I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas season. For the past three years, it has become a habit to share my retrospective with you through this newsletter and through LinkedIn. I truly believe that sharing goals makes us accountable and helps us achieve them.

“Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines.”—Brian Tracy

So here’s what I’ve been up to from the beginning of 2017, and above all, what winning techniques I’ve developed that enabled me to achieve more throughout the year. First off, as a reminder, here is my goal-setting article published at the beginning of 2017.

Global retrospective

I set two main goals at the beginning of the year. The first has been achieved, but not the second one.

  • GOAL 1: Get leads and prospective clients automatically and convert them into paying clients easily

DONE: This one has definitely been achieved! I’m very happy to record a 30% increase in revenues compared to 2016, getting more interested prospects than I can actually handle.

  • GOAL 2: Sell digital products instead of only trading my time

FAIL: I consider this one as not achieved as the online course revenues are still very low. However, I actually wasn’t consistent in video production until the end of the year where I started producing two courses on the roadmap definition and on selecting a provider for a startup. I will definitely catch up on this in 2018!

Fails analysis

There are several areas where I consider I failed at in 2017. Here they are:

1. Online course revenue too low

Reasons: I haven’t been consistent when it comes to email communication. I had dozens of subscribers that I never sent any updates to. I also have not produced enough video content in the first part of the year to share with my list. All this in addition to just wanting to do too many things at the same time.

2. Getting overwhelmed by emails

Reasons: Although I have more revenues this year, it also means I have more clients (with sometimes very short sessions like one-hour consulting). This also equates to more interactions while I still have the same amount of workload. So I had a hard time catching up with my inbox that I unfortunately wasn’t able to reach Inbox Zero this year.

3. Giving up live video sessions

Reasons: I think it was more a matter of not being able to inform more people about the live events. Having only a few people on the call during these sessions made me feel like I was wasting my time. I might do it again in the future, but I need to improve on building the My CTO Friend community first to be sure that these live sessions will have more impact.

4. The Founder Institute project not happening

Reasons: I started in 2017 as a co-director of the Founder Institute Aix-Marseille. While we had a great time organizing events with excellent speakers, we finally had to discontinue it after several months because we were not able to onboard enough founders who would like to participate. This may partly be because the local startup community is too small, and events like these require good event organization skills which is not my strongest suit yet. 🙂

Wins analysis

Overall, 2017 was an amazing year. Lots of things learned, and lots of new things organized for growth and for achievement. Here are my big wins:

1. I invented a live recording system to produce multi-camera live videos based on Keynote or PowerPoint presentations.

Basically, it allows me to control through slides what cameras and what zoom functions I want to use, while integrating some text and animation. This has made video production and course creation so easy that we’ve even started to consider this invention as a product for a startup business. This technique has allowed me to produce a high-quality video course like Selecting the Right Provider for My Startup Project in three days, content production included.

2. Tech consulting services will not be my main focus for 2018, but it’s still my main source of income. By selling online courses and increasing my online communication, I will also increase my consulting leads. So depending on my online revenues, I might limit the number of one-on-one clients.

3. Blog post production on OutOfTech.com/Blog. I had a hard time on this the first part of the year until I found the right person to help me achieve my weekly post rhythm in the second part of the year. Thanks to Heather, a Canadian writer who interviews me on a weekly basis to help extract important points from my real day-to-day experience with my clients and some good practices, and who then turns these into a blog post that we publish weekly.

4. Pronunciation. I know I still have some improvement to do, but when I look back and watch the videos I did last year and compare them to my course videos recorded at the end of the year, I feel I’m now on track to reaching native-like fluency in English. This is thanks to some weekly pronunciation courses that I take with my English coach Mercedes.

5. I’ve finally been able to differentiate and separate my consulting brand OutOfTech.com from my project myCTOfriend.co where down the road, I will invite other CTOs to produce some content with me.

6. Less time managing websites. This is a good win for me as I almost didn’t touch anything on my WordPress website myself. I don’t like WordPress and I feel that managing it is a waste of my time. This is why it was a great help to delegate its management to services like WP Curve.

7. Launched the extensive course, Startup Technical Plan, a technology and roadmap analysis to shape a startup project. I’m proud of this first course published just this November.

8. Finished creating the course, Selecting the Right Provider for My Startup, another step-by-step process with worksheets to help a startup founder make a wise decision when it comes to choosing a provider without taking much risk. This will be available on my website soon, but here is an early-access link to it if you want to check it out: http://myctofriend.co/selectingtherightprovidercourse

Long-term vision analysis

As I shared in last year’s retrospective, the aim of this kind of retrospective is to check if we are still aligned with our long-term goals.

I’m totally confident about that as I refocus on My CTO Friend project in the second part of the year. My long-term goal is still to help startups much more than what I can do today by consulting. Increasing my rate should’ve been an easier way to progress, but not a smart way to help more startup projects. This is why I am so dedicated to produce online content; so that it benefits more startups and helps them succeed no matter what unexpected thing happens as they build their product.

How you can benefit from my 2017 production

The best way to sum up this retrospective is just to share with you the list of every content I’ve produced this year. Not only am I proud of it, but it’s also a good opportunity to let my network use what is already available and help them create better projects. My next step is to share with you my 2018 goals which I will do at the beginning of 2018, so look out for that. 🙂

Produced content in 2017

1. My CTO Friend courses

Startup Technical Plan

A practical, step-by-step course to improve you project in two ways: first, by making you understand what technology you should use to leverage your product and make it even more innovative. Secondly, by teaching you how to prioritize, structure and evaluate you roadmap and the cost at every stage of development.

Selecting the Right Provider for My Startup

Another practical, step-by-step workshop to help you wisely select your development provider. The goal of this course is to evaluate every aspect of a provider to be able to anticipate how the project will go, as well as identify their weakness so that you can counterbalance it. This evaluation process will basically enable you to work with an inexpensive provider while still keeping your project safe.

2. My CTO Friend CTO tips series

Software testing for startups – CTO Tip #1

Asking your developer to use founder’s repository – CTO Tip #2

How to figure out what technologies your competitors are using – CTO Tip #3

How every developer should document their code – CTO Tip #4

Why startup founders should consider automatic deployment – CTO Tip #5

What is the difference between server-based hosting and cloud hosting – CTO Tip #6

How to manage multiple developers working on the same project – CTO Tip #7

What does framework mean – CTO Tip #8

What is the difference between a CTO and a developer – CTO Tip #9

Which database format to build and grow your startup – CTO Tip #10

What is an API and why should startups use it – CTO Tip #11

How startups can use Facebook, Google or Twitter to authenticate users – CTO Tip #12

Create your own source code repository for your developer – CTO Tip #13

Access and backup your product source code – CTO Tip #14

10 key questions to ask to evaluate a full stack developer – CTO Tip #15

10 key questions to ask to evaluate a development provider – CTO Tip #16

How to find a CTO for my startup project – CTO Tip #17

3. Out of Tech blog posts

How to evaluate your lead developer

How to convince your provider to share source code from day one

Focus on one business at a time

Keep communicating with the client

Over-organization can be your undoing

Collective intelligence

Prototyping without digital tools

How to manage developers who aren’t very good

How to manage production with many users

How to be even more creative when building products and services

Why information systems are the heart of any tech startup

Why startups need agile scrum

Improve your project with technology

What to prep before development

Don’t be afraid not to code

What if your provider doesn’t fulfill their contract?

How to evaluate equity between co-founders and build your startup foundation

Evaluating the cost of your startup project

Better habits for productivity

Does your startup need a developer or a CTO? How do you know which?

Evolving your startup strategy to make the most of opportunity and knowing when to turn back

Microservices and why every startup should consider them

Team organization in a growing tech startup

How to grow your development team

How to turn an idea into a startup specification

What is lean startup methodology in practice

Write an effective project report

Automated deployment in a startup

Finding a CTO or a developer: Key ideas

How we produce live video recording at myCTOfriend