2015 was a great year with lots of new adventures. I did a bunch of travelling, started a new position at work, competed in my first hackathon (and win), and started a couple of meetups. At the beginning of 2015 I set a few goals for myself:

  1. Speak at more events
  2. Start blogging again
  3. Be more active in my local dev community


I spoke at a good amount of events this year considering this was my first year putting myself out there. I found that I really love presenting and helping people.

I presented 32 talks between 20 events. I found that I also don’t mind presenting a bunch of talks at a single event. In fact I like presenting more than 1 talk events.

  • 10 User Groups / Meetups
  • 5 Conferences
  • 4 Code Camps
  • 1 podcast

It was amazing meeting all of the different people. Many of whom I admired as speakers and developers. It was hard to believe that I was presenting at the same event that they were.

Thank you to those that attended my talks. I couldn’t do it without you.

Thank you as well to those that provided me feedback and helped me become a better speaker.

I even got to fulfill a long time dream of being on the .Net Rocks podcast. I never imagined I would be on the podcast and it was a total out of the blue thing. I got introduced to Carl and Richard at Nebraska Code. Then I saw Richard again at Angle Brackets where I was an attendee and I mentioned to him that one of my goals is to speak at the conference. As we got to talking about potential talks, he said my Vagrant talk would be a great podcast episode. Luckily for me, we were both going to be at NDC Oslo and he was just starting planning the NDC episodes. You can listen to me on episode 1158 .

As well you can see all my presentations at http://digitaldrummerj.me/speaking/

Speaking Goals for 2016

  • Submit to more conferences. Want to put speak at more but since it is CFP for them the selection part is out of my control.
  • Complete my Pluralsight audition and hopefully a course
  • Come up with at least 1 new talk
  • Turn my net promoter feedback system into an actual application.


I had tried blogging in the past and it never lasted more than a few post. Well, not this time. In January, I created http://digitaldrummerj.me .

This year I wrote 50 posts with 54,000 page views. For my first year blogging, overall I consider it a success.

I used Jekyll for the blog engine and hosted it on Github Page. It was a lot of fun using Jekyll and creating the layout and theme for my blog. I could have easily went with WordPress or one of the canned solutions but I took it as an opportunity to sharpen my html and css skills as well as learn some new things like using Jekyll, and integrating Google Analytics and Disqus.

I even redid the theme for the blog in the middle of the year which was an adventure in itself. However, I don’t plan on doing this very often as it took a lot of time away from writing blog post. I am much happier though with the new theme, so the time was at least worth it.

I also figured out how to use Zapier to create a scheduling engine for the blog using Google Calendar and Github Pull Request. Since Jekyll is a static site generator it does not have admin functions like scheduling. It was one of the things that I did miss compared to other blogging engines. Since using Zapier for this, I have used it as well as IFTTT to automate a few things.

It was also fun figuring out how in Jekyll to easily create a series post and get a listing of all of the post for the series in order. Originally I did this by hand but that got old quickly. Now I just have to add a series tag to the front matter and it does it for me. This was important toe since several of the topics I was writing on were too big for a single blog post.

I have a whole series of blog post detailing out setting up Jekyll, integrating Disqus and Google Analytics, creating series, plus several other ones. View the series at http://digitaldrummerj.me/blogging-on-github-part-1-Getting-Started/

Blogging Goals for 2016

  • Double the number of post
  • Stick to the schedule of post in Trello
  • Write every day even if it is just 10 minutes
  • Submit to be a guest blogger on at least one popular blog
  • Get ahead in my completed post so everything is not last minute. Be nice to have at least 2 post scheduled at all times.

Dev Community

I have been part of various user groups over the years but was never part of the organizing committee nor did I give back as much as I wanted to.

This year I decided to change that. I am now running 2 meetups, mentored at some events, and am on the planning comittee for a couple events.

Phoenix Version Control Meetup

Right after I started using Jekyll and Github Pages, what is now the Phoenix Version Control meetup was started and I was asked if I wanted to be a co-organizer. Originally it started as a Github Pages group but quickly changed to more about version control with a focus on Github.

This was my first experience organizing a meetup and it had been a great learning experience. This group has struggled a bit to get going but we have a monthly meeting with about 10 people attending regularly. Not sure what 2016 will bring for this group.

Ionic Arizona Meetup

Then around August of this year I saw on meetup that Michael Iglesias was starting an Ionic Arizona meetup. I had also been thinking about starting one as well, so I sent a message to Michael offering to present at one of the meetings and asking if he needed a co-organizer. He graciously accepted both offers.

After some searching for a venue, we held our first meeting at the end of September with about 30 people attending. Since then we have had 3 more meetings with 20-25 people at each meeting.

For 2016, we already have a great set of talks for the first half of the year scheduled. We are doing “Releasing Your to the App Stores” in January, “IoT with Octoblu and Ionic” in February, “Database as a Service with Backand” in March, “ionic 2 and angular 2” in April and “An Ionic Showcase of thing members have built with Ionic” in May. If you would like to speak at one of the meetings, please let me know.

In December, I also registered ionic-az.org, created a Twitter account (@ionic_az), created email accounts using Zoho, and created a newsletter for the group.

The reason for the newsletter is to be able to share all of the great Ionic articles that I run across without spamming the group with a ton of messages. The first newsletter went out the week of Christmas and the next one is ready and will be going out next week. The newsletter will be bi-weekly. Look for a blog post soon on how I created the newsletter using a combination of a bunch of tools to automate most of the work.

We have also been work hard to get sponsorship for the group. So far we have a venue/food sponsor in Integrate and JetBrains has been gracious enough to give a free license each month for an idea of the winners choice.

The one not so great part of the Ionic Az group is that my co-leader, Michael, moved out of Phoenix and back to the East Coast. We worked well together and it was a pleasure running the group with him. I will be continuing the group and am looking for a co-leader.

Conference Planning

I have also joined the planning comittee for an Agile Conference in Portland that is scheduled for April and I will be helping with the planning for Desert Code Camp in Phoenix.


I also helped out as a mentor at the Chandler Startup weekend. Was also suppose to mentor at She Hacks AZ but that event got cancelled. It was fun doing the mentoring and being on that side of the process.

Community Goals

  • Continue to grow Ionic AZ attendance.
  • Grow Ionic AZ to where I do not have to present a topic at each meeting
  • Continue to build my community network.
  • Figuring out to organize more workshops locally on various topics.

Wrapping up

Well this post turn out way longer than I thought it would be. Guess I did a lot more in 2015 than I realized. Every time I thought I was done I remembered something else. 2015 was a great year and I am looking forward to 2016.

To start 2016 I am running an Ionic Workshop on January 16th at Gangplank Chandler, will be speaking at the Javascript Summit Virtual Conference in February and in March will be running an Ionic workshop at O’Reilly Fluent Conf.

If you see me out at any events, come up and say hi.

Looking forward to seeing everyone in 2016.