2018 in review – mheap

The top of 2017 informed me that 2018 was going to be a reasonably large yr, and it didn’t disappoint. From shopping for a automotive in January with out really which means to, to visiting Liechtenstein for the day in December it’s been a packed yr.


Zero pc purchases this yr! Not even a telephone or an iPad to speak of (I picked those up in 2017). As an alternative, I ended up sinking cash in to residence automation as an alternative. We’ve now obtained an Echo in each room (except one, which has a Faucet, my favorite Alexa system) which may control our hoover, lights and heating. We even used them to activate the Christmas tree lights! (But sure, we nonetheless primarily use them for Spotify)

The home continues to be standing! Chantelle moved in full time in April after commuting forwards and backwards to work and it’s been nice having her around. We’ve put up some footage and painted a number of rooms and it feels brisker and more home-like! It took until December, but I lastly obtained to grips with a bit of DIY too, studying how you can drill via a stainless-steel lintel to place up some blinds and easy methods to substitute the waste drain on a sink after ours cut up.

In January I ended up shopping for a automotive from the internet on a whim once more. My earlier luck didn’t maintain up unfortunately and it needed it’s gearbox rebuilding, I acquired that accomplished (and cycled 13 miles in the method) and it’s been great since. It’s a cushty drive, has cruise control and is an automated. Not dangerous for 14 years previous!

Chantelle and I received married this yr, which was an outstanding day. All credit score has to go to Chantelle for doing all of the research and coordinating with suppliers. All I needed to do is make it possible for I turned up and match in my go well with (which I did, after a strong 3 weeks of train!). I beloved each minute of the day, and would happily do it all once more (as long as we didn’t need to pay for it again)

Speaking of exercise, my health hasn’t been great this yr. I’ve not been capable of get in to a routine because of the quantity of travel that I’ve been doing. I managed to run 5k in beneath 30 minutes in the weeks main up to the marriage once I was training, however really it wasn’t till the top of November that I might begin hitting the health club once more. I’ve managed to construct up to 60kg squats, 40kg bench and 65kg deadlift earlier than staying at that weight over Christmas. I’m ready to maintain pushing upwards all through 2019.

Last however not least, we lastly acquired a dog! That is Luna, our three month previous Cockapoo.

She’s equal elements fantastic and a ache. I’ve been getting up at 6:30 together with her every morning, plus we’ve got to think about her any time we need to exit for the day or night. It’s been a studying curve, but in a great way. I think about that it’s not dissimilar to having youngsters. We both love her and am proud of our determination both to get a canine, and to get Luna particularly.


Nicely… what a yr for travel. After joining Nexmo in 2017 I travelled a good amount – 7 journeys. This yr I’d blown previous that by the top of March. In complete, I’ve carried out 22 trips for occasions, plus ~12 trips to London to the office.


  • DevRelWeek in Lisbon
  • Shopper go to in Amsterdam (3am-midnight – someday spherical journey!)


  • SunshinePHP in Miami
  • PHPUK and Hack Metropolis in London


  • MidwestPHP in Minneapolis
  • GrumpyConf in Ingersoll, Canada


  • PHP Yorkshire in York
  • LonghornPHP in Texas


  • PHPDay in Verona
  • PHPKonf in Istanbul
  • PHPSrbija in Belgrade
  • PHPTek in Atlanta


  • DPC in Amsterdam
  • LaravelLive in London
  • DevRelWeek in NYC


  • ServerlessDays in London
  • LaraconUS in Chicago


  • NortheastPHP in Boston
  • APICity and Write The Docs in Seattle



In addition to work journey, we managed to get away as a couple quite a bit. We did a few trips across the UK; to Devon to see the wedding venue in January and Might, plus a trip to the Gower (word to self: it’s a one method to drive, so ebook multiple night time subsequent time!) in June and a mini moon in Cornwall after the wedding in September.

As well as four journeys across the UK, we managed 4 trips abroad too! Chantelle came with me to Amsterdam once I was working in June, and we added a further week in NYC once I was on the market for DevRelWeek.

NYC was nice as we’ve each been before, which allowed us to do less tourist-y issues. We still walked the Brooklyn bridge and went for a journey in a horse and cart round Central Park though, so not solely non-tourist-y. The rest of our time was spent exploring totally different neighbourhoods, together with Bushwick which is the place all the road art is.

As Chantelle needed a sun tan for the wedding we made our annual trip to Spain in August. Two weeks in the solar without occupied with work. I spent my time reading, writing my wedding ceremony speech and doing a lot of cooking!

Finally, we escaped to Zurich for a couple of days to visit the Christmas markets. It was satisfying, but inferior to Munich last yr. We did nevertheless manage to cross Switzerland and Liechtenstein (because of a day journey on the practice) off our record of countries to visit.

All in all, in 2018 I did:

31 journeys over 154 days, visiting 44 cities in 13 nations and travelling over 125,000 miles.


Work’s been far more challenging this yr. I made some extent of saying sure to every thing in the direction of the top of 2017/in early 2018 and it lead to a few things:

  • Much more travel than I meant (but I did get to see some locations I’d by no means get the prospect to usually, including a business class flight to Sydney!)
  • Getting involved in each product launch Nexmo made in 2018 resulting from providing an API review
  • A promotion to Developer Experience lead, chargeable for Nexmo’s documentation, API standards and shopper libraries. This consists of line administration of a staff of 4 advocates, technical writers and engineers (we’re also hiring 2 more roles, so get in touch!)

Although I travelled rather a lot in 2018 I’m still loving working at house once I’m not on the street. I’m finding that there’s not enough time in the day to get every part I’d like completed, so I can’t think about spending a further hour or two each day commuting.

The large change for me this yr was related to individuals management. I’ve executed a number of studying through the years about administration, but haven’t had a whole lot of probability to follow as I’ve all the time been a technical lead, not a pastoral lead in the past. I’m completely enjoying it, and am studying rather a lot because of assets like Lara Hogan’s blog, the Rands Management Slack and naturally, books. A particular shoutout right here to The Manager’s Path by Camille Fournier and Essential Conversations by Kerry Patterson which each gave me rather a lot to think about.

Conferences, Usergroups and Hackathons

In 2018 I managed to offer 18 talks while on my travels – 12 convention talks and 6 consumer teams.


I kicked off the yr with my Zero to Jenkins speak at PHPUK, before visiting Longhorn PHP, PHPDay, PHPKonf, PHPSrbija, php|tek, DPC and NortheastPHP earlier than wrapping up the yr at API Metropolis.

Of all of these events, I feel PHPSrbija and API Metropolis have been my favourites. Belgrade is gorgeous and the convention was superb. The organisation was top-notch and the attendees have been all engaged. API City topped my record because it’s a group that I don’t know but. The work that I’ve been doing at Nexmo gave me the opportunity to speak on API requirements. I met plenty of different developer advocates working in the API area and acquired to discover Seattle.

Consumer Teams

I did six consumer teams this yr, which is more than I assumed I’d achieved. They have been all to apply new talks that I delivered in 2018. I don’t assume any of my UG talks have been notably good, nevertheless it did permit me to work out what labored and what didn’t for the actual conferences. I didn’t get as much of a kick out of training as I’ve in previous years – possible on account of the fact that it was more time away from residence


A new entry this yr! It’s a long time since I attended a hackathon as an attendee (we are likely to sponsor them as an alternative) but when the chance to go to the Riot Games hackathon at their HQ in Los Angeles got here up, I couldn’t say no.

The price of the journey was coated by Riot which was nice, nevertheless it did mean flying in financial system to the west coast, and sharing a room in a lodge – both things that I’m getting a bit previous for. I made it in one piece and neither the journey or the keep was too dangerous!

When the day of the hackathon arrived we have been treated to a tour of the Riot workplaces. Every set of buildings is known as after a region in Runeterra e.g. The Void, Demacia, Noxus and inside these buildings each meeting room is known as after a champion from that area. The one assembly room they didn’t rename was Skywalker, the primary auditorium – it seems that these buildings was the Lucasfilm studios they usually couldn’t deliver themselves to rename the room that was possible used for Star Wars promo screenings!

I ended up on a group of individuals that attempted to parse the .rofl replay information knowledge, not just the header (hint: don’t, it’s onerous) earlier than pivoting to a replay sharing and recreation evaluation website. It used a mixture of python and node, plus some .internet that hooked in to the League shopper to mechanically upload recreation replays post-game.

The hackathon was my first experience with React, and though we didn’t win I used to be completely happy to have the time to experiment with something that’s been on my listing for therefore long!

Gigs + Events

2018’s occasions kicked off in February, with OVO from Cirque du Soleil. This was our Christmas present from Chantelle’s mother and father and all of us headed as much as London collectively to see it. I landed again from Miami that morning, and I recall having fun with it although I used to be drained. (It’s not a patch on ‘O’ though).

I needed to do something nice with Chantelle for Valentine’s Day this yr, so I booked tickets to see Magnificence and the Beast (the current one) accompanied by a stay orchestra on the Southbank Centre.

By the point April arrived it was time for an additional Christmas present – this time an Alpaca stroll in the South Downs. We drove by way of some energetic little villages earlier than taking alpacas for a stroll via the woods. It was a (dry!) and enjoyable afternoon.

Work journey actually ramped up in Might, and between that and the marriage I didn’t get probability to see anything till October. This wasn’t simply any gig though, it was Thibaudet and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra on the Sydney Opera Home! I all the time love watching orchestras, and doing it somewhere as iconic because the opera house was superior.

Lastly, Christmas time arrived. Our day trip of the yr was the Christmas market on the Weald and Downland farm. There were plenty of craft stalls and meals/drink, and it was great to spend the time wandering around and catching up with pals. We have been there for three hours and still didn’t see all of it! I’m wanting forward to going back subsequent yr

That was 2018

Studying: I need to decide up my studying this yr, so I’m going to purpose for 18 ebook
Stretch Objective: Learn 24 books – one each 2 weeks.

Achievement unlocked! Depending on the way you view the Stormlight archives books (three written books, or 16 audiobooks) I both read 29 or 42 books. Given that each of the audiobooks was 7-10 hours long (the size of a traditional guide) I’m choosing to view it as 42 books.

My highlights for the yr have been Never Cut up the Distinction and The Supervisor’s Path for self enchancment, This Is Going To Harm: Secret Diaries of a Junior Physician for non-fiction, and The Stormlight Archive collection for fiction.

Train: Run one 10okay every month and get my weight right down to 90kg
Stretch Objective: Squat 70kg, Deadlift 100kg, Bench Press 50kg (5×5)

This can be a bizarre one as I obtained closer to the stretch aim than I did the precise aim. I didn’t run every month (I don’t truly take pleasure in operating) however I did handle to get over half strategy to my 90kg target in advance of the marriage because of an intense month of coaching (I’ve since put all of it back on).

I acquired back to the health club in November after my journey for the yr was carried out. I didn’t quite get to the numbers set, but provided that I solely had four weeks to coach I’m proud of 62.5kg Squat, 65kg Deadlift and 40kg Bench Press.

Coding: I actually do assume that Auditkit (formerly Get Hansel) is a good suggestion. I’m going to launch an MVP this yr.
Stretch Objective: I’m additionally planning to put in writing another guide. I’ve received a couple of concepts, and I ought to have the ability to write whilst travelling to take advantage of the time in the air.

Nope, nope and nope! I’ve spent a lot time working this yr, the very last thing I need to do is work some more in the evenings. If I ever have an hour or two to myself, it tends to go on enjoying League of Legends to loosen up as an alternative.

Lastly, I’m going to get married. That is crucial one, so as long as Chantelle and I are fortunately married I’ll contemplate 2018 an awesome success 🙂

Success! It’s been a tremendous yr for Chantelle and I. She moved in to the home full time, was capable of be a part of me on a number of journeys and managed to organise the wedding extremely properly. It was a day that I’d fortunately do over once more, though it looks like nothing’s modified. We’re still the same individuals dwelling in the identical house doing the identical issues – it’s just that I’m sporting a ring now! I’m wanting ahead to seeing what happens in 2019.

Wanting in the direction of 2019

The first aim for 2019 is to not have a studying aim. Over the previous few years I’ve enjoyed studying extra and discovering new worlds via audiobooks, however I feel it’s a behavior enough now that it doesn’t have to be a objective. I’m not travelling as a lot so I in all probability gained’t hit 42 books once more, however I’m planning on having fun with every thing I read.

As I’m not travelling as much I’d wish to construct up my health habit once more. I’m aiming to get right down to 90kg by 2020. That’ll take some effort, a lot of cardio (which I gained’t love) and a few dietary modifications however I feel it’s achievable.

Let’s hold it easy for undertaking associated objectives. One undertaking, Audithub. Consumer signup, billing and automatic collectors for one service. I’ve been eager about an all-singing, all-dancing software however what I’ve actually struggled with is getting began. Hopefully decreasing the scope will make it simpler to build something

That’s all, two objectives for 2019. Get fitter and construct one thing. I’ve a behavior of making an attempt to do too much and it often signifies that nothing will get completed. In 2019, my objective is to focus and achieve two things which were objectives for years.