The Year of Love

If I were to pick  one moment in 2010, it would be Mike Brown‘s opening statement at Webstock 2010: “You love the things that are made with love”. That was in February, around six months after Dad died, and I think I’d just managed to pick up the pieces. My brain was about four times larger than normal thanks to the previous weekend at KiwiFoo.

If I’ve learnt one thing in 2010, it’s: love begets love. Make stuff with love, love yourself, throw your love around and cover everyone else with love. Do the stuff you love and love the stuff you do. Wrap your family up in a ball of love and protect them when it matters, then throw your arms wide open and embrace the fucking world with love when you get a chance.

2009 had been a shitter, to be honest. The one diamond in 2009’s poo mountain was our little Amelie, born a week almost to the minute after Dad’s death. The pregnancy had been – and there’s no easy way to put this – horrible. There were the multiple “slightly abnormal” readings, which cause incredible anguish if you’ve dealt with two previous miscarriages. And then there was the mental strain on my wife. Something in the combination of hormones and history ripped the bottom out of her normally brimming bucket of love and confidence. There were more than a few days that I would turn around soon after arriving at work just to be home to support her.

So yes, Mike’s statement resonated with me. I’d spent years looking inward, growing my career and ego through work, blog and TVNZ. 2009 helped me see the things that really mattered. I resolved that the rest of 2010 would be my year of Doing Good Shit With Love. Call it Karma if you will, but the more love I put out there, the more good vibes flowed right back at me.

March included a free invite to MIX10 in Vegas. I scratched around for the airfare myself, but then Datacom (my wonderful employer) pitched in too. Vegas was barely credible, and the Grand Canyon was literally awesome.

Coming off the back of KiwiFoo, I took a large punt and sent an email around the senior management at Datacom, proposing that I get a bunch of developers together from across Datacom’s NZ and Australian organisation. I wasn’t asking for their help, I was telling them my plan, promising outcomes, and warning them that they’d get a bill at the end of it. The result was an incredibly fun and productive unconference in Turangi in May. I was apprehensive, but when the schedule of 30+ sessions filled up in 15 minutes, I knew it would work. The weekend went so well that I almost burst into tears during my closing statement. I felt the love.

I’m not shy: I love Microsoft. If you ignore ZX Spectrums and tape drives, the first computer I really coded on was a 286 with MS BASIC and dual floppies. I cut my commercial teeth with VB, before truly falling in love with C# (finally my University Java training was useful!). So 2010 was a continuation of the love-fest. After Datacom Devcamp, May and June included some Windows Phone 7 training around the country. August was my Tech.Ed debut – undoubtedly the highlight of the year when it comes to public speaking. Unpaid gigs (if you discount the MIX ticket), but incredibly rewarding all the same. The intellect in the speakers’ room at Tech.Ed is overwhelming.

October was the month of tough love. The call to quit Breakfast was incredibly simple: ego and free gadgets vs principles (and unconditional love of New Zealanders). The resultant trickle of hate was useful, because it put the deluge of love in perspective. Another upside was it freed up time to get into Discourse, which seems to have taken a life of its own. I’m not sure love is the right word to describe my relationship with Morgan.

In closing, I bloody love you guys. I’ve said it many times before: I do this for you. For the haters, for the lovers, and for the silent majority that flitter by on the Google results. You all rock. Have a fantastic holiday, hug your families and friends, and feel the love.

I love youse all.

2010. Fuck Yeah.

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  1. Well, I’m a relative late-comer to the House of Ben. While I’m a regular Breakfast viewer, I rarely saw your gadget section as it clashed with my work start time. You first appeared on my radar when you resigned from that show, and I’ve been following and enjoying your blogs & tweets since then. But even though I’m a total n00b here, I still want to take the time to say thanks for all your hard work this year, and wish you and your family a safe and merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

  2. I love you too, man. I’ve loved my bits on Discourse – you and Morgan are a strangely awesome pairing. I’m really glad so much wonderful stuff has happened to you this year, and I’m going to use that philosophy for 2011. Arohanui.

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