2017 in review and a look forward to 2018

Happy New Year to you all!

spacex launch

Max Q‘ is a term used in rocketry to denote the moment during a rocket flight when aerodynamic stress on the rocket’s airframe is at it’s maximum. It’s one of the early milestones of any flight, and one of the most dangerous to boot. Astronauts and engineers both breathe a sigh of relief when the rocket passes this point. Engines, which have been throttled back to 60 – 70% of capacity during this phase, are once again opened up and the great fire-breathing, bone-rattling tin can accelerates rapidly upwards again, on its way to space.

Well, the summer of 2017 felt like ‘max Q’ for our family. We had a second baby boy in late May (he’s brilliant!), relocated from DC to Florida in early July, sold a house and bought a house, prepared for our first hurricane in August (that was stressful!) and had a to-do list longer than our arm, in fact, all our arms combined.

Through this, I did what I could, when I could, to keep the ball rolling with my business. I launched my second course, Data Cleaning and Pivot Tables in Google Sheets, in June, although almost all of the work was completed prior to my son’s arrival in May.

Since October, the throttle has been fully open again on the business and things are moving along nicely. I launched my third course, Advanced Formulas 30 Day Challenge, in mid December, and had over 1k students sign up in the first week.

2017 highlights

  • I launched my online school and have had over 1,700 students enroll in one of the 3 courses I’ve created:

    1. Build Dashboards with Google Sheets and Data Studio, in February
    2. Data Cleaning and Pivot Tables in Google Sheets, in June
    3. Advanced Formulas 30 Day Challenge, in December
  • The site saw a LOT more visitors this year: over 500k pageviews!
  • Almost 7,000 people have now subscribed to my Google Sheets, Apps Script and Data Studio newsletter.
  • I published 41 new pieces of content, the vast majority of which were in-depth tutorials on this site.
  • One of the highlights of the year was working with Google on the new Data Studio Community Connectors, which married together two of my favorite topics: Apps Script and Data Studio. Win!
  • I did a lot more work with Apps Script this year, both personal and client projects. I published lots of Apps Script tutorials, of which these three were the most notable: Beginner guide to APIs with Apps Script, OAuth with Apps Script and Data Studio Community Connectors.
  • I updated the social media import article, which continues to be very popular and has had over 225 comments now.
  • I collaborated with Supermetrics to create a Facebook Page Management template in Google Sheets.
  • I collaborated with the folks at Tiller money to create a Credit Card spending template in Google Sheets.
  • I was interviewed by content journalist Simon Owens about running an online school.
  • It was an honor to feature in episode 45 of the Learn To Code With Me podcast, hosted by Laurence Bradford, to discuss getting started in Data Analytics.
  • I finally bit the bullet and bought a Kindle earlier this year. Up to that point, I was steadfastly against e-readers (for no particularly good reason, other than tradition) but the erratic sleeping hours of a new parent means lights are often out when I liked to read. The Kindle clearly solved this problem and any hangups I had disappeared almost immediately upon its arrival. I’ve read 17 books this year (highlights: Endurance by Scott Kelly, Mussolini’s Arctic Airship by Eva Holland and Anathem by Neal Stephenson), more than I managed in the past couple of years, and that increase has been directly attributable to the Kindle.
New Office
Another milestone this year: moving into my own office! I kitted it out with the lovely Jarvis standing desk.

Looking forwards to 2018

Who’s excited for 2018? I am!

I relish the optimism, enthusiasm and motivation people share at this time of year, and try to capitalize on my own to get the year off to a fast start.

So what’s in store in the coming year?

The big goal for the year is to expand the course offerings on the Collins Data School and grow the student base.

I’m planning to publish several new courses, and the shortlist at the moment consists of a dedicated Data Studio course, an ‘Apps Script for Analysts’ course, a ‘Moving from Excel to Google Sheets’ course, a ‘Data Analysis Fundamentals using Google Sheets’ course, and a ‘Learn SQL’ course.

Are there any courses you’d like to see? Let me know!

You can expect to see more in-depth tutorials on data and Google apps this year, as well as better organization and presentation on this site, to help you find what you’re looking for more easily.

I’m looking to deepen my Apps Script skills and continue to develop my data engineering skills with the Google Platform. I’m particularly excited about this book, Data Science on the Google Cloud Platform by Valliappa Lakshmanan, and have it on pre-order. I also want to make time to go through this book, Data Smart by John Foreman, in more depth. I’ve had it on my shelf since 2013, so it’s really due a thorough read (I’ve only skim-read certain sections so far).

I’m also looking forward to checking out Google App Maker this year, their new low-code app development tool. Expect to see some content relating to that in 2018.

My goals for 2018 are as ambitious as ever, but in many ways, more grounded in experience, since they’re now based on real data I’ve collected in the 10 months my online data school has been running. It’s a super important year for my business, where I’m aiming to scale up the online school, both in courses offered and students enrolled.

Of course, none of this would be possible without saying a big thank you to all you readers. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my experiences and knowledge, and carve out this teaching niche. My mission to create a world class resource for learning Data Analysis on the Google platform is just getting started.

Finally, good luck to all of you with your own endeavours!


See also

2016 in review and a look forward to 2017

2015 in review and a look forward to 2016

2 thoughts on “2017 in review and a look forward to 2018”

  1. How interesting. I liked the article about the rocket. Mostly cause I am fascinated with X and Spacerockets. Anything that flies. So now that you are on your 3rd e-learning course I’m assuming how is your business doing now? What else is on the horizon.

    1. Hi Emily,

      Thanks for your note. Going to be launching some new courses this year on Data Studio, Data Analysis in Google Sheets and Apps Script!


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