2020 Mid-Year Review

Updated 1 month ago

It was cool to read Michael Knepprath's 2020 Mid-Year Review this week – this year has been breezing by at an uncomfortable pace, so it is helpful to pause for a second and introspect a while. At the beginning of this year I listed my goals for 2020; here's how things are going.

Visit one new country

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Learn conversational Chinese

I actually did pretty well here from January through March. But in April I lost the habit and haven't picked it back up. There's still half a year left though, so I'll be rebooting my daily lessons.

Of course, it's easy to see why this habit dropped off: in January I was in China, and learning daily was entirely practical and had day-to-day impact on my ability to interact with people and businesses. That's the kind of positive reinforcement loop that I need to keep pushing on a subject. But when we were back in the states, and the memories of Chinese life started to blur, it became more and more abstract to learn new vocabulary each day.

Create a revenue-generating side project

Nothing here yet. In fact, I've really taken a hard break from working on side projects entirely this year. I've mostly been focused on work-work and the Design Details podcast. I've managed to build some small playground pages on this site though, like the AMA and Better Hacker News (with a daily email digest!) – these aren't revenue generating, but are still fun to tinker with.

Match last year's reading pace

Not worrying about this one any more, it won't be a goal going forward. Reading volume as a goal seems a bit antithetical to the underlying point of reading. I'd rather pick up a book when it's particularly compelling, or entertaining, and not keep score.

Learn a new programming language

I started in on SwiftUI in January and made a small app to manage my bookmarks page on the go. With all the new SwiftUI updates at this year's WWDC, there couldn't be a better time to dive back in. It's been particularly inspiring to watch Jordan Singer tweet about his SwiftUI experiments.

Write monthly (at least)

It's actually been a pretty fun year of writing on this blog. So far it's been a mix of design and development topics, tutorials and slightly-more-evergreen content. Sadly the most-read post is my product designer portfolios list which kind of feels like cheating because it's just a list of links. But hey, if people find it valuable that's cool! The next most-read post is my investing guide for designers and developers – getting responses from people that this kind of writing is actually helpful feels great and motivates me to write more.

Gain (good) weight

Hard fail. With gyms closed, I'm doing mostly body-weight workouts and ended up losing weight during quarantine. I'm happy to maintain throughout this time, all things considered.


It's been a weird six months, without a doubt. For the past 5 weeks I've been spending as much time with family as possible, enjoying nature when I can, and focusing on staying healthy. It's okay if side projects, reading, and personal productivity fall a bit to the wayside. At the same time, there's a lot of compelling work happening on my team at GitHub, and sometimes it's just as fun to spend my side-project hours thinking through more tangible day-to-day problems of building our mobile apps.

A small favor

Was anything I wrote confusing, outdated, or incorrect? Please let me know! Just write a few words below and I’ll be sure to amend this post with your suggestions.

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