End of Year Review: 2006 | January 11, 2007

End of year reviews are all the rage in the blogosphere, and I’ve been meaning to do one since before Christmas. However if 2006 was typified by anything, it was a severe lack of free time. This has yet to abate, which is why I’m late to the party with my review of the year. 2006 has left a deep impression on me for a variety of reasons. In fact I’d say that it was probably the most tumultuous year I’ve had in a long time.

The year started off well with the publication of my first book. I’ve been completely overwhelmed by the response to CSS Mastery, and would like to thank everybody who went out and bought a copy. Considering most tech books sell less than a thousand copies, the book has surpassed my wildest expectations, selling over 15,000 copies and reaching it’s 7th print run. It’s ended up being my publishers best selling book this year, as well as appearing in Amazon’s Top 10 Editors Picks and Top 10 Customers Favourites of 2006. However the highlight had to be briefly beating Harry Potter in the Amazon sales rankings, if only for a couple of days.

I spoke at SXSW again in 2006, and had a super time. The British invasion was even bigger than the previous year, and we ended up leaving our mark on Austin both figuratively and literally. There were some amazing parties, and the free food and drink was flowing even more copiously than before. In fact I think I only spent $50 the entire time I was there! It was great to meet up with friends from the previous year, as well as meeting lots of new people. SXSW 2007 is only a couple of months away now, and I can’t wait.

After the conference I headed down Mexico with my then girlfriend for a well deserved spot of R&R. Highlights included the ruins at Tulum, diving the caverns of Dos Ojos, and enjoying the bath warm private pool at our hotel. Shear heaven.

Over the last year Clearleft has been going from strength to strength. In June we celebrated our first birthday and office move with a party at our favourite cocktail bar. Six months later and we’d moved again, this time to swish new offices in Brighton’s trendy North Lane. In the past year we’ve had the honour of working with some amazing clients on some truly fantastic projects. As well as project work, we’ve also been running a lot of training courses, along with organising our second web development conference.

d.Construct 2006 was a resounding success, with tickets selling out in just 36 hours. We had some great speakers this year, and if you haven’t listened to them already, the podcasts are available online. Everybody who came seemed to have a good time, and you see what they all said via the excellent backnetwork. We’ve already started planning for next years event and I’m really excited about how it’s starting to shape up.

Talking of conferences, I had the pleasure of speaking at a load of great events last year including @media2006, BarCampLondon, Webmaster Jam and Refresh06. Refresh was particularly fun as I also got to go on a behind the scenes tour of the Kennedy Space Centre thanks to one of Paul’s listeners from Boagworld. There are even more great events planned for next year, including @media2007 in Hong Kong which I’m really looking forward to.

During the summer, my girlfriend and I finally bought a flat in the Kemptown area of Brighton. We’d been going out for 7 years and slowly watched house prices rise around us. I’d always been very hesitant about buying a flat together, but it was something Mel had wanted to do for some time and I eventually capitulated. It was a lovely little flat, and we put our energy into sorting the place out. On the surface things seemed OK, but that turned out not to be the case.

Over dinner one evening, Mel told me that she didn’t think things were working any more. I was initially quite shocked and tried to salvage the relationship. However during the next couple of months it became evident that we’d been treading water the last few years and had drifted apart. We were still close friends, but the relationship was over and I decided to move out. This was a very hard time for me, so would like to thank my friends and colleagues for their support and understanding during this time.

Thankfully things are starting to look up and I’m hopeful that 2007 will be a good year. I’ve found a nice little flat on my own and am currently readjusting to single life. I’ve recently met somebody new, and am enjoying the first phases of a new relationship. However I don’t want to jinx things by saying any more at this stage. Work is going well and there is even talk of a new book. So who knows what 2007 will hold?

Posted at January 11, 2007 10:24 PM


Paul said on January 12, 2007 2:58 AM

Great review of your year Andy - sounds like it was one hell of a ride. I can’t say 2006 will go down well in my affections, but I kind of felt it was a year I needed to experience in order to grow.

By the sounds of it Clear:left will have offices dotted around the globe by the end of 2007, so here’s wishing you continued success and best wishes for the new year.

Hopefully 2007 will also see the (much anticipated) redesign of this very site too… right?

Wilfred Nas said on January 12, 2007 7:24 AM

That was a busy year for you, I hope that things will be equaly busy in 2007. But a bit more luck on the personal front.

Hope to see you speak at sxsw (I loved the talk at @media)


José Carlos said on January 12, 2007 12:46 PM

Very busy 2006 you’ve had.

I’m one of the buyers of your book. Its really good.
Hope this year works out better in your personal life.

Good luck, and keep up the good work.

Brian Artka said on January 12, 2007 3:11 PM

Andy, I am currently enjoying your book and also enjoyed your talk at the Web Master Jam Sessions. Cheers to you on all your 2007 endeavors!

Keith said on January 12, 2007 4:10 PM

Sounds like you had a crazy year. Congrats on the success of the business and the new offices, I hadn’t seen those photos — looks like a really cool place to work!

Here’s to a great 007! See you in Austin!

Shimon said on January 12, 2007 8:26 PM

Andy, if that year will be just a book - that will be a great year already!
Thank for your book, that’s helping me a lot.

More than that, I’m recomending your book to my friends and they are also very excited by it!!!
It realy changes peoples’ lives.

Neil said on January 12, 2007 9:16 PM

I wasnt expecting the last couple of paragraphs, it is really nice (even if the subject is emotional) to read something non industry related.

Im enjoying every page of your book after getting a copy for christmas and i would fully support a follow up.

As an aside, a receptionist at the college i work at is blind and she was telling me all about her frustrations with the web, flash, poorly designed sites etc.

She uses Jaws (screen reader) and as a comparison i asked her to go over Clear Left (knowing full well it would be a real experience for her). Well, you have never seen a single person more gob smacked. Jaws reads clearleft like a novel. It really is fantastic.

I’m currently paying her in Haribo Starmix to evaluate my new College Intranet project.

Happy New Year Andy.

Stephen said on January 13, 2007 3:06 PM

I hope 2007 proves to be a prosperous one for you and less painful on a personal level than 2006.

My wife bought me a copy of your book for Christmas. It has been so useful to me and I look forward to your next tome.

Booker Prize for Budd?

All the very best for 07!

Angelo said on January 13, 2007 6:15 PM

Another book eh? Don’t tease us now.

Not sure if you ever got my note, but thank you so much for the copy of CSS Mastery.