2008 has been an incredible year for me, with this blog helping narrate that story. Although I’ve been far less active on my blog this year I’ve pretty much covered all my highlights. So without further ado here they are in a chunky, link-baited end of year post:
I saw the last few sunsets of 2007 over the African bushveld on a private game reserve and brought in the New Year with friends in Cape Town.
In February, I had my first ski experience in the beautiful resort of Livigno, high in the Alps of Italy. One of my favourite holidays of all times! Refreshed I then settled back into my design work and began my first collaborative project with Adii on a premium wordpress theme called Gazette. Not realising this was going to be one of the biggest turning points in my freelance design career.
In March, I proposed to Xenia, my beautiful girlfriend of 7 years, on the banks of the Thames river in the pouring rain and she said YES 🙂 We will be getting married in the seaside town of Hermanus, outside Cape Town in February 2009. Not quite related or worthy of the same romantic paragraph, but March also saw me collaborate on my second theme with Adii after realising the huge potential of premium/commercial WordPress theming. This theme was called Live Wire.
In April, I attended the Future of Web Design for the second time, saw one one my favourite bands perform at a small, intimate venue, and celebrated Afrigator’s 1 year birthday.
In May, I live blogging the prestigious D&AD Awards on behalf of Biz-Community (probably the first and last of my journalism days), and saw the Afrigator team role out some interface and functionality enhancements on the site.
In June, I did some fun design work for Zoopy.com designing a profile page for the famous South African comedian, Evita Bezuidenhout. It also saw the launch of the Hillsong London website that I had been working on for the past 6 months with Ryan Shelton and Tim Plummer. The impressive launch video for the new website was broadcasted to 3 jam-packed services at the world renowned Dominion Theatre in central London. Probably the funnest and largest website launch party of my design career.
In July, I saw the successful launch of WooThemes, which stemmed from the previous theme collaborations I had done with Adii and another web designer Adii had been collaborating with – Magnus Jepson. WooThemes has single-handedly changed my life in the past 6 months and grown in size and maturity. I’ve learnt so much from my business partners and had so much fun in the process. I’ve been able to take holidays and sick days without worrying about not being able to bill for the hours (a joy for any freelancer)!
In August, I did a profile interview on the popular South African radio station SAFM. I also received my 15 seconds of fame on South African television, indirectly, when one of my web designs featured on a breakfast show.
September was a great month for Afrigator with us finally being able to announce that MIH Print Africa, a division of Naspers, had acquired a majority share. All our hard work was finally being rewarded, Afrigator was no longer a toy hobby where we spent our pretty infrequent free time, but an innovative African start up receiving global exposure with a stable, corporate backbone.
In October, I sucked at blogging, but found myself in South Africa for the second time in 2008. Planning our wedding and visiting my happy place – the game reserve again.
In November, I was still in South Africa for the good part of it, with more wedding planning, some business lunches meetings with Adii planning on how we are going to take over the world with WooThemes, and an awesome few days in the Afrigator head quarters, after only ever working with my team mates over the internet.
Which brings us up to December where I am now reflecting on the beautiful year that has been, wrapping up some work and looking forward to a festive Christmas break in cold, but merry London.
If 2008 is anything to go by 2009 is going to be awesome year. I am so blessed to have a wonderful fiancé and be involved with such exciting business ventures. Theres a lot I want to change in 2009, like making more of my time here in the UK and working from an office space again, but I’ll save that for a post in early 2009.
Have a festive Christmas break and a jolly New Years bash!
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