2016 was wraps up my fourth year running my own business. Here’s a look at what I did in 2016 by the numbers:

  • Wrote 1 book containing 193 pages and 40,660 words.
  • Wrote 23 posts on my blog.
  • Shared only 11 links on my blog.
  • Traveled over 86,105 miles to over 36 cities in 8 countries on 4 continents, including visiting my 6th continent.
  • Spoke at 11 conferences and gave 12 company and conference workshops
  • Launched 1 design system for one of the world’s biggest companies.
  • Launched 3 client websites.

Compared to last year, I’ve traveled a bit less and spoke at fewer events. Then again, I upped my client work and finished my book. So it all nets out in the end.

2016 Highlights

  • Finishing Atomic Design – I finally finished my book! I can’t begin to explain what a huge weight that is off my shoulders. If you want to check it out, you can get it here. I’m really happy with the results, but I don’t think I’ll rush into writing another book anytime soon!
  • Seeing my brother develop as a developer – Last year I hired my brother, Ian Frost, and I’m really glad I did. Without his help there’s no way I would have been able to take on as much as I did this year. My attention is constantly split between a ton of things (workshops, consulting, writing, emails, Slack, etc), so it’s been so great having Ian around to hold down the fort and focus on client work. He’s leveled up super fast, and I’d say that we’re getting really close to having him writing things exactly how I would. Frequent code reviews and sitting side-by-side every day has helped a ton.
  • Launching Pattern Lab 2.0 – BrianDave, and other contributors worked crazy hard to launch Pattern Lab 2.0. I helped with some UI stuff and getting the new site designed, but it was all their hard work that made PL 2 work. If you want to know what’s new with Pattern Lab 2, we wrote 10,000+ words about it on Smashing Magazine.
  • Launching a design system for one of the world’s largest companies. We worked with a large enterprise to create a design system to unify the UIs of their 500+ internal web applications. There’s more to say about the project, but I think one of the most fascinating aspects of the project was how much focus was spent on building awareness and marketing the system. Obviously the system itself needed to be solidly constructed, but the bigger challenge is getting the culture to embrace the system and get people using it. Fascinating stuff!
  • Consulting with clients to help them adopt more collaborative, pattern-based workflows, create frontend guidelines, and guide them through the creation of their own design systems. Sometimes that involves some high-level guidance, and other times that means plugging in with their team to do the work with them. Whatever the arrangement is, I find this work extremely fulfilling.
  • Seeing my wife Melissa grow her business, Frost Finery – My wife is wrapping up two years of running her jewelry business. In addition to selling on her Etsy shop and at local events, she’s gotten her work into several boutiques and museums, as well as big operations like Uncommon Goods.  I’m so incredibly proud of her!
  • Speaking all over the place, and traveling to cities, countries, and continents I’ve never been to before. We went to South Africa for the Pixel Up! conference, and had a blast. We also went to China for a company workshop and had a chance to explore the country. What an incredible place.

Of course, this year hasn’t been all roses. I’ve been saying that at a micro level things are going swimmingly, but I definitely can’t say the same at the macro level. I’m still trying to wrap my head around everything that’s going on in the world, but I’ll say for certain a big goal for 2017 is to direct my energy in positive, productive, and helpful endeavors. I’m trying to recognize that I can’t change a lot of things, but I can do my best to be a positive force in the world.

What’s Next

I have some things in mind I want to accomplish in the coming year:

  • Try to find a balance – I’ve been running around like a maniac for a while now. It’s been all good stuff, but I feel like it’s been too much. My wife and I both find it hard to slow down, but I feel like we’re a bit more mindful of it now and are actively taking steps to be a bit more balanced in our lifestyle.
  • Record an album – I’ve been working on building up a home recording studio for the past decade, and I have it at a good place now. I’m looking forward to recording an album in 2017!
  • Continuing to give workshops and consult with organizations to help them with design systems, atomic design, workflow, responsive design, frontend best practices, and any other thing I can help with. If you’re interested in having me give a workshop or consult with your organization, please get in touch.
  • Getting side projects off the ground – I’ve had a few side projects on the back burner for a while now, and I’m hoping to bring them to life in 2017.

Thanks for all your support in 2016, and I hope you have a positive, prosperous, and productive new year.