This past month has been full of learning, building, writing, friends and family. For the holidays, taking some time off of startup work was a good decision. I always underestimate how valuable it is to take a step back, reflect and recharge, and am perpetually surprised afterwards that I didn't in fact "waste valuable time". Instead, I return to my desk reinvigorated and ready to tackle my endless array of problems and puzzles.
Given it's the start of a brand new year, I figure now is the time to make some wildly ambitious changes, and proclaim loudly to the internet void that I'll become a brand new person starting today. Kidding. But I would like to start a new tradition to formalize my writing habit, in the spirit of self-reflection and transparency.
✍️ I'm committing to writing more.
Starting today I'll be writing a monthly reflection of my life and work. Touching on the highlights, summarizing the things I've made, pointing out code I've written, stuff I've shipped, or new insights from working on my business. Anything that seems important to reflect on from the previous month of my life is fair game, but will likely fall into 4 categories: Code, Music, Books, Games. These are the things I'm most passionate about, and are where most of my time is spent. So I'm going to talk about them!
Adding a little more structure to my writing cadence feels like a prudent step. In the past I've written when I felt like it, or when I made something I found interesting and shared it. Most recently, I've intermittently shared updates from working on my business. Once a month at minimum feels like a more manageable commitment, and leaves room for ad-hoc writing in-between. I'll turn this into a subscribable newsletter at some point, too.
This past month I released the first free template for SwiftStarterKits. It was a ton of fun to build, enabled a lot of SwiftUI learning, and has opened up a whole avenue of potential follow up products (components, guides). I won't talk too much about it given I've written a whole bunch here and here already. For next steps on the existing two templates, I'd like to make them both free and open source. It'll be a good link building opportunity for improving search result rankings, and will hopefully be valuable for folks building on Apple's platforms.
On the website, I shipped five major updates to SwiftStarterKits.com this month. Which included building a blog (which I did from scratch, going against conventional wisdom), adding a changelog, writing a guide to Firebase setup on Apple platforms, and writing a blog post introducing the Firebase Swift Starter Kit. Additionally, I spent a bunch of time tweaking page copy and meta tags as I slowly learn more about search engine optimization.
Regarding SwiftStarterKits site metrics, December saw the first real increase in traffic since inception:
SwiftStarterKits.com saw 167 page visitors (+149% from November), and 493 page views (+393% from November). I attribute this uptick to finally having more content on the site, and Tweeting / Tooting about my progress more regularly. This was the first month that I've spent any meaningful time attempting to drive traffic to the site, and feels good that some of it is working.
Product download totals increased to 8 (+700%), which feels tiny said allowed, but I'm happy there are a few people out there that potentially find my work useful. I plan to reach out to these early customers individually to ensure things are working properly, to get feedback, and to get gain insight into how they heard of us and what they plan to use our products for.
To continue this trend, I plan to keep working in public as much as possible, write more blog content, and generally continue experimenting.
I haven't written about it publically before, but I'm an avid guitar player! I started learning the instrument almost 6 years ago, and a day hasn't passed where I didn't pick it up since. At the end of the summer I played my first live gig at The Bitter End, on Bleecker street in lower Manhattan. Here's a look at that sweaty, nerve wracking affair:
This month I picked up a new effect pedal, a ten year old BOSS DS-1. It's been a ton of fun to play, and is incredibly diverse in the range of sounds you can coax out of it. My growing arsenal of overdrive effects was missing something a bit more intense, and it seemed like this was the most budget friendly and widely encouraged option.
Right now I'm slowly working through learning Led Zeppelin's library of chord progressions, licks and guitar solos, and I plan to continue doing so in January (and lets be honest, probably much longer).
Here's a snapshot of my most recent listening tastes:
I've had a few solid weeks continuously returning to my two favorite T.Rex albums, The Slider and Electric Warrior. Something about Bolan's guitar playing is incredibly contagious. Simple sounding on the surface, yet raw, carrying equal parts rhythm and attitude. It has that enormous Les Paul through a stack of Marshall's sound I've been chasing, however I'd like to find it at a decibel level acceptable for the New York City apartment.
I've been enthralled playing through God of War Ragnarök. It's incredible, and is on par with the previous entry in the series. Being the first "console exclusive next-gen" experience I've gotten to on the PS5, it really is a home run, and I'm not even close to done with it yet (no spoilers). The combat system is very intense, and has one of the better haptic feedback integrations I've played that utilizes the new capabilities in the latest generation of console controllers (when chopping a tree for example, the trigger actively fights back).
My wife and I have been obsessed with Splatoon 3, which we play together daily. If you've played the first two entries in the series, not much is new, and is a more polished version of the same old formula: fast paced, family-friendly competetive shooter, consumable in tiny 3 minute chunks. It nails the "just one more game" schtick, and we find ourselves saying 10 games later "we really should go to bed, but, fine lets do one more".
I'm reading God Emperor of Dune at the moment, which a friend lended to me, insisting I read beyond the initial trilogy (which is where I originally stopped reading over the pandemic). I'm enjoying it so far, but I'll reserve writing more until I finish it.
That's all for now!
Good luck getting back into the swing of things after the holiday season. Stay warm out there!