doing some form of exercise, even if it’s just for 10 minutes, every day. I aim to continue this next year and make sure it’s a habit that stays with me for life.