2011 has been quite the year. It's been a year of both meeting incredible people, and unfortunately losing some as well.
I feel fortunate for having friends old and new. A full year working with and now at Mozilla and the numerous smart and passionate folks there. The broader open web, open source, and indie web communities. And lastly and most lovingly my girlfriend Erin.
We lost far too many greats in the tech world this year. Steve Jobs. Dennis Ritchie. John McCarthy. And lastly and most tragically, Ilya Zhitomirskiy.
I briefly met Steve Jobs over ten years ago in an Apple Retailer in Palo Alto, but it was the Apple ][ that changed my life. Never met Dennis Ritchie but I've coded in C and its derivates most of my professional career. A.I. was one of my first passions in Computer Science, though I only met John McCarthy once at Stanford. Ilya I met last year and was instantly taken with his optimism and passion for making a difference in the world.
Of all of them, I wished I'd spent more time with Ilya, appreciated the time I did spend with him, and felt his loss the most. Suffice it to say, that loss made me pullback from a lot and spend more time reflecting instead. What should I have done differently, what could I have done differently.
I've spent a lot of time the past few years on focus, and directing my focus. Despite that, losing Ilya made me reconsider, how many things did he invite me to that I didn't make it to because I was busy with something less important, or being distracted by obligations I shouldn't have been.
It's that lesson that I'm taking into 2012. That despite all the focus I thought I'd achieved, there was more to work on.
So I'm taking this brief break from merriment to post an update, wishing each of you a Happy New Year in 2012. And more importantly the willpower and clarity of focus to spend with not those that demand your attention and the real-time distractions that surround us, but with those that you care for and those that care for you.