Alexander Thomas

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2015 – All About Time and Passion

If I had to pick a theme, I would say 2015 was all about time and passion.

It started with an end and ended with a new beginning and although everything new is always exciting and scary at the same time, 2015 definitely was a good year.

I quit a good job with a great team because I felt that it constantly drove me away from things that to me are fundamentally important. Interestingly enough it turned out that the next step I took wasn’t taking me into the right direction as well. So at the end of the year it was time for a more courageous step (and we will see where it leads me).

In 2015 I started teaching at the Beuth University and loved it as much as I thought I would. It’s the enthusiasm of the students that feels incredibly rewarding and I learned that to me social interaction in the context of technology is what I’m really interested in.

I learned how to sail and together with a close friend I even managed to protect this time consuming project against my everyday life. I never would have thought that sailing is such a meditative experience but the moment you set sail (and turn off the rest of the world) is truly one of the best things I’ve encountered in a long time.

I realized that life is too short for dealing with all the arrogance and sarcasm that seems to be so common in the tech industry. Nowadays I’m absolutely willing to accept, that you’re the smartest person in the room, if you spare me to show off your rhetorical brilliance in a 140 character tweet. If it’s true that rudeness spreads like a behavioral virus targeting positive human interaction, then we all should stop telling people they are doing it wrong and focus on helping each other how to become awesome. – And I’m willing to do the first step here.

I read a surprising number of books. Some classics like the original version of Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger or Dante’s Inferno and some inspiring new ones like Notes to a Software Team Leader by @RoyOsherove (which I wish I would have read two years earlier), The Hard Thing About Hard Things and the fantastic Chroniques de Jérusalem by Guy Delisle.

I learned new things about Docker and Ansible, JavaScript and ReactJS, Phonegap and Cordova, A/B Testing and current web analytics and I’ve been at the PHPUnconf again and once more loved its non-glossy atmosphere. Together with BedCon it’s still my favorite tech event.

And I managed to finally start a new music related project, which is a reliable sign that I must be doing fine at the moment. @jenzzen and I got into exploring how far we can come with just an iPad, a Korg Volca Bass and some lowfi peripherals. After discovering the incredibly amazing Elasticdrums app and finding out that multiple USB-Connections are not a problem either, it currently looks as if sky was the limit.

All this feels like it recharged my creative batteries. I’m ready for 2016. Whatever it may have in store for me. Maybe I’m writing a PhD thesis (besides working on all those weird project ideas I have in mind)?

But I would definitely like to become better in catching up with friends and writing on a regular basis and I’m curious to see how this last sentence will sound in a year’s time…