life Reflections

2015 Review

Me, ending the year in Paris. Wiser, fluffier and giving fewer fucks than a year ago.
Me, ending the year in Paris. Wiser, fluffier and giving fewer fucks than a year ago.

For 2015 I chose the word “ship“. 2015 was the year of freedom – freedom to do my own thing, but also the pressure of figuring out what that looked like. No-one to answer to but myself, and I was the worst and also the best boss I have ever had. The worst because I’m a thankless taskmaster. The best because I gave myself a lot of latitude, plenty of time for personal development, and freedom to live wherever I want.

I will write more about what the word “ship” meant for me in 2015, but for 2016 I have chosen the word “scale”. I plan to keep on shipping! But the question I am asking myself to guide my choses in 2016 is: how do I make myself a multiplier rather than an increment?


I travelled a lot, although not as much as I thought I would. Spent 2 months living in Berlin. 2 months in South America. I didn’t go to Asia, and went to Easter Island rather than Tuvalu.

Countries visited (where I left the airport):

  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia (x2)
  • Croatia
  • France (x2)
  • Germany (x4 – or x3 and 1 night in an airport hotel)
  • Italy
  • Malta
  • The Netherlands (x2)
  • The U.S. (x3)

Highs and Lows

The highs: I worked on my own projects and shipped some things I’m proud of. I built collaborative projects with people I adore, worked with people who value and respect me, connected with old friends, made new ones. I met a hedgie. I feel more creative – I even made some physical things. I ended the year starting a really cool job with great people. I gave a lot of talks.

The lows: I watched a lot of women leave the company I left for similar reasons I did, and that felt really shitty. I avoided various communities because Toxicity. I refused to speak at a conference because they wouldn’t put in a code of conduct, and got harassed as a result. I did contracting work for a company that still hasn’t paid me (standard contractor woes, but wow it sucks).

This year has been intense and the learning curve has been steep. But I feel like even if I didn’t achieve all the things I wanted to achieve, I learned more than I ever dreamed I would. Thanks to everyone who supported me, practically and emotionally. Here’s to an equally intense 2016!

This site has ~75K visitors, which it 2/3 more than last year! (42% of which were mobile / tablet). I’ve included my most popular posts below, last year 9/10 of my top posts were about women in tech, and this year 5/10 and 5/16 are. I will keep writing about women, and inclusion in general, but it’s really nice to see my other work getting more attention!

Most Popular Posts from 2015

1. Codes of Conduct and Worthless Manfeelings. #1 piece of feedback on this was “but it’s not about worthless manfeelings”, but the provocative title helped me filter out people who were determined to be mad from those that read it.

2. Launching! iOS Unit Testing: Beyond the Model. My post announcing and explaining my iOS testing workshop! Yay!

3. The Hardest, Shortest, Lesson Becoming a Manager. On my acceptance that coding is no longer the most important thing that I do. My first post on being a manager! And so popular! Looking forward to writing more about this in 2016.

4. Pitfalls for Men Talking About Diversity. Some common mistakes that I’ve seen men make when talking about “diversity”, along with some suggestions.

5. On Recent Events. Not a great feel to see this one to see on this list – the blog post I wrote when I locked down my Twitter account in an act of self-preservation. Contains some suggestions for helping improve the inclusivity of tech.

6. The Woman Speaker Slot. On some of the less flattering speaking invitations I get, and how I get myself uninvited from them.

7. Honey, I Left the Tech Industry. My follow up post to The Day I Leave, the expected and the unexpected things I found.

8. How I Interview. The first post I wrote about technical interviewing, in which I deconstructed the process I try to hold myself up to.

9. Uncomfortable Conversations About Money. I got real about the options for conference travel: who’s paying?

10. Better Testing of View Controllers on iOS: Part 2. Part of my series on testing iOS, specifically about how I use “presenters” to get code out of my view controllers.

11. Mobile is a Systems Problem. My notes from my “Mobile is a Systems Problem” talk. About how we talk about mobile UX like it’s the screen, but it involves all kind of other things. And also about skiing.

12. Advice, Mentors, and Questionably Helpful Emails. When people email me asking for things they sometimes get responses along the lines of “this is a bad request for $reasons”, so I wrote about how to get people to help you.

13. Unit Testing on iOS: Beyond the Model. My speaker notes from the talk of the same name. It’s about how I got to >90% test coverage of Show & Hide.

14. 12 Challenging Steps to Being a Better Interviewer. My speaker notes from the talk of the same name. Which is about… being a better interviewer. And also my favourite raccoon.

15. The Attention Game. A rant about how attention is not currency, but often used as such, especially when it comes to “diversity”.

16. Launching: Show & Hide. The best and most terrifying post this year – #16 in stats, #1 in my heart. The details of launching my passion project, and some thoughts on why it was such a special project to me.

Most Popular Posts from Before 2015

1. It’s Not an Asshole Problem—It’s a Bystander Problem. Actually my very last post of 2014… and I think this was the post that resulted in me meeting my boss. About how it’s not just what people do… it’s about the people who stand there and do nothing; their behaviour is sometimes more disappointing, and harder to bear.

2. Reasons Why It’s Hard to Find Senior Women Engineers. Much of “diversity” is focused on pipeline work, and specifically recruiting new grads. It’s harder to find senior women engineers, I wrote some thoughts about why. Still true.

3. Interviewing at Google. My prep list for technical interviews.

4. Your Guide To Undermining Women Whilst Being “Nice”. A list of undermining behaviours exhibited under the pretext of being “nice”. Some of my best, most bitter, snark.

5. Process, and Culture. Good process is invisible, so we call it culture instead. This made it onto the Buffer suggested post list, which doesn’t seem to result in that many reads, but a lot of tweets (>500).

6. The Day I Leave the Tech Industry. I wrote about that feeling of knowing that your time in the tech industry is running out.

7. Extracting the Dominant Color from an Image in Processing. One of the early posts in what became my book chapter and Show & Hide.

8. Tweeting Shit That Men Say. Reflecting on what happened at GHC, male allies, and empathy.