Ziggy Getting Work Done

2014 was an eventful year. It was my second year out on my own running my own business and settling into life in Pittsburgh. It also brought along a few bumps in the road too.

First, here are the numbers:

I’m happy with a lot of things turned out in 2014, but it wasn’t all easy.

Challenges along the way

I spent the last year working on a product, which unfortunately didn’t pan out the way I’d hoped. I won’t get into the details, but suffice it to say it’s really deflating and frustrating to throw away 1000+ hours of work on a project that you poured your heart and soul into. It also killed a lot of momentum, which I’m still struggling to rebuild.

My dog Ziggy had a rough year. Early in the year, he had ACL surgery on his hind left leg. But the real scare came in August when we rushed him to the hospital because he was having trouble breathing. His throat had swollen up and the opening in his trachea was the size of a coffee straw. After 10 days in the ICU with a tube down his throat, the swelling went back down and he was thankfully back to normal.

Ziggy in the ICU

It was an awful experience, and in addition to a death in my family and the other stresses cropping up this year things became pretty hard to manage.

But 2014 wasn’t all bad. Far from it, actually. Looking back on the entirety of the year I had an amazing time with amazing people doing amazing things.


  • Launching a website for the Pittsburgh Food Bank – It’s a great feeling to give back to the community we love so much and help such a worthwhile organization in their mission to end hunger in the area and beyond.
  • Giving a TEDx talk in Pittsburgh, where I talked about openness, sharing, and creativity.
  • Watching Dave take Pattern Lab to the next level, and using it to make websites for Time Inc, the Pittsburgh Food Bank, Frost Finery. It’s also been an honor to see people around the world use atomic design and Pattern Lab
  • Watching Melissa launch her new jewelry studio, Frost Finery – It’s been amazing and inspiring to see my wife dive head first into jewelry making, and like everything she does it’s really great work. Of course I’m trying to help where I can, and I made her website in a few short days.
  • Buying a house – I’m elated to settle down in Pittsburgh, and we’re so incredibly happy with our house and its location. We’re also relieved the home-buying process is over. Yeesh.
  • Helping make Styleguides.io with Anna Debenham – I’m tremendously excited about this centralized resource hub for all things style guide/pattern library related. It’s already become an invaluable resource for me.
  • Speaking in countries I’ve never been to before, including Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Norway, Finland, and Wales
  • Helping companies and organizations as they head down the responsive road. It’s been extremely fulfilling to help people apply responsive design best practices and spread the good word about atomic design to help folks make more maintainable, future-friendly designs.

What’s Next

2015 is a bit of an open book for me right now. Here are the things I know I’m going to be undertaking in 2015:

  • Writing a book on atomic design – Stay tuned for news on this very soon, but I’m really excited for this project.
  • Speaking and conducting workshops on responsive design, atomic design, pattern libraries, and a whole lot more. If you’re interested in having me in to your company or conference, please do get in touch.
  • Consulting with organizations to help people create great multi-device Web experiences. If you’re interested in having me consult on your project, drop me a line.

My new year’s resolution is quite simple: make shit happen. Make shit happen. Make shit happen. Make shit happen. Make shit happen.

Thanks for all your support in 2014, and here’s to a wonderful 2015 for everybody. Here we go!

Ziggy the bulldog smiling