Year two of Ammolytics was a bit of a mixed bag, though that’s true for 2020 in general. As my end of year metrics will make evident, I did not conduct as many experiments, publish as many articles (or any videos), or share many new projects as I would have liked. That’s not to say that nothing was accomplished, simply that the backburner is a bit more crowded. Despite this and the constant feeling I have of being behind, of underperforming, the community around Ammolytics still managed to grow.
I’ve heard from so many of you through email, in person, on video and phone calls, or various other means. You’ve shared your own projects with me, asked me for help or advice, gave me feedback, and cheered me on. I’m continually floored by this and I can’t thank you all enough for the inspiration and support. It’s moments like these which inspire me to continue and realize that I’m building something bigger than myself.
I’d like to take a moment to share a few of my personal experiences from 2020 and the ways in which they impacted my work and productivity because I believe it’s important to be transparent. This isn’t about making excuses, but acknowledging factors which were outside of my control and how I needed to prioritize my time and resources in order to respond to them. As the Stoics would advise: Do what you can with what you’ve got, where you are.
Early in the year, my day-job as a security consultant was affected by a loss of clients who were preparing for budget uncertainty. While this had a measurable impact on my finances, I had already committed myself to writing a book about cybersecurity for small businesses. I managed to finish in time for it to be published in mid-April, shortly after the lockdowns went into effect. One week later, my wife and I were in the hospital for the birth of our first child (Jackson Ozzie). Any of you who are parents can probably relate the feeling of sleeplessness and exhaustion that we experienced for the next few months. Regardless, she and I worked as a team and got through it together. As the year went on, there was civil unrest that led to curfews and stress about the community, wildfires that turned the outdoor air toxic for three straight weeks, local spikes and dips in the pandemic, and a contentious election. What a year.
My 2020 experience, immortalized
Due to these challenges, I chose to prioritize my family. The unfortunate side effect is that it meant less time to work on Ammolytics.
With 2020 behind me, I have a lot to be grateful for. I have my health and my family, which grew by one. I have my consulting work, which has picked back up and grown. And I have an unrelenting passion for a project that’s supported by a community of amazing people.
“The reward for good work is more work.” - Tom Sachs
For better or worse, here’s the tally from 2020:
- ✍️ 1 Article (-7) with 1.7K Words (-26.1K)
- 🔬 1 Experiment (-2)
- 📋 1 Survey conducted (-3)
- 🧰 4 Open Source projects (+0)
- 🎬 0 YouTube videos (-3)
- 🎯 98 Rounds fired for science (-227)
And this is how the community grew:
- 🌎 16.5K Views (-12.8K) and 8.5K visitors (-9.7K) from 95 countries (-29)
- 🗳️ 91 Survey responses (-102) across 1 survey (-3)
- 📸 355 Instagram followers (+157)
- 🍿 240 YouTube subscribers (+100)
- 🤓 85 Reddit readers (+10)
- ⭐ 45 GitHub stars (+11)
- 🙏 8 Patreon supporters (+1)
- 🤔 7 Twitter followers (+0)
- 💬 51 Discord members (+51)
While these may have been interesting metrics for 2019, there are two things that I want to point out.
First: Metrics are not goals
My goal is to improve our understanding of what makes ammunition precise.
Growing numbers on social media can measure impact and reach, but it is not a goal.
Second: Not all work has metrics
It’s challenging to fully capture everything that goes into Ammolytics behind the scenes.
Here’s a little more insight into where time was spent over the course of the year:
- Building and testing custom electronics for advanced barrel harmonics research
- Supporting projects and research efforts of other blogs, companies, and individuals
- Rebuilding the infrastructure of this website to speed up delivery and reliability
- Connecting the community through Discord
- Being a guest on the Reloading All Day podcast
- Refactoring the OpenTrickler for improved performance and ease of use
- Reaching out to companies for sponsorship support
- Reading, because there’s always more to learn
I’ve decided to skip the reader survey this time. While I’m sure I may regret that decision at some point in the future, I believe the learnings from the previous year still hold true.
- Publish more content, more often
- Be more concise with short, focused content
Quite simply, I’ve had enough time and opportunity to reflect and think. Now, there’s work to be done and it’s time for me to do it.
Separately from this retrospective article, I hope to detail some short-term and long-term goals for Ammolytics. If there are specific topics or experiments you’d like to see me tackle, let me know! I’d love to hear your ideas!
- To my wife, for more than I can put into words
- To my Patrons and readers, for sticking with me
- To Area 419, who sponsored Ammolytics by providing barrel work and parts
- To Criterion, for supplying me with barrels and blanks, and working with me on research projects
- To Bexar Arms, MK Machining, Short Action Customs, and KRG, for supplying me with discounted parts and components
- To F-Class John, for finding more small rifle primers when they seemed impossible to obtain
Before you go…
Thanks for taking the time to read this article! I enjoyed writing it and learned a lot in this process and I hope that you did too. If you have any feedback, you can email me directly if you don’t prefer to use Reddit or other social media.