Bye 17, hi 18.

by Dries De Roeck on January 17, 2018

Another year, another time to look back and forward to what was and what is to come. I mentioned last year that I would be revising the format of this post I’ve been using for several years. This will be an attempt at that, applying some learnings throughout the years. The most important change is that I used to set some explicit goals, things which I would like to have done. In many cases, life turns out differently – and I tend to get diverted from that list.

Looking back, I have the feeling a lot of ‘seeding for the future’ has been done in 2017. I think I spent a lot of time figuring out what future options I have, and have focused on putting time and effort in relationships with people and organisations which I value. Over the months I’ve developed a take on life which is to live with different foci, which helped me to better cope with the big blur between “work” and “private” in the things that I do.

Things that stuck with me looking back at 2017


During the year, I developed a critical attitude towards the organisation and participation in events. When I had to cancel the thingscon comedy event at the end of last year, I tried to capture some of my frustration in this post. On the other hand, I had a blast at other events, in particular I enjoyed delivering a talk on alchemy at UX Antwerp and launching ideasofthings at thingscon Amsterdam.


More than in other years, I realised that getting work done and making things happen very much relies on people that want to get something done. It is not about organisations or company reputation, that just doesn’t go anywhere. In that context I thoroughly enjoyed working with Alex and Elise setting up the GoodHome exhibition in Aalst. The nice thing with that initiative is that no-one really got a ‘benefit’ out of it, but we were all working based on a common belief and shared importance.

Things that worked out differenlty in 2017


I had high hopes that I’d be able to resume academic publishing in 2017, but I didn’t manage to get anything decently accepted for publication. Nevertheless, I did learn a lot on trying to write academic text within the context of a commercial company. I’ll try my very best in 2018, the plan is there … the action needs to be taken.

Vegetable garden

I very much wanted to reboot our vegetable garden at home, but I really didn’t get round to it. Unsure why, because I still very much like the idea – and we have all the infrastructure in place. I guess my focus was elsewhere, and only put in the minimal effort to keep our strawberries alive. Over summer, we did grow superlarge sunflowers though, that was fun.

Started running

When 2017 kicked off, I had no intention at all to be more active or loose weight. Turns out I picked up running (now running 16km and more and lost over 15kg of weight). I’m unsure why or how I got myself into doing it, but the trigger was Brick and Christophe both indepently convincing me that it’s not all that hard. In 2017 I ran a 5km and a 10km race, and I never felt more proud about those achievements.

Things I want to do in 2018

Sit down and do the work

There’s so much going on, but it really is time to get my PhD over and done with. If it won’t happen this year, it might as well never happen. I’ve comitted to sitting down at least 2 days a week to work on my PhD research. Get the papers written, get the literature framing solid. It’s quite a mental battle with myself to do this, but I just need to get the little nagging “but you need to start writing those papers” voice out of my head.

Do a crowdfunding

I want to run a campaign do make something. There are two ideas brewing right now, one I’m doing on my own and one is a more ambitious project. But both are very feasible! It just feels good to set up a project out of nothing, try to get the funds together and then just push it out. Hopefully I can support local people in the meantime. Anyway, in a few days/weeks things should become more defined.

A neighbourhood IoT event

I’ve been wanting to host a very local internet of things event for a year or two. Bascially it would come down to showing people how they can build a working product that connects to the internet in about 15 minutes. The goal would then be to have conversations about digital privacy, ethics and meaningful design. I think hosting this in my street would be cool, as it would also bring people together around a topic they probably never think about.

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