2014 In Review

Sacha Greif
Jan 23, 2016 · 6 min read

I wanted to do a “2015 In Review” post, but then realized I hadn’t done it for 2014. It seemed bad to just skip a whole year, so here’s 2014, one year late.


I started 2014 the traditional Japanese way, by going to the temple to pray for good luck throughout the upcoming year. I chronicled the visit in this Exposure story.

On the profesionnal front, I kept working on Discover Meteor fresh off the Discover Meteor Day workshop.


In February, I went snowboarding not once, but twice! First at Nozawa Onsen in Nagano prefecture with Emi (my wife), and then right off the bat a second time in Aizu-Wakamatsu in Fukishima prefecture with my friend Ryoma.

We got a chance to stay in a pretty awesome resort thanks to Eyes Japan’s Yamadera-san. He showed off all sorts of cool gadgets, like camera drones for filming your cool snowboard moves (or in my case, falling down on my ass) and futuristic HUD-equipped, speed-tracking snowboard masks.

Apparently, February is also the month I spent far too much time playing Threes.


We went back home to France in March, and decided to take a few days out of our trip to visit some friends in the UK.

We visited Cardiff, Bath, and London, and got a chance to hang out with the awesome Renato & Rita from design agency Haum, and go to the Meteor London meetup. Also ate a whole lot of Cornish Pasties.

In March, I also tweeted out this mysterious tweet:

The frustrating part is that I have no clue which app I was talking about anymore…

I wrote about our crowdsourcing process for Discover Meteor. Two years later, the book has been translated into dozens of languages, all by volunteers.

And last but not least, I also published the Ultimate Design Article.


April is Sakura season in Japan, and one of my favorite time of the year.

So I was a bit sad to leave Japan once more, but it was for a good cause: I was invited so give a talk at Rebuild.

This was my first time visiting Indianapolis and giving a talk at an actual, big-time conference, and both experiences were pretty awesome!

I gave a talk about (what else) Meteor, and although I think I put half the audience to sleep, at least a couple people seemed to get something out of it.

I then headed to San Francisco for a few days, where I randomly saw Patio11 in the street. Which is funny, seeing as we both live in Japan.


After four months of travelling all over the place, it was nice to come back to Japan’s peace and quiet. We did a few day trips in Nara and Okayama (I strongly recommend the Kibi plains bike ride) and generally just stayed put.

Well, we did go to Okinawa, too. But that’s still Japan, so it doesn’t really count as a trip, right?

Looking back at all this, I’m starting to wonder how I got any work done at all in 2014…


At this point I can’t even explain it, but it seems like I somehow went to the U.S. again in June. Emi attended a geology conference in Sacramento, and I tagged along for the ride, mainly just so I could train at the famous Team Alpha Male gym (I know what it looks like but it’s actually an MMA gym, not a gay club).

We then spent some time in San Francisco (which was starting to feel like a third home by then) and headed down to Los Angeles to see my brother.

June was also the month I published what remains to this day one of my most successful pieces of writing ever, The $5 Logo.

What started like a simple test of cheap design service Fiver ended up exposing shady practices and launching a whole debate in the designer community.

We also released the official Discover Meteor t-shirt, with an awesome illustration by Sel Thomson.


In July, I wrote another very well-received piece, The Product Spectrum. I’m pretty sure 90% of its success was due to the cool-sounding title. I mean, “spectrum” is such an awesome word!

We took a short trip to Tokyo and Kamakura, which is an awesome beach-front city 50 minutes from downtown Tokyo. We tried wind-surfing, which is somehow even harder than regular surfing.


Apparently nothing much happened in August.

I followed up on my original $5 Logo post with another article on Medium this time, and that one got even more attention.

And in other news, I also published The Spiderweb Strategy.


In September we went to Toyama prefecture for yet another geology conference. This was a perfect occasion to hike up Tateyama, one of Japan’s most popular hiking destination. Although the mountaintop reminded us of rush-hour Tokyo subway at times, it was still worth the trip.

I also published a case study on Discover Meteor in collaboration with Gumroad. It’s still a good read if you’re thinking about writing a programming book!

September is also the month I started playing Hearthstone. I haven’t stopped since…


Emi had never been to Hong Kong, so we took advantage of a extended holiday week-end to make the trip.

Although most people stick to Hong Kong’s densely packed urban areas, it’s actually quite easy to find nature. Less than an hour away from Central, the Dragon’s Back trail takes you all the way to a small beach town, the perfect way to end a hike.

We also made sure to get our fill of Hong Kong food. Highlights include snake soup, and of course, dim sum!

On the Discover Meteor front, we released a free Starter Edition to celebrate Meteor finally hitting version 1.0. It did amazingly well, with over 17,000 people signing up to get the book.


In November, I visited the Philipines for the first time ever to speak at Form, Function & Class in Manilla.

I talked about the whole $5 Logo saga, and overall the presentation was very well-received.

I also tried my hand at writing a more serious essay about Knowledge:


December was a nice and quiet way to end the year. I didn’t go anywhere or do anything special (although Hearthstone is probably to blame for that). Just stayed here in good old Osaka.

This was quite a year! And to be honest, I’m actually feeling pretty jealous of my 2014 self. Looks like I did a lot more fun stuff than 2015-me!

But that’s a story for another year…

Sacha Greif

Written by

Designer/developer from Paris, now living in Osaka. Creator of Sidebar, VulcanJS, and co-author of Discover Meteor.