Hey hey! It's the end of 2023 and I want to recap the year. Since doing this kind of post the first time in 2018, I wanted to continue this tradition and do it again each year. Somehow, it didn't happen until now - five years after. But better late than never, right? Below you can find a recap of my year 2023 in different categories. I hope you enjoy it!
My personal life changed quite at bit! After committing to a long-distance relationship (Leipzig - Amsterdam) last year, it was time for the next step. Eight hours of train ride every two weeks could be worse, but it was still a lot. And the time in between when not seeing each other was also not ideal. In addition, having no "main home" was not for me, especially because I had quite some plans that need a steady home base.
So, time for a change! And because I can work from anywhere, I decided to move to Amsterdam in April. While it wasn't easy to "leave my friends and family behind" - just physically of course, I'm really happy with the decision. Especially because it isn't the other side of the world and I can still visit them regularly in not even a day of traveling.
Finding a flat wasn't that easy. But thanks to being a web developer, I could optimize a lot of the flat hunting. I even gave a talk on how I did it!
Amsterdam is a beautiful city, and I'm really happy to live here. Not too big (hey Berlin!), but also not too small - beautiful architecture, vegetation and full of bike roads. Not that we don't have them in Germany, but it's a different level here. And I love it!
The cultural differences compared to Germany are not that big and you can get around with English quite well. Learning Dutch is on the list, but priority-wise it wasn't that high for 2023. For 2024, it is part of my goals though!
One thing that was a bit unusual for me though - flats in the Netherlands often come without a floor! So, buying and installing the laminate was one of the first things on the list.
Besides getting to know Amsterdam better and better, I also had the opportunity to travel to new places and even new countries! From going to Brussels for a long weekend meeting with a good friend and doing some sightseeing, to traveling to Cambridge and Oxford after a conference, I've seen a lot. One of the most amazing trips this year was to Toronto, Canada. Before speaking at VueConf Toronto, I had the chance to explore the city and meet some amazing people. In addition, I also had the chance to visit the Niagara Falls, which was a great experience. Maybe a bit cold (4°C), but still a breathtaking view.
A travel of another kind was to Tomorrowland - my only music festival this year. I've been to a few in the past, but this one was the first time at Tomorrowland. And it was spectacular! The atmosphere, the people, the music - everything was great. I'm really looking forward to going there again next year - if my luck is good enough to get tickets again.
Even though I moved to a new country, I still had the chance to meet lots of amazing people. From like-minded new faces at conferences and meetups, to old friends and family. Of course, I visited my hometown every now and then to ensure I don't lose contact with my friends and family there.
And it is always fascinating to meet the people you know from the internet in person. Be it with parts of the Nuxt team in Amsterdam, or finally connecting in real life at events - it's always a great experience.
Ehh, yes. That might be a weird fact (sometimes even fun fact), but I am still studying at the university in Dresden. Nevertheless, I'm finally at the end of my studies and started writing my thesis this fall. I hope to finish it in the first quarter of 2024 and finally get my degree - but a few more pages (read: at least sixty) are between me and that goal. So, wish me luck!
My routines changed to the worse in the first part of the year. Due to the commuting and then moving, my sport routines really suffered. Same for my eating habits. But towards the end of the year, I slowly found my way back on track to establishing a healthy lifestyle. I started going to the gym again, and the nutrition improved a bit as well. But there is still way to go, making this one of my main goals for 2024.
My work-life balance, on the other hand, is still good. The only thing that could go better there (and in general)is my time management and planning skills.
2023 was a good year for my open source contributions. While the move impacted my time for open source, I still contributed a lot. As usual, most of it in the Nuxt.js and UnJS ecosystem, but also to other projects if I saw some low-hanging fruit.
It is important to mention that most of my contributions are not code-related and therefore not fully covered by the GitHub graph. Most of my tasks I'd described as "community engineering and management" tasks. They range from triaging issues and PRs, answering questions on Discord, Twitter and other channels, to improving documentation and more. Non-code contributions are an essential and important part of open source, and I'm happy to help with it.
Speaking is one of the things I really enjoy. I love to share my knowledge and experience with the community and help others to learn something new. I had the chance to speak at a number of conferences and meetups, as well as partially MC'ing two larger ones.
In numbers, I gave 13 talks and was part of 2 panels at 4 meetups and 9 conferences. In addition, I was an MC at WeAreDevelopers and Vue.js Amsterdam. You can find the full list on the speaking page here!
Fun fact: The busiest conference was WeAreDevelopers, where I was MC'ing, part of a panel and gave two talks. That was a lot of joy, but also a lot of work.
I definitely want to continue speaking at conferences and meetups in 2024. I had a blast and it is a great way to meet new people and share knowledge. I don't have a definitive number of talks I want to give in 2024, but I think 8 is a good rough estimate.
Content creation was always something I enjoyed and wanted to do more. In 2018, I started writing blog posts about Nuxt and Vue regularly but eventually stopped due to the lack of time. One of the issues that kept me from releasing a blog post was my self-built blog which simply became legacy. Eventually, my backend server expired rendering me unable to update a single line of content. And yes, this all screamed one thing: Rewrite!
The goal was to merge my website and blog into one (before the blog was a separate Nuxt app on a subdomain), give everything a modern design and switch to Nuxt content. So, with a plan in mind I started to create the website you are reading this post on now. As before, I wanted to open-source it. But there was more behind it.
Another goal I wanted to achieve was to improve my personal branding. The process started with a modern logo incorporating the lightbulb - which was always part of my online identity. I also wanted a consistent design across all my channels, so I created a new banner for Twitter, YouTube, Twitch and more.
This all launched in the last week of September, where I created a "launch week" event. From Monday to Friday, I deployed my new website, released two new blog posts, did a live stream guiding through the website's code, eventually open-sourced it, and then revealed another project I was working on: My YouTube channel.
Yes, the YouTube channel was one of the things that I wanted to do for a long time. I always enjoyed creating videos and sharing my knowledge. But first, I lacked the time and consistent branding. After that I lacked a "home" to record my videos in. I decided if I want to tackle it, I need to do it right and consistent. After the move to Amsterdam, the upcoming months were occupied with stuff revolving around the flat, furnishing it and making it a home. And then, I finally had a place to record videos.
And, oh boy, did I look forward to it. Even though the launch week event described in the previous subsection was a lot of work, it sparked so much joy. Creating videos became a passion, and thanks to Niki (my girlfriend), I also had someone to help me with the editing, not only making it look more professional and saving some time, but also letting each of us shine on what we can do best.
If you haven't checked the channel yet - I am focusing on intermediate and advanced content around Vue, Nuxt, UnJS, and the JS and TS ecosystem in general. I noticed a lot of beginner content is out there, but as soon as things become more complex or advanced, there is a high demand, but not enough content to match it. So, I want to fill that gap and create content matching the niche. Because of my expertise, I thought this is even more suitable, and I can help the community that way.
Besides the YouTube channel, Twitch and livestreaming was another big topic for me. But after three consecutive streams I realized it was tricky to stick to a regular schedule for these. While you can flexibly produce YouTube clips, streaming means (ideally) having a fixed timeslot every week, and due to conferences, work and other commitments, it wasn't feasible for me. Nevertheless, I want to stream a few more times next year but don't want to commit to a regular schedule.
In numbers, I published 16 videos - 14 original videos (once a week) and two uploaded livestream VODs from Twitch. The videos now have over 27.000 accumulated views, and the channel reached 1.500 subscribers before the end of 2023. These are staggering numbers - I didn't expect such a great start.In addition, I did not set any goal for the channel except being consistent with releases, so I'm even more delighted about the outcome and all the positive feedback and constructive criticism I got.
Thanks to everyone for the support and feedback, as well as for the ideas for new videos. PS: If you have some, please let me know!
And yes, I also started a newsletter with the website launch, which I want to continue and actually highlight in 2024. I'm not sure yet how often I want to send it out - so far, I didn't due to the lack of time. But I hope to find a good schedule for it in 2024.
You can subscribe to it now already!
Open source is lots of fun, but it doesn't fully pay the bills. At this point, I want to thank all my sponsors and also past sponsors for their support. It means a lot to me, and I'm really grateful for it.
The main chunk of my income comes from my work at my own company through consulting and workshops - and I think it is the perfect counterpart to open source. I can work with companies and help them with their projects while also learning a lot from them and their use cases. That allows me to understand how they use Nuxt.js, which pain points they experience and how I can help them. On the other hand, they also expect me to know the guts of Nuxt.js and how it works internally - a perfect symbiosis.
In 2023, I worked together with incredible people and companies. Business-wise, 2023 was a great year, even with quite some time spent on the move and the economic crisis. With a good number of clients as wells as more than 12 workshops (at conferences and for businesses), I'm really pleased with the outcome of 2023.
To finish this years recap, I want to set some goals for 2024 that I want to achieve. Some are "SMART" but some goals might not have a fixed number attached to them. While this might not be the best way to set goals, I think there are some goals that are not measurable but still achievable.
2023 was a terrific year for me, personally and business-wise - with lots of changes and new experiences. I'm really grateful for all the opportunities I had and the people I met. I'm looking forward to 2024 and hope to see you there! Some in person at conferences, some online on Twitter, YouTube, Twitch or somewhere else.
I'm Alex, a German web engineering consultant and content creator. Helping companies with my experience in TypeScript, Vue.js, and Nuxt.js is my daily business.More about me
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