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Wrapping up 2019

30 December 2019

Following every year's tradition, I'm writing a wrap-up post for this year, 2019.

2019 has been the year when María José and I got married. I proposed to her in January and celebrated the wedding in September. I have no words to describe how happy we were that day. I won't forget the moment I was standing waiting for María José to come and seeing both families and friends from Spain and Berlin celebrating such a beautiful moment with us.

2019 was also the year that María José and I decided to invest in a property in Berlin. Since we had some savings to spend, and the real state market is growing fast in Berlin, we thought it'd be a good idea. I was a bit hesitant at the beginning because I pictured ourselves being tied to a bank forever. Still, we were quite optimistic that things would turn out well, and that it would become our source of income when we get retired (we don't know if there'll be public pension by the time that happens). We haven't got the keys yet, but we have already started working with an interior designer that helps us materialize our ideas for the apartment. We'll move in between June and July next year. That means we'll stay in Berlin a bit longer, and we are excited about that because these days, Berlin feels like home.

At the beginning of the year, we traveled to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia. It was the first time María José traveled outside Europe and the first time for me visiting Laos and Malaysia. It was such an adventure where we went from the chaos of Bangkok to the beautiful nature in Laos, getting amazed by the cocktail of religions in Kuala Lumpur. It was perhaps a bit long because we spent 4 weeks traveling, and the last 2 were a bit of "I miss my routine a bit."

The professional side of things has been hectic too. At Shopify, I changed my career path and became engineering manager of the team that I was part of as an individual contributor, mobile tooling. I'm so grateful that my manager and the company supported me and that they allowed me to give it a try and manage the team. I've yet many things to learn, but it's exciting and can't wait to keep learning next year. I also have the opportunity to do a bit of project and product management, which I realized I like a lot.

In my spare time, I kept pushing some side projects. We took Tuist to its first major version, 1.0, and got companies like Bloomberg, mytaxi, Sky, and SoundCloud to use the tool to scale up their Xcode projects. (you can read more about it here). Next year I'd like my team to spend some time assessing and hopefully introducing it to Shopify, where mobile teams started facing some scaling challenges.

I also worked on Angle with two good friends of mine. Angle is a macOS app to streamline the process of testing software projects. The first version is focusing on iOS and Android apps, but the idea is to extend it to web apps and backend services. It integrates with GitHub and takes care of setting up the local environment for running builds. We plan to release it publicly in Q1 next year.

And last on side projects, but not least, I started working on Indie Social. It's a specification for the format and structure of social publications on statically generated websites. After several attempts to give up on social networks that are built upon surveillance capitalism, I realized that one of the reasons why I ended up going back is because I don't have a convenient to publish content. Having a specification allows developers to build plugins for static website generators like Jekyll or Gatsby, and clients to publish content (e.g. an iOS app). Moreover, I want to put my grain of salt to help people to be owners of their content on the Internet.

What's coming in 2020?

I plan to keep working on balancing my personal and professional life. That's something that I still struggle with. As I mentioned earlier, we'll get the keys of the apartment in July, so I'll work with María José on building the interiors and creating the cozy space where we see ourselves living in.

On the health side, I plan to work out more regularly. In fact, I started running more frequently because I have two marathons planned for next year, Prague and Berlin. I want to build the habit that I had back in 2015, where I ran 4 times a week.

I'll keep traveling, starting with a trip to Japan in February with María José, my sister, and her boyfriend. India and Chile might be next, but it's still early to know what we'll do further next year.

I want to learn more about product design and illustration. Before I took the logical and engineering path in my life, I used to draw a lot. These days, when I open Sketch or take the iPad, I can spend hours quietly drawing and come up with a decent piece of art. I want to take the hobby further and learn skills and tools from creative people.

At work, I'll keep learning to be a manager. One of my first tasks for next year is growing the team, which I've never done before. Moreover, the entire team needs to figure out what developing using React Native means, and leverage that to build first-class tools and services for supporting the development with that technology. In that regard, I might attend some React & React Native conferences next year to get familiar with the technology and the community.

As for the side projects, I'll start working on Tuist 2.0, whose primary focus will be automation and productivity. My main goal will be building Galaxy, a service to speed up Xcode builds by providing caching. We started doing some groundwork, and it looks promising. I also plan to release the first version of Angle and the Indie Social specification.

Copyright © Pedro Piñera, 2019