Day 51 – Yearly Aims Update – Part 2


Now for part two…


Remarkably I’ve managed to play something every day this year! That’s even including the trip to the US I made a couple of weeks back for work. So all in all that’s going well.

We’ve got a few dates in the diary for the wind quintet and I’ve got an idea of a pianist for a duo, so progress is being made.

Health and Wellbeing

At the start of 2018 the fitness idea didn’t really take off! Time management is a major issue. Anyhow, we finally got round to sorting out new life and critical illness insurance with Vitality. This has been a kick in the right direction as it directly links activity to financial reward. They operate a system where you get points for activity and that reduces the cost of the policy. As it stands I’ve been regularly completing my goals so fingers crossed it starts to make a difference! On the squash side of things the Guildford tournament went well and my level has improved which was the main aim.

Finally, sleep. Remarkably having bought an Apple Watch to track the activities above, i’m now using it to track sleep too. I’ve actually proved what Lizzie keeps telling me that less than 7 hours sleep isn’t enough! Who knew…. 🙁

Anyhow, I’ve proven that it dramatically reduces my ability to concentrate, so actually it’s false economy staying up late, as it means you’re less productive the next day.

In summary the top three: 

  • Practice the clarinet every day – On track
  • Do something fitness related… either walking, squash, or simply Core exercises on busy days! – Mostly on track
  • Post to the blog every day, mostly on the topic of blockchain. – On Track

Having kept it going for this long I will continue the daily activities, although I think realistically on the blogging side I may instead start aiming for every other day, to give longer to pull together more in depth pieces that actually trigger learning rather than just news regurgitation.

Day 50 – Update on my yearly aims. Part 1

Given that we’re now 50 days into 2018 that means a little over a 7th of the year has gone already! With that in mind I thought that it was about time to look back at my aims and check on progress. After all, without measurement a goal is less likely to be met.


As it stands, my aim to see people on my team is going pretty well. We’ve recently managed to get all my peers and manager together in one place for the first time in over a year. It was a great chance to build new relationships and strengthen/reinvigorate old ones so all in all pretty happy with that!

Network wise, things are mixed, I’ve certainly talked with a few new people outside my previous circle and have made a bit more regular contact with a couple of people who I previously talked to regularly, but it’s not been the wholesale change / uptick that would be good. More work is needed here.


On a more positive note, I would say that I’m making progress in the blockchain world with regards contacts. It’s slow and steady, but i’ve had a few follows on Twitter and am building up a list of contacts that i’m following. The next step is to continue to add value to the conversation and gradually get people to know me, and to get to know them, rather than just following posts!

On the technical front, I’ve definitely made progress on the trading front. Again it’s slow, but I’ve made some good trades that were not by accident. Clearly there is a huge amount to learn, both technically and emotionally but I’m still in the game which is fine for now. In the pursuit of transparency, I’ve managed to get up over 4BTC at some points in the last few weeks and have made 0.077 in trading profit. Right now though things are looking less good, and I’m down at around 3.7BTC. A lot of this was driven by the significant drop of Raiblocks/Nano after the theft from BitGrail.

As it stands right now I’m no closer to building a coin, however I have made a start on courses on PluralSight and also have discovered some great resources on Steemit, which will keep me busy learning wise for quite a while.

Another of my aims was to start staking coins. I’ve built a significant (0.44BTC) position in NAV which is staking well and also small positions in PIVX and CLOAK. Most recently I’ve got into Crown (CRW) and am looking at running a Crown System Node which is currently reporting a 26% return in a year.

Finally regards blockchain events / conferences, i’ve not made progress. There is an upcoming NAV event but that clashes with a rehearsal so this is an area I still need to working on.


Tomorrow I’ll complete the update and set-out any tweaks that I’m going to make to keep things on track.

They say patience is a virtue.

Another short post today, because it’s been a rather busy weekend! Yesterday afternoon and evening I was playing in the Farnborough Symphony Orchestra for our January concert. Then today a complete change of scene at Surrey Sports Park in Guildford for the new year squash tournament.

So all in all not much time for Crypto… however, I was in the middle of that short position having sold a couple of BTC. That led to a fair bit of checking the phone yesterday during rehearsals… wishing that BTC would go down in value and watching it hover around the £10,400 mark. Anyhow, my suggested to be patient and wait a bit, and this morning when I woke up BTC was back down just under the £10,000 mark, so my buy order had been fulfilled and I now have the BTC back. Logically it should be possible to keep doing this when a market settles into a pattern like this for a few days, but there is some argument as to whether the stress is really worth it!

Whilst I think of it one other thing to share, Coin Ticker is a really useful app… or perhaps a really stressful app. It allows you to log your portfolio on your phone and keep track of things… however it does lead to constant checking. Still it’s useful and nice to be able to track things over time on your phone, as it helps to recognise the patterns in the market if you can build up a regular understanding of what certain coins do over 1, 5 and 30 days.

Here’s a link in case you’re interested: Coin Ticker: Bitcoin & Altcoin by Zijun Huang

Back to work… aims for 2018


As I said in my kickoff post on 1st Jan, most of my new posts will be blockchain related, but some won’t! Well this is one that isn’t, at least not in a big way. Given that it’s that time again, the last day of the Christmas break, before back to work tomorrow, I thought I would outline my aims for the upcoming year.

As you might expect I’ve a fairly varied set of aims for 2018, obviously work at Microsoft will keep me busy a fair bit! We’ve got a few projects to get going before the end of FY18 in June, and obviously the continuous drive for active usage on Office 365. My main aim for work outside of general projects is to see people, and ideally people on my team, more often! One of the challenges of working as part of a WW team is the lack of in person connection, so the aim will be very much to get together wherever possible.

In a sense, that aim to get together with people leads into my next major goal, to rebuild/refresh my network. Over the years both in and outside Microsoft I’ve worked with and met hundreds of people and connected with many of them on LinkedIn. Since moving on from my Exchange MVP and Technical Specialist days, I have lost touch with many people. Obviously much of that is due to diverging interests and activities, but some is just laziness. So one of my aims for 2018 is to reconnect with some of those people and then actively seek out new contacts in the blockchain space.



Learn more about trading… it’s been a massive frustration to me, that there seem to be loads of people making money trading crypto currencies and tokens. Frankly, being realistic, I suspect that there are a few people making loads of money and most people losing money! Anyhow, in many ways i’ve fitted into both categories in 2017. I got into crypto in June and was fortunate to buy 5.43 BTC. However, whilst my total holding has risen in value, I now only have 3.9 BTC. So all in all, not entirely successful. In 2018 I want to do something about that and intend to start building a more balanced portfolio. Most likely keeping around 75% in BTC and splitting 25% across various Alt coins that look promising. I’m also intending to study some of the multitude of courses out there on FX trading to learn a little more of the science, and perhaps art of trading.

Build a coin… I think it would be rather cool to have actually started a coin. A friend and I have a couple of ideas so that’s high on the list for 2018. I think the learning that comes from this activity could be really valuable in any future career direction in Blockchain. Realistically it’s going to require some coding skill… so i’m starting the fundamentals courses on Microsoft Virtual Academy and am going to check out PluralSight too.

Start Staking… more and more coins these days seem to be moving to the proof of stake model. I.e. if you buy into the community by holding coins then you benefit from the community by receiving a percentage of new coins and transaction fees generated through the running of the network (i.e. staking/mining), which ultimately is what keeps the network operating. At the moment i’m looking at CloakCoin and NAV as two options here, although likely I will get back into NEO at some point too.

Blockchain events / conferences… as mentioned above I want to start building a new network of contacts in a new space. To aid that goal I’m going to look out various events, mostly UK based to start with and perhaps further afield if they tie up with other work related travel.



I’m very excited that I’ve been asked to play the Finzi Clarinet Concerto with the Oare String Orchestra in September this year. It’s been a long time… i.e. over fifteen years since I last played a concerto with an orchestra, so this is a great opportunity to do something I love. As part of that it’s my intention to play every day in 2018.

I’m also hoping to find a pianist to start a Clarinet and Piano duo and in 2018 want to give a lunchtime recital. On top of that I will hopefully be part of at least a couple more Blackwater Valley Wind Quintet concerts.


Health and Wellbeing 

Be a better husband and dad. It’s been great being predominantly at home during Edward’s three years, but having said that it’s important to actually be fully present rather than distracted… phones away! Same goes for being a husband. After 16+ years of marriage it’s easy sometimes to take things for granted. This is a year to change that.

Of course none of the above will be possible without staying fit and healthy. To that end my major aim is to up my squash level. Right now I think my level is higher than represented by the matches i’ve played, but my aim is to prove that in tournaments this year. The start of that will be in Guildford on 14th Jan. Obviously a big part of upping my level will be improving my fitness and losing some weight. My aim is to lose just over a stone and work with a physic to build up my knees to keep them in working order for a little while longer!

Bedtime… sleep! With a youngster around the house sleep is never guaranteed, whilst we bounce between episodes of tonsillitis. Add that on top of managing a team in Asia and having a boss in Seattle and that makes for an interesting set of sleep patterns. Anyhow, my aim for 2018 is to switch off the technology no later than 10pm and be in bed by 10:30. Who knows if that will work regularly… we’ll see, but hopefully it will help with the 5am starts for Asia calls.


In summary the top three: 

  • Practice the clarinet every day
  • Do something fitness related… either walking, squash, or simply Core exercises on busy days!
  • Post to the blog every day, mostly on the topic of blockchain.

If I manage all that, it will be a miracle, buy hey, it’s good to have some concrete aims and even if half of it gets done then that will be a big achievement.