Tim Gittos

I'm an Australian currently living in Austin, TX in the USA.

I currently earn a living programming, though I wouldn't call myself a programmer. If I had to attach a label to myself, I'd use the term autodidact.

I love learning, and my favorite things to learn about are programming, computer graphics, AI & machine learning, robotics, painting and creativity.

2014 In Review, And a Look Forward to 2015

Last updated on 16 Jan 2015

2014 was a crazy year for myself and my family. Full of childhood homes burning down, benign tumors, houses flooding and other general bad stuff. 2014 is not a year I will look back on fondly.

In 2013, I charged myself to “create things that are fun”, with a focus on building a new business idea.

Let’s see how I did:

  • Travelled to Australia and India to visit my family and friends, spending only 4 days in Australia and 4 days in India, losing luggage in Beijing on the way there. That was fun. We travelled to Jaipur and Agra to visit sights – I’ve finally visited the Taj Mahal on my second trip to India.
  • Travelled domestically to Chattanooga, Boston and Detroit. I enjoyed Chattanooga more than I thought I would, liked Boston less than I thought I would, and I’ve been to Detroit before.
  • I continued working on a business idea for custom 3D printed miniatures, then stopped. I’ll discuss this more in detail below.
  • I started drawing for an hour every day for about 78 days, then stopped because I stopped having fun. I’ll discuss this below as well.
  • I was going to start a game dev project similar to the “art everyday” project, but again I was too slow and Handmade Hero did what I was going to do, but way better, before I could do it. Now I’m an avid viewer.

Last year I mentioned that I was starting a business with some of my friends, and we were going to work on custom 3D printed miniatures for tabletop gaming. I was super excited to finally have found something that I was genuinely passionate about and that seemed like a great idea. We got to work immediately, and while I won’t go into the details right now, I learnt a lot of lessons really fast.

When we found the HeroForge Kickstart, at first my heart sank. They were funded and they had a bunch of really good artists on the team. Then I realised, “Hey, we’ve already started developing our tech! We have a head start!”. I felt better immediately and got back to work. Then I ran into a hard issue I still to this date haven’t solved. We were beaten to market at the end of the year. Their product is great looking, fair priced and generally awesome. We were originally only doing our idea because it hadn’t been done. Now that it exists, and is awesome, we agreed to … stop. I don’t know what’s next for us.

At the start of the year, I also started doing art for an hour every night. I managed ~78 nights before I stopped doing it. I stopped doing it because it stopped being fun. I was stressing out about making time to do the art even when I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired. I started doing really long, grueling multi-night pieces that sucked at my creativity. I wasn’t having fun, and that was before the break to travel. After getting back from international travel, it was hard to get back into the swing of things, so I stopped. I don’t regret stopping.

One thing I did which I wasn’t planning on doing is keeping more of my time “down” than I had before. I actually delved into my Steam library and played a few of the ~114 games I had, as well as a few games on console. I went out of my way to do things that were fun, but not necessarily productive. I wasn’t learning skills, I wasn’t building something I could use to make money, I was just having fun.

Looking back, 2014 was a fairly quiet year for me in terms of personal projects and making progress towards goals. At first I wondered if I was simply burning out and losing interest in the things that I used to like. But as I write this post during some downtime at work, I realized that work was probably the reason why I wasn’t super ambitious this year. For the last year I’ve been working on a team tasked to create a new product from scratch. We did market research, talked to users, developed paper prototypes, developed the final product – everything and all things lean startup. It took a lot of time and a lot of my energy, meaning I haven’t been super motivated.

Next year, I think I will make some more concrete goals for myself than I made in the previous years. I will share them here, but I want to think a little harder about them beforehand. When I do post them, I’ll link this article to them.