So, here's another one of them end-of-year posts. 2011 was fun. Lots of fun: a couple of weeks travelling around Japan with Kate, furry tendencies indulged at Playgroup Festival, LoveBox and Sonar Festival followed by a few days lounging in Valencia all stand out.
Leisure-wise I did just about enough running (barely keeping a 100km/month average) but Not Enough Aikido (once a week with a trip to Edinburgh to see two old masters: Sugawara Shihan and Bryan Rieger). I slacked off a little when it came to writing, too, with just a Summer workshop with Wendy and a few trips to Flash Fiction favourite Not For The Faint Hearted. 6 or so weekends were merrily spent airsofting at UCAP Virus, before their incredible hospital site was shut for demolition in December. I also manage to get up to London to see quite a few talks this year: Sherry Turkle by herself and with Aleks Krotoski, a couple of School of Life events, Richard Dawkins presenting The Magic of Reality, Guy Kawasaki, and the incredible show that is War Horse. Oh, and Robin Dunbar came to Shoreham in February.
Work gave me a welcome excuse for travel once again: I spoke at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, briefly at LIFT11, introduced Kirin at Mobile 2.0 Europe and had a lot of fun at UXCampEurope in Berlin and the Quantified Self event in Amsterdam. In the UK I blathered on at the Online Information Conference, Mobile Monday, UX Brighton, the Future of Mobile, Telco 2.0, and a BBC internal day for their UX & Design team. And I had an amazing weekend at OverTheAir in Bletchley Park, and got to attend a few of the expertly organised Rewired State Hack Days.
FP shipped a succession of products to be proud of this year: Davos Pulse for CNBC, the Radio 1 Big Weekend, Glastonbury Festival, AA Breakdown & Traffic, TheTicketApp and Hotels on WebOS for LastMinute.com, and the Viz Profanisaurus for Nokia devices, to name a few. Our Guardian Anywhere app for Android went past 100,000 installs and is about to shift its 5 millionth copy of the Guardian, and we open-sourced Kirin, our approach to blending web apps and native code. Just before Christmas I popped into FPHQ for a sneak peek of a few projects that'll ship early next year, and they're looking good.
At the end of this year my involvement with FP is ending, beyond contributing to the Vexed newsletter for a little bit, and popping up in public on their behalf very occasionally. And whilst I'll be at Sussex until August/September working on my dissertation, I'm already starting to think about what I want to do next. It's going to be something like this:
- Products, not service: I've spent my whole career so far building software to order for other people. That's been great for giving me variety (I've launched over 250 products), but I'd like to be involved both before the decision to build is made, and after launch. So next time I want to be in a product company;
- Consumer-facing: I'm interested in making things for real people to use in their everyday lives. I get a little dopamine rush when I meet someone who's used things I helped ship;
- Mobile or internet: I've spent my life working in one or the other, and every day they get closer. I still find them both incredibly exciting places to be working: we've still a great deal of work to do in (un)wiring our species together;
- Working in a cross-disciplinary team: over the last 5 years I developed an interest in the overall process of Getting Stuff Launched, and I still enjoy the variety of working with a range of smart folks with different skills, backgrounds and languages: designers, developers, testers, marketers, biz dev people, whatever;
- Big jobs: Flirtomatic is probably the most-used product I've worked on, with 5 million users. I don't think it too many; in future I'd like to go bigger;
- Elsewhere; I've enviously watched a few friends heading towards StartupChile, and have a hankering to try being somewhere else for a bit.
I think 2012 is going to be fun :)