For the past couple of years, I’ve done Jen Dziura’s “Design Your $next_year” workbook towards the end of the year. It’s been a very helpful exercise. It’s definitely worth the couple of bucks.
One of the things it includes is making a list of the things you accomplished in the year you’re closing out; I did so in the workbook in my terrible handwriting, with items ending up in the margins and upside down as I tried to fit them all in. Which feels pretty good, I must say. This year I decided to also type it up and post it for posterity.
It’s a bit of a brain dump, and incomplete by necessity — this year included a fair bit of working towards goals that will not be public for a while, but also supporting people through crises that are not mine to disclose. The latter friend-crises came in the form of mental health stuff, intimate partner violence (which this book is an utterly essential read for friends who are trying to help), workplace harassment, and mass-scale online harassment.
That said, here’s the stuff I can talk about:
- Throughout the year stuff:
- Taught at least 5 Ally Skills workshops — at Slack, during (but not at) Defcon, and elsewhere, and finally attended a Train-The-Trainers for it so I could learn from how others teach it
- Mentored a bunch of folks including some interns, yay!
- Gained just over 2,000 Twitter followers. Thank you all for listening to me babble ❤
- Did a bunch of skiing and coached friends
- Helped hire a bunch of folks at Slack
- Generally helped things not be on fire at Slack
- Wrote some PHP for the first time in a decade
- Wrote some very funny tweets on @SlackHQ but you’ll never know which ones were me!!!
- Started lifting weights in earnest again. I learned a lot from Julian’s guide and Stumptuous. My biceps are AMAZING 💪
- Made some good progress towards getting some gut health stuff that’s been annoying for a long time figured out (if you have IBS and haven’t heard of SIBO, there’s a bunch of new and interesting research!)
- Generally ate super healthily and cooked lots of things (especially pork chops and also poached eggs) with my Nomiku (and finally got to meet Lisa, the founder! who just got funded on Shark Tank holy crap!!)
- Volunteered for the Hillary campaign both on the infosec side and the more general GOTV side
- Donated a few thousand dollars to causes I support like the ACLU and Callisto
- Maxed out my 401k
- Took good care of my brain by going to therapy regularly and (with medical supervision) tapered off one of the brain meds I had been taking
- Rediscovered my childhood love of Star Wars and watched the entire Clone Wars and Rebels series and read several of the New Canon novels
- Started painting
- One-off stuff, in rough chronological order
- Spoke with my dear friend and colleague Ari at BlueHat about the secure development process we built at Slack
- Didn’t die on the way to ORDCamp
- Attended and participated in ORDCamp
- Spoke at RSA
- Appeared with Ari on the OWASP Podcast
- Met a Shark
- A very mundane security bug I reported to Facebook netted a $1,000 donation to Callisto, and happened to be during a 3-to-1 matching challenge they were running. So my 5 minutes of work turned into $4,000 for them 😀
- Tried a different hair colour scheme, but eventually decided to go back to my traditional pink and orange
- Attended a private summit on continuous deployment best practices and talked about security stuff there too
- Joined the Open Tech Fund’s advisory board
- Ran my first and hopefully last SOC2 audit at work (we now have a team for this!!)
- Spoke out about some bad stuff that happened to me long ago, and wrote a long guide about what communities can do to prevent it from recurring with my friends Valerie and Mary
- Attended and participated in Foo Camp
- Got promoted to a Real Management Job (running Incident Response at Slack)
- Got accepted to and started working on an MBA at WGU
- Hosted the second year of CabanaCon during (but not at) Defcon
- Got actual management training at work
- Slalom water-skied on Lake Tahoe
- Keynoted Strange Loop
- Did voice coaching with the amazing folks at Vital Voice
- Participated in the Open Tech Fund’s annual summit
- Spoke at the CTOs For Good summit
- Had the honour of speaking alongside Tatsiana to the amazing moms of the fall cohort of MotherCoders
- Spent a weekend volunteering with a non-profit called All Hands to help with disaster recovery of the non-digital variety over in Denham Springs, Louisiana
- Didn’t die on my way back from Louisiana, even though we hit wake turbulence
- Started a pledge which got nearly 3,000 techies to say neveragain.tech
- Upgraded my Dad’s office computer and my family’s home wifi network
I learned a few things in 2016 as well — I need to work on saying no to things a bit more, as I’ve been very overcommitted and definitely dropped a few balls last year. I’m going to travel less and do less speaking this year, particularly for the first half.
I’m still working on the “plan your 2017” part of Jen’s workbook. I started it before the election and then put it aside for a couple of months. And then the election happened. I’m still figuring out how to re-prioritize how I spend my energy now that “fighting fascism” is a higher priority than “getting an MBA.” I’ll write more about that soon.
Happy New Year, and for all the good that I was fortunate enough to got done in it, good riddance to 2016.