2019 – My year in review

Growth Dec 31, 2019

With all people in my Twitter bubble publishing their yearly reviews, I think it is also interesting to write a post as someone who doesn't speak at conferences or run huge open-source packages.

2019 was a massive step for me on every level. In January, my wife and I signed a contract for our new flat where we plan to live for the next years. That sounded odd for many friends as we pay a huge rental fee every month that could easily pay off a mid-sized house within 20 years. Without going into details, I don't believe in the economics of buying a house in general, and we still can't afford the house of our dreams yet. I want to be in a position to take risks with my companies and without debt or a mortgage, that's a lot easier.  

In March, I left Europe for the first time in my life. My wife and I went to Hawaii for our honeymoon, where we spent two weeks and traveled with friends around Big Island. If you are into lava, vulcanos, and every possible landscape on earth, that's the island where you should spend some time. The black beach on the picture didn't exist 8 months before we went there. It was caused by the lava in 2018 that changed huge parts of the island.

After traveling with friends for two weeks, we spent a week just with the two of us on Kauai, the oldest of the Hawaiian islands. It's completely different from Big Island and looks like a rain forest. Everything is green, and there are waterfalls everywhere. Beside many chickens, the island is one of the most beautiful places where I've ever been to. In April, we flew back home to prepare our move into the new flat.

Coming back from Hawaii in mid-April, I started my scuba dive education. I did a short test dive on Hawaii, and it was awesome. The classes took place every week, and we got an excellent education over ten weeks. Scuba diving is one of my favorite things to do now, and if you had asked me if I'd ever do that one year ago, I hadn't thought about it. After getting my CMAS* license, I directly attended Nitrox classes–Nitrox is a breathing gas that has more oxygen in it than regular compressed air and reduces decompression issues. If handled properly, it makes scuba diving more safe and enjoyable. But as always in diving: If you break the rules, you'll die. Stick to them, and it's one of the safest sports.

The year was progressing really fast, and in May, we moved into our new flat. Damn, this thing is luxurious, and I still think it's one of the best decisions that I made in the last years.

In July, I went to New York with Marcel and attended Laracon US for the first time. The conference and the city were epic, and I'll try to revisit New York in 2020. It was amazing to visit the city and explore it with my tech-friends from across Europe who also attended the conference.

We also founded our second company together with Spatie in July: Facade.

After getting my scuba diving license earlier that year, I went to Spain for a scuba diving trip in early September. This was a fantastic experience, and we were able to get nine of ten dives into one week. Unfortunately, we missed one because the weather was too insecure and as I mentioned earlier: If you don't stick to the rules with diving, you'll die. During the trip, I also got certified for dives up to 40m–that's the maximum depth for sports-diving as everything below 40m gets really dangerous. Decompression times are higher, and you need to mix in new gases into your breathing gas. I believe you already know the scheme but as always: If you go deeper and don't use new special gases, you die. During the trip, the team around Facade launched Flare, our Laravel specific error tracker.

October started with a wild juggling challenge on Twitter. Christoph posted a video that he plans to learn the 3 ball cascade now–this is the standard for 3b juggling. I somehow got pulled into a Twitter juggling group, and after a 20-year break from juggling, I started learning juggling tricks. I still juggle daily and practice the first 4 ball tricks at the moment. Since Christmas–my wife got me juggling clubs!–I practice with them, and this is a lot of fun, too.

The rest of the year was planned as usual with client work and improvements for Flare, but Marcel and I somehow managed to release Tinkerwell in November, sold more than 1,500 copies within six weeks, and haven't released Windows and Linux versions yet. We went from idea to 1.0 release in four weeks and wrote the version in Swift, a programming language that we both haven't used before. Oh boy, that was a crazy experience.

I'm really happy about how everything happened this year. I rarely worked more than 40 hours a week, took at least six weeks off, and still spend every Friday in our small office with Marcel, where we think a lot about growing our revenue without spending more time or hiring people. We are already close to our goal of 100,000€/$120,000 salaries, and I think we can reach them during 2020. I started blogging again and love working from home most of the time. Our clients are happy with our partnership, and we'll continue working with them in 2020. I read a lot, played about 2,000 Fortnite games (but stopped in early October because I spend this time juggling now), and invested around 10,000€ into my retirement backup ETF that I'll only need if I don't sell a software company with a multi-million deal within the next 30 years.

In 2020, I want to become independent from client revenue and grow Beyond Code to a software company that makes the life of developers better. We'll reach this step when we cross 250,000€ in yearly income with our product portfolio. I also plan to take scuba diving classes to get closer to my CMAS** license and gain more experience in diving. At the end of 2020, I'd like to juggle 5 balls simultaneously.

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