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Learning, Reflecting, and Creating - The Weekly Retrospective Issue #5

Brock Herion
Brock Herion
Welcome to issue #5 of The Weekly Retrospective, the newsletter where we reflect on the week we just had! In issue #4, we looked at my September goals and talked about the importance of setting goals for yourself.
This week’s issue is going to take a little bit of a different format. Instead of lumping wins, losses, and learnings together, I am instead going to talk about events that happened, then reflect on what I learned about as a whole. I think this setup will be much clearer and easier to follow going forward.
Let’s get right into it!

The Week of 10/03/2021 - 10/9/2021
Welcome to my pre-birthday week! My actual birthday is October 10th, so falls just outside of this week. In any case, we have big plans for celebrating this weekend. We’ll be spending time with my family and doing some fun activities!
One key thing that I sat down to do this week was to plan out my goals for this month. Some goals build on my September ones and some are brand new, which I’m excited to share with everybody.
I published my first Hashnode article
For my own blog, I decided that I wanted to build my own site. I had used tools like dev.to and Medium and never felt like they did exactly what they said they did. They are supposed to make writing and getting noticed/published easier. They do, to some extent, but I also felt like they were lacking in terms of engagement.
I thought my best move would be to move everything to my own site and publish everything there. That is until I discovered Hashnode.
Hashnode is technically not a blogging platform for just developers, but a lot of developers use it for their stuff. There are a lot of technical posts on there. It lets you customize your own site and attach a custom domain to it. They also are working on a GraphQL API to pull your articles from, which was incredibly appealing to me. That would let me share my articles on my site along with keeping the engagement and community that Hashnode offers.
I wrote my first article on REST API design. I wasn’t expecting much to come of it. The article covers topics like how to name your endpoints, what HTTP methods you should be using, how to deal with things like paging and nested collections, and more. It’s not the most exciting topic in the world!
A few of my Twitter friends commented on it and shared it themselves, which was incredibly kind of them to do. Then, people whom I didn’t know or follow started sharing it. After that, the post was featured. Finally, the Hashnode Twitter account shared it. As I write this newsletter, that article is sitting on 419 views, 6 comments, and 65 reactions. While the numbers aren’t insane, I’m incredibly excited for them.
My goal for this month is to write one article a week, publishing it on Monday. I took the time to brainstorm a list of ideas using the Notion app and picked out a few that I would like to pursue for this month. Stay tuned to see those!
If you want to read the article you can find it here
Design guidelines for building a scalable REST API
I made a YouTube video
My second goal for this month is to start creating YouTube content. I made a video about setting up .NET 5 on Windows and MacOS. As I began to watch my footage and edit the video, I realized something. This was not the kind of video I wanted to make and not the feeling that I want my content to have.
It was dry, like really dry. It’s difficult to build excitement and engage your audience with a topic like this. It’s hard to be excited about it yourself! I ended up not publishing it and I don’t think I ever will.
The issue comes down to what kind of content do I want to make. I tend to be more conversational when I speak and write. When I live stream, I push for discussions and engagement from my viewers. I can ramble about nerd stuff, then sneak a sly joke in here and there. My blog articles that do well, while still being technical, have a more open tone. They aren’t just step-by-step instructions that you can find on the Microsoft docs.
I realized I would never have written about this so why did I make a video about it?
I sat down to brainstorm again and came up with a very different list of topics to talk about. Most of them had some overlap with articles I thought would be interesting to write.
My goal, for now, is to publish just two videos per month. It’s enough for me to get started on there and to learn about things like cinematography, editing, etc. I have a video planned for next week about how I got started in software development, which is something I’m excited to talk about and share will everybody!
You can find my YouTube channel here (I still need to update my About section!)
Brock Herion
I hosted a Twitter Space
I had been listening in on Twitter spaces for some time and this week I was able to host my own. I got to talk with and interact with some fantastic people. It was an amazing experience!
We talked about a variety of things, from a new startup called Klout Machine to help businesses find NCAA athletes to promote and sponsor. The goals are to help stimulate local businesses and economies as well as making sure athletes are paid their worth. It’s an amazing idea that can have a lot of positive impact on community, business, and athlete sides!
We also discussed a few design pattern ideas and newer topics in tech, like quantum computing and cryptocurrency. It was a super high-energy space with great discussions happening. We talked about low-level design ideas all went the way to the social implications of using cryptocurrency and what kind of problems it solves.
The idea of a decentralized currency system scares a lot of people, which is understandable. There is also the notion that Proof of Work and mining is a waste of processing power and energy. I agree with that as well. But the social implications of crypto are much larger than that. As long as you have internet and a wallet, you can use cryptos to make transactions.
It lets anybody start storing value, no matter who they are and where they came from. One of the examples given is in situations of abuse where a woman might not be allowed to open a bank account and save money for herself, cryptocurrency answers that call. Same thing for people trying to make money in countries with insane inflation. Crypto is immune to that. No single entity can manipulate its value. There’s still a lot to figure out with it, but I’m incredibly excited for what the future holds!
I’m excited to host more and keep these conversations going. A few of them will be turning into blog posts, so watch out for those!
If you’re interested in learning more about Klout Machine, you can view their website here
What was learned from this week?
What this week came down to was a refinement in content creation and the importance of sitting down to write things out. I sat down and took the time to flesh out my ideas for videos and blog content. I got an amazing chance to talk with some incredibly smart people about topics that I’m learning about.
These things let you refine and hone your ideas down. Being able to write and share my knowledge with others not only helps me learn and understand the topics betters but also help others who are trying to learn about them as well. It also lets you share yourself with the world. You are your single most valuable asset and your stories and perspectives will be so much different than somebody else. And it’s okay to not get it right! It might take a few tries to get something out there that you are happy with. If something isn’t working, don’t try and force it. Take a step back, address the issue as it is, and refine as needed.
I learned more about topics like blockchain and the problems it aims to solve, as well as about how people are building solutions to solve new problems. Writing and discussing these things help you learn about them, but also refine your own thoughts and opinions on things. Read about things, talk to other people. There is so much that we can learn from each other.
Be curious, ask questions, and don’t ever stop learning.
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Brock Herion
Brock Herion @brockherion

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