5 minute read

A follow-up to my reflections on 2023, my plans and ideas for 2024.

Plans and ideas for 2024

In a previous post I reflected on what 2023 was like for us. 2023 has been a year with ups and downs (as many of them are). For 2024 I have a few hopes, plans, and ideas that I would like to write down, hence this post today.

To clarify, these things haven’t happened yet, but the idea is to explore, and if a positive outcome is anticipated, to make them happen.

Keep exercising, get stronger

Last year I started exercising with my good friend Peter in earnest. It’s been only three months, but I do notice a great improvement in my mood, focus, and general fitness + strength.

The idea is to keep that up this year and increase the intensity a little bit.

More software engineering, less DevOps

In May 2020 I joined a great software engineering team, working on a new messaging and notification platform. Around mid-2021 I became the lead engineer.

The work was a mix of software engineering and DevOps tasks, but due to the nature of the target environment, and the skill-mix of the team, the DevOps part started to dominate (I would say 25/75 in favor of DevOps work).

Now, there’s nothing wrong with DevOps work, but the way DevOps was meant to be (not a role but a way of doing things together in a team) versus what it is in practice (“Who’s the DevOps Engineer? Can you fix this Kubernetes issue?”) is just a sad state of affairs. Before you can say “repeat after me, DevOps is not a role”, you’re neck-deep into infrastructure and operational issues that take away from the software engineering part of the job.

I guess I do enjoy both aspects, i.e., the infrastructural part (performance and how you use hardware resources, make CI/CD really work nice, predictable, and fast, troubleshooting), and the software creation part (writing code, figuring out an elegant model to implement things, performance and consistency, etc), but when you’re dealing with an unstable target environment, DevOps will quickly become the majority of your work, at the expense of writing actual code (meaning: actual code for your product, implementing features, fixing bugs).

The software and infrastructure we created went live last November, and we’re now in the process of transfering to a new operations team who will be maintaining the product. This will last until about May of this year.

For my new role I will definitely look for something that brings software engineering more to the forefront, preferably in a language I get excited about (i.e., Scala, Elixir, Rust), although I do enjoy the more mainstream languages too (Java, C#, Python).

So mid-2024: new software engineering role, don’t care about lead, don’t know where yet!

The great sailing adventure to Norway

Since August last year, I’ve been planning a rather huge sailing trip, together with my father-in-law, my best friend Freek and his girlfriend Jitske. This year around June/July, we’re going to sail from my home-town (Scheveningen in The Netherlands) all the way to Norway.

It will be a three-week adventure approximately, with 6 crew in total (counting ourselves and the two owners of the vessel). The whole project started as a birthday present for my father-in-law due to our many conversations about life at sea but it has become a bit more than that, maybe an exploration too of a different kind of life, what things could be.. So:

Explore the creation of a sailing company

I currently have a moderately succesful software engineering company and I do software engineering projects together with my colleagues for various clients.

In a previous post I shared a bit about how I feel like I lost my enthousiasm for what I’m doing, feeling out of touch, without a real sense of purpose. Definitely not unhappy, but maybe critical of where I am and where I (think I) want to be.

In my life up til now I’ve had various companies, amongst which a record company called Grond which released records around 1999-2004 and 2014-2016, an alternative computer-hardware store called VT100, and my current software engineering company called RAAF.

Next to (hopefully) being profitable, these companies where also the culmination of ideas, executed enthousiastically; challenges met and mostly overcome; they were the background to life, a platform for experiencing things, meeting people and making friends.

My father-in-law was a captain on really large ships. When I am visiting in Bulgaria, we always talk about ships, about sailing, about teaching and certifications that are required on various types of vessels, about tourism.

This last christmas, we also played with an idea: “what if we would have a serious sailing vessel, how could we build a modest company for tourism, training and (small-scale) import/export around that?”

So this year I am doing that: Figuring out what kind of investment would be required and what the inflow + outflow of money would look like in such a company, the required aspects of it regarding certificates, maintenance, harboring, etc.

Organize the family get-together this year

My mother’s side of the family is partly Belgian. They organise an annual family get-together which is always a happy affair that we enjoy going to.

At the last get-together, I offered to organise this years’ get-together. This will be around September of this year. I am planning to arrange a really nice eating-together at a great place that’s run by my best friend Freek’s girlfriend, Jitske. Nothing certain yet, because it’s still a while away, but that’s the plan.

Final thoughts, just do

I think the overall idea for this year is: stay healthy, get stronger, and explore a few avenues. Do great things with family and try to make it so that everyone is a little bit better off at the end of the year. I hope we won’t have more instability in the world at large (although I can’t really control that anyway) and in general, a bit less cynical takes.

I think many of the above subjects will receive their own blog-posts, so stay tuned (yeesh).