2018: year in review

Published on 31 December 2018, last updated on 31 December 2018

I had intended to write a yearly review for a few years now but have not managed so far – 2018 is going to be the year that I finally get down to it. Looking back at the year is an interesting exercise and if I manage to keep this up for a few years (fingers crossed) it might provide a few interesting insights — and if not, it will have been fun anyway.

Mini sabbatical

I started the year with a 3 months sabbatical, which is to say that I did not take client work for 3 months. This was a good exercise in saying no (“sorry, I’m not available”), which is something I’m still improving on and which is probably one of the most important skills to have when you’re working as an independent.

During that time, I’ve read a fair amount of papers on distributed systems fundamentals (failure detection, dissemination and consensus protocols). Reading papers is a recursive process as you always find interesting papers in the citations and so I find myself with a large pile of unread papers waiting for me.

Papers related to failure detection, one of my favourite topics

This has been an incredibly useful (and interesting) exercise which I’d recommend if you get the chance to do so. I definitively plan on taking another small sabbatical of the kind when the timing is right.


In terms of work, I’ve had the chance to work with a few wonderful clients this year on a few very interesting projects:

Sadly I had no time to organize a public training this year (we had done so with OpenForce in Vienna last year) but will try again in 2019.


I’ve talked at the following conferences this year:

I’ve also had the chance to be part of the program committee of this year’s Scala Days and Reactive Summit. The quality of abstracts submitted at both conferences is very high to say the least and the review takes time – I wish we had more slots for both conferences!

Here’s the recording of my talk on distributed systems fundamentals from Reactive Summit:


I attempted to write one article per month this year and the success rate has been 50% – which is to say that I’ve done so the first half of the year and have not written a single word in the second half (well, at least not on this site).

The highlights of the year are:

The rest of life

Life with two kids is challenging (read my initial and subsequent) thoughts on the subject here – when I find the time I’ll write more on the topic). And yet, it is also wonderful! Not much I can report in terms of hobbies such as scuba-diving for 2018 since that wasn’t quite possible but I’m looking forward to the kids being a bit older to plan the next trip.

Happy new year!

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