Dan Schoonmaker
Software Engineer
Published on



With the new year upon us, I've decided to use this arbitrary date boundary as an excuse to force myself to experiment with some new technologies. As a result, I've decided to start a little


challenge for myself that I'm calling

12 in 21


I've historically been very bad at advertising the projects I'm working on. Mostly due to fear of failure, fear of judgement, and fear of employers thinking I'm not fully committed. I realize these fears are irrational, but I've always been someone who tries to please everybody, all the time (a

sure-fire formula for failure


Thanks to some of the unplanned circumstances created by the pandemic, in 2020 I made it a point to focus less on being a perfectionist, and more on shipping products more frequently. While it still wasn't enough to keep pace with my domain name addiction, I did manage to release a number of projects that I'm proud of...

My only real regret is that I once again spent most of my time in the building/ideation phase of projects, and not enough time on the content creation side. I feel like this makes the projects feel abandoned, which is obviously a major risk of working on multiple projects at once. So another thing I'd like to focus on is content creation (blog & podcast), and that's where I'm hoping the whole "Build in Public" practice will help out.

This is where 12 in 21 comes into play. There are a lot of ideas that I've been wanting to work on, but due to a lack of experience with the various technologies that I would need to use, I keep falling back to

tech stacks I'm comfortable with

. But now that I've seen so many others documenting their entrepreneurial journeys, I've realized that this whole #BuildInPublic craze is actually a perfect excuse for experimenting with new things and teaching others what you learn along the way.

Here are some of the ideas I'm currently brainstorming:
  • React Native mobile app
  • Chrome Browser Extension
  • Video Chat application
  • Chatbot Builder
  • No-code project
  • Online Course
  • Micro-SaaS service
  • Online Marketplace
  • Crypto Collectible
  • Viral UGC site
  • Micro-Blogging app
  • Dynamic Audio/Video builder

I'm sure a few of these will be swapped out, but I'm purposefully keeping them vague so there's some flexibility. Honestly, this initial list is mostly based off of my favorite domain names that I own and haven't done anything with yet. Another reason I'm excited about doing this.

You should join me!

The reason I typically write it out as the #12in21 hashtag is that I'd love for others to join in. It doesn't necessarily need to be shipping 12 projects like me. Maybe you want to publish 12 podcast episodes? Or read 12 books? Let's aim to complete just one thing a month and I'm sure at the end of the year you'll be grateful you did!