Sebastian Gebski

TL;DR - 2016 in Technology failed to impress me; personally I missed building stuff (that matters), so I've quit (but not rage-quit ;>) my job few days ago. 2017 will be make or break.

It's January of 2017 already, everyone's making summaries, so how could I resist the overwhelming temptation of making my own one? :)

My 2016 in a (very) few numbers

  • 5 public conf talks (and 1 podcast appearance ;D)
  • 73 blog posts
  • 88 books read (total of 29322 pages) & reviewed (on Goodreads)
  • 616 km ran (in 48 workouts)

Comments? Conclusions? Just a few:

  1. I'm certainly not happy with the number of public talks (significantly lower than in 2015). I have a justification of spending several months abroad, but it doesn't sound convincing even to myself. Evidently something to improve next year.

  2. I'm happy with my activity on the blog (content-wise) - my sanitised future topic backlog is never empty (21 atm), I have a group of regular readers (who usually know me IRL as well), the feedback I get is positive, actually quite many of the posts resonate sooner or later on various occasions - that keeps me assured that blogging indeed makes sense, BUT some things need to be revamped (details below).

  3. Raw number of books read (or pages read) is ... meaningless, of course. But I treat it as a good indication whether my knowledge hunger is still burning or maybe (for whatever reason) it's either satiated or even extinguished. In 2016 numbers were pretty solid & consistent, which is a good (& soothing) sign.

  4. Hell, I need to keep running throughout the cold part of the year as well, otherwise my numbers will remain miserable ;/

What has (/not) worked for me (in 2016)

  1. I had a privilege of working for VERY different organisations (clients) on very different scenarios. Having an opportunity to look "under the hood" of even more orgs than usually was not only interesting but also made me learn a lot. Definitely a PRO. On the sideline: I love Helsinki.

  2. On the other hand - I can't help a feeling that I've done too much of "verbal consulting" and too little of actually building stuff. I was running circles like crazy, proposing models, answering questions, dissecting problems, but ... in all this mayhem I lacked the foundation of validated learning -> reaping the harvest of own decisions. Big CONS.

  3. What's even worse, working as an expert mercenary ("one man army"), frequently moving between roles & positions literally eliminates all the options to organically build anything: team, unit, product, service, ANYTHING except from one's own knowledge & experience (which at some point are far from enough). That SUCKED big-time.

  4. In the meantime I've SCREWED UP by over-optimising my own life. Yes, you've read it right. I'm not going to get into details here as it deserves a separate post, but if I can give you one short advice here, it's:

    Save yourself some slack time, don't try to utilize every spare moment as it will make you unable to reflect & rethink stuff, hence limiting your creativity & possibly even ending in burn-out (fortunately it didn't go that far in my case).

  5. I was too careless / naive about promoting content I consider important - e.g. my blog. The idea was to verify the value of what I share by observing the organic growth of reader base (with MINIMAL on-line marketing): will people recommend the content to other ones? will it resonate in the community? will it be found applicable outside of my closest work environment? Frankly, the results are rather poor - metrics keep growing continuously, but 2x/3x growth (within a year) & few big interest spikes are not something I find satisfactory. It's time to shift tactics.

My plans for 2017 (& beyond)

As you can see in previous section, I'm not entirely happy with 2016. But I'm not going to cry a river because of that. So, in my case 2017 will be the year of CHANGES.

First one has already happened - I've decided to pivot my career:

  • I've handed in notice of job contract termination
  • I'm decided to give up on any form on consulting & ...
  • ... not consider any enterprise / corporate job offer

Instead, I'm going back to BUILDING ACTUAL STUFF. Well, not just by myself - the idea is to contribute my passion, experience & knowledge to developing top-notch engineering culture in a bad-ass company that has no complexes but an ambitious vision & some space for people with conqueror attitude ;D.

Which company is it? Stay tuned ...

World in 2016 (version: "dense")

And what are my opinions on what has happened in Technology in 2016?

  1. This was a year of Machine Learning (slowly turning into "Deep Learning") & Bots (2nd part of the year). Sadly not in terms of "doing awesome stuff with ML & AI", but more about riding on a ML hype train. But in fact there are more & more everyday solutions that get enhanced with modern analytics (I got used to speaking to my TV, Spotify decides on what I'm going to listen to, etc.), it's just not true that everyone is capable of building them yet.

  2. Enterprise is slowly catching up with buzzwords, now it's time for DevOps & Blockchain ;> Literally everyone is talking about these, but the overall level of understanding is ... ekhm, not impressive.

  3. This was a year of slow, but sustained growth for all major platforms / languages / tools in the ecosystem of Open platforms ("Open" doesn't just mean OSS!) - with a notable exception of container-based solutions (that evolve rapidly, even if for a price of reduced stability & breaking changes). There was no new strong contender to turn anything upside down in any of the landscape areas.

  4. Regarding .NET (Core) - in spite of all the activity around .NET Core & a positive feedback in the community, facts are inexorable: all the effort went into re-writing & cleaning up stuff that is already present (in some form). It's hard to point out & name actual new capabilities that are production-ready & really make a difference (.NET on Linux is NOT there yet). It doesn't mean that the year was wasted - it was necessary to get rid of the corpse of the closet. Main questions remain the same - how far will the competing platforms leave .NET behind in the meantime? Fortunately (for Microsoft & .NET devs) the distance didn't increase significantly this year.

  5. This was another consecutive year of security (/privacy) issues blowing up in our faces. Sadly it's still just a very beginning (of something that already has received a name of "dataclysm"). Chaotic identity provisioning, reckless approach to own data privacy, rapid adoption of low maturity technology ("Welcome IoT, make yourself comfortable.") - all these wreak more & more havoc w/o a hint of potential cure. Actually various security vulnerability exploit activities tend to get industrialised which scares the sh.t out of me.

  6. Windows Phone 10 & Universal Windows Platform (UWP) are as good as dead. Surprise, surprise, who would have thought ...

  7. No-one is speaking about cloud anymore. Because cloud is everywhere already.

My predictions for world trends in 2017

I am not a fortune-teller, I will not even try ;D

P.S. Happy New Year.

Pic: © Coloures-pic -