Year in review: 2023

It’s been something of a year. Let’s start with some statistics.


I published 153 pieces of content this year between all my different endeavours, which includes over 25 hours of audio/video content – a first for me.

Open Source

I maintained and updated 5 open source projects and I contributed to two major WordPress releases this year, 6.3 and 6.4.


I went on 6 trips this year. Many of these trips were spontaneous, but nevertheless, good.

  1. Edmonton
  2. Toronto and Niagara Falls
  3. Los Angeles and area
  4. Jasper for the Dark Sky Festival
  5. Canmore
  6. Washington DC for a conference


I read 24 books. I tend to read in spurts, reading a lot, then not reading much, then reading a lot again. Some of these books took me an entire year to finish, and some I read in a single sitting. I read all kinds of things – from light (and spicy) romance to epic fantasies to books on management. ‘Twas a delight.

I also reread The Stormlight Archive series and The Protector of the Small quartet again. I read these two series habitually1, so they aren’t included in my official count.

The Books I Read in 2023
  1. The Golden Mean
  2. The Obstacle is the way
  3. Four Thousand Weeks
  4. Be a Triangle
  5. Engineering Management for the rest of us
  6. Discipline is destiny
  7. On Writing (re-read)
  8. Hero of Ages
  9. The Well of Ascension
  10. Mistborn
  11. Elantris
  12. Fourth Wing
  13. The Stardust Thief
  14. Reign
  15. Rivals
  16. Majesty
  17. The Perfumist of Paris
  18. Grit
  19. The Startup Wife
  20. The Book Eaters
  21. The Atlas Six
  22. Iron Wing
  23. Resilient Management
  24. Feel Good Productivity


“We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.”

John Dewey

It was quite the year.

What did I change my mind about?

Two things stand out to me:

When I first started The Daily 5 at the end of December 2022, I had intended for it to be a podcast that lasted all the way to the end of 2023. But I changed my mind about that in March 2023 and cut it short to ~100 episodes (in reality, 98 + a trailer). This was a good decision. The impact and benefits of those daily episodes are evident in my professional life everyday. But they were best as a season and not as a permanent ongoing thing.

I realized that I cannot do service/consulting work and do it as well as I want and try to push my career in the direction of education and products at the same time. I can if I’m willing to accept that I’ll either do them both poorly or do one of them very badly. So my own circumstances and perhaps my own inability to balance them well (right now) meant that I’ve changed my mind about how to approach them.

What did I learn this year?

I learned a lot this year, but two things stand out the most.

I learned the value of good boundaries, and the havoc that a lack of well defined professional boundaries can wreak on your mental and emotional well being. I won’t get into this too much, but I’ll say this much: you are first and foremost responsible for yourself. As they tell you on a plane, put your own oxygen mask on first – you cannot help others if you are not okay.

The other thing I learned this year was a lot more React. Like..a lot more. I learned that I have a good mind for it and I am able to see the power and value of JavaScript and client-side-heavy applications as well as server side applications using, say, PHP or something. Not everyone has an equivalent appreciation and talent for both styles of applications, but I seem to have a knack for both. Anyone who tells you one is unequivocally better than the other is either inexperienced or biased.

What didn’t go so well this year?

A few things.

All the progress I made towards getting healthier in 2022 was pretty much undone this year. That was not great. I’d like to do much better in 2024.

I let fear stall my progress on a few projects that were important to me. Not cool. And I didn’t build very much at all in public or for the public. I’d like to correct this in 2024.

I was very excited to do my talk at WordCamp US 2023, however, events conspired in such a way that I was just not prepared enough, and I don’t feel great about the quality of my delivery, even though the content was solid. I’d like to ensure I do better for future talks.

What did go well this year?

Despite not hitting all my content goals, I produced a fair bit of content, and more audio/visual content than I’ve ever produced before. The content was all over the place and not very focussed, but I learned a ton from creating it. Interestingly, accessibility has been a growing theme in my work.

The bulk of the work I’m proud of this year is not public. I worked really really hard this year and I learned a lot. I levelled up as a developer, mentor, content creator, and teacher. I’m proud of the impact I had on the professional lives of the people I worked closely with this year.

The world as of late

We’re living through a very tough humanitarian and political climate right now. A lot has been awful these past few years, but I’m not alone in having been horrified and deeply impacted by the ceaseless murderous (genocidal) and destructive rampage happening to the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli government, supported by many western powers. In the span of 90 days, more people I know have died (been murdered) than the combined total of people I knew who died during the rest of my life. For no other reason than their ethnicity and/or whereabouts.

It is difficult for me to describe the impact this has had on me, my life, my work, my everything. Difficult to describe how this has coloured my relationships, both professional and personal.

As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”


It’s been a tough year, but there was plenty of good in it too. If I had to sum up the goodness of 2023 in one word, I would choose exploration. 2023 was a year of exploring new job types, new communication mediums, new work partnerships, new technology, new topics. I am, however, ready to close the chapter on 2023 and look towards 2024.

Looking towards 2024

If 2023 was the year of exploration, then 2024 should probably be exploitation2. But also, I believe in journey before destination.

So 2024 will centre around two things:

  1. Systems – I need better systems in pretty much every arena right now, if I want to reach goals and more importantly, sustain my progress.
  2. Release – I created lots of stuff and flitted around plenty in 2023. It’s time to take all of that learning and actually create specific things, finish projects, release stuff.

I could say more, but I won’t. I’d rather go and do. 2024, let’s roll.


  1. Everyone has a few books that they read again and again, they are like a healing balm or nourishment or just the perfect getaway from life sometimes. These two series are some of those books for me. But also, Rose in Bloom, Trickster’s Queen, The Will of the Empress, Ender Quintet, Earth’s Children, Jane of Lantern Hill. ↩︎
  2. Based on the explore/exploit bandit problem Josh Kaufman talks about here. ↩︎