2015 retrospective

As I have a spare hour while my kids and the Mrs. watch “The Grinch” (which is an awesome Christmas movie by the way), I decided to take half an hour to reflect and sit back.

Personal

On a personal level, 2015 has been both an awesome and a terrifying year.

The terrifying part was mostly about being confronted with depression, terminal diseases and death in my immediate vicinity. I will not elaborate on this, but you can imagine that it makes you sit back and reflect.

The awesome part: there’s always newborns, marriages and other exciting endeavours to balance out the oddities of life itself. And, for the first time and with the risk of sounding corny, I’ve come to realize that we need to be grateful to be in good health, have a caring family and friends, a roof above our head and the ability to make our own choices.

Some friendships carried a lot further, while others could use some more investment, so nothing new on that front. As you get older and more involved in communities, the amount of people you hangout with really has an exponentional growth.

Every single person has it’s own story, and I’m always thoroughly interested in what drives you, even though you might need to give me some context so I can recall it.

So please accept my apologies…

Anyway, enough about the personal part.

Professional

As it’s been a while since I’ve written my last retrospective, and some of you don’t know all of my background, I’ll summarize by saying that I’ve had some rocky years lately.

It all boils down to a balancing act between having fun, doing interesting things, making a living and having a wealthy life. You can’t have it all, so you have to make some deliberate choices, which I obviously did.

So, whenever you feel attracted by my lifestyle when seeing my tweets about bootstrapping a company, doing DDD, Erlang, Haskell, VR and others, ask yourself if you would be willing to sacrifice the things you now take for granted, like a regular paycheck.

I would suggest you to think and reflect before you take the leap, and make sure you gathered full commitment from yourself and your nearest and dearest.

As I have been bootstrapping over the last 2 years, I have been in need of side projects every now and then. I would like to explicitly thank everyone who helped me in finding one or more projects that made me some extra money, so I could continue bootstrapping.

(FYI this year as a side-project I’m planning a 3-day “Haskell for OO-developers” course, ping me if you’re interested.)

http://Arealities.com -> http://virtualsaleslab.com

2016 will be the make-or-break year for my start-up http://arealities.com, which is now rebranded as http://virtualsaleslab.com.

Since December I’ve gotten a separate office and a partner who is working full-time on the commercial/marketing side of things.

As the exclusivity clause with my first and only customer ends this year, we repackaged our assets into a proper product, and are now preparing to actively market it as such, with our first campaign starting in about 2 weeks.

Some early runs have been giving very promising outcomes, but as they say in business: “don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched”.

More to come later.

In closing

Well, it feels like I am completely unable to write a short blog post. Once I start rambling, I am all over the place.

(And I even didn’t mention the awesome people whom I met at all the events we organized or attended…)

You’re only here for a short visit.

Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.

Walter Hagen

Feliz Navidad to some of you and happy holidays to the rest of you!

Tom.

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