2016: Year In Review

The year of the techie

For a long time, my attention was (almost) equally split between tech and entertainment but 2016 was the year that this changed. In January, I made a tough decision to leave a very entertaining job at a record label called 960 Music. I quit to found Codaye Technologies, a software development company building products for small businesses. I ran Codaye Tech. while writing part time for 360Nobs.com and Innovation Village. The first being an entertainment site and the latter, a tech blog. I later left both jobs to focus on coding.

This was a huge step for me, finally choosing something to focus on. I still love music, however — I play the guitar and still sing all the time — and I will get to recording for personal pleasure someday in the future.

The Highs

In 2016, one of my greatest joys was Codaye. I enjoyed doing something I love and I also ticked off something very important on my list — hiring people. It was nice paying people to do what they love to do. I had a great team of people around me and some great clients too.

In June, I got accepted into the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST). This is an important milestone for me. I was one of 15 Nigerians selected into the programme which proved I had been doing some things right all along. MEST is a fully funded one year programme aiming to build world class software technology startups. (Interested in joining in any capacity? Apply here).

I also began serious work on my software development path in 2016. I finally opted for Ruby and began work with Ruby on Rails. I primarily want to be a frontend developer though so I have put Rails on hold to strengthen my Javascript skills.

In my state, the military chased Boko Haram out of all the 27 Local Government Areas they held in 2015. There is still a lot of other areas the government is lacking though and it pains me to see people suffering still. Unfortunately, I did not get involved in any major charity effort in 2016. Something I need to fix.

I met a lot of amazing people in 2016 and made a lot of them friends. We also had a new addition to the family, my niece Amarissa 😍

The Lows

In 2016, my country Nigeria took a lot of L’s.

The economy was in recession, there was inflation and the value of the Naira depreciated. A lot of services I and other developers need for our work became at least 2.5x more expensive. The Central Bank of Nigeria later barred debit/credit cards from foreign transactions which made a bad situation worse. A lot of jobs were lost and I saw a major dip in the finances of my company starting from the second quarter of the year. I got into debt in the form of staff salaries which took me a long while to offset.

But that was not as bad as it got. President Buhari turned a blind eye to the massacres by “herdsmen” in the middle belt of Nigeria. The military perpetrated human rights abuses in the same Kaduna towards Shiites; overt aggression toward Biafra agitators and so on. The country took an overdose of L’s so let me not digress or this personal review will be all about the Nigerian government. It all affects me, nonetheless.

This year ended on a very sad note when I lost a friend and former schoolmate, Machundi Ando. It was so unexpected and really sad. I hope his family finds peace & comfort and I hope the memories and lessons he has left with us stay forever.

We miss you, bruh

Lessons Learned

2016 taught me a few valuable lessons and mostly reinforced old ones. Some of the main ones for me are;

  • Practice makes perfect. But since perfection can ideally never be reached, it means never stop practicing.
  • Network, network, network. I spent a lot of 2016 meeting people that fascinate me. Mostly off Twitter, and a few at events like Social Media Week, Afropolitan Vibes, etc.
  • Save in times of plenty, you never know when things will dip.
  • Value friends and loved ones. You never know when they could go.
  • Learn to say no to certain jobs. The money might be tempting but you might regret later if client is already showing signs of being trouble.

Accomplishments in 2016

A few not so notable accomplishments have been;

  • Living outside Nigeria.
  • Contributed to an open source project for the first time.
  • Hiring staff.
  • Guiding a few young techies via Twitter.
  • Creating memories with friends whenever I was in their city.

Goals for 2017

My goals for this year are;

  • Become a proficient certified (vanilla) Javascript developer skilled in at least one framework.
  • Learn Ruby on Rails sufficiently and working on at least one project.
  • Host an Open Source Project.
  • Travel to at least one more country.
  • Get involved in charity work by donating both time and money.
  • Write at least 52 articles on Medium and a few elsewhere as the need arises.
  • Write more technical articles and tutorials.
  • Read at least 12 books.
  • Exercise way more and be more faithful to my routine.

2016 was a great year that created a lot of great memories. Apart from my financial situation and losing a friend, everything else was an improvement on previous years. This year will be an all-round improvement in everything I can control.

And a few meaningless stats…