Daniel Miller

Product-focused Technology Leader

With 20 years of experience in technology and entrepreneurship, I help companies ship software that delivers real value to customers.

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Depth Year (Of Sorts)

In my last post I mentioned I was considering making 2019 a depth year:

…take a whole year in which you don’t start anything new or acquire any new possessions you don’t need.

No new hobbies, equipment, games, or books are allowed during this year. Instead, you have to find the value in what you already own or what you’ve already started.

You improve skills rather than learning new ones. You consume media you’ve already stockpiled instead of acquiring more…

I was considering not buying anything new (toothpaste, etc aside) in 2019 as part of this experiment, but I think a few simple rules will suffice. I’m already pretty minimalist when it comes to clothes, I haven’t bought a new instrument or bicycle in years (in fact I’ve sold a few bikes). I bought some gadgets last year, I bought or subscribed to some more software. I bought bicycling clothes (to the point I probably won’t need any more this year). So far I haven’t bought anything from Amazon in 2019. I have subscribed to one new software service this year (more on that in a later post–it’s still my best-kept secret).

So taking stock:

  • Hobbies:
    • Bicycling
    • Writing and playing music (I would really like to return to this in 2019, at least a little)
    • Writing words
    • Gaming
  • Equipment: all either related to the above or a gadget. This will mean no new phone in 2019, something I wasn’t planning on anyway. Should my current phone break I will consider a replacement exempt from these rules. But no new smart home devices, watches, mechanical keyboards (I just got my second, which I purchased last year), and the really tough one: no new computer. I’ve been shopping for one that both the kids and I could use to play Minecraft on. (Penn has kidnapped the only working laptop in the house owned by me.)
  • Games: I have discovered a new (free) game online in the last week or so. I’ve played a little bit but I’m not sure how invested I will get in it. It is a potential source material for my Minecraft education curriculum (although not Minecraft). It is entirely written in javascript and all its controls are via the keyboard; both aspects are fascinating. Possibly more on this game in a future post. But no new-new games, I guess.
  • Books: I have so many! I certainly do not need to obtain any more this year. I do need to just read what I have. Books prescribed by my employer or a professional mentor will be considered exempt.
  • Learning new skills: I’m fairly certain the author of this thing really means new hobby-skills; obviously I need to continue to grow in my profession, which involves a multitude of skills. Although he mentions learning French, so in my case it could mean a new programming language. I’m already so behind in the languages I already know that this temptation isn’t much of a problem. I still need to go deeper on ES6, React, Ruby and Rails.
  • Media consumption: now that everything is streaming, I’m not sure about this particular one. I’m still going to watch my YouTube subscriptions, which I keep pretty well groomed. I only occasionally watch Netflix. I enjoy new music. I often go deep with old music as well.

So my rules are pretty well laid out in the above. No new bike or musical equipment (this means the home recording setup I keep dreaming of will have to wait, as will learning Ableton or some other DAW). No new gadgets. No new books. No new games. No new hobbies (not that I’ve had time to even pursue my old ones). No new giant projects (writing, software, records [not that I have any songs]).

What I’d really like to go deep on are relationships. But that, I suppose, is yet another future post.

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