2022 retro, and what's up

This post is a recap of 2022, and a look into what's coming in 2023. In short, Devrel is amazing and doesn't require flying, I became a GDE and we grew over 160kg of vegetables this year!

2022 retro, and what's up
One day of harvest in our garden. Months later, we're still enjoying pumkin soup! 

Just like for many other people, the end of the year is a good time to stop for a second and look back at what one has accomplished. I'm notoriously bad at celebrating my successes, always instead looking at the next thing. So please bear with me for this one time humblebrag post.

So let's dive in, here's a dive into what's happened for me last year, professionally and at a more personal level (which, honestly I'm even more proud of :)).

At work

My debuts into DevRel

2022 was my first professional year in the realm of Developer Relations! I can't believe it took so long for me to find what many would call Ikigai. Something I love, I'm good at, and I can be paid for!

An illustration of Ikigai (https://www.calmsage.com/10-rules-of-ikigai/)

I absolutely love my job, and even though it's clear I can do much much better, the world around me seems to agree with the fact that I'm doing OK at it. I think it's genuinely the first time in my professional career where I feel like I exactly belong in the environment I evolve in, and I make a direct impact.

So there's that!

From entity, to team

Last year ended in a rocky way, with my manager (and mentor) living the company and Adyen deciding to change it's strategy. It took me (and us) a while to figure out what we were going to be doing. After all, Adyen being a closed product, what value can Developer Relations bring ? Turns out, a lot!

A year later, we now officially are our own team, with a clear strategy. I have the chance and honor to lead 3 motivated folks with a different set of strenghts, and it really feels like we can move mountains together. And it's so much fun as well, I'm super proud of them, and what we've done together.

Moving the needle

Talking about this, our team helped create a lot of brand awareness for Adyen. Collectively, we talked to over 6 thousand (!!) people, gave over 30 conference talks and in total reached over 150k folks. It's mad to think about it, especially for a team team where everyone is basically starting up in DevRel ๐Ÿ˜Š.

But even more important, we also helped a lot bring awareness about Developer Experience inside the company, so much so that it's becoming one of the priorities for 2023. It's a great achievement, because it'll improve even further our focus for our merchants, and bring many internal teams together. We're definitely looking forward 2023.

Apoorva and I speaking about Developer Experience at the internal Adyen conference

Meetups, and Conferences

I've been quite present on the conference scene this year, even though it's definitely not one of my main objectives. It brings me crazy amounts of energy to meet folks, share knowledge and to get people excited. I'm proud of the fact that I've started speaking of things that are much closer to my heart as well (sustainability). It's also the first year that people actually started contacting me to speak at conferences, and that honestly feels amazing. This year is also the very first time I was invited on a podcast, to talk sustainability and DevRel, and it felt great!

A photo of me speaking about the Climate Emergency during the DevFest Lille. The Q/A turned into a discussion for almost 30 minutes.

This year, I've also helped reboot the Amsterdam DevRel salon and learnt a lot from the folks there. It's definitely different to organize a Meetup for people who's job it is to speak ๐Ÿ˜Š. Gaining a lot of value from it, and there's demand for it. Our first 2023 session expect almost 50 people!

Oh, and thanks to Floor for helping organize!

A photo of Floor and me at the Halloween edition of the DevRel Salon. We respectively wear an egg, and a lion costume.

Industry recognition

I love spending time create awareness for tools I love. And if you know me, you definitely are aware I'm in love with Kotlin and Gitpod.

Even though it's definitely not a main goal for me, it feels seeing recognition for my efforts. In 2022, I became a Kotlin Google Developer Expert as well as a Gitpod Hero. There's some nice perks to it, but being closer to the community gives me so much energy every day, I'm super grateful about it.

Blogging and Writing

Even though I definitely didn't spend as much time as I wanted to writing this year, I still managed to write a few pieces on this blog and in written magazines. Again, the pleasure I take writing is nothing compared to the joy of hearing that it helped someone or getting feedback.

My face in a magazine, talking about things that are close to my heart (Gitpod)

From speaker, to reviewer

It's been a couple years already that I help the Dutch Java community by being one of the editors of the Dutch Java Magazine. I also absolutely love JFall above all other conferences, and try to always have a speaking slot there.

This year, I had the honor to be part of the selection committee as well for the talks. It was great having the opportunity helping shape this conference that I love so much. That, and helping first time speakers prepare for their talk as well.

And at home

As I was mentioning, even though I'm quite happy with how my work life turned out last year, I'm even prouder of everything we achieved at home.

No compromises

It's been a few years already that we're conscious about out footprint on the planet, and we've decided to drasctically reduce our impact anywhere we could. And one of the major items there is flying. As of 2018, plane travel totalled almost 40% of my CO2 footprint. I decided to stop flying, unless really necessary.

Combining this with being a Developer Advocate is not always simple. After all, a big part of our job is to be at conferences, close to our audience. Well I managed to be present at over 15 conferences this year, without ever boarding a plane. I've also done absolutely no compromise on the topics I wanted to present.

Turns out, you can go far with the train. I've even managed to go all the way to Barcelona ๐Ÿ˜Š. I'm happy to see it's possible, and glad Adyen was nice enough to give me the extra bandwidth necessary for this.

Producing a good chunk of our food

It's been a couple years we try to buy less, and produce some of what we consume at home. It started with many home products (washing powder, dishwasher tablets, detergent, ...) and last year we started the gardening experiment.

The family together on the garden, enjoying our very first red cabbage

We went bigger this year, with a 200m2 garden! It was quite the task, actually much more than we expected. Especially with close to 0 previous experience ^^. Almost 60% of everything we planted died ๐Ÿ˜….

But even then, we managed to produce over 160 kg of food this year! This is by far my proudest achievement with the family. We are, and have been quite largely feeding ourselves with our own produce. We made cans, froze a lot, and it's such a joy to create meals that come 100% from stuff you grew yourself! We're definitely planning on doubling down on this next year.

That's what 30Kg of potatoes look like!

Gardening also made us so much more aware of the climate emergency. When you're in the field, you realize how f*ed and unreliable the weather is becoming. I'm glad about it, because it's something we can't ignore anymore and we can bring our kids on the journey. Acting is definitely better than plain despair.

This is what the garden looked like back in July when it stopped raining for almost 90 days in a row. We live in the Netherlands!

So what's with 2023?

It's hard to reflect back without ending with a glimpse at what's coming. This year will be slightly different than last year, but even more exciting.

I'll most likely be less present at conferences, as we will be focusing a lot more on content creation with the rest of the team. This means that I'll get my hands much more dirty and that's great! I actually already managed to do a minor Open-Source contribution to OpenAPI early this year so that's a great start.

So, more content. I also will dive much deeper into Developer Experience, and especially how to measure it. Developer Advocacy definitely ties into Developer Experience, being on the forefront of the product and I want to learn better to convince stakeholders by leveraging numbers. Finally, I will learn the business side of software. This is one of the parts I have been missing in the past years, and it's a gap I want to fill. I want to be generating revenue myself this year, by learning to recognize gaps in product offerings.

So let's get to it! So what are your plans for 2023?! I'm mostly available on Mastodon and Linkedin those days ๐Ÿ˜Š, though you can still find me on Twitter...