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2016 was amazing. Best year yet.

by Joel Hooks

2016 as a year took a lot of criticism as a year. Beloved celebrities died in a seemingly endless parade of “noooooooo”. We were subjected to a painful and divisive US federal election cycle, which resulted in another shameless ass-clown getting elected to the highest office in the land. The entire internet appears to be on fire with rage and hate.

Shit is tough all over. 💩

If you look closely enough you might notice that mankind is doing better than we’ve ever done. We’ve definitely got a TMI problem, and our collective brains are still learning how to deal with that. It will likely get worse before things improve though as the radical advances in global communication via the internet is the single biggest thing to collectively happen to us… ever.

For me, personally, 2016 was amazing. Filled with new experiences and personal bests. There were a few rough patches too, everything didn’t go as expected. Overall though, amazing…

Big changes…

For 36 years I lived in North Texas. That’s plenty of time to soak up everything that North Texas has to offer. After a 15 year sales-pitch my lovely partner Kristina finally relented and we bought a house in Southwest Washington (Vancouver). Now my home office has this view:

Not bad! 😉

Moving is hard af. Logistically, we are a family of 6 people. We lived in our house for well over a decade. There is a sheer volume of stuff that accumulates over that time that is staggering. We had a feeling for a year or so that we’d be making the move, so we worked hard tossing all of our crap into the donation bin and trying to get the house ready to go. It wasn’t enough, and we still had a 2/3rds of a full size tractor-trailer filled with our stuff.

But, the move was a freight train. We bought a house, had extensive renovations done, and there was no turning back. It was an experience that I wouldn’t be excited to do again. The result has been fantastic and the family is adjusting to the new location. We had an amazing summer with constant visitors filling our house with family and friends.

While we lost the day to day interaction with our Texas peeps, having visitors is awesome because we get to have a full-on all-day everyday cohabitation experience. In some ways that offers more closeness than regional proximity offers.

It’s been a real treat to be back in the Pacific Northwest with my family. I was born up here, and most of family is in the area, so the move has allowed us to get some solid hang time. It’s cool to get to know them better and have our kids immersed in that side of the family.

For Kristina it has been much more difficult. Out of all of us she has made the biggest sacrifice. Her Texas roots run very deep. Everybody has had to adjust to the changes, but her reality was completely shattered, moved across the country, and glued back together. Learning how to deal with her family now being thousands of miles away. New house. In-laws. And to top it off we’ve got a baby due in February 2017 😳

They say you shouldn’t make big life decisions after a big move like this, but we said, “fuck it” and decided to add another member to our family. So almost immediately after we got moved in, after a 10 year break from infants, we are embarking on a new chapter with our 5th child. lol

You only live once y’all!

New Tattoo…

I broke the short sleeve barrier and got a new tattoo from Joby Cummings in Dallas the day before we left town.

Lost a homie…

One of my oldest and best friends passed away this year. Pete Davidson was like a brother to me. In my teen years, I had a hard time, and he was always there. We saw the Beastie Boys together on the Licensed to Ill tour, and were constant companions through high school.

Over the last few years work has afforded me the opportunity to travel a bit, and a frequent destination was Denver, where Pete loved living for the past two decades. It was really great to have the opportunity to reconnect with my good friend, and his sudden loss was a huge blow.

Friends, good friends, the kind that let you just be yourself, are few and far between and should be cherished.

In June Pete organized a trip to Jamaica with a few friends. It was a lot of fun, and something that I’ll always have to remember him by.

Love you brother, will miss you always.

So much fun…

Portland gets all of the live music and we went to many many shows. Kristina has stuck with me with out unborn child coming along for the ride. It’s been rad.

We played a lot of games, visited the ocean a bunch of times, hiked dozens of trails, went to NYC and saw Hamilton, ate endless bowls of ramen noodles, and generally had an amazing family adventure all year long. ❤️

Taking care of business…

Professionally 2016 was awesome. There were a couple of rough patches, but overall egghead.io keeps growing and improving in an incremental way and I couldn’t be more pleased with how it is shaping up.

Work is important. I love to work, but I’ve also spent most of my adult life under-achieving in a cycle of boredom and resulting depression. This business that we’ve built has allowed me to completely alter how I approach working in a radical way. I work when I want. I work on what I want. I have the opportunity to make consistent and constant improvements to a thing that helps other people achieve their goals and improve their lives.

It’s wonderful, and something that I take intense pride in.

The biggest challenges have been related to building the team behind the business. When it’s just you working on the thing with maybe the occasional contractor things are straight forward and “easy” to navigate. That’s fine, and maybe enough, but I’m nothing if not ambitious, and I’ve got a grand vision that would take me 200 years to build without help.

We are building a world class platform for smart people to deliver curated training content via bite-sized videos.

That requires a team of smart people to make it happen.

To make it challenging we also want to build an entirely remote workforce, where the team can work, play, and live wherever they want.

In the past year we’ve added an amazing illustrator, a wonderful human to interact more directly with instructors, and an awesome developer. We’ve also hired two of our part-time “interns” as full-time employees to fill out our content excellence team and work on site features for our users. As of Jan 1st, 2017 we have 9 amazing people working on egghead.io full-time.

It blows my freaking mind to see it everyday as people discuss what they are working on in our chat room. Like “holy shit, this thing is getting built!”

In 2017 we are going to double-down on a research driven approach to user experience. Accelerating development of both site features for instructors and users, as well as our content offerings.

I’ve found that I get a lot of personal fulfillment helping other people achieve success in their work lives. The way we work is fundamentally broken, and there are opportunities to break out of the shackles of the 9-5 grind. That is a big motivator for me with egghead.io as we facilitate radical lifestyle changes for many of our instructors. In December 2016 we paid out over $100,000 in direct royalties to our instructors. I’m beaming with pride here, as that is an amazing accomplishment.

I want to help people. I want to provide opportunity for other humans. I want to share what I know and facilitate success for as many people as possible.

2017 is going to be more of this. More fun, more ramen, more travel, a new baby, helping people, sharing knowledge, more hugs, more games, more tattoos, new friends, time with old friends, family, visitors… ❤️

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You can find me on twitter , , or via email joelhooks@gmail.com