2014 in review

What a corker this year has been. We’ve had a lot of excitement within SSW. We’ve made a lot of changes, and run a lot of new events, and these things couldn’t have happened without the wonderful people who work with me. I’d like to give you a summary of a few of the cool things we’ve done in 2014.

FireBootCamp

What I’m most proud of this year are the FireBootCamp courses we’ve run. FireBootCamp is our intensive 9-week .NET coding camp, and we ran the first one ever back in January. It’s exhausting to attend, and even more exhausting to run. Yet somehow, despite the mountains of preparation it took to create the course material and the long days of teaching, Adam Stephensen was always cheerful, motivated and a delight to be around. I think he may have had the hardest job this year, but he made it look easy. FireBootCamp created a stack of awesome enterprise .NET developers, and I’m looking forward to the next courses we’re running in 2015.

The shift in our technology stack

We’ve picked up a number of great new clients, not just in our core areas of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. We’ve got a way to go but we’re making inroads in Europe and America. At the beginning of the year, we made it a focus that we’d do more AngularJS and Xamarin projects and I’m quite grateful that our devs have really picked up the baton and done some shiny projects on these new technology stacks.

On the Microsoft side, it’s been a refreshing change having Satya Nadella at the helm. Lots of great developer initiatives – the biggest of them was the recent announcement of open sourcing .NET.

New events

Xamarin is taking the world by storm, and SSW is helping. We’ve now got Xamarin Hack Day events going in Europe, Australia, China, and America, and we’re getting about 100 registrations for each one. These keen developers are willing to give up their Saturdays. I can feel the Xamarin love building.

Our products bearing fruit

There’s been a good amount of investment in our products. Each sprint we go live with new functionality, and each sprint we get new customers.

My favourite 5 products of the year:

  • SugarLearning – the best induction to get new employees up and running
  • SSW LinkAuditor – you need to check for broken links, right?
  • SSW TimePro – the only time sheet solution that automatically enters developers’ timesheets based on their source-code check-ins
  • SSW HealthCheck – for the simplest way for developers get a health status page
  • SSW DataOnion – the easiest way to get your architecture right.

The growth of SSW TV
This year SSW TV hit a major milestone: more than half a million views. We’ve also got more than 4,000 subscribers and more than 3 million minutes watched (that’s about 5.8 years!).

SSWTV-stats

Figure: almost 6 YEARS of SSW TV watched

I’m really happy with the quality of our videos and I hear so many nice comments. My favorite comment of the year was from the DevSuperPowers video on AngularJS presented by Ben Cull:

“To say I enjoyed Ben’s webinar would be an understatement – I found it more riveting than Game of Thrones!”

Craig Franklin, Managing Director at Intense Technology

Our new logo
Over the last 6 years, I’ve made 2 significant attempts at rebranding and getting rid of our dated logo.

After a deep breath, we gave it another go this year. It’s not just a logo – there’s a whole lot of other marketing collateral that has to change, and too many people to make happy. The design is familiar, but different, and I commend our designers, David Berkes, Rebecca Liu, and Tiago Araujo, for the hard work that went into the change.


ssw-logo_evolution
Figure: in June 2014, I unveiled the new SSW – a modern update on our 20-year classic

The renovation hell

Progress on my renovations, at the office and at home, has moved at a glacial pace.

I would have loved to announce that we have nice new offices, but alas, it’s proved more difficult than building software! 🙂 There’s a number of things I haven’t done right and too much time has been burnt spinning wheels with indecision. In the next 12 months, I hope to kick off the reno, so our office can look as sharp as my PAs wit, and I could put to bed this tiresome project.

Although SSW has been around for a long time (more than 20 years!), just the changes in the last 12 months have been astonishing. I’m looking forward to 2015 and I’m grateful I still have a job.

I’m still focused on building maintainable enterprise solutions that are inexpensive to build. I hope all devs avoid getting bogged down on technical details and instead keep evolving the Product Owner’s vision.

I hope you’ve had a great year with lots of highlights. What are your goals for 2015? Let me know in the comments.