It’s time for one of my favorite annual posts: my Favorites of the year. I usually start with some information on how my year went, but I had a lot more to say this year. I started a new blog with the first post being 2016 Sucked. But don’t worry – The title is tongue-in-cheek. I hope you like reading it as much as I liked writing it.
There’s one more caveat: for movie, I decided not to pick Rogue One. I loved it, but with a new Star Wars movie coming out every year I don’t see that selection being very diverse without the caveat. OK! Let’s get on with it.
Gadget: Blue Yeti Microphone. I started using it a lot more this year with my podcast and video courses; earlier this year outlined all of my podcasting gear. I’ve had so much fun with both and the Blue Yeti has been a great asset to me. I also learned a ton about audio thanks to Brian Krogsgard and some resources he sent me. I’ll definitely be expanding my setup in 2017.
New toy, close runner up: Rode Reporter. It’s my first XLR mic and the quality difference is noticeable. Excited to play with this more. Also, I got an Amazon Echo which I love. Man it was a good year in tech for me.
App/Website: Bear Notes. This was tough because I used a lot of new software this year (blog post coming) but Bear Notes takes the cake. I moved away from Evernote last year in favor of Simplenote, and while it’s a nice free option I found it lacking. Bear Notes is a beautiful app that is easy to use, has great support of Markdown, syncs quickly, and does everything I need it to. If is does roll out notebooks or nested notes in the future, even better.
Super close runner up: Newton Mail. I’ve searched high and low for a good mail app, and Newton is it. It looks great and works really well; plus it has all the features I want. The only reason it doesn’t take the top spot is that it’s $50/year, which seems steep for a mail app. That said, I gladly pay it because it’s worth the money.
Thing I Learned: Video/Audio Editing. What?! Not React.js? Not Angular 2? What gives! I know, I know. I want to learn React.js in 2017, just like I did in 2016, and I’ll probably do it this time around. But editing has been an important part of my business this year and while it’s still an arduous task for me, I’m picking up small tips and tricks to make it better. It’s also a skill that allows me to flex a different part of my brain.
Book: Contagious: Why Things Catch On. It’s very rare that you find a business book that’s almost completely practical knowledge, but Contagious is it. I read it over the summer for some advice on how to improve my marketing, and it’s absolutely fantastic. Easy to consume, great advice, and fun stories.
Super close runner up: Total Money Makeover. I got this book as a wedding gift and it completely changed my financial plan. Erin and I are on a well-paced march to be debt-free in the next couple of years, and will hopefully have some more disposable income as we build our family.
TV Show: Once again, I watched very few new TV shows this year. If I had to pick, it would be South Park since I rewatched the entire series. The show is super smart and its social commentary is underrated because it’s a cartoon.
TV Shows I plan to watch in 2017: Stranger Things, Westworld, The Crown, Medici, Black Mirror.
Music: Hamilton: The Original Cast Recording. I mean, did you think it would be anything else? My playlist from May to October was this.
Movie: Zootopia. I was really looking forward to this film for about 3 years, which I first heard about it at the d23 Expo in 2013. They teased about it an unnamed movie and got to hear the pitch and see some concept art. At the 2015 expo, they showed us a clip and I was hooked. It did not disappoint. I’m no movie reviewer, so I’ll keep it pithy: it was fun, well done, and very clever.
Podcast: The Way I Heard It by Mike Rowe. Mike Rowe is an excellent story teller who gives you short, consumable episodes. I listened to lots of great podcasts this year, but this is a great one you can listen to any time. Plus, I mean, Mike Rowe.