Ugh. Moving house, it soaks up so much physical and mental energy. But we are here now and it is magnificent! Cooler weather, a veggie patch and a much larger workshop. There’s so much room for activities! I’m going to miss living in Cairns, I made some excellent friends and it is a great place to cycle. The place is for the most place flat, with some nice wide bicycle paths. The good news? Cairns is a short drive away.

Despite a house move that derailed my December, I came pretty close to nailing my goals for 2017:

Marsarium ready for launch.

OK, so on the curiosities front, I managed to roll out three. They weren’t as ambitious as I had hoped, but still heaps of fun. Well the Marsarium launched at the start of the year. That was ambitious, but I finished building that in 2016 so it didn’t count as output for 2017.

Oh, but a big ‘first’ was a commission for one of the curiosities. “Here’s a few bucks and build whatever you want around this broad idea, just have it ready by…” It was strange, I ended up in a very different headspace and relationship with what I was creating. Part of my problem was that I see curiosities as loss-leaders. Things I create with resources I have acquired from other places. I have complete freedom and control to shape an idea into whatever I want. The curiosity doesn’t have to pay for itself, it just has to be something I can turn into a reality. However, with the commission, I didn’t see the curiosity as a loss-leader at all. I saw it more as a way to make a few bucks to help pay for the next curiosity. In many ways this thinking was flawed and led to a troubled relationship with the curiosity. I should have treated it like all the other curiosities. Another loss-leader, this time around, losing fewer resources than normal.

Alright products. Honestly? This whole category of output is really clumsy. What I was hoping to achieve here was building up a handful of products to generate small amounts of passive income. Things that will help create the freedom to enable the fun stuff, the off-the-wall curiosities. Conceptually it doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of my current workflow. Make a curiosity -> Write about the things I learn along the way -> Land a couple of consulting engagements -> Pay for the next curiosity.

Anyway. I finished developing two ‘products’, they weren’t what I had in mind at the start of 2017. They don’t tick the whole passive income box, and there is still a bit more work I want to do on them. For example, I haven’t fully documented the LEGO SpaceX autonomous spaceport drone ship. I rolled these two products over into this year to finish them off, but at some stage I’m going to need to renovate this whole category.

I ended up working on three collaborations this year (I only planned for two). I enjoy the diversity and getting to work with and learn from others. But I often find it a struggle to balance collaborations with curiosities. The problem is time, I don’t seem to have enough of it. I need to develop some sort of mental taijitu to help balance the dualism of collaborations and curiosities. Wait. squints I think I’m changing, where the hell did that come from?

Alright, I think it is time I back away slowly the keyboard for tonight. If I lost you. Sorry. Please enjoy this picture of Yin and Yang as a brief intermission:

taijitu, a graphical representation of yin and yang.

Alright. The best news? The monastic engineering experience continues for 2018! Awww-yeah. I improved the way I planned for the year. Rather than just leaving empty slots for everything, I have picked out items from my backlog in advance. I have three ideas for curiosities that I’m excited to make happen this year. I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew… But that’s alright, nothing wrong with some aspirational goals in life. So this year I’m aiming for:

three curiosities, two products, five collaborations and 30 articles.

I’m sure the year will take its own twists and turns. Or as 19th century German field marshals liked to say. “No plan survives contact with enemy.”

Oh, I almost forgot. Exercise. A total failure in 2017, between injury and dad duties I hardly completed any runs. I did finish a couple of flipping sweet bike rides though. This is the area I want to improve the most in 2018.


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