Muschamp Rd

Exit 2018 Enter 2019

December 31st, 2018
Top Artists

I really had high hopes for the future back in June. I thought I had a good chance of passing the Level 3 CFA® Exam. I thought I’d finally get a new job. I thought I’d get to travel and enjoy life. However, I have spent the last six months looking for a new job. I have spent the last four years teaching in China and I was worried I would fail my CFA Exam due to President Trump’s never ending obsession with seeing his name in the news. As someone who has spent too long studying finance and economics I am not optimistic about the world economy heading into 2019 for “reasons“.

Update: I spent New Year’s Day optimizing my homepage for performance in China and I’m going to improve this blog too. This means less social media integration, Flickr seems to be the best for hosting images but even javascript or APIs used by plugins are blocked in China and they all slow this website/blog down. I need to brush up on my IT skills for my job search anyway, but I am still not optimistic that the trade war will be wrapped up in 90 days. I just want a new job to start the new year.

This is not how I usually start these end of the year review blog posts, put politics and the economy worry me. I’m not sure I should be blogging about it and I kept editing this post. I definitely did not expect to still be blogging to be honest and told my sister I may just rip the whole thing down. I do not have a positive ROI from blogging or from the CFA Program or from my MBA, the only subject I’d recommend studying is information technology. Many times I was told to remove my MBA from my resume and just go back to software development. Someone told me to dumb down my resume today in fact.

I started out looking for a job that would allow me to complete the CFA Charter and could not get any interviews, when I expanded my job search, once again the skills people want are the skills I developed years ago and have maintained or at least tried to update and refreshen from time to time by maintaining this albatross of a website and coding alone on my laptop. So this website will remain online a while longer and I really, really do not want to be unemployed so am open to proposals, but my ultimate goal is still to complete the damn CFA Charter.

I am still in Shanghai but my contract and visa end next month and I basically promised my mom I would come home, at least for a while. I will buy the plane ticket soon even though I have many outstanding job applications and even a few companies who may have me in for another interview. I however have lost optimism and know not much is going to happen until after Chinese New Year. By then I’ll have left China and although I’m willing to return I’m unwilling to stay in the same job forever. My current employer has had ample opportunity to transfer me and repeatedly has not, I think my current employer is going to have an increasingly difficult time sourcing and retaining experienced staff, but their business model relies on a never ending supply of naive Americans but if the trade war continues there will be casualties on both sides even “neutral” countries will be forced to choose sides.

Well that is enough melancholy and geopolitics. Today’s song was actually “Better Things” by the Kinks. Following up on things that I have put off during my many years of study in the CFA Program is definitely on the agenda for 2019, but like I said above I don’t think it will ever have been worth all it cost me and pop songs do not have the answers I assure you. Year end analytics have revealed that the song I played the most in 2018 was “Hot Saucer” by Bootsy Collins right up until a few hours ago, now is claiming it is “Summer’s End” by John Prine so I’m willing to post them both below and unlike last year I really did buy and listen to those albums on iTunes frequently. I also listened to a lot of instrumentals during my CFA studies.

After I get a new job, I’ll probably buy more new music, I’ve got too much invested in iTunes and need a new Mac and a new iPhone as my Chinese one will not work outside of China. But besides music I looked at a lot of other analytics to see how content performed and what I was wasting my time on when I should have been studying or looking for a new job. I definitely did a lot of networking and spent a lot of time on LinkedIn.

The most popular posts written in 2018

On this blog the most popular content was my advice on starting a new business, something I should have done a long time ago especially considering all the work I did and gave away while I was unemployed and living in Vancouver. I of course managed to publish a few blog posts this year, indeed part of my post CFA Exam plan was to finally add more new content that hopefully would be looked upon favourably by recruiters and the most popular posts published this year are to the right.

It should come as no surprise but actually passing the Level 3 CFA Exam and then pinning it to my Twitter profile and repeatedly linking to it caused more than a few people to read about my misadventures and my advice for future Candidates. Alas it still has not resulted in a new job, but I’m trying to be optimistic and I’m definitely open to relocation.

I actually have an entire blog devoted to CFA study materials now and although it doesn’t make me any money it probably elevates my profile among other candidates especially as more people come to realize just home much effort it takes to pass the CFA exams and how much extra effort it took to make and organize all the study materials I gave away. The most popular of which are probably various Excel files, I still have more Excel files I’m not giving away, too many content thieves among CFA Candidates. I’ve started to report them or at least send them DMCA takedown requests.

The WordPress Analytics for my CFA Study Materials

I actually think my side blog may be more popular than this one because it is more focussed and is running on the latest greatest WordPress codebase or at least not such an old codebase. Updating the code behind this website is something I will be doing in 2019. I’m tempted to remove yet more content, but my priority is finding a new job not making my website more beloved by Googlebot but there is definitely some low hanging fruit and technical changes I could make that would help it perform better especially for readers behind the Great Firewall of which I may eventually gain thousands when this blog finally becomes more well known again.

If you really want to know the single most important theory to know in the entire CFA Program, my analytics says it is Markowitz Portfolio Theory.

Reading more and reading anything other than social media, news, and the CFA Curriculum is on my 2019 agenda and I’ve already started. I haven’t added any new quotations in a long time but I’ve continued to share them on Twitter occasionally. That codebase needs a lot of updating and simplifying and refactoring but the analytics have the following words as the most popular quotation of 2018:

Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live.

These words were considerably research by me and others and now it is believed they were said by John Woods and then they ended up in the .sig file of various developers and in a book on software development. My collection of quotations isn’t the biggest one, but mine is more accurate than most.

I am behind the Great Firewall of China so I require a VPN to access most social media that isn’t WeChat or LinkedIn. It also makes my website or any website that integrates social media run slower so I have decided to tweak my homepage to do some browser sniffing. Mobile users who stick to my blog may not notice but on a laptop blog pages, my homepage, many parts of my website load very slow as your browser tries to access services the Chinese government doesn’t want you to access. Despite all that I spend too much time on Twitter particularly. According to their analytics my most popular tweet of the year was:

Where did 2 to 10 go?

— Andrew (@MuskieMcKay) September 14, 2018

Of course it was related to Trump. When I moved to China, Pinterest was not blocked by the Great Firewall, now it is. I heavily integrated it into my homepage though I suppose I could rip it back out. Needless to say my usage of Pinterest has gone way down as has my reading of hobby blogs. It may take some digging but apparently something I pinned or someone repined on February 25th was by far the most popular thing I did all year on this social network.

What did I pin in March?

I’m not sure it is this model, but knowing my audience on Pinterest it is probably a painted miniature that I found on a miniature painting blog. I even edited my footer.php file to try and embed my possibly most popular pin of the year on this blog:

I tried floating it to the right dusting off some old school HTML/CSS tricks but for mobile devices AKA my iPhone SE it seems it is better not to float so many objects. It also seems to disappear when I switch from “Visual” to “Text” mode of the WordPress editor too which is disappointing. Hopefully there is a plugin or an upgrade to WordPress I can eventually install to fix this. Not all social media embeds work equally well, I’m thinking of switching to shortcodes… It is hard to make a website as old as mine truly mobile friendly quickly, at some point I would be better starting entirely over. At the very least I will be updating WordPress this year and JetPack too, though it’s bloat affects my blog’s page loading speed.

My sister is thinking of abandoning Flickr and she posts way more photos to the Internet than I, but I have integrate Flickr into this website and their sale from Yahoo/Oath/Verizon to SmugMug seems to have made them less blocked in China. This is a huge win for me and my website. I have not had a vacation in well over a year, nor have I painted any miniatures but according to Flickr’s analytics this is what is popular. I have a special plugin for Flickr but I tend to use the latest standard embed code. Flickr does not let me break my analytics down easily by year, but my all-time most popular photo remains this one:

Inquisitor Scale Space Marine

I vastly prefer Flickr for integrating into my blog, but everyone else likes Instagram because they want to go viral and interact with celebrities and be a voyeur. I got guilted into reinstalling Instagram on my iPhone by someone at my gym and I’ve posted too many selfies and food pics since then. But this year I hurt my knee badly and my weight has gone up and it is not all muscle. I hope it doesn’t require surgery I should have gone to the doctor long before now but I just ramped down my training and studied more. But proof of my gym cred is in my #2018BestNine as is proof I drank too much coffee studying and went off my diet majorly after my exam eating burgers and ramen for the good of the Internet.

You can leave a comment below if you think I should have consulted yet more analytics or you have a lead on a job for which I may be suitable. All the best in 2019 and Happy New Year blogosphere. Despite what the feature image may have you believe Townes Van Zandt was the musician I listened to the most in 2018. There is also some bug in WordPress where if I include too many pictures from too many social media sources it removes all my paragraphs and leaves me with a huge block of text, anyone know why? It is related to switching from Visual to Text mode perhaps. Is this fixed in a newer version of WordPress?

Untappd got into the year end summary analytics for users game. I don’t think I can embed it, maybe now that I’m running WordPress 5 I can, but upgrading all my old posts to “blocks” is not on my ta-do list so just follow the link.

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