Nicos Tsourektsidis \ Blog
January 05, 2022

2021; A Retrospective

This post is dedicated to 2021. I will try to summarize all the important events, changes, content I consumed and things I learned. Happy new year everyone!

The year we had to stay safe. Again. 🦠

It’s been almost a year since I started writing on this blog and it feels like yesterday. Basically, it feels like last month was 2019. It’s like we are stuck in a bad dream. A dream that repeats itself and it doesn’t want to end.

We had a lot of faith in you 2021. Yes, in you, don’t look away. It’s going to be better, they were saying. No more restrictions, they were saying. Now we have the vaccine, they were saying. And here we are, again.

This was the year that we consumed more rapid tests than chewing gum. It’s like, there was no other sickness or possibility for something negative to happen in general. Do you have a headache? Do your eyes hurt? Do you have pain in the stomach? Did you miss your period? Are your tests failing? Your wifi went offline? Just take a rapid test. You will feel better.

Another year where hospitals are full. Family meetings are considered suicidal. Working from the office is illegal. Partying is also illegal and they know where you live. Working from home is the new black. Traveling is harder than bitcoin. Computer chips are the new toilet paper. Metaverse is still under development. And my 5G signal has improved, after the covid vaccinations. Thank you Bill Gates!

Are you there? Are you safe?

Another year with endless online meetings ☎️

We are experiencing the rise of online meetings. It’s free, there are unlimited rooms available, and you can bring people from anywhere in the world. And now it’s not just about Facebooks and Facetimes. Our lives became an endless online call.

Do you have a topic to discuss with your colleagues? Schedule a call. Annual winter party? Schedule a call. Team bonding event? Schedule a call. Watching a movie with your friends. Schedule a call. You are not sure which tie to put on? Schedule a call. Your cat is sick? Schedule a call and take a rapid test. What did I just tell you?

I call this Pijama-driven development.

Everybody loves online meetings because of these nice backgrounds and effects. Just make sure you mute your microphone when you are on another call with your friends, because the meeting gets boring. Ah, and remove that cat filter your kid put in yesterday. And please, please center this camera, we want to see your face, not your ceiling.

Yes, this was the year I organized a virtual birthday party on Zoom. I also attended a virtual marriage on Skype. Two phrases I would never imagine myself saying.

The year I started my blog. For real. 👨🏼‍💻

I can’t be more grateful for 2021. We had all the time of the world to focus on the things that brings us joy, and we didn’t have the sadness and the reality shock of 2020. It was a good opportunity for me to start this blog and I’m really thrilled about it.

I was preparing this site for years. Different designs, different technologies, different article topics and features. At the end I never had the dedication to finalize it. There was something else that was always more important. Not anymore. This blog became my creativity booster. It started as my second identity and now it becomes my own identity. Kinda weird if you think about it, but this is how it feels.

It’s difficult to write, I must admit. Besides the fact that English is not my main language and sometimes it’s hard to express myself, this whole personal blog concept used to be really confusing in my head. I haven’t found the recipe that works well for me. I was also not organized enough. Or to phrase it more accurately, not organized at all.

I now have a complete roadmap with things I want to produce as a content creator. This blog is just a working draft of what I have prepared for you, my friends.

Let’s see what 2022 has to bring. Cheers to that. 🥂

The year I started my YouTube channel 📺

In case you missed it, I started a new YouTube channel. My first series is called Too Long To Read; TypeScript and it’s going to be a complete course, that you can watch for free. I’m using future tense here, because I’m still recording the videos.

Starting a YouTube channel was a very interesting activity and I would like to share more about it in a separate post. A public note to myself.

The year I discovered Notion 📝

Speaking of planning, 2021 was the year I discovered Notion. This is not affiliate bullshit. I’m a big fan of this product. It is an affordable way to put my thoughts together and create a plan for my projects and personal improvement.

I have so many things to share about Notion, but I believe it deserves its own post.

Another year with good reads 📚

Here, I want to list the most important books I’ve read in 2021.

I want to begin with “The Now Habit” by Neil Fiore. I know it sounds cheesy, but this book changed my life. For a procrastinator like me, reading this book felt like someone was able to read my mind and do some research about it. Read it if you want to overcome your procrastination.

I really enjoyed the books “It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work” and “Rework” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier, the co-founders of Basecamp. They are both very easy to read. They list a lot of nice ideas about how modern tech companies work. Besides the conflicts within the company last year, I do believe most of their points are totally valid.

I wasn’t aware of the book “The Software Craftsman” by Sandro Mancuso. I was always confusing this book with another one, for some reason. I also didn’t know he used to work in Switzerland. I also had a chance to connect with him via our local Java meetup. I totally recommend his book. I was able to relate a lot to the events and concepts he is explaining. It helps a lot if you want to understand the profession of the software engineer on a higher level. Five stars!

One of the books I always wanted to read was “The Clean Coder” by Uncle Bob, known as Robert C. Martin. It was easy to follow, although I believe he has written better books. It seemed to me this was a collection of personal notes. Some of them useful, others not so much. I had the chance to watch his speech at an internal EPAM event.

Another interesting read was the book “Outliers, The Story Of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell. It was a fascinating journey to answer one important question. What does it take to be successful? What characteristics do all successful people have in common? For sure, you will be surprised as much as I was.

In 2021 I also discovered the work of Austin Kleon. I’ve read all of his books “Steal Like An Artist”, “Show Your Work!”, and “Keep Going”. I would definitely recommend them to creative people who have always wanted to produce something, but always struggled to find the courage to make it happen.

Another year with great technologies 🔭

In 2021, I discovered languages and frameworks I hadn’t played with in the past. I discovered Python and Ruby. In other parallel universes they are probably my main languages. Recently I started playing with Dart and Flutter. In another parallel universe, I am ditching React.

I learned Gatsby, which I used to build this blog. It was the year I discovered the testing-library, and I had a chance to refresh my Docker and D3 skills.

Since I was preparing for my TypeScript course, I spent a lot of time mastering the language. You know what they say, the best way to learn something well is to teach it by yourself.

Finally, I did a lot of preparation for the AWS certificate, which I will probably take. Someday.

Another one, with great games 🎮

The titles I enjoyed in 2021 are Control, It Takes Two, A Way Out, Returnal, and Doom Eternal. I also played Life Is Strange; True Colors, and Ghost Of Tsushima. I played Phantasmagoria, a MSDOS gem from Roberta Williams. I also remembered the Theme Hospital and the recent Two Point Hospital. I love this game so much!

In 2021 I introduced myself to VR gaming. I bought an Oculus Quest 2, which I really recommend if you want to start. Some titles I would definitely recommend are Superhot VR, Arizona Sunshine, Synth Riders, The Climb, Population: One, Beat Saber, and After The Fall.

Another one, with the best music 🎧

The sound of 2021 was really great. You know that I’m making mixtapes for creative minds, like a 15 year-old who lives in the 80s, right? Well now you know!

Some of the albums I was playing on repeat this year; London Grammar, The Avener, Monolink, Roosevelt, Rüfüs Du Sol, Jungle, Jack Savoretti, Joel Culpepper, Foster The People, and of course Mandrugada.

I can’t wait for the live stages to open again. It’s goin’ to be legen-, wait for it…


That’s all folks! Let’s see what 2022 will bring us. Until next year, stay safe, stay curious 🙂

My inspiration for this blog post was the excellent retrospective by Tania Rascia. You should check out her blog, it’s awesome!

Cover Credit: Kazuend