Thomas Ardal

Freelance software consultant and entrepreneur building SaaS applications like elmah.io

2015 Retrospect

For the fifth year in a row, I’m summing up the year by writing this retrospect. You will find my previous posts here: 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. These kind of posts are my way of following up on the stuff I’ve done and what I have accomplished during the previous 12 months.

It’s starting to sound like a cliché, but I can’t believe how much have happened since 2014. And what’s more important to me is, that I still have had time for my family and the daily routine (change diaper, clean up, change diaper, entertain kids, change diaper, clean up after the kids, change diaper … well you get it by now). In fact I would love to blog a whole lot about my family and especially my children, but I’ll keep this post as professional as possible.

For the past year, I’ve been working as an external consultant for DONG Energy. During the year, I chose to say no to working full time as a consultant, since I wanted to dedicate time for my personal projects as well (elmah.io, NuGet Server and some of the other stuff I have cooking). Saying no to paid hours is hard, but I really wanted to try other things as well.

Talking about elmah.io, things are going great! The number of paying users are growing by the day and people really seem to love the service. I can’t blame them, since a lot of love and investment have gone into developing the product. During December, I agreed with my consultant gigs to take a break and focus around my own projects entirely. The month has been quite an experience so far and I really recommend you to take a month of for developing your own ideas, if you have the cash and time for it.

Working as an external consultant and entrepreneur has been very different from my previous jobs. The fact that I can work most hours from home, have given me a lot of flexibility in order to make the days as smooth as possible. Sick children? No problem, I’ll just work a little during the day and the rest during the night. Feel like sushi today? Take 2 hours off for lunch and work 4 hours during the weekend instead.

The year also gave me the chance (or in some cases forced me) to try new things. I can’t remember when I’ve visited a restaurant alone before. It’s weird at first, but sort of necessary when working out of the house for more than a day. I’ve been interviewed by a journalist about how I’ve used Windows Azure as a platform for processing millions of log messages from the customers at elmah.io. During the summer I spoke at 4 different Danish .NET user groups and in October, I spoke at my first developer conference, Umbraco UK Festival. I’ve been speaking occasionally in the past, but this year certainly threw me back into the game. I even blogged about my fears. Besides speaking, I also had the chance to take a personal retreat. It was a great experience and I blogged about that as well.

Also in October, I received a recognition from Microsoft, when I got selected for the Microsoft MVP award. I’m proud that my work as a speaker, blogger and developer is recognized and even though I probably wont speak publicly as much next year, I hope to be able to extend the title. Unfortunately, I didn’t got to attend MVP Summit, a conference for Microsoft MVP’s, since I already had a trip to London planned. If I get the chance next year, I’ll definitely check it out.

Crazy stuff. I can’t believe that I’ve been this lucky (and maybe even talented :)) to be able to live this life. I love every second of it.

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