Juha-Matti Santala
Community Builder. Dreamer. Adventurer.

Year in Review 2016

After coming home from the Silicon Valley in the Christmas of 2014, I had a year of soul searching and wandering about. I had no idea what I wanted to do after I reached my big dream years before I had planned.

I spent three months doing a small freelancer gig but mostly hanging out at the engineering guild room at university and taking a breather. After that I moved to Helsinki and started working as a software developer at Smartly.io. I loved the team and learned a lot but didn’t really feel like Facebook marketing tools was something that gave me enough motivation. So after just four months I left the company and started looking again. One more freelance gig that went south. Then a new opening at a local student entpreneurship community opened. I went from full-stack developer to community management.

For the whole year 2015 I felt that I wasn’t able to achieve anything nor find any direction to my life. In December, almost year ago to the date I asked in my Facebook feed if anyone else felt that Turku, my hometown, needed more tech meetups. I ended up starting one after a few interested people showed support. Now, a year later we are gonna have our 9th meetup with one hackathon organized during the summer break and over 200 people in the community. And we just closed sponsorships for the first three months of 2017 for our meetup group Turku ❤ Frontend.

Work also became a big focus again. At Boost Turku I was able do a lot of things I felt were important: I ran a three-month programming school for non-technical students, co-organized a 10-week accelerator program for early stage companies, worked in two amazing events — The Shift and Slush — and was able to inspire and motivate a bunch of people. I ran two 8-week workshop series we called Dropout Academy with topics ranging from project management to website building and crowdfunding. And I finally took some holidays to chill out.

Outside work I organized programming workshops, played hundreds of hours of board games, organized hackathons and get-togethers, programmed couple of web apps and did social media management for a bunch of non-profits.

Now that 2016 is coming to the end, it’s time to take a few days off and plan the future. Next year is gonna be a big and important one once again. After August my current gig ends and I’m looking into the world of opportunities again. I still have no idea where to focus on and where in the world I want to work in.

One thing is for sure. 2017 is gonna be even better.

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