2015, Oh My!

It’s difficult for me to look back at 2015 without the use of the calendar app, Foursquare and neatly sorted photo library. Nevertheless, here’s what you need to know.

Work

Our company has seen growth again this year as we’ve been hired by new international clients to solve their (user experience) challenges. Since we are almost exclusively hired through word of mouth, I guess our key to success is doing high quality work and doing it fast and on time.

We’ve worked with some of the most amazing clients in Canada, Croatia, Switzerland, the UK and the US. It might sound frightening, but our 2015 clients collectively employ close to 100.000 people.

The nature of our services is such that we can’t disclose much about our projects until they are fully released. However, the Benton Modern project was a great success for the client and for us, and it resulted in a few speaking engagements and a case study article for Smashing Magazine.

We finally gathered a passionate and close-knit team that I’m extremely proud of. Apart from yours truly, other members are Irena Dugonjić, my wonderful wife and a business partner, Mario Lončarić, our first hire and Rade Brujić, our UK partner. We’ve known each other since 2004, but this year we finally formalized everything and created some big plans for 2016 and beyond, in large thanks to our unofficial, but extremely helpful advisory board including Ivan Podnar, Kristina Podnar, Tin Kadoić and Vitaly Friedman.

Speaking

The web industry is so much different from anything else out there. Time and time again I witness how sharing our experiences and giving back actually makes our work collectively better.

But what I like even more is spreading our culture to other industries. That’s why presenting at the Typographics conference at Cooper Union in NYC that attracted graphic and type designers was such an enlightening experience.

The highlight of the year was the Ampersand conference where I had an honor to wrap up the day following the amazing line-up of really smart and inspiring presenters. Huge, massive thanks to Richard Rutter for the opportunity!

Speaking of which, the conference organizers are some of the loveliest people out there who are not recognized enough for their sleepless nights and hard work behind the scenes. Thank you Lydia Giner (Awwwards Barcelona); Cat Hunter, Mariona Aloy Ciller and Markus Seyfferth (Smashing Oxford, Freiburg and Barcelona); Cara Di Edwardo, Roger Black and Sasha Tochilovsky (Typographics NYC); Karmen Marohnić and Tin Kadoić (Design First NYC); Emanuel Blagonić and Lucijan Blagonić (WordCamp Rijeka); Kate Bulpitt (Ampersand Brighton); Christian Ziegler (DrupalCamp Vienna) and Vladimir Končar (IxDA Zagreb).

Life balance

Apart from progressive disclosure, topics that often pop-up at cocktail parties are those about the activities outside of work. My wife and I try to raise three beautiful kids and that’s a job in its own right. But even with all that I do find some time for personal development, so in 2015 I rediscovered two long-forgotten activities.

  1. Even though I don’t do it professionally anymore, by trade I’m a fitness trainer. I currently follow a high protein, low carb diet and a daily workout schedule. It’s nothing super-strict, but it could easily be a life-long commitment for anyone. And since a few people asked, an article about my personal fitness regime is underway.
  2. New languages help me understand different perspectives and move me out of my comfort zone. While I understood some Italian and some German before, I was never really able to read anything or listen to an Italian or German movie in the original language. This year I discovered Duolingo which I’ve been playing regularly ever since. As a result, I’m currently 15% fluent in German, 16% fluent in Italian and 99% fluent in English. How awesome is that?

That’s all folks. I hope yours was as exciting and I’ll see you next year!