My 2016 in review

finding my way through Tokyo's subway network

I wouldn't say 2016 was a breeze but it turned out to be a good year in overall. Here are some of the highlights I wanted to share with you:

Community

I was lucky enough to have plenty of time to engage with different types of community work. I helped organising Hong Kong CodeConf, the annual software conference for local developers, with Matthew, Charis and Stig. The event, which happened in October at the top of ICC and had about 200 attendees, turned out to be a great success after the initial stress of arranging a relatively big event for someone who never had organised anything bigger than a 10 friends trip before.

As a speaker, I presented 3 talks in 2 different events. At January’s Codeaholics, I spoke about “Delivering Software and Infrastructure to ships” and at Agile Tour HK, I shared my studies and little experience on liminal thinking with the talk “Agility is Unsettling”. At Agile Tour, as one of the speakers was missing, I happened to present another talk on “The Path to Continuous Delivery”, the same one I delivered at Hong Kong Code Conf 2015.

Presenting at January's Codeaholics

I was also involved in writing the first bid book for Gay Games Hong Kong to be (possibly) hosted in 2022. It was a humongous group effort to put together more than 300 pages including the chapter I was responsible for, the Information Systems plan, detailing which systems we would use and how the team will run the IT and infrastructure for the games. More info and the bid book itself can be found on the Gay Games HK 2022 website.

On top of that, I was also organising several outdoor/sports events for “Out in HK”, a LGBT group for outdoor and sports lovers. The main event I did was sailing through the remote islands of Palawan, Philippines where the 10 of us ventured out of our comfort zones for 6 days without electricity and sleeping on tents. Other than that, I also organised the usual night Twins hike, where we only cover 5km but with a big variation in elevation and lots of steps.

Reading

I was able to read, and finish, only 10 books. On a side note, I started reading Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs back in 2015 and doing the exercises in LISP along the way, I knew it would take long but never imagined it would be more than one year. It doesn't help the fact I haven't looked at the book since March 2016. You can notice most of the books themes are about knowing oneself better and leading IT.

HKCAD — SWAG team!

Sports

My ice hockey skills kept improving. I was able to hit slap shots quite well most of the time, finding my spot on ice fairly better, even played as a goalie for the first time and scored a few goals during the winter league. On the not so good side, I gradually reduced, from 3-4 times practices a week, to once a week and ended up stopping playing in August to focus on trail running skills for the winter races. I definitely will return to the ice in 2017.

MSIG HK 50

On trail running, between training and actual races, I ran over 350km with more than 19km elevation gain. I completed a few trail running races, the shortest one being 21km and the longest one 54km. As expected, there’s always something negative; my right ankle is constantly causing me problems and for 2017 I really need to focus on healing it properly. As part of my trail running goals, I need to get ready for a possible UTMB in Chamonix 2018/2019.

Attending my first Japanese festival: Sanja Matsuri in Tokyo

Travel

It was a good year in terms of traveling. I was able to visit 2 countries for the first time (Russia and Taiwan).

This is the list in chronological order:

  • Philippines: Manila & Tagaytay
  • Philippines: Palawan, Coron, Cebu & Bohol
  • Macau for Easter
  • Japan: Tokyo, Kamakura, Hakone & Yokohama
  • Russia: Moscow
  • Singapore
  • Thailand: Bangkok
  • Singapore (again)
  • South Korea: Seoul
  • Macau (again) with family
  • Taiwan: Taipei, Jiufen, Houtong, Taichung, Kaohsiung & Tainan
The World's Okayest Programmer

Personal / Professional

Back in March, myself and a few other colleagues got laid-off due to our company’s restructuring. Actually, It wasn’t much of a surprise for us, we knew it was coming, since the previous CIO left the company, but we didn’t know it would come that fast. I honestly needed that kick in my butt, I was too comfortable at that position. Unemployed, what for most people is a reason to fall into despair, I took it as a great opportunity to really look for something worth doing and more apt to my skills.

I decided to hire a career coach. As I already expected, after two sessions and a series of tests, I didn’t get hard any answers from the coach. What I got was a better understanding of myself, on what I’m theoretically better doing, my strengths for different types of work, the kind of environment I perform better and even my best learning approaches.

After those sessions and tests, I realised I have a natural ease working with groups of people. I finally could understand why I was unhappy/unfulfilled while working alone in most of my projects in my career. It’s not that I didn’t like software development on its own, it’s just I don’t perform the same as a lone wolf.

Combining current job offerings in Hong Kong with my skills on an environment I could perform better was a challenge on its own. I knew that searching jobs on job search platforms wouldn’t work for me so I resorted to my network of friends and former co-workers. That’s how I ended up finding my current role as an Agile coach at Why Innovation with a team that appreciates and shares great similarities on the way I like to work :)

On a more personal side, on April 1st (really), my partner officially moved in together. In October, my family visited me for the 3rd time while I’m already counting more than 4 years living in Hong Kong.


How about you? How was your 2016?