Gratitude and Reflections on 2019

A year of change and the start of a new venture

A good friend of mine recently asked upon hearing of my impending career change what I planned to do next. I had lots of big plans rattling around in my mind, but without hesitation I responded, “I plan to relax, to reflect, and to be thankful.”

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Me chilling at a beach and attempting to relax…

By all accounts, this was a challenging year. I had put all of my energy into building a new region halfway around the world from my home. I spent more time in planes and airports and hotel rooms than with my family. I scuttled plans to move to Hong Kong as political tensions engulfed the city. I left a company that I loved for the better part of three years as it rapidly lost the culture and people I deeply cared about.

These all sound like significant, gut-busting setbacks, but I could not be more grateful for the travails. This year turned out to be one of personal and professional revelation.

The people I met and the friendships I forged inspired me. I traveled to places like Vietnam and Philippines for the first time. I supported events promoting diversity in tech, a personal mission I took on this year. The talks and writing I shared helped motivate and educate thousands. I even launched a podcast! My work had more meaning and purpose than at any other point along my professional journey.

For all of this, I want to thank you. You have been part of this journey with me and in this global community I have cobbled together of technologists, developers, and leaders.

What will I do next year? I shared the first little snippet of my plans with more to reveal over the next several weeks. In the meantime, there is quite a lot to reflect on as I look back at some of my most impactful posts from 2019.

The Equation for Digital Transformation
I started out the year sharing what I had observed of most failed enterprise transformation efforts by proposing a better path, which is to start with building real engineering teams and a supportive culture that enables developers to collaborate more effectively.

Does Your CEO Understand Software Development?
Even if you create a great developer culture staffed by highly talented engineers, business leaders need to have a basic understanding of software delivery and technical debt in order to become more agile and responsive to changes in the market and competition.

Killer Code
Earlier this year, airlines grounded their Boeing 737 Max fleets for faulty control systems that were the results of shortcuts and poor decisions made to get the plane out to market faster, highlighting why having engineers managing & leading engineers is so critical.

The Future of Code
If software is eating the world, is AI eating software jobs? Not quite, but AI is changing the way we think about crafting software as well as shaping the types of developer roles that will emerge in the next decade which is less coding and more about creativity..

Motivation and Online Communities
I spoke a lot this year on the value of community, but it can be a hard concept to grasp for large enterprises that assume community can be created through a technology platform, whereas I share how community needs to start with vision, culture, and people.

Bonus Post: A Better Workplace
I tried to keep it to five posts, but I could not ignore this post on how our work environment has a huge impact on developer productivity and creativity, from our workspaces, to flexible time arrangements, to the diversity of our teammates.

Thank you again for being so supportive this year and giving me the encouragement to continue my mission to build and participate in awesome developer communities. I wish you a peaceful and joyous holiday season, and excited for what the new year has in store!

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Ho, ho, ho and a a merry repository merge!

How are you celebrating the holidays this year? Are there any particularly geeky tech gifts you received or projects you are working on in your spare time?

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Freakonomics Radio — Honey, I Grew the Economy

Listened to this super interesting episode about the hidden innovation economy, something that I think is very relevant for enterprises.

Don’t worry though, new Heretechs podcast episodes are coming in January! Check out past episodes on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts and remember to give us a like and subscribe 😁

We help IT leaders in enterprises solve the cultural challenges involved in digital transformation and move towards a community based culture that delivers innovation and customer value faster. Learn more about our work here.

Written by

Thoughts on developers, digital transformation, enterprise agility, community building & software engineering culture. Author 👉 https://twitter.com/marksbirch

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