2015 Year in Review

Code School, Pluralsight, Travel, Blogging, Cocktails

Written on January 1, 2016 in Personal.
Adam Fortuna

Hey hey! I'm a developer who lives in Orlando, FL. Right now I work at Code School, listen to a lot of audiobooks, set way too many goals, write at minafi.com and tweet often.

So, what’s happened in the last year? This is my annual recap to answer that question. The past year had a major focus on travel. Somehow I ended up doing on quite a few memorable trips throughout the year. As an introvert, this has been fun, but exhausting.

The biggest overall themes for my year were: Code School, travel, blogging again, health focus, cocktails, video games, personal organization and getting engaged (!). After years of not playing too many video games, this year I picked up a Wii U and a PS4 which have both been a ton of fun.

So What’s this All About?

For the last 5 years, I’ve been reflecting on the major events of the past year when a new one starts. Here’s a few past years: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010.

So, let’s see what made the list as interesting from this year!


This year had a big push for more travel. Other than our Rome/Amsterdam trip in January, this wasn’t at all planned. Everything came up throughout the year and we jumped on some great chances to travel. Having some of these trip covered by points or work was a great help as well.

  • Rome for a Week - Pompeii, Naples and Rome with Marilyn for her work trip

  • Amsterdam for a few days in January.

  • Salt Lake City for the Pluralsight Authors Summit & ng-conf.

  • Amelia Island for JSConf

  • Montreal, Quebec - With Marilyn for her birthday.

  • Sarasota - For the Code School retreat

  • Panama - With Marilyn for her work trip.

Events and Entertainment

Way too much going on here as well. Seems like every week this year we had things planned.

Local Culture

We had season tickets for Broadway Across America at the new performing arts center here in Orlando this year. It’s really worth it for the price. We also tried out having Season tickets for the Shakespeare Theater too.

  • Broadway Across America: I Love Lucy, Anything Goes, Motown, Newsies, Pippin

  • Shen Yun Chinese Cultural Show at Bob Carr

  • Florida Film Festival Shows: Kumiko, In Search of General Tsos, When Marnie was Here

  • Missed Fringe altogether this year :/

  • Orlando Shakespeare Shows: Spamalot, Bakersfield Mist, Peter and the Starcatcher

Live Performances

Although we didn’t end up going to many concerts, we more than made up for it with other live shows this year. From concerts to live readings, a lot of people we follow made it to Orlando.

  • Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me Live at Dr. Phillips

  • Ira Glass Live at Dr. Phillips

  • Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman Live Show at the Tampa Theater

  • Weird Al at Hard Rock

  • Sufjan Stevens at Dr. Phillips

  • Pixar Live in Concert at Dr. Phillips

Group Events

There were more than a few group activities happening throughout the year.

  • Bar Camp Orlando at the Cheyenne Saloon during Orlando Tech Week

  • PechaKucha with way too many people

  • The Great Orlando Mixer for cocktails and 20s styling

  • Code School Food and Wine at Epcot

  • Lots of fun Code School events: Quantum Leap Winery, Pubschool Code Crawl, Sleuths Mystery Dinner, Escape Room, Orlando Magic Game, Picnic sumo wrestling

  • Angular 2 Hack Night

  • Random other Orlando user groups – Orlando Devs, Design Orlando, Orlando JavaScript, University.js

Programming & Technology

This seemed like an odd year for programming. I didn’t learn anything new that changed my view of the world (perhaps that is something that happens less over time), but I did learn a few new things. Some of these are at Code School, some at home.

  • Learned, wrote the content, and even was on camera for the first time on a Code School course – Blasting Off with Bootstrap

  • Created a basic Angular.js app for the challenge interface on javascript.com

  • Redid my blog using Middleman, and iterated on it quite a bit

  • Made a number of photo posts, and optimized how these are made

  • Worked on Code School’s Unmasking HTML Emails course, which shows the dark art of HTML emails using a luchador theme.

  • Worked on Code Schools Adventures in Web Animations course which helped me learn more about an area I was very weak in

  • Started learning Neo4j, a graph database with some amazing potential

  • Started learning D3.js and writing a Code School course on it which will come out in 2016

  • Began learning how to edit and manage photos in Lightroom in an attempt to learn how to take better photos

Sadly I feel like there were a lot of things I wanted to learn this year but didn’t – ES 2015, Angular 2, React.js, Ember 2. JavaScript is moving way too fast. I do have a project I’m working on using some cool new technologies, but it’s a bit too early to say.

Code School

This year at Code School was a lot less about code, and more about people, strategy, trust and data. Those seemed to be the subjects that came up again and again. We did a lot of trust exercises throughout the year – compliment lines, sharing stories – and it’s really had a huge impact on me.

Aside from that, it’s been trying to figure out and shape a growing company. Code School is less a scrappy startup and more a well oiled machine now. Trying to keep that ability to innovate and adapt while growing isn’t easy.


What else has been going on?

  • Slowly getting rid of as many possessions as I can. Down to a closet of things I consider “stuff” which ranges from the sentimental to photos, to baseball cards and old journals.

  • Listened to a lot of audiobooks – 78 or so. My favorites were “The Dark Forest”, “The Practicing Mind”, “The Girl with the Gift”, “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” and “The Mote in God’s Eye”.

  • Lots of movies, but “Mad Max”, “Ex Machina”, “Star Wars VII”, “When Marnie was There” were some of my favorites.

  • Continued going to CrossFit, but have struggled to make it there any more than 2 days a week.

  • Lots of board games with friends and Marilyn.

  • Lived relatively frugally, keeping track of what I spent and how much I saved (> 50%).

  • Got engaged to Marilyn!

Next Year

So what am I planning next year? This year I’m going to break these down into general themes and accomplishable goals.

Accomplishable Goals

It should be clear when these are done.

Narrow down possessions to fit in half of a closet. I’ve whittled down a lot of what I’ve inherited from my mom, but there’s still a number of things to figure out. I’d like to have these all fit in the area at the top of a closet. I’ve never been a fan of keeping things in attics, but The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up helped clarify the decision not to store things up there.

Complete and release a new project using some new technologies (maybe Rails 5, ES 2015, Neo4j and React / React Native). Have a few things in mind that I’ve hacked together for this, but need to decide which I’d commit to really working on. More of a for fun / for me project than a make-money thing.

Release the D3.js course I’m working on at Code School. I’ve learned a lot making this course, and really excited to share it.

Exercise for at least 10 minutes, 3 times a week when in town. I’ve been slacking on exercise lately. I’d like to do a better job of this – even a mile and half 3x a week would be good. This doesn’t have to be all CrossFit, but at least 2 of them should be.

Themed Goals

Things that I’ll endeavor to do better at, but aren’t necessarily ever “finished”.

Hangout more with friends. Marilyn and I do a lot with just us, but be nice to hang out more with other people. This could be games, drinks – anything.

Track todos better. Doing these help me stay on top of things in my life. When I stop tracking todo’s, things tend to be forgotten for long stretches of time – especially things around the house.

Eat better and drink less. I’ve let this slip a lot lately. I’m drinking more and eating more. I’m going to try to make more meals at home, pack more lunches and lean towards a few more healthy choices. No major diet/plan for this, just a small tilt towards healthier consumption.

So, that’s about it! 2016 looks like it’ll be an interesting year. Aside from our Europe trip in January, who knows what the rest of the year will bring!