This is my 7th Annual Favorites Post. At some point I guess I should starting the posts like that! If you’re new here, I like to recap my favorite tech and media picks for the past year. I try to have them come out close to the year they’re picked, but that’s not always the case. It might just be the year I consumed them, or the year they got popular, as you’ll see with my gadget pick! Let’s get to it.
If you want a little more context, or you’d rather just listen to me talk about the picks, check out Episode 199 of How I Built It
Gadget: Elgato Stream Deck
Like many, I picked up the Elgato Stream Deck in a year where we were stuck at home and live streams become even more popular. It’s a fantastic way for my to easily execute tasks on my computer, like opening apps, arranging workspaces, and even controlling my home. I recently updated How I Configured my Stream Deck post. Stand by though: I upgraded from the 15-button to the 32-button so this will get updated again soon.
Honorable Mentions: There are a few honorable mentions; I recently told my wife I don’t think there was one purchase I regretted this year. First is the iPad Magic Keyboard, which is pricy but so perfect. It has me rethinking my computing setup yet again…though changes will wait until an M-chip iMac comes out.
Next is the Kindle Oasis, which I bought on a whim in November. I didn’t read as much as I would have liked this year, and I think the portability of a Kindle vs. physical books will help me reach for it instead of my phone. Finally, I got an electric Drum set. I’m so happy to be playing the drums again!
When the fine folks at Milanote reached out to me about adding them to my What I’m Using page, I told them I needed to try it out first, and I’m so glad they set me up with a pro account. It’s changed the way I’ve worked. It’s perfect for research and keeping track of notes and projects. You can see my full thoughts in my Testing Out Milanote for Research post.
Honorable Mentions: When I started doing more live streams I realized I needed something more streamlined than OBS, so I picked up eCamm Live. It’s truly fantastic software that works seamlessly, and it had Stream Deck integration too!
I should also mention iOS 14 here. It’s my favorite iOS update to date, largely in part due to widgets. But there’s lots of goodies here that made me hop on the public beta as soon as I could.
Thing I Learned: How to hire more
Recently I wrote about how I’ve Been Hiring A Lot. Unlike many, the pandemic zapped up all of my time. My wife is a nurse so she wasn’t home any more than usual, and day cares closed. Plus, in July we welcomed our second, a son. Because of that, if I wanted to keep the wheels on the car, I needed to outsource tasks I didn’t need to do myself. I systematized my podcast process with my editor and transcriber, hired a video editor, and recently brought on a VA.
Honorable Mention: I also needed to hone my messaging, so marketing messaging and PR outreach gets honorable mention. Related, I hired PR expert Brittney Lynn to help me with all of that and it was fantastic.
I love Bob Iger. I think he’s the best CEO the Walt Disney Company has seen since Walt himself. The things that Bob did at the helm allowed Disney to grow and future-proof a bit. So I was very eager to read The Ride of a Lifetime when I got it for Christmas last year. It was the first book I read this year and it’s remained at the top of the list.
Honorable Mentions:I love Don Miller’s work, and Marketing Made Simple was another resource that helped me hone my marketing message.I also love Star Wars Extended Universe books, and Dooku: Jedi Lost was a fantastic look at Count Dooku, whom I feel was one of the most interesting characters who didn’t get enough character development in the prequels.
TV Show: Ted Lasso
Talk about totally unexpected! Ted Lasso is an incredible show you can find on Apple TV+, and I would say that show alone is worth the price of admission. It’s funny, feel good, and it has some gut-punching emotional moments. Bill Lawrence is one of the minds behind it – he also made Scrubs – which is definitely part of the reason it’s so good. It’s the show we needed in 2020
Honorable Mention: I recorded my podcast episode before the Season 2 finale of The Mandalorian, which is getting honorable mention again. I loved every minute of the new season. Great story telling, great moments, and a fantastic bridge for all the Disney Investor Day announcements.
Music: First to Eleven, Lewis Capaldi
I always deflect to Spotify to tell me what my favorite music was. Band I listened to most was First to Eleven, a younger rock band who does fantastic covers. I love me a good cover. Song I listened to most was Someone You Loved by Lewis Capaldi. I love that album too. I guess I love me some depressing music as well.
As you can imagine, I didn’t see many movies in 2020 (I really don’t see that many movies anyway). But one that came out on Disney+ I was excited to see was the Original Cast production of Hamilton. It was fantastically produced, and getting to see it up close with the original cast was fantastic. Since Warner Bros. Says All 2021 Films Will Be Streamed Right Away, I suspect I’ll be watching more movies in 2021, as I’m also an HBO Max subscriber.
Podcast: Advisory Opinions
In a year where there was lots of civil discourse, election ballyhoo, and litigation, I found myself excitedly tuning into The Dispatch’s Advisory Opinions to learn more about how the law works around various subjects, as well as what the Supreme Court is up to.
The hosts, Sarah Isgur and David French are fantastic, knowledgable, and straight shooters. I love how they present the law as it’s written and most often interpreted, then provide their analysis. It’s always clear when they’re starting fact vs. opinion.
That’s a Wrap on 2020!
So there it is…all the stuff I loved in 2020. What do you think? What were your favorites? Let me know in the comments!