2016: A Year in Review

It would be trite to the point of cliche to lead off with a hearty “Fuck You” to 2016; more importantly, it wouldn’t even be entirely true. After starting in a lovely way among friends, this year has been up and down and featured moments both triumphant and terrible. As with all things, time will tell what stands out and what does not. For now, here’s what I recall of a year about to end:


This was a great charitable year. In addition to being able to donate to numerous really fantastic causes, we were able to help fund raise for charities as well. A ton of friends came together when I announced that I would match donations to the Flint Water Fund and in less than three days they forced me to match nearly $1500 in funds. Later in the year, you all rallied around me again and helped our team raise over $3000 for the Children’s Miracle Network, part of which I matched as well.


I learned several things about gout early in the year; I learned that it wasn’t scurvy, I learned that it was brutally painful, I learned that even people that don’t drink beer or eat much sugar can get it…and I learned that I suffered from it. It was, as is true for most of my life lessons, pretty painful.


Me in front of the river
A Jer in his natural habitat…

This year, we focused on spending more time and money on experiences and less on owning things. I would say that, in general, it was a great decision. In addition to a huge swath of movies that were well worth catching in the theater (Deadpool anyone?), we were able to do some pretty fantastic shit:

  • Were able to meet and get books of poetry signed by Amber Tamblyn during her Dark Sparkler tour.
  • Watched great performances from David Cross, Louis CK, Henry Rollins, John Mullaney and John Oliver (by the time this posts).
  • Took in musicals like The Book of Mormon and the Rodgers and Hammerstein version of Cinderella.
  • Traveled to KC to attend our first WorldCon; we will definitely attend again!
  • We took a trip to Vegas so that Ger could experience casinos for the first time the right way!
Me in more rain than rain-gear
I did not quite beat the storm…

Additionally, I spent a considerable amount of time just being outdoors. I took a June layoff as a sign, and spent the summer traveling, kayaking, camping, and reassessing my direction. I have never spent time more wisely. Next summer I hope

to kayamp the Au Sable River again and spend more time exploring more midwest waterways.

Part of that reassessment included making more time to do things I enjoy; so I built a new gaming rig and have been trying to set aside time to play video games, to read, and to write more regularly.

Related to doing things that I enjoy more regularly, after speaking together at Penguicon again and participating in countless discussions about leadership and knowledge work, Dawn Kuczwara and I kicked off a new podcast at the end of the year that I am really looking forward to growing in 2017. So far, it’s been fun!


The year started with the hope that the changes that were to take place at my company would resolve some of the pain points our acquisition brought. They, ultimately, did not. I spent months agonizing over whether or not leaving would constitute giving up or if I should stay and fight to correct the ship–a decision that was made for me when the vast majority of our development was sent overseas and most of our team was laid off or left immediately after several rounds of layoffs.

A tweet about work
You get what you measure, so we got fucked!

The payoff was amazing, though. In addition to taking the aforementioned time to reflect, I ended up accepting a job offer that has made me happier than I could have thought possible. I get to spend my days downtown doing work that I find important with teams that have views that coincide with mine for a company whose codified and aggressively pursued values could have been cribbed from my wishlist. It’s been a good move for me.


The Bad

Of course, some terrible things happened as well. This was the year that saw my last grandparent pass away—my grandmother died in April at age 82. Oh, and a bunch of armed white folks who are definitely not terrorists took over a federal building in a wildlife refuge and were not shot repeatedly for failing to do what police told them. Also, we elected a xenophobic bigot with a strange fixation on notorious Russian leaders and a propensity for ego-driven, irrational behavior to lead our country for the next four years. The lows were very low indeed.

Random Site Metrics

I’m a nerd, and I love my numbers and completely pointless metrics, so here are the top 10 pages on the site for the past year!

  1. Idle Hands Are a Good Thing, Right?
  2. We Were Born Agile
  3. You Get What You Measure
  4. American Horror Story
  5. Vaccine Schedule: 1960 vs 2016
  6. Layoffs: Those Left Behind
  7. Kayamping the Au Sable
  8. An Electoral Theory
  9. The Valuation of Time
  10. White, Male Speaker Seeks Microphone