It’s amazing when you get the opportunity to look back over a period in your life and appreciate everything that has occurred.
In 2007 I resigned from my job in Darwin, Australia, and bought a round-the-world ticket. It was going to be the adventure of a life time with amazing exciting things going on every day… and it would fundamentally change my outlook on life.
At least that was the plan.
The truth is that every day was just seemed like a normal day. Nothing seemed that great, nothing was overly exciting, it never seemed like I was doing too much out of the ordinary.
I woke up, I had breakfast, I worked on the laptop for a few hours writing about things I wanted to do or had just done. I messaged people on Facebook and uploaded pictures. I had lunch, dinner, beers, and by the end of the day I was tired and went to bed.
Actually, from time to time things seemed more stressful. People in hostels were annoying, I was probably one of them, and trying to sort out money in a foreign country, even in the USA, can be a royal pain in the arse. Trying to get a car from Baja to mainland Mexico with 15 words of spanish… phew!
When I look back on those 9 months travelling today, however, I do with some of my fondest memories.
The first hostel I stayed in during my travels was where I met my wife… although we wouldn’t see each other again for 2 years. A wrong turn on a highway just outside of Los Angeles would cause my car to break down in the middle of nowhere, but eventually that took me to make a group of friends who would travel together for 3 months living in a car.
Something that seem mundane at the time, and sometimes quite frustrating, are often wonderful when you look back on them.
And so here I am today writing this for the 250th edition of the RWD Weekly Newsletter I can’t help but look back on the journey.
It started with an email to 12 people with 7 opens and 4 clicks on the 12th April 2012. Now 250 editions and almost 5 years later, the newsletter will go out to 28,534 amazing folks.
I’m not going to lie to you… some weeks I’ve hated this process and questioned why I do this on a weekly basis. It’s not because I don’t enjoy creating the weekly newsletter, but sometimes things haven’t gone as well as you’d like that week.
I’ve had a shit weeks at work, been put at risk of deportation back to Australia, had my best friend pass away, had arguments with loved ones, pulled all-nighters for work the 2 nights in the lead up to the newsletter night and just need some sleep, had parties I’ve left early, typed feverishly while my wife was in the early stages of labour (the second time though, so that was okay), written them in-between cleaning up a family suffering from salmonella and many other dramas.
If I take a step back and look over the past 250 editions all I can do is say one thing.
Your subscription and readership has given so much back to me, far more than I can begin to explain or provide you in return.
When I lost my best friend there were several hundred responses from you all, each incredibly touching and often sharing similar experiences (which helped me unbelievably to talk about).
Through you, I’ve had the incredible fortune of writing a cover feature for Net Magazine as well as a section site review feature.
Thanks to you the newsletter has had the opportunity to provide media sponsorship for conferences and events and help them get the word out to more folks just like you. This relationship has also made it easier for me to make some of these events and learn more about our industry.
You have made it possible for me to be noticed by people from companies like Adobe, and be fortunate to share some of my ideas as a speaker at their design conference.
The weekly process of finding the most relevant articles, tutorials, tools, tips, tricks and snippets has meant that I research and read a tonne of content every week… which then allows me to be better at the day job I have, which in turn my colleagues also thank you for.
Your patronage has meant that the newsletter is sponsor worthy too. This has allowed me to put money towards the cost of Mailchimp subscriptions, servers, podcasts hosting, podcast transcriptions and more and it has meant that I don’t make a loss doing this (although I don’t want to know what my hourly rate would be for the curation work).
You have enabled all of this. By signing up to this newsletter, or using this site, you make it worth while putting in all the extra effort, and it is because of that effort that I’ve been able to learn and be a bit better at what I do.
So again, thank you!
So what’s the plan moving forwards?
Well, a little more of the same.
My goal for 2017 was to fill every week with a sponsor to get closer to covering all of the costs, while still leaving room to promote folks that might not have means to get in front of an audience like yourself (I work on the assumption that if I love it then so will you). I’m part of the way there but am always on the look out for new supporters if you know of anyone that would be a good fit.
I also want to put more effort into creating more content around new areas related to building sites. I’m pretty sure that we’ve almost all got the hang of the RWD thing, but there are so many more things we need to be better at to make the web a more awesome place. This includes a tonne of new things like a focus on content to help people bring Flexbox and Grid to every day implementations; to roll out responsive images like it’s always been that way; to get people thinking performance first and making our sites as fast as AMP is looking to do (but without AMP); to showcase the how we can push content into other areas like voice, conversational UI, VRWeb; and to bring your sites to an offline world without the need for native apps.
There’s so much to learn and, fortunately, you are part of an amazing group of people who want to learn, and who have unknowingly taught me a tonne over the past almost 5 years.
Thank you again.