Looking back(pass)

So here we are – day 2 of 2009 (I had itended to write this yesterday but I suffered from New Years Dayitis)

2008 was a bit of a weird year for me professionally – I learned alot, met some great people and had some really great experiences but could do with 2009 being a little less stressful if I’m honest.  Leaving the JISC nest back in April after a frustrating secondment at HEFCE was a big step – and one that I think was probably a little hasty looking back(!) and not following through on the opportunity to work at Ofcom in their Media Literacy team is a real regret but I just couldn’t find a way to make that work logistically at the time.

I learnt some important lessons – not least the fact that I have no clue how to pitch for work and left to my own devices I am a lazy b’stard!  The concept of freelancing had always appealed but at least I have got that out of my system now (though I have a much clearer idea of how I’d do it if I was ever in that position again).

Working on the JISC Conference in 2008 was a real high point – I had very specific role helping out with all the ‘amplified conference’ elements at the event – including Crowdvine, a Twitter backchannel, Flickr, blogging and keeping an eye on Hectors UStream video work.  I really enjoyed it and think it added something to a well established and well run conference.

I also enjoyed overseeing the blog and podcast aspects of the HEFCE Annual Conference – this was a much smaller scale activity but much higher profile and a big step for HEFCE.  Alot of senior HEFCE staff were very supportive and I hope it continues in the future.

I guess one of the biggest things that happened this year was falling into my role at Beanbag.  Initially I signed on for a couple of months to do some blogging and just give a different perspective on things but my role has evolved into something much closer to that of a Product Manager with oversight over the direction of development of our applications and I’m still there six months later.  At times its been a steep learning curve for me but its been a real experience – especially working so closely with the developers and using the Scrum Agile methodology to run our projects.  I still find some of the more..commercial elements a struggle – all of my years working in the public sector means I don’t really have a head for business – something I am really trying to work on.

This blog has ticked along nicely as well – it kicked off in February to document my trip to FOWA in Miami (which despite my lack of love for Miami was still a brilliant trip) and since then I’ve spewed out 54 posts which is a decent return given my previously mentioned laziness :)  The blog has certainly helped me build a reputation in my little corner of the web – particular around some of the events 2.0 and learning 2.0 stuff – and has helped me make contacts all over the place.

Bathcamp was a big event this year as well – I met alot of great people and really enjoyed the day.  Its also partially inspired me to run my own unconference, Bettr, in January and that has been another great experience so far.

All-in-all it was a unsettled but exciting year and hopefully 2009 will be even more exciting but with a little less of the stress – I have more than enough grey hair as it is!