Benjamin Curtis

Speculations on Web Development

2017 in Review

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I can’t recall having done a year-in-review type of blog post before, but when Patrick suggested it recently, it seemed like a great idea, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

In short, 2017 was a great year! :) I moved all of our servers from a colocation facility to AWS in January, which helped me sleep a lot better at night. Over the course of the year I continued to improve our infrastructure, and we now have a very reliable and self-healing system. Nearly everything we do (application, search, and database servers) is self-managed, so it’s been fun to level-up my distributed system skills. In December I put my AWS skills (literally) to the test by getting my first AWS certification: AWS Certified Developer – Associate exam.

I also spent some time working on developing my marketing skills by taking The Marketing Seminar by Seth Godin. The seminar was excellent, and I’m very glad I spent the time on it. Having spent a few years as a freelancer, I had to get good at one-to-one sales, but trying to market a SaaS business to a world of customers is a different kettle of fish, and I picked up lots of helpful info from Seth’s seminar. My favorite part of his philosophy is that if you belive you are bringing a great product or service to the world (and why would you be doing it if you didn’t believe that?), then you owe it to the world to be a champion for your product in a way that will attract people who will be best served by it. Of course I’m convinced that Honeybadger is a great addition to the world, so Seth’s approach resonates with me. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to apply those learnings and improve my marketing skills in 2018.

During the summer I had two small freelancing projects fall in my lap out of the blue. I hadn’t done any freelancing in several years, so it was fun to do some work on a side project and shift the mental gears a little bit from my day-to-day work at Honeybadger. One of the projects was TVTattle, which was a blast to work on. It’s a pretty simple content-management Rails app, but it was fun to play with caching plus a CDN to make it super fast.

So that’s my year — a lot of ops work with sprinklings of dev work along the way. I’m still learning all the time, and business is great, so what more could I want? :)

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