2016 Retrospective

Posted by Gjermund Bjaanes on January 22, 2017

A bit late, but it’s time to look back on 2016, as well as forward to 2017. What was, what is, what hopefully will be.

I wanted to do a retrospective style post about this. So I will start by going over 2016 and what I did during it, following up with what I want to stop doing, continue doing, and finally start doing in 2017.

2016 to 2016



In general, 2016 was a good year for me. At least professionally. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t actually complain too much about how I am doing, but as I look back on 2016 I can’t help but feel like we need to improve as a people - as a world.

So, let’s get that part out of the way. I will not let 2016 be a new benchmark for how the world works. Moving forward I will do what I can to help out. Donate money and time is the least I can do. We need to remember that we are all one people - all of us. So let’s help each other out. Let’s show some compassion for each other. And we need to take care of our planet too! Please keep all of this in mind in 2017 - I know I will. If all you remember after reading this post is this, I will be very happy! :)



In last years post where I wrote about what I wanted to do in 2016, I wrote that I wanted to write often and that I wanted to write great content. I haven’t been able to have the great focus I really wanted. I haven’t been able to bring the truly great content I wanted. There has been some good posts, but I wanted even more of them. And I wanted to write a lot more too.

I still enjoy writing on this blog, and I will continue doing so, but I would like to have a more clear message on the blog. A super clear mission statement. I don’t really have that right now. I will have to figure that one out. I need to feel like I am working towards something. Having some clear goals.

I wanted to blog every week, but that was not sustainable this year. That just tells me I need to change something to make it work. I don’t want to stretch myself too much either.

I managed to get out the redesign of the blog that I promised! I moved the entire thing off of Wordpress and on to Jekyll! If you want to know more about that, take a look here at these posts:

The blog is now on Jekyll instead of Wordpress!

How to migrate your Wordpress blog to Jekyll

I also finally got a portfolio page up! I wrote about some of the projects I have done on my own time with links to code and all kinds of information. If you are interested in what I do with my free time, take a look!

My Portfolio Page

I wrote several posts in 2016 that I liked. I want to highlight a couple of them.



I was lucky enough to get to go to three conferences in 2016. It was a lot of fun! I learned a ton and met a lot of great people.

The first conference I went to was One Day Of Internet Of Things. Like the name implies, this was a one-day conference about the Internet of Things. I met a few cool guys there that I really hit it off with. I got a several good ideas from the lectures and in general learned a lot about IoT. All in all, a good day!


The second one was by far the best one in terms of… well, everything! NDC Oslo. I even wrote a blog post about it: NDC Oslo 2016

During NDC Oslo I met a bunch of new people. I hanged out with a few guys I had only interacted with on twitter previously and I drank beer with some our industries finest people. The content of the talks was also top notch. Learned a lot during that conference.


The last one I went to was JavaZone. I have been to this one before, and it is quite good. Not the same quality as NDC Oslo, but still good. I think some of the difference in quality stems from the speakers in general being less well-known names. Don’t get me wrong, many of the less well-known ones are absolutely terrific! But in sum, the quality is not the same. Still, a good conference where I learned a lot, so I am not complaining.



I can’t help myself, I just love working on projeects. I love side projects a lot! New ideas, new technology, it’s just a lot of fun!

I have worked on a lot of projects in 2016, and I wanted to highlight a couple of them.


Extreme Results

My app for implementing J.D Meier’s personal productivity system, Getting Results The Agile Way (Also called Agile Results). I really like this one. It’s live. People can use it (a few actually does too!). I use it. That is why I created it, so that I can do Agile Results more easily. Solving a problem for myself.

The app: https://xr.gjermundbjaanes.com

The web app is written with Angular 1 and a bunch of web technology. The back-end is written in Node.js and uses MongoDB for persistence. All the code is open source.

I did a little preview release this summer, and I plan to add more feature at a later stage. Preview Release of XR

If you want to read more about Agile Results and how Extreme Results helps out, take a look at this page: Extreme Results - A digital solution for Agile Results®


Web Dev

I started on this journey in 2015, but was determined to work hard on it in 2016 too. And I did. I have learned so much about web development the last year! Extreme Results is a big part of that.

I have taken some space from web dev right now. I got JavaScript fatigue. So much new stuff coming out all the time, and things getting so complex that I kept wondering if we were doing it wrong. Web dev used to be kind of straight forward, now the tendency is to have a shit ton of complex build systems, modules systems, libraries, frameworks and languages stacked on top of each other - each of them getting outdated before maturity is ever reached.

Phew, nice to get that rant out of the way. I do believe web development will eventually end up in a really good place, but right now I feel like it is fluctuating so much that I need to just step out of the way for a while. I will observe and keep an eye on things however, but I will not chase and grasp every new things coming along.

Either way, getting good at JavaScript is still a good use of ones time. For the foreseeable future, JavaScript is a solid investment in tech knowledge. I will probably keep learning more about this moving forward. To create an even better foundation while waiting for things to calm down, or at least reach some sensible consensus on how things are going to be done.


Smart Home / IoT

I was actually planning do to quite a lot in the IoT space in 2016, but that didn’t really happen. Not to the extent that I wanted anyway. I managed to play around with a lot of different stuff. I got OpenHab up and running with a few sensors sending data to it via MQTT. So I actually knew the temperature of my apartment while I was away for the holidays.

I wrote a few posts on my smart home series, and I think I will try to get back into that going into 2017. I actually have little project running on that right now! Stay tuned.



I actually did a session at a local user group. My first talk! It was a lot of fun, but also a ton of work. I mean, I learned a lot, and it was totally worth it - but I probably underestimated exactly how much time it would take me.

Picture from the talk

I talked about .NET Core for restful API’s, from a .NET beginners perspective. I brought with me my experience with Java and Node.js for these purposes, and found out that .NET Core is quite nice for small API’s.

I wrote about the talk and the content of it here: .NET Core for your Web API’s?



Personal Development


I have spent a lot of time learning mindfulness and meditation. I have gotten a lot of value back from that. I am not going to go into all the details in this post, because I want to write a more thorough piece on it later.

What I will say however, is that if you want to get more peace of mind, more control over your own thoughts and emotions - and how you react to them - you should give mindfulness a solid look.




I got really into reading in 2016! During my summer vacation I remembered the joy of reading books. Since then I have read a ton of them! I found out that I am a big fan of Science Fiction books (should’ve seen that one coming, I guess) as well as non-fiction books.

I think reading is a really great way to relax, learn and get a lot of experience you otherwise wouldn’t.

I read physical books, and I listen to a lot of audio books.

Some of the best books I read in 2016 was:


Time to move forward. Let’s make 2017 the best year!

From a broad perspective, I think I will give myself some more slack. Lowering the bar a bit. At least for some things. Since I am not able to finish all of the things I set out to do, I might as well set out to do a few less things, and perhaps do the other ones a bit better? That is the general plan anyways.

I also want to focus on being happy, doing good for others (and the planet) and being excellent in what I do. That is my focus, in that order. Although, doing good for others do give you joy, so they kind of work together.


Stop doing

Things I need to stop doing.

  • Setting the bar too high
  • Taking on too much stuff at once
  • Web dev as a specific thing, at least for now


Continue doing

Things I am to some extent already doing, and want to keep doing.

  • Blogging, although perhaps at a slower pace
    • And with a more clear message (Mission Statement)
  • Reading
  • Learning
  • Doing my home automation, although a bit more than before
  • Working on my mindfulness practice
  • Doing good things for people and the planet
    • But more!


Start doing

Things I want to start doing.

  • Find and contribute to an Open Source project
  • Eat less meat (ideally, no meat at all!)


Closing words for 2016

Let’s work together to make 2017 a lot better than 2016. Show some love and compassion for all people (and the planet)!

Love and Compassion

Follow me on Twitter: @gjermundbjaanes