Paul writes software

Paul Hallett


It’s been another year, my twenty-fifth in fact. So here is a round up of some of the most important things that have happened to me during 2014. Some are slightly incosiquential and some are a bit more interesting. All of them are important to me.


I visited an awful lot of places this year. Two years ago I had only left the country once: to visit France with my Dad when I was 12.


This year I have travelled over 150,000 miles and visted the following places:

  • Amsterdam, The Netherlands (twice)
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Paris, France (twice)
  • Lyon, France
  • Warsaw, Poland
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Dublin, Ireland (twice)
  • New York, NY, USA
  • San Francisco, CA, USA (four times)

What’s with all this travel? Some of it is due to an insatiable urge to see the world but a lot of it is to do with work.

I think my favourite places that I visited this year were San Francisco and France. I’ve become a bit of a “francophile” this year and two weeks in the East of France in September with my good friend Kevin was a definite highlight.

In 2015 I want to continue travelling around Europe and to visit new parts of the world. New Zealand and Japan have always been tempting.


I started working at twilio this year as a developer evangelist. This meant I moved from a full time software engineer to tech evangelist and marketeer. I found the experience working at Twilio to be momunentally educational: I learned a lot about business, especially American business, and I learned a lot about how tech companies work in the USA.


I also learned that professional evangelism does not give me the job satisfaction I thought it would. I love to evangelise and talk about my favourite technologies. However, when there is a bias behind my evangelism or criteria to fill, I feel forced and I am unable to be truly enthusiastic about the thing I am trying to promote. Do not take this the wrong way: if you are tired of full time software engineering and still want to promote a great technology then be a developer evangelist. Personally, I realised I am still very young and I get the itch to work on large scale software projects, which I just wasn’t doing in evangelism.

In 2015 I’m going to move back into software engineering and start building things that make life better for people.


I wanted to make more permenant friends and I did. I met some truly great people who have become close friends. The past six years of my life have invovled me changing locations a lot, so establishing long term friendships has been hard. I am really glad to have made such close ties with people in London.


I also made some strong friendships outside of London that have shaped me into the person who is writing this today. I found a lot of value in dedicating time to other people and it came back to me in waves of friendship and support.


(I don’t always wear onesies)

I also realised that I don’t have to deal with people that don’t agree with who I want to be or share my points of view. Being polite for the sake of it just means I have to put up with people who I don’t get along with. I don’t want to spend my time having to grudgingly sit through conversations or situations I don’t want to be in. It’s my life and I can choose to have who I want in it. Call me rude or selfish but I’ve got to want some peace.


I dedicated time and effort to educating myself about the diversity issues in the techology industry and in greater society. I tried to support initiatives that promoted diversity in technology as best as I could without making the fatal mistakes that most people in my position do. I believe in equality in tech and in the greater society and the benefits it delivers when you have diverse teams and equality between people.

I know I’ll never be as educated or as well informed as I could be, so I hope my efforts so far have supported people. I also learned to understand genders, sexuality and who I am more.


I took quite a few physical beatings from travelling a lot on my evangelism job, which encouraged me to eat healthier and try to make my physical health better. It was nothing serious, just the fabeled “burn out” that affects people who travel way too much and interact with too many people in their job.


My mental health had ups and downs.

I felt truly happy for the first time in years but I also had two noticable slumps into depression. One of them has been this winter and working on my personal projects (see below) was the only thing that really kept me going. I think I have accepted that I’ll never truly get rid of my depression and that I’ll always have to deal with it. I’m learning to combat it and force myself to get outside when it hits. Friends and family have also really helped to keep me above the line and I’m so so greatful for their support.

I also managed to avoid harming myself for the entire year, which is a lot harder to do than it sounds.


I didn’t get to work on as many personal projects as I wanted to due to a very busy job, but this winter gave me the free time to build a project I’ve wanted to create for ages: the star wars api. It’s been live less than a week and has raked in 20k API hits. I’m really happy people are using it. I learned a lot of new technologies with this project and the enthusiasm from people wanting to use it has made me feel appreciated and happy to be a part of the tech community.

I also started the LondonAPI user group. It’s been on hiatus for the past few months whilst I figure out some sponsorship and a permenant venue, but I want to bring it back in 2015 and provide some cracking evenings for API developers in London.


I attended my sister’s wedding.


I was on the news.


I had an amazing trip to France.



And so we come to a new year, with new opportunities and new journeys to be had. In 2015 I hope to:

  • Travel a whole lot more.
  • Work on a large API project and be instrumental in building something great.
  • Continue to contribute to Open Source Software.
  • Continue to educate people about APIs and the value of exposing data through APIs.
  • Continue to tackle my mental health and support others dealing with depression.
  • Continue to educate myself about diversity in tech and help promote equality in tech.

Theses are pretty vague goals but I feel like setting concrete figures will force me to aim for them without any real passion or enthusiasm. I don’t want to just hit targets for the sake of it, I want to put real meaning and effort into doing things, not to just say I did “X amount of this” or “That Y times”. I don’t want to do that. I want to aim for things and see how far I can get, and then try and get better.

So here is to 2015 and the future, let’s have a blast!