Category Archives: Just for Fun

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I stole this idea from Matt.*

It’s been quite the year.

My mini-me had just turned one year old at the start.

I gave up seven years of freelancing to become a salaried employee again, with the fantastic Code For The People, who six months later sold me to Automattic.**

Lots of travelling was had. In August, I took my partner*** and the boy to watch my partner’s brother marry an American girl from Akansas, then I spent my first few days as an Automattician meeting my new colleagues in Lisbon. Right now, I’m in New Orleans meeting with the team again**** 🙂

On a bittersweet note my partner and I separated, but I’m now a father again to a little girl.

This year? Keep my job, buy a house.

* Matt being the new “big boss” (haven’t had one of them in over a decade!) who at only one year older than me is substantially more successful… grrr! 😉

** I’m absolutely not complaining!

*** Now ex.

**** Though today is the last day, so I’m mostly spending my birthday in airports…

Some new year thanks and thoughts on 2011

A couple of years ago I made a new years resolution to never make a new years resolution again. It’s the only one that stuck!

Inevitably though we get to this time of year and start contemplating. For me, it’s had some ups and downs but mostly it’s been a fantastic year; one to remember certainly. So I want to thank those people that have made it such a good year and been with me through it. In no particular order…

Most of my current workload is based on, or derived from, my work on The Lichfield Blog. TLB’s success is largely down to the excellent and constant effort of founder and editor, Ross Hawkes. Together we share an exciting vision, albeit an uncertain one, and that keeps me going. I’m determined to make sure that TLB survives and it’s Ross’ open mind that has led to things like Viva LichVegas. January 19th will be our 2nd birthday and it’s on that day that we start our next phase of growth, our biggest yet and one I believe may start to answer that hyperlocal elephant in the room.

Of course, TLB wouldn’t be what it is today without the likes of Nick Brickett, Paul Groves and our other supporters. Their continued contributions and support make sure that we have excellent content and an increasingly engaged audience to consume it. Extra thanks to Nick for that epic effort at Fuse this year – it may have been knackering, but we didn’t half show what we are capable of!

Of course, big thanks to Andy and Foxy of Sabcat Printing for ‘getting it’ so well and having the vision to work with us on Viva LichVegas. There’s more to come from working with these guys too – they have their heads screwed on and understand the industry TLB is working in. It could get even more exciting!

Big thanks to David Higgerson for his efforts within BPM in making the collaboration with TLB happen. He may be a busy man who’s hard to pin down but when you do magic happens. So far it’s seen our articles printed in the Birmingham Mail and a section in Your Communities as well as access to photos for us. Next year promises to be even better as TLB looks more at sustainability and commercialisation there is definite room for collaboration and I’m confident that it’s partnerships with the likes of BPM and Sabcat that will make it work. I’d also like to thank Paul Bradley who is both a nice chap and manages Your Communities, working directly with us regularly to ensure the best content gets printed.

Also thanks to Peter Bacon of Lichfield Festival who had the faith in us to re-build their website for 2010 and become TLB’s first client.

Not quite moving away from TLB yet, I need to thank Rick Waghorn of Addiply. Where do I start… Firstly, he had the vision to see TLB move away from a measly AdSense income to something that helped us see the wood where we’d only seen trees. Rick has since championed TLB as if it was his own, putting us in front of more eyes than I ever could have dreamt of commanding and eyes that, most importantly, are useful for our future growth. He’s also put business my way which is most valuable! Special thanks for organising #1000flowers, too which I hope will continue into next year!

As for the year to come… well, Rick is quite the visionary and I find myself nodding with every word he writes. If this year is anything to go by next year will see us make more roads into national advertisers for the hyperlocal networks we are both building. Addiply is a young system but ripe for growth and perhaps not just confined to the web. Hyperlocal advertising is going to grow in 2011 and Rick and I are at the front, pushing forward.

In a related note, I need to thank Paul Squires for having the excellent thought of putting me and John V Willshire of PHD together (and for the Christmas card!). John is another epic visionary who really gets the potential of hyperlocal advertising and is a position to really help national advertisers to do it well. He deserves thanks for getting the ball rolling and I feel confident that he’ll be instrumental in proving, in 2011, that national brands can advertise on hyperlocal sites in a way that benefits the brand, the publisher and the community.

A quick thanks goes to Laura Oliver for giving me my first big platform to shout about my thoughts on hyperlocal and local media in general. Text messages from Rick and Ross while I was speaking suggested I’d done a good job and I certainly enjoyed it. It opened the floodgates for me and gave me the confidence to speak about hyperlocal and TLB even more, which I do a lot! All the best to Laura for 2011 in her new role at the Guardian.

A more personal thanks goes to Adrian Hope, Chairman of Lichfield Round Table for being so welcoming and inviting me along to so many table events. The highlight of the year obviously being December 23rd collecting from the people of Lichfield with Santa! Also for taking out an ad on TLB and supporting us even further.

Thanks to Nigel Barlow and Louise Bolotin for deciding to launch their excellent site Inside the M60 using my platform, Journal Local. I consistently reference the site when telling people about Journal Local because it feels like a big sign of approval to me.

Big thanks to Paul Bradshaw for having the faith in Journal Local to move his popular Online Journalism Blog to the new platform. Another massive sign of approval in my eyes. Paul also deserves thanks for organising, and including me in, Hacks/Hackers and it’s Lichfield event as well coming to the ScraperWiki hack day. Not to mention putting on JeeCamp and allowing me to organise the FoN-WM meetup as a fringe event.

Which leads me nicely to ScraperWiki (specifically, Aine and Aidan McGuire) and Stuart Harrison for helping to organise Lichfield Hacks and Hackers Hack Day which was a roaring success. Off the back of that day a new service for Lichfield is on it’s way to tell people what’s on in Lichfield. For that, I need to thank Will Tinsdeall, Annette Rubery, Tom Wigley, Nick Brickett, Paul Bradley and Stuart Harrison. Their effort on the day was great and I hope they’ll continue to contribute into 2011.

Thanks to Mark Cheverton for choosing me to work on the DemenShare.com project – something very dear to my heart that I’d always wanted to do but didn’t have the resources on my own, but which Mark has enabled me to do.

Cheers to Rob Morris and David Leake for putting work my way this year, too – hopefully we’ll work together more next year as well!

Finally, big thanks to my lovely girlfriend for putting up with me. Especially for taking a good few hours out of every day to see me while I was in hospital – it was a pretty terrifying time for a while and her visits really helped to make me feel better. That’s just one of the reasons I love her, she’s generally a fantastic person to be with and makes me very happy – she’s the icing on the cake.