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December 31, 2007

Looking Back at 2007 //

Although I’ve not really done a lot of “looking back” over the last couple of years, 2007 has been notable enough that it seems foolish not to turn the mirror around to see how I got where I am now.

While 2007 has generally been a good year, it’s also been one of the toughest I can remember. The specifics of this will be explained in due time but not necessarily here and now.

Looking back, I can see how the previous few years led me here and how I’ve learned and used many valuable lessons that continue to drive me forward both in my work, at home, and in the rest of my personal life. I can see where I made mistakes or the wrong choices too. Now, currently about three weeks into my month-long sabbatical, I’m starting to revisit those lessons - take stock of what’s working, what’s not, and getting things in order to start 2008 off on the right foot.

So what happened in 2007?

Around the World

While my travel exploits don’t compare to [certain][dkr] [others][haney], and although it’s still tough to be away from my family, I definitely did more travelling than I think I ever have before in a single year.

A few of the places I visited in 2007:

  • Austin, Texas (3 times)
  • London, England
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Reston, Virginia

As much as I might not enjoy living out of a suitcase, I got to put faces to names and feel like I made some great new friends, many of whom I expect to see again in January at WDN08 or in March for SXSWi and hopefully later in the year as well. I’ve also got a handful of new people who I’m looking forward to meeting in person in 2008. Social networking sites like Facebook, Virb, and Twitter are one thing, but cannot complete with actually connecting face to face with people.

Unfortunately I’ve not done the same kind of networking in the local Toronto web and technology communities; something which is high on my list of things to remedy in 2008. I’ve already got a good start and have a few opportunities already lined up to help move this along.

Business is Good

This year was one of growth and change for Wishingline. As a business entity, the company changed from a sole proprietorship to a full-fledged corporation with all the extra paperwork, meeting minutes and common shares that involves.

The employee roster also grew (officially) to two with the addition of Shawn Frair, who came on board at the beginning of December to take over the books, because, frankly, I’m not an accountant. Emily did a great job in helping get me through until now, but we’re both relieved to have this in Shawn’s hands now.

Aside from being a great friend, music lover, occasional blogger, and expert balloon animal maker, Shawn is filling an important need and taking charge of a core piece of the business that I really shouldn’t be too actively involved in. It’s a great relief to have the books in such capable hands, especially since it frees me to focus on both the creative and technical sides of the business along with simply growing the company.

Bringing one new person into the mix also meant that I started to put more serious thought into growth - beefing up the client roster, adding new talent, and moving the office. Although running the office out of the house has never been an issue with clients, it feels like the right time to start the search for proper office space especially if I plan on increasing the number of people actually doing the work beyond myself.

In the short term, the office has been reconfigured to add a second desk in preparation for adding employee number three. So, yes, that means officially I’m in hiring mode. This is the first of several self-induced kicks in the pants. More on this soon.

In terms of actual work - this year was a doozy. A couple of weeks ago, prior to starting my sabbatical I took a look back and assembled a near complete list of projects from the last year. It was so long that I nearly fell out of my seat. I had no idea how much I really accomplished; and as much as it kind of frightened me, it was also impressive.

Although my focus has been primarily web projects, I’ve had opportunities to work on print projects, ads, identity design and just about everything in between. Unfortunately, due to being so busy with client work meant that a few more personal projects fell by the wayside and got little, if any attention. Again, something that will be remedied in 2008 based on the planning I’ve been doing during my time off.

Musical Side Projects

In my musical world, 2007 also brought some changes. The Darns unfortunately disolved, but not without a new group rising out of the ashes. We moved out of our permanent rehearsal room in the west-end of the city and still haven’t bothered to come up with a name, but we’ve made great progress in writing new songs and are starting to put together a plan to do some recording in early 2008 with the possibility for an EP release. Might need to get that name thing worked out before that though…

At Home

The biggest adjustment in 2007 continued to be adapting to having a new baby in the house. Thankfully Gillian couldn’t be a better baby. She sleeps well, eats well and is incredibly good natured virtually all the time. We really couldn’t ask for more.

It’s been so much fun to watch her grow (she turned one in October), babble, crawl, laugh, splash around in the tub, chase the cats - it reminds me that even if I have a lousy day at the office, there’ll always be a smiling face waiting at the end of the day. To top her first year off right, we’re really looking forward to Gillian’s debut modelling appearance in the February 2008 issue of Style at Home magazine (page 24 I’m told).

Aside from all the changes revolving around Gillian, this year brought an opportunity to finally come to terms with many other life changes such as moving (twice), two summers of major home renovations and the psychological changes involved with going from being an employee to the boss. It was a nice break this summer not to have to also play the role of construction site foreman at the same time as attempting to work through it.

On Deck for 08

I’ve got what I think are notable goals and changes lined up for 2008 and we’ll see how I end up doing by the end of the year but I’m optimistic that the time off I’ve given myself has allowed me the chance to slow down, reflect and really think about the last year and what I want and need to accomplish in 2008. I think it’s only by looking back at our successes, and perhaps more importantly, our mistakes, that we truly learn.

So, cheers to 2007 and hello 2008.

So say you…

Happy New Year!… :)

(Hey, when were you in London?)

Matt Robin Matt Robin December 31, 2007

Thanks Matt, same to you.

I was in the UK in late September for just under two weeks on a bit of a family vacation.

Scott Scott January 3, 2008

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