With just a few days left of 2011, no better time than now to look back and get some perspective on what happened this last year and where things are going. There's been quite a few changes for me personally, one of which was the distinct lack of speaking engagements I took on this year. It turns out that I only presented at FFK "Beyond Tellerrand" - though if you had to pick one conference to participate in, that one would be very high on anyone's list.
I traveled to Graz, Austria for about a week to record a video training course on AIR mobile development using Flash and Flex with the wonderful people at video2brain. I'm really excited to have been able to work with Joseph Labrecque on this - he is without a doubt one of the most productive people I know and a pillar of the online community.
Our "HTML5 Solutions" book got published with Friends of ED / Apress and has been receiving excellent reviews, here again I've been very fortunate in being able to work with talented co-authors I can consider good friends.
A new job opportunity
By some bizarre coincidence I ended up being in London end of April when the royal wedding was taking place. Less than a handful of people knew what I was up to over there - no, I wasn't indulging my crush on Kate Middleton or plotting to overthrow the royal family - it was my onsite interview at Google. What I thought might very well turn into a "crash-and-burn scenario" went great and yesterday was in fact my six month Googleversary. Having the opportunity to work at a company like Google is a great catalyst for being productive - yes, there are great perks - but most of all its your talented colleagues and the projects you see coming out practically on a daily basis that give you the drive to do well.
I moved to London in June, now live in Lambeth on the South Bank with a postcard view of the Houses of Parliament across the river outside my apartment block. In all likelihood I will be moving in early 2012 to cut down on my rent and have a slightly easier commute to the new office at Central St Giles in the West End.
End of September I was given the opportunity to work for a week from the fantastic Google campus in Mountain View and meet my US colleagues there before heading to the Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles. I also worked from the San Francisco office for a couple of days, which has the most amazing views of the Bay Bridge you can imagine.
Adobe messing up and the road to recovery
The Adobe MAX conference was interesting, though in many respects somewhat underwhelming - not in the least because there was no hardware giveaway as most of us were hoping :) The conference is always a good time to meet up with old friends though and the community leader summit was a definite highlight for me, Rachel and the team did an outstanding job!
What annoyed me most looking back is how careless Adobe has been in communicating its Flash Platform roadmap - thousands of people paid a significant amount of money in good trust to attend the flagship conference and learn about Adobe's plans and subsequently invest in their technology strategy for at least the year to come. When you decide to completely overhaul your approach less than a month later you simply do not respect your most loyal customers and community.
Obviously mistakes were made repeatedly and PR and communication at Adobe are in a very sorry state - evidenced by the 9/11 (or 11/9 if you're in the US) press release where 750 layoffs are glossed over in the paragraph above announcing another record quarter for revenue. Some of the talented and passionate people that left the company this year include: Doug Winnie, Richard Galvan, John Koch, Duane Nickull,...
I do want to make it clear that while I have been quite harsh and outspoken about Adobe as a company and the lousy way it has handled their restructuring and new product focus - I did not aim to target my outrage at any Adobe employees individually. I think especially the community-facing teams deserve our appreciation for how well they dealt with a very difficult situation.
As you can probably tell from my recent blog posts, I'm now particularly excited about the future of Flex at the Apache Software Foundation. After all these years - despite Flex technically being open source for quite a while - we'll have a way to contribute and directly shape its future. There are some serious challenges but even greater opportunities ahead for the project.
What's coming up next year
This coming January I'll be speaking at gotoAndSki() in Switzerland about easy P2P networking with the Flash Platform. Most of my talk will be based on the CocoonP2P library I started and with the help of the Dirk Eismann evolved in something incredibly nice. I'm working on adding in a few new features that I'll hopefully be able to demo at the conference.
I would really like to pick up podcasting again, but will start small. The current thinking is to host a monthly news round up and find some guests to talk about their latest projects.
There are a couple of HTML5 book proposals that came my way - I doubt I'll find the time to work on it so will probably decline. I am considering self-publishing something this year without a strict deadline, the idea being of writing it in the open to get peer review and feedback as I work my way through it. I'll also be giving NaNoWriMo another go (probably not in November though) - my first attempt this year at writing a novel in a month was an epic fail, only reaching 10.000 words of the required 50.000 minimum.
I'd like to end by wishing everyone the very best in 2012 and thank you for the year that was and the role you played in it!