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Goodbye 2014! Reflections (Part 2 of 3) : Hits and Misses

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Ah, New Year’s Eve… how fitting to share reflections of 2014 today. Read: what a nice coincidence NYE falls on the day I normally post! So I’m sharing my accomplishments of 2014 as part of the 3-part series of reflections – today’s part 2. You can read Part 1 for the six reasons why I blog here. Today’s post starts with the question:

What was accomplished in 2014?

I learned how to code!

The beginning of 2014 started with a bit of a lull for me, and I took a weekend to learn Ruby on Rails through One Month. However, no way do I see that as where I checked off “Learn How To Code” mostly because I didn’t progress beyond a couple months with it. I didn’t find it sustaining. Nor am I counting my earlier knowledge in Visual Basic or SQL. None of those were actually harnessed into sustainable, marketable skills for mass consumption. I have a post about this, too – These 3 Questions Led Me to Stop Waiting and Start Programming.

Instead, it was the recent August-November months where I feel I truly learned how to code. That’s when I embarked on building Dee Duper in Apple’s Swift. The experience was up and down with a LOT of trial and error including YouTubing “How To” videos, figuring out how to properly Google help forums, etc. However, in December, I was able to get Dee Duper in App Store and released for the general public. Since it was so late in the year, I’m delaying marketing till the new year rolls around.

Till then, I’ve started working on another idea on iOS. I’ve made huge progress, and hope to wrap it up by the second week of January. Then, I’ll get it into testing before another App Store submission.

Body Boss was “zombified”.

In April, the Body Boss team decided it was best to let Body Boss continue to operate, but to not sink anymore resources into Marketing and Product Development. Well, kind of. We still do a little product development including moving and testing our skills with different services.

Body Boss today is a revenue-generating business, but is largely hands-off with some notable college and high school programs using it happily.

If traction continues to grow or my programming skills continue to develop (especially on Ruby on Rails and JavaScript), maybe I’ll revive the business beyond zombie-mode. For me, it’s still very much an idea I’m passionate about, and I see some amazing potential in it beyond the academic institutions but into the commercial and retail channels, healthcare, and yes, the consumer market.

Developed stronger business development skills.

This is really a more on-going thing, and probably not specific enough. However, along with Body Boss, I continued to refine my business development skills. After Body Boss’s announcement, I spent the summer consulting with a local startup with a new innovative marketing product.
I performed a lot of the day-to-day cold calls and performed demos, put together some marketing collateral including content for the site, and even helped put together some fund-raising materials including Pro Formas and pitch decks, etc.

Essentially, I did a lot of different things outside of programming. I’m still finding myself building on breadth rather than focusing on depth. Next year, I’ll probably need to work on the latter if I’m to find traction in or with a startup.

Outside of that, I’ve also connected with many great local startups and corporate executives from straight cold-emailing or tweeting, or random meets at Starbucks or conferences. I’ve definitely improved on my people skills and confidence in just walking up to others and finding ways to help which has led to other consulting arrangements.

Heck, I was introduced to the Jon Birdsong of Rivalry who allowed me to spend a few minutes in SalesForce – “3 Hours in SalesForce and I’m (Finally) an Expert”. I suppose that can be a check right there – “Get Working Knowledge of SalesForce/ some CRM”.

What was NOT accomplished?

Building a successful venture

Body Boss’s zombification pretty much marked one in the “failure” category. Then, I spent a few months doing various consulting projects and learning how to program. So nope, didn’t quite build a venture that would sustain a living for myself and one that I would want to grow into a business to provide job opportunities for others.

Benching 315

Okay, so this is less entrepreneurial, but it’s still a goal that was NOT met. Even though I’ve developed a lot of Strength & Conditioning acumen over the years, I’ve really lacked a good grasp of the science behind S&C. As such my strength for the barbell bench press has stalled a bit. I started adding more sets at high intensities to my workouts, and in effect, I’ve done nothing but increased injuries. I’ve tried to push myself too much, and actually decreased my strength.

During the latter part of 2014, I’ve decided to do more research and stick to the basic such as Prilepin’s table. With a smarter regimen, 315 can be an attainable goal next year.

Till then, I did accomplish bringing in a Leg Day (okay, 1.5 Leg Days actually) to the program. I’ve long held out adding a workout just for legs because I used to play soccer up to 4 days a week and mountain bike 1 day. The frequency I play at has slowed down considerably, so I’ve added this lower body day. I also added Squat Cleans into my regimen which was something I was mostly untrained and scared to do. Now, it’s one of my favorite exercises.

Oh, and I also got three plates on the dips.

3 plates? That's nothin'. Let's see 4 soon.

12AM on January 1st

Some of the above is a little hard to track and close (such as the Business Development Goal). Next year, I’m going to be more specific and discuss how I’m going to track the goals – I’ll detail this on part 3 of Reflections next week. Stay tuned and keep in touch!

What is just ONE goal you met and ONE goal you didn’t meet this year? Anything stick out to you like these did for me? Any thoughts on how you might ensure success next year? I’m thinking about mine…

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