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2012 Annual Review: Looking Back

Me after running 10k!
2012 was the first properly organised year of my life, and in this spirit I found my self seeking closure throughout December, a sub-concious bubbling feeling which lead me to write the first ever self-review of a year. I’m surprised I didn’t formalise this sooner, but better late than never!

Owing to the fact that I just wanted to get everything down and perhaps because it was my first ever, my 2012/2013 review ended up a pretty mammoth document. I’ve published bits I would like to share here, the actual review though covers as many angles of my life as I can compute 😉

If you haven’t ever done a personal annual review I urge you to give it a try – it doesn’t even matter if it’s later in the year – it’s a great way to take stock and remember your big-picture intentions.

I hope to get around to a project this year which will delve into such human “systems” in far more detail (I want to write a book on it) – but from this first year alone I can tell you there’s a lot of value in this process, give it a try!

I’m Woody Hayday and here’s my 2012 Annual Review:

2012 Annual Review

(Stolen from my very own facebook)


I didn’t read a whole lot in the first half of 2012 but endeavoured to catch up with myself by the end of the year – in my eagerness to absorb M.Scott Peck’s fantastic “Further along the road less travelled” and the Dalai Lama’s “The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality” at the same time I blew my own mind out of the back of my head in January. This was totally unhelpful to my overall flow of reading (this year I’m avoiding heavy stuff when I need to keep motivated.)

Charles Munger: Hero to meHere’s my pick of my 2012 reading – some fantastic books here, I can hardly give them enough praise:

  • Poor Charlie’s Almanack by Charles T Munger – This coffee table sized book has more value in it than 80% of business book’s I’ve read, combined. Phenomenal wit  and fantastic, rational truth’s. Learn: Margin’s of Safety & Framework of Models.
  • Seeking wisdom – From Darwin to Munger – A more consise edited version of Poor Charlie’s Almanack – you can read one or the other but you might miss 20% of the good stuff overall. This is incredibly dry until about half way through, but persevere!
  • Letters From a Stoic by Seneca – Phenominal wisdom from 2000 years ago, shame most of humanity is too preoccupied to absorb it! Absolute imperative read.
  • Winning Concepts by Dave Gannaway – Simple, positive, 80’s businessman attitude building
  • The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine – American & French Revolution commentary never had such retort, fantastic example of a semi-modern genius rationale, highlighted to me the vacuum of non-correction which seems to exist around societies, specifically Great Britain.
  • Hear Us O Lord from Heaven Thy Dwelling Place by Malcolm Lowry – Fantastic, mad literature that’ll catch you off guard.
  • The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde – A classic, bored me until it won me over in it’s penultimate pages.
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – Storified advice on following your dreams. Well written and enjoyable, a great, stealthy way to get positive drive on a big project.
  • The Universe in a Single Atom by The Dalai Lama – The Dalai Lama is responsible for several great books – this one is a step heavier than some since and covers the convergence of eastern spirituality and wisdom with modern science, quantum physics and such. Immense but heavy!
  • Further Along the Road Less Travelled by M.Scott Peck – If you haven’t read “The Road Less Travelled” read that and come back to this a year later. It’s dense with reality, wisdom and psychology in the best way possible, but in being so I also found it overwhelming (perhaps I read it too fast.) This is one I’ll re-read for sure.

[None of these are affiliate links.]


Mixing client web development consultancy via StormGate with my own projects, 2012 was still a less fractured year to those before it. I committed to a few major projects which I will mention here but I also didn’t manage to get round to a few I hoped to (finishing off that novel) – C’est la vie!

ChooseFest – The largest project I took on in 2012, ChooseFest is “A festival search engine that matches your music tastes to a better festival” and was fairly successful, closing the year with 600+ users and some really great feedback. Long-tail search engine rankings and a viral nature have carried it well into 2013, where it should continue to grow. Unfortunately work on this one was cut short early in 2012 due to other things getting in the way, I hope to work more on it this year.

Social Gallery WordPress Social Lightbox Plugin

Social Gallery – A side project founded from a client’s request, Social Gallery is a WordPress plugin which adds a “facebook style” social lightbox to your blog images – it’s pretty kick ass as you can see. Though this started out as a small experiment it’s been fantastically recieved and is now on it’s second version. It continues to sell well on CodeCanyon. (Branding on this one was done by the fantastic MRK Designs.)

Other noteworthy side projects: Remote backup & health monitoring system for shared hosts (I can now get insane value by using the best of the shared hosts coupled with this setup.) Sales Rocket Pro – this client project had some nice gamifaction intentions! Easy Envato Assistant (tiny project but useful.) Base CRM Contact Form plugin. Seedr’s listing for ChooseFest (temporarily postponed). Lots more including several innovative facebook integrations, a Facebook HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery animated game, a handful of mobile related WordPress plugins and lots of other alpha release’s that I can’t reveal yet 😉

Travel & Health

Compared to previous years I only took a fraction of time away from work this year – I was back and forth between Belgium (Gent) and the UK fairly regularly, with trips to Romania and Denmark. I also got a great week of strategising in a log cabin in the Ardenne. I was glad to see lots of my friends and family visit in Gent, but otherwise had wanted to maintain focus on work. I also hit Wilderness Festival which was cool.

3 Pianists in a Field - Wilderness Festival 2012

I started out the year averagely healthy and ended it about the same – my intention had been to pursue the slow carb diet and continue to do MED workouts at the gym, alas I let work get the better of me and did not maintain this. I did manage to run my first 10k (the Gent Staad Loop) though, which was exciting.

2012 Summary

It was a full on year of development, I probably produced more lines of more elegant code, drank more coffee and blogged less than any other recent year. Overall I am happy with the outcomes achieved, what else is there to be, after all 🙂 ChooseFest turned out to seal the end of a fantastically large learning curve, Social Gallery a surprise hit and I managed to find 3 or so books which have utterly transformed my outlook. I should hope to remember that any future successes should be proportionally devoted to Charles Munger, Seneca and my special way of learning: the practical art of digging yourself holes you then have to climb out of.

I hope to realise enough success in coming years to confidently share the hell of a ride it’s been so far.


Have a phenomenal 2013!

P.S. You may get a 2012: Looking Forward post too, if your lucky!

P.P.S. I borrowed this post title from Chris Guillebeau’s 2012 Looking Forward (hope that’s OK Chris), if you haven’t read anything of his stuff check out his latest book $100 Startup, it kicks ass.

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  1. Posted January 9, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    So much done in such a small space of time, including books read, business ventures, miles driven lol! you really did have a great year… nice one!

  2. Posted January 9, 2013 at 3:45 pm


    A lot of miles driven this year for sure – 10+ ferry crossings etc. but a good year 🙂

    Lets make 2013 more kick ass.

  3. Wilbo Baggins
    Posted January 9, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    Friggin awesome, buddy! Makes me want to see you more! Much love


  4. Posted January 10, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Thanks William, Same to you dude, look forward to spending much more time in 2013 when we are there 🙂

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  1. By 2013 Annual Review | Woody Hayday | Blog on January 4, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    […] Tons of experiments, growth and realisations. Building upon the habit started last year with my 2012 review I’ll share some highlights of my close-of-year self analysis below. My review of 2013 turned […]

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