Career life

2015: Ship

three danbos, holding balloons
Credit: Flickr / sⓘndy°

For 2015, I chose the word ship. I did this for a couple of reasons:

  1. Taking some “time out” can easily turn into achieving nothing. It was important to me that I had something to show for my time.
  2. I wanted to bias towards putting stuff out there.
  3. I am very achievement oriented, and this gave me achievements to collect.

I like the idea of choosing a word to guide the year. Resolutions are easily broken (or worse, forgotten), but a word is more like choosing a theme for the year. I like to choose the thing I want to be noticeably better at by the end of the year. It’s also a way to influence decisions, when choosing between A and B which is a better fit for the theme of the year?

It took a little while for me to figure out how to focus on “shipping”. In the end it was simple: a text document, underneath each month is a list of bullet points, one for each thing “shipped”. One month just 1 thing (and barely – this was a wakeup call as to how I was spending all my time on client work, and I started being more deliberate about carving out time for my own projects), and one month 6. It’s not consistent, because often “shipping” is the result of months of work, and generally, the number of things shipped rose through the year and was higher in later months than earlier months. I feel like this is a good sign.

As with all things, I decided there should be a low bar for what it meant to “ship”. Things I “shipped” included:

  • New talks.
  • Alphas / betas / releases.
  • Contracts.
  • Longer form projects.
  • Open Sourcing a library

Even though I have chosen a different word for 2016 (“scale”), I plan to keep this text document around. It’s a reminder to keep putting my work out there, to take a moment to celebrate Achievements, and when I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing, it’s something to revisit and remind myself that isn’t the case.

I think the word “ship” gave me all the benefits I hoped for when I chose it a year ago. But as well as helping me celebrate, it made me look at things in a different way – where I deliberately tried to extract what value I could from them and package it in some “shippable” way. Something less ephemeral than Twitter, or blog posts.

For 2014 I don’t remember if I picked a word but my real theme was “choose life”. That was about digging out of a hole, and figuring how to leave and what life would be like after The Conglomerate. That was a survival word, not an aspirational one. “Ship” was aspirational. “Scale”, even more so.

2015 Ship List

(some names redacted, note many of these weren’t solo achievements)


  • iOS Beta
  • First Technically Speaking webinar (w/Chiu-Ki)
  • Visual refresh of Male Allies bingo card (w/Karen, Kathryn)





  1. Technically Speaking 6monthiversary (incl. launched website)
  2. XXX contract
  3. XXX panel work
  4. Project F first draft
  5. Started work on XXX



  • Asked to work on XXX Project I3


  • Show and Hide visual refresh iOS
  • XXX Project I3 delivered
  • Technically Speaking workshop



  • New biz cards
  • Technically Speaking stickers
  • CapOne Hosted Blogger @ GHC
  • Ride – contract


  • Technically Speaking anniversary – t-shirts and mentoring program.
  • Show and Hide Android Beta
  • Launch candidate for iOS Show and Hide on TestFlight


  • Joined Ride as Director of Mobile Engineering
  • Show & Hide available on iTunes
  • Technically Speaking broke 2K subscribers
  • XXX Project I3 released
  • New Android Beta of Show and Hide