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I’m late to the party, I know, but this isn’t a me-too article. This, in many ways, is a reflection and thanksgiving.

This is my first post for 2017, so it makes sense to recap my 2016; both the high points and the low. 2016 was a great year, monumental and life changing on different fronts. So great, I probably didn’t want it to end. Alas, all good things must come to an end.

In no particular order, I’ll try to share a few of the events that took place in my life.

Work & Life

I switched jobs and moved to Andela. It’s been a little over 4 months, and boy, it has been an incredible experience.

In this same year, I lost my last surviving grandparent, Eka Anthony. I miss her to this day. Eka Anthony was the kind of grandmother every child prayed for. God bless her sweet soul.

It wasn’t all bleak, I also became an uncle to an amazing young man, Jessy. In this same year, Lee showed up. Great guy.

I learnt how to drive. Lagos is unfair to those who are getting behind the wheel for the first time. We move (literally).

I finally graduated from the University—big deal.

Speaking & Events.

In November, I spoke at my home church, Honey Streams Christian Center. This is one privilege I’ll never take for granted. Thank you, Pastor Akomaye. Thank you, sir.

I was a panellist at the AfriLabs conference that held in Accra. It was amazing and humbling sharing the stage with industry heavyweights from Microsoft, etc.

I met the amazing community called DevCongress. Prosper and I had the rare privilege of sharing our journeys as engineers, while talking about what makes startups in Nigeria unique. Edem Kumodzi made this possible. Thanks, Chale.

I got an invite to speak at TEDx Unilag, but I somehow managed to botch this one. Poor planning. Who knows, I may get another one this year. I want to speak at a TED event. If you’re a TEDx licensee and you’re interested in having someone share his life story, do reach out.

I spoke about Progressive Web Apps at the DevFest SE season 2016 that held in Port Harcourt. I made a case for PWAs as the new way of building mobile applications moving forward.

I was at HiveCo Lab, Kampala, where I got the opportunity to meet with amazing engineers and feel the pulse of the Uganda technology scene. There, I met Mwesigwa Daniel. Daniel is an amazing guy. He still owes me a Rolex though.

I met egbon Mark Zuckerberg. He still owes me a photograph.

I delivered the Keynote at the DevFest SW event. I spoke on the State of the Web. It was beautiful and nostalgic. For one, it afforded me the opportunity to learn about the history of the web and also examine the lives of those who made it possible. Thank you, Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

The high point of my 2016 speaking engagement was when I delivered the keynote for the CodeCalabar conference. Calabar isn’t just a city. It’s my city. My autobiography will not be complete if I don’t include this city. Calabar is my genesis.

I was a guest on Hit FM 95.5, Calabar. I spoke about technology and how it affects our everyday life. I made Papa proud.

Writing

I set out to write once every week, but I wasn’t disciplined enough to follow through on this one. I take absolute responsibility for this. No excuses.

In the midst of all of life’s happenings, I managed to scribble a few things. My biggest moment was when I shared my 11-year journey. For some weird reason, it was therapeutic. I could feel the weight off my chest. What was more interesting about this particular article was the fact that I had people emailing me and sharing their own university stories. I had the privilege of counselling with a few of these individuals.

In a bid to step away from my comfort zone—technology and startups—I decided to try my hands on fiction. I wrote about an upwardly mobile couple, Bidemi and Makinde, who had planned this amazing dinner date that almost turned into a disaster. This story isn’t complete, so I may revisit it sometime this year.

I now have renewed respect for every single person who writes fiction for a living or for fun. Fiction is tasking, but it also allows your mind wander and sets your imagination wild.

I did my best to appeal to young people on the need to write complete words and sentences. This particular article was borne out of the fact that I was tired of either ignoring people that start conversations with xup or those that will abuse your senses with tanz 4 ur tym. This gripes me, always.

I made a special appeal to UXers on the need to consider my grandmother when next they are thinking through that app that will connect the next 1 billion people. She, like many other grandparents are just as important.

I contributed to Ventures Africa, iAfrikan, Techpoint and Y!Naija. This year, I’m aiming for Bloomberg, Financial Times, WSJ, and NYTimes. Amen. A boy can dream and dreams do come true.

Reading

I read a number of books this year and here are some of my favourite:

Traveling

I visited 4 African countries this year; Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Rwanda (coughs, it was a 2 hour layover). East Africa is beautiful. Yes, I said that.

I got the rare opportunity to taste a crocodile meat—thanks, Lisbi. In a bit to document my culinary experience, I started a trend I tagged culinary journeys—totally lifted from CNN’s show, Culinary Journey. I intend to follow suit this year as I encounter amazing dishes that life brings my way.

Edem was in Lagos last December, we both had Jollof at Terra Kulture. I guess we can finally lay the Nigerian/Ghana jollof squabble to rest.

Learning

This is one year that I decided to go under the hood and learn the inner workings of a few things. I took the time to explore the not-so-sexy side of MySQL. I’m by no means a database expert, but to say this experience wasn’t invaluable will be me lying.

Elasticsearch has been that one software that is not only beautiful and well designed, it most times felt magical. I did a few digging and you have to give it to the folks at Elastic, they do amazing work.

Ansible, how did I ever exist without you in my life? To RedHat and the amazing community maintaining this project, I say thank you.

2017

The idea is simple, multiple everything here by 10.

In closing, this was one beautiful year. Here’s to a greater and bigger 2017. Cheers.

Image credit: PLURALSIGHT

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Celestine Omin


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Celestine Omin

On Software, life and everything in-between

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