Adam’s 2023 Year in Review

This year has gone by so fast, I guess time goes quickly when you’re having fun! For me, 2023 has been the year of AI development and travel with my family, two of my favorite things!

Personal Highlights

As some of you may know, every year my girls and I sit down at Christmas for a family Retro. This year we have a lot to be grateful for as a family. I’d love to share some of the things we highlighted:

πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸŽ“ Eve has finished Uni (on the Dean’s list) and is set to graduate next year and embark on full-time employment for the 1st time.

❀️ Ruby is smashing through uni and also met her partner Ben. It’s awesome to see her so happy and I also gained an awesome strategist for my team (they can’t break up now, he works for me) 🀣

🏒 SSW Brisbane office has doubled in size – the team is really excited about the new space with the much better view. And we’re looking forward to renovating it soon. Actually, I am not!

πŸš€ I got to present at NDC Oslo in Norway again – my session was on AI and ChatGPT and I had a super large crowd.

🧠 The SSW Brainstorming & Retreats – we’ve made so many awesome solutions together at these events, I love using the SSW brains trust as we have so many smart people. We spent time in Newcastle, the Sunshine Coast, Bowral and Yarra Valley with the teams.

πŸŒ… We went as a family to Greece with Pappou – 1st time we’d been in 4 years. It was great to re-connect, especially great for my Greek Goddess.

🐲 The whole family also went to China with my Delivery Lead Piers Sinclair. Piers speaks Mandarin better than he thought he did and I feel the bridge between SSW Australia and SSW China is more solid.

πŸ₯ We also went to France, twice! The SSW Strasbourg office is awesome, in the middle of the most beautiful city at Christmas. I can’t wait to go again. Thank you Jean for suggesting this office!

⛷️ Visiting Meribel in the French Alps for Ruby’s birthday and seeing all the amazing Christmas markets πŸŽ„

Adam Cogan and his family in Greece
Figure: The whole family enjoying the incredible scenery in Greece

Reflections on 2023 – the SSW Retro

I do a yearly Retro with the whole SSW team to find out how their year went too. I love reading what their career and personal highlights are for the year! πŸ‘€

It was great to see that people are generally happier than in prior years, with lots of people going back to the gym and getting both healthier and fitter. There were a few big milestones in there, like getting married or buying a house, and of course plenty of devs who were proud of the various projects they’ve been working on… I’d love to share a few of the SSWer’s highlights with you.

Career highlights:

πŸ€– “GPT – Helped win SSW’s first GPT client and on track to deliver a successful project ahead of schedule.”

🏠 “Property – Bought my first apartment!”

πŸŽ™οΈ”Presenting at DDD Brisbane again”

πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’» “The growing team and seeing all the growth in their skills”

πŸ†”SSW being a Microsoft partner of the year awards finalist award”

🏒 “Changing offices – Joining the amazing Brisbane team (from China)”

πŸš€”A new client contacted Uly as a direct result of our new video: The Future of Business with AI: Automation, Intelligence, and Customer Relations | Ulysses Maclaren” (9 min)

πŸ€– “RulesGPT – the first person working on the project, created the working version in Next.js that was used as the groundwork for porting over to Blazor – was great to be on an AI and a greenfield project”

πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’» “New career – I successfully learned to code from scratch thanks to SSW FireBootCamp (Angular and .NET).”

A group of brainstormers looking at the camera and pointing
Figure: SSW’s Matt G, William L, Luke P, and Jean working together to hack a new project at the Sydney Brainstorming. Nothing better than seeing the devs come together like this

Personal highlights:

πŸŒ… “Travel: Greece & China with Ruby & The Cogans”

πŸ“š “Releasing the MAUI book”

πŸ§‘πŸ»β€πŸ’» “My son starting to learn programming independently”

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦ “Kids – I got to spend more time than ever with my kids after starting work at SSW”

πŸŽ“ “Graduation – Finishing Uni has been amazing, massive reduction of stress!”

πŸš— “Driver’s license – can finally drive!”

πŸ’”Celebrating 20 years of marriage”

πŸ‘ΆπŸ» “Family – I became the godfather of my sister’s little girl”

❀️”Wedding πŸ’’ + Moved out of home 🏠 – Moved in with my partner ⭐”

A group dressed as Vikings
Figure: Getting our Viking on at Newcastle’s Maniaxe as part of the Sydney/Newcastle Retreat

2023 Wrap Up for SSW

We were lucky enough to work on some really cool projects again this year, and we’ve done a lot of fun things along the way. Here are just a few of the things we achieved in 2023!

The SSW wrapped for 2023

SSW Projects – Tech Trends

One of the things I’m proud of at SSW is how transparent we are with everything we do. We have some cool Power BI reports, and they are open to everyone in the company.

Here are some of the interesting outliers from those reports…

Full-stack solutions using .NET reign supreme! We’re in full swing migrating all of our projects to .NET 8, and given the awesome benefits you get from upgrading, I expect to see this across our client projects in 2024. Angular continues to slide down the list of favourability, with Blazor the dominant frontend tech choice now. Another huge change is React overtaking Angular for the first time, being used almost twice as much at SSW. Of course, cloud tech is everywhere, with β€˜Azure’ once again appearing near the top of our technology stack.

The top 5 technologies used were:

  • .NET
  • Azure
  • Dynamics 365
  • Blazor
  • Bicep
  • and Azure DevOps and GitHub continue to battle it out in the DevOps space
The project technologies that dominated 2023
Figure: SSW’s Power BI report shows different tech used throughout the 2023 year and #1 is .NET and then Azure. For web tech we see Blazor dominating, with the low code Power Platform choice of Dynamics 365 as a notable inclusion at the top
Group working together brainstorming
Figure: Rick, Matt P., Gordon, Jake, and Steven Q worked on a cool project at our Sydney brainstorming – it’s so great to see devs from different states coming together to work in person


It’s been an interesting year for YouTube content makers, the game has really changed and a lot of big hitters are moving away from it. This week alone, I saw that one of my favourite YouTubers, Tom Scott, who has made a video every week for the last ten years has decided to stop using the platform regularly, choosing instead to focus on podcasts.

I’ve been making quality video content for about 15 years and I love it, but it’s hard to argue with the stats… YouTube growth is slowing down, and our watch stats and new subscribers, although increasing, are at a slower rate than in the past, almost 65% less people are subscribing each year.

πŸ“±YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts is now huge. It was introduced back in 2020 when TikTok was banned in India, and expanded worldwide in 2021. It has gained a substantial user base with 2 billion monthly logged-in users. Since then, YouTube has actively promoted its short-video format platform on a global scale, implementing strategies such as automatically redirecting users to Shorts upon opening the YouTube app and introducing the YouTube Shorts Funds to encourage creator engagement.

This year we’ve introduced some shorts to SSW TV and it already it is already making a positive impact on our views. In fact, 4 shorts made the top 10 most watched videos, as well as 3 traditional videos that are less than 6 mins. While I prefer the longer format videos, it’s good to see that after more than 10 years, we’re still reaching our viewers.Β 

SSWTV growth chart from 2015-2023
Figure: While SSW TV continues to grow, it is clear that it has had significantly less growth than 5 years ago…

In 2023 SSW TV has:

  • Released 169 new videos to the public
  • Acquired 700 new subscribers
  • Received 250,000 views
  • Was watched for 920,136 minutes (that’s 4 years and 137 days!)

Our 10 most popular videos released in 2023 are:

Conferences and Community Engagement

The highlight of the conference circuit for me this year was attending NDC Oslo as a speaker. It was an incredible experience. Ruby, my youngest daughter came with me, and we had a blast.

For me, the value is not in the talks, the value is in the conversations you have with the people attending. Of course, I got to talk to all the local Scandinavians from Norway, Sweden, and Finland, but I also got to meet people who’d flown in from Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, and so many other places. Everyone is so different, and they’re fascinating to talk to.

I spoke about ChatGPT and OpenAI API, both of which I think will revolutionize how we build software!

Here are some of the other great events I was able to participate in!

πŸ§‘πŸ»β€πŸ’» Launching the new .NET 8 Superpowers so everyone can migrate to a better framework

πŸ§‘πŸ»β€πŸ’» 15 User Groups, across 3 states, and 2 countries

πŸ§‘πŸ»β€πŸ’»18 in-person training/hack days covering tech like AI, .NET 8, Azure, Angular & Clean Architecture

πŸ§‘πŸ»β€πŸ’» DDD Brisbane – we sponsored this awesome event and 4 SSW people had talks

🌞 6 SSW Retreats & Brainstorming Days

Adam and Ruby at NDC overlooking the main floor
Figure: My daughter Ruby loved the Norweign conference!
Video: SSW Brisbane Retreat 2023 – Bli Bli Aqua Park Adventures & Poolside Fun in the Sunshine Coast |

It’s been a great year – I cannot wait to see what 2024 brings! πŸŽ‰

How did your year go? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Figure: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year πŸŽ‰