The Obligatory 2020 Year in Review: How it Started vs. How It’s Going

How It Started vs. How It’s Going

We’ve reached the end of 2020 and here’s to hoping for a fun and safe Holiday Season to you and yours.

I am taking some much-needed time off this month and have no idea what my blogging motivation is going to be for the rest of the year.

Therefore this post is what it is, and I hope maybe for those of you who are new to my site, you may see some posts that can help you on your own journey.

Act 1 (An Aside): Why Did I Start This Blog?

Story of my life.

I figured some background is in order. I was a Technical Trainer for 13 years, up until about the year 2013, as it were.

It took me a long time to break out of training to become a “for-realsies” engineer. I don’t intend for this post to be about my resumé, but let’s just say I was in the right place at the right time to turn that corner.

I thought I would miss being a trainer because it has always come naturally to me.

But, for the most part, I haven’t missed it at all, except for the whole sharing knowledge part of it. That’s the fun part. I want to contribute. I have wanted to share for years now, but only recently felt like I had the “bare minimum” street cred and experience to start sharing.

So . . . I Made Some Goals . . .

I wrote out some goals on a napkin about this time last year. They were as follows, and I am not saying what I list here is, “the right approach,” but this is how I, “make my brand”:

  1. The Blog is the Anchor – Blogging is only a start. It acts as reference material for talks, or podcasts, or twitter posts, or whatever.
  2. Set Myself Apart by Infusing My Personality Into Everything I Do – I know it’s a weird thing to list, but I am basing my blogging method on things I like to see from bloggers I admire. I like seeing bloggers where I can see the human being they are shine through. I try to do that with every post. Seems to be working?
  3. Create and Maintain a Github Profile. Check.
  4. Appear on a Podcast. Check and check.
  5. Speak at Seattle VMUG Seattle and VMWorld. Check and check.
  6. Get More Involved with “Tech Twitter” (Whatever That Means). The highlight of my year is being re-tweeted by Chris Wahl!

Although this year was not without its failures. Here are some goals where I fell short, but that’s what 2021 is for!

  1. Not Really a Goal, But an Epic Oversight – It was about last week when I realized that the vast majority of my posts were categorized but not tagged. . . . . That sound you hear is every other blogger reading this literally cringing, because that’s really not good if you want more traffic to your blog. Whoopsie! Yes, I know I can go back and apply tags to old posts, but . . . I don’t really want to.
  2. Become a vExpert – My first application for vExpert was rejected, however it was all on me. I didn’t take the time to fill out the application properly and it was back in June when my online presence and record for “giving back to the community” was all of about 3 whole months. I suspect that my application at the time was a bit thin, as it were. I have re-applied and here’s to hoping I get it this time, especially since I have had a lot more documentable community activity.
  3. Focus on the Public Cloud – I had hoped to get in more posts on the Public Cloud, but ERMERGERD KURBERNERTERS! took precedence. Don’t you worry, baby birds, more k8s content is in the hopper.
  4. Start a Podcast. 2021 maybe? I need a co-host. Taking applications now! I really want to start (or be a part of) a podcast in a bad way, but don’t want to do it solo.

My Favorite Posts This Year

A little side-lesson on blogging: Never try to predict what your audience will like. Just keep posting. You shouldn’t let your own attitudes/biases about something hold you back from posting. I have written posts that take me into the wee hours of the morning thinking, “man, this post is going to set the world on fire!”.

. . . Then, nothing.

I have also posted things that I am not excited about, but I know I have to post something. And sometimes those really do set the world on fire. Anyway . . .

I tried to put these into some categories but they are somewhat arbitrary and in no particular order. A walk down Memory Lane:

The Post I Thought Would Set the World on Fire But Most Certainly Did Not

I thought A Practical Post About Mechanical Keyboards would get a lot of interest but it got almost nothing.

Maybe it’s just ahead of its time and misunderstood. Yeah. I am sure that’s it.

The runner up would be A Halloween Post About De-Siloing All the Things: “Be Not Afraid, Be Very Not Afraid”. Maybe organizations are less siloed than I think?

The Post I Put Out There Because I Had To Post Something, But It Did Surprisingly Well Nonetheless

This award goes to PowerShell’s Compare-Object and Hash Tables: Fun With Dot Notation. I just threw that one out there, people. But, you’re welcome I guess?

Runner up goes to What I am Working On: Zero Touch Firmware Updates with HPE sutesxi on HPE Gen 9 Hardware – Part 1 . . . Probably. Come to think of it, I need to write Part 2 of that one. Stay tuned . . .

The Post With the Most Views

The post with the most views award goes to The Dunning-Kruger Effect and You. Although I suspect that it brings traffic from a more general audience . . . you know . . . the psychology types. So the runner-up and more technically-adjacent winner here is RedFish RESTful APIs with Postman, which is one of my favorites.

My Favorite Multipart Series

The Series on Morpheus, hands down. Especially Part 1. Runner up goes to A Kubernetes Lab Story: The Vagranting.

My Favorite Technical Post

This is a tough category, but I am going with Jenkins and PowerCLI: A Gateway Drug to “Pipelining” Your Automation. It wasn’t a hugely popular post, but I am very proud of this one. It is very likely that I will put together a talk for this one for next year. There is more to come on the Jenkins front next year.

Runner up would be another PowerCLI post: Using PowerCLI the Right Way: Make Your Own Git-Friendly PowerCLI Script Modules and Manifests. I had had this one rattling around in the ol’ noggin for quite some time. It was satisfying to get it out there.

My Favorite Opinion Post

Also tough to choose here, but after a lot of deliberation, I am going with The Four Stages of Automation for Infrastructure (ThinkingOutCloud Edition). The drawing I made alone for Stage 1 automation puts this one over the top, in my mind. Based on seeing similar ideas after that post, most of what I said there seems spot-on.

Runner up, also a tough choice: Dispatches from a Full Remote Veteran: Unpopular Opinions About WFH and How to Stay Sane If It’s Not Your Thing. This one just let me bask in the glory of helping people while also ranting. One of my favorties.

My Favorite Inside Joke This Year

Binge drinking. Hands down. Hold on a sec . . .

Hold on a sec.

Things I have Learned This Year

Looking these over, it looks like the posts where I went on rants were, on the whole, more popular.

So, I guess expect more rants in 2021.

Also, based on further feedback, no one’s laughing me off the internet, so I am going to keep going.

Have a safe and happy Holiday. See you next post and try to back off on that binge drinking.

Hit me up on twitter @RussianLitGuy or email me at bryansullins@thinkingoutcloud.org. I would love to hear from you.

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