Table Of Contents
This is be my second year review and it was a lot easier than the first one.
I think doing annual reviews is a great exercise, because it makes you think and reflect on what you did with a year of your life.
Let’s get started.
ActionBuddy for Writers & Services
In March of 2019, I released my next SaaS product called ActionBuddy for Writers which was one of my goals.
I feel a lot more confident in this product than my last SaaS effort, another advantage was that I was using newer technology that I had been learning over the last year.
Getting ActionBuddy release-ready was only the start though.
Development is much easier and more natural to me than marketing.
At the moment my marketing has been a lot of trial and error but I will continue trying and improving in this year.
Even though ActionBuddy for Writers is the main product, just before releasing I thought it would be a good idea to also release a services version offering some of the features where users did not have to create an account.
Another advantage of this approach is that two out of the three services are free to use.
ActionBuddy for Writers Services was released in December of 2019.
One of the things I did not get around to was creating features videos to promote both.
I am hoping to get this done in Q1 of this year.
Overall ActionBuddy was a big win for me in 2019.
Become A WordPress Pro
Unfortunately, Become A WordPress Pro has been falling behind due to my focus on ActionBuddy and other projects.
With that being said, I had two goals for the blog:
- Finish the planned blog posts
- Update a few selected posts with new material and WordPress 5 updates
I did manage to finish all the posts that I had planned for the blog.
I started updating a few posts but did not get around finishing all of them.
Due to a change in focus and the plans I have for 2020, I have decided to cancel the blog.
Colin Dunbar WordPress Theme
This was a somewhat unplanned project as it took longer than I expected it to.
My father wanted to turn his website into a WordPress blog and I suggested that I would develop the theme for him.
As development started several features arose that I hadn’t taken into account and so it took longer than I thought it would.
Even with the extended timeline, it came together nicely and I learned a few things with WordPress theme development, so it was a win-win.
The move to WordPress has been very beneficial for him as it is easier for him to create/update content and his SEO ranking has improved drastically.
We did start planning a few updates for 2020, and the will happen when I have a few minutes available.
If you want to have a look at it, you can go here: www.colindunbar.com
For the last ten years I haven’t paid much attention to my health and to be honest, was very unhealthy in terms of the choices I made.
This wasn’t something that I had planned but I am so happy that I did start making changes because I can feel and see the difference in myself.
Nootropics & Bulletproof Coffee
In 2018, a work colleague told me about nootropics and after Googling, I was intrigued.
Nootropics are supplements you can take to improve cognitive function.
Who doesn’t want to get smarter right?
I could only feel a difference after two weeks of using it but it was a big difference.
My focus improved, my energy levels and I had a lot more motivation to do and get things done.
I know it might sound like magic but I can honestly say that the difference is incredible.
At the beginning of last year, I decided to start exploring and experimenting with other variations and finally found the one that worked best for me.
That is the “trick” with nootropics effects can vary from person to person.
When I ordered the one I am still using now the website suggested to take it with something called butter coffee (or bulletproof coffee).
So I started looking into bulletproof coffee and decided to give it a try as well.
I’ve been drinking bulletproof coffee for the last three months of 2019 and it seems to work well with my morning nootropic.
The company I order my nootropics from are called NeuroActive and I usually get the following:
I buy the following bulletproof coffee from Wellness Warehouse:
Becoming More Active
Since moving to Cape Town I have started walking a lot more which was very beneficial for me both physically and mentally.
Last year I decided to join a gym (I’ve never been to one before).
My reason was just to get in better shape and become healthier, it wasn’t about getting the best body to attract women.
My first visit was very daunting and I felt like an idiot because I was walking around with an exercise plan I printed out looking for the machines.
I could’ve got a personal trainer but I managed to push through and become familiar with some of the equipment and eventually it got easier.
Looking back, the feeling of looking like an idiot is good because it means you are trying to learn or do something new.
You won’t know until you try.
Just before my birthday in 2019 I decided to stop drinking alcohol.
I did this for several reasons, but I would say after watching two videos it made sense for me to quit alcohol.
The first one was an interview with Steve-O from Jackass, which you can watch here:
In the video above he mentions that addicts are selfish, in the sense that all that matters is them and whatever they are addicted to.
The same can be said for any other addiction, not just drugs or alcohol.
This was an eye-opener for me, because when I reflected on my behavior while drinking it was true.
It was all about me getting the next drink, and the next one, and the next one regardless of whose company I was in or what was taking place around me.
Then a few weeks later after watching the video above I came across an interview with Deryck Whibley, the lead singer of a band I listen to, Sum 41.
Before watching the video I had heard he had to be hospitalized due to alcohol.
You can watch the interview here:
What hit me with his interview was when he said something along the lines of when you drink a lot for long enough it eventually becomes part of who you are, your personality.
Once again, this was true of myself, I didn’t know really who I was without alcohol which scared me.
And so I stopped for three months from 9 September 2019.
Even though I had a few drinks in the holidays, as from 2 January this year I decided to quit alcohol again, as I could feel a difference for the three months I stopped.
OfferZen Merge Event
I was fortunate enough to attend my first tech conference called Merge, which was organized by a South African company called OfferZen in Cape Town.
I enjoyed the event, the talks I attended were insightful as well as exciting, especially the one titled Dissecting the Robot Brain which revolved around artificial intelligence and its impact.
And I have to mention the swag (merchandise), I got a Lego Pandalf which I started building as soon as I got home.
You can view the event images here: https://events.offerzen.com/cptphotos
Towards the end of 2019, I started a free course on GraphQL which is a technology I’ve been wanting to learn for the last year.
I managed to complete the frontend course and start the backend one.
Both courses are crash courses and give you a foundation to start from.
From what I’ve learned so far it is an amazing technology and I’m excited to start using it while still learning.
The courses I did are available on this website: www.howtographql.com
Just before the 2019 ended, I joined the online community called IndieHackers.
So far I’ve listened to two podcasts and they were incredible.
The knowledge share within the community is incredibly as well as the open honestly of the podcast interviewees.
These were the podcasts I’ve listened:
Quick Chat with Anne-Laure Le Cunff : https://www.indiehackers.com/podcast/133-quick-chat-with-anne-laure-le-cunff
Finding a Positive Feedback Loop to Profitability with Robert James Gabriel of Helperbird: https://www.indiehackers.com/podcast/138-robert-james-gabriel-of-helperbird
I look forward to being more involved this year.
Due to what I read this year, I won’t provide a review or summary for each, even though these are the most books I think I’ve read in a year before.
Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday
Even though I have become a fan of Ryan Holiday as an author I wasn’t planning on reading this book but because it formed part of a trilogy I decided that I needed to.
One of the reasons I wasn’t planning on reading this book was that I didn’t believe that I had an ego problem, or I didn’t think I was egotistical.
Even if you don’t think you have an ego problem, I suggest reading this book as ego comes in different shapes and forms.
I ended up really enjoying it and was happy that I read it in the end.
One of my favorite parts in the book was called Fight Club Moments, it really hit home for me.
Stillness Is The Key by Ryan Holiday
I enjoyed the last book in the trilogy much more than the other two, The Obstacle Is The Way and Ego Is The Enemy.
In my experience of reading it, it made me do a lot of introspection which resulted in understanding myself much better.
It is also one of the reasons I have started journaling this year.
There were two parts in the book that had a big impact on me, Healing Your Inner Child and Finding A Higher Power.
Asking questions and understanding these two subjects was life-changing for me and as the title suggests, its the key for me to finding stillness in my life.
Zero To One by Pieter Thiel & Blake Masters
This was a book that was recommended to me by a work colleague and it is an influential read if you want to create and build something regardless of the sector you are in.
There are countless examples and references in the book that help bring the message of the chapter across.
I have a feeling that I will be re-reading this one sometime soon.
I re-read the following because I feel they are such brilliant books and I might re-read them every year or every second year.
I re-read the following books at the beginning of last year as a refresher:
- The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck by Mark Manson
- The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday
I have become a fan of the Bookshots by author James Patterson.
They are action-packed and difficult to put down.
I enjoy reading them when I need a break from my non-fiction reading.
I read the following:
- The Trial
- The Heist
- Private Gold
- Break Point
- Dead Heat
The order of priorities for this year has changed a bit over the last few weeks and I believe the reason is due to introspection, Stillness Is The Key and journaling.
This a practice that I have tried many times before but could not get the hang of it even though my father had suggested it to me several times.
It usually only lasted about a week or two at the most.
Because of what my father said over the years and what I’ve been reading over the last few months, I’ve decided to give it another try.
So I decided I needed to give it another try and then came across the Daily Stoic Journal.
Because I have been so engrossed with the Stoic philosophy over the last year, I felt it was the right type of journal for me to use especially after so many failed attempts.
Why this one?
Each week starts with something you should reflect on and every day has a prompt that can jump-start the writing (or at least for me).
Strangely enough, I have two journals now, Daily Stoic Journal and another one which is just blank pages (nothing to read for inspiration).
Even though it’s only been a week I have started enjoying both of them and they are part of my morning ritual.
In the 2021 review, I will let you know whether I was able to stick with it.
Along with journaling I have heard and read a lot about the benefits of meditation as well.
I have never tried meditation before mostly due to not making time for it as well as not understanding it properly.
While doing research I came across transcendental meditation and found a video by Bob Roth which you can watch below:
After watching the video, I felt that this would be the right type of meditation for me and so I started looking for a teacher and found one in Cape Town.
I am planning on making an appointment and exploring this more.
Animal Shelter Volunteering
Since 2012 I have wanted to volunteer at an animal shelter due to my love for animals but have not made it a priority.
In 2018 I adopted a cat from an animal rescue shelter and I felt it would be the right place to start volunteering at.
The animal rescue is called Fallen Angels, below is their Facebook page.
Possible New Project
I might start on a new project but it will be related to how much time I have available and it is not high on the list of priorities.
Due to the surveys I’ve seen, Python seems to be a language that is worthwhile investing time into learning.
Again, if time allows I might consider taking a course.
I hope you enjoyed reading my 2019 recap and if you have any comments or questions please post them below.