Radar Hill Blog

Looking Back On The Year

Radar Hill programmer Shannon cradling Dan's wheaten terrier, Oliver.In difficult moments such as these (the internet is down), we take time to reflect on the past year of achievements, struggles, and good times.

Here at Radar Hill, it’s been a busy year. As a programmer, I spend most of my time burrowed away in the back room. I’ve got Lady Gaga in my headphones and pages of code spread out on both monitors. When Dan or Shawn bring a client to the office, they parade past me so I can glance up and say “sup?” and they can prove that their code monkeys exist.

And it seems like that happened a lot this year? So that must mean that business is good? Cool!

It was a busy year for me too. I helped out with a lot of cool websites — here are some of my favourites:

For VREB.org, I made an XML feed for the monthly VREB newsletter — this means other Realtors can publish it on their sites. The newsletter is a great way to keep your eye on the Victoria real estate market. What’s going up, what’s going down, is it time to jump ship and move to Duncan yet? As a millennial who hopes to own a home someday, I subscribe so I’ll understand the historical context of Victoria’s real estate market when I’m ready to buy.

On My Mondo Trading‘s site, Julie and I rolled out an online store for their remarkable, one-of-a-kind First Nations artworks. The Mondo team required quite a lot of customization for their store, which isn’t easily done through a Shopify or Amazon Partners back end. We were able to give them exactly what they needed with very little trouble via a custom setup. For instance, most out-of-the-box online shops will assume that you have a big inventory for each item and will give you lots of handy features to deal with it. But Mondo’s inventory is all unique. Once an item is sold, it’s GONE. But maybe they still want to keep tabs on it? After all, the product shots on their own are fairly remarkable pieces of art.

So we customized it with the assumption that there is only ever going to be one item for each SKU, and updated the nouns in the links and so on. Little things like that make the difference between a professional store you can trust with your thousands of dollars, and a hacky mess. No one wants to buy anything from a hacky mess, no matter how much they like the product.

I hope more customers open online stores next year, because the software is fun to work with. We’ve got lots of great ideas for further improvements.

Another fun one was the Celebrate A Life site for the Victoria Hospice Society. This is one of my favourite non-profits, an opinion shared by most of the office here.

Some people like Christmas and some hate it, but most people have a lot of strong emotions associated with this time of year. Myself, my family came to Victoria to spend Christmas with my nana and papa (we’re from Campbell River). Now we all live in Victoria, but Nana and Papa have passed. We still have Christmas dinner together, but it’s different without Nana in the kitchen trying to stuff everyone with appetizers, and Papa hanging out in the living room telling war stories.

The Hospice Foundation is more familiar than most with people who are struggling with the feeling of someone missing. They asked for a website where people they’ve worked with can put up a few words in tribute to people they’ve lost this year (or any year). Mike and I got to work on that, and we’re really pleased with the result.

Besides all that, I prevented a ton of spam, fought off hackers (there was one morning when we were full-on pounding the keyboards CSI-style as fast as we could to track down the source of a hack that defaced several of our client’s websites. So much fun!), and wrote some truly poetic emails for frustrated customers.

I learned a lot and hope you did too. Merry whatever-you-celebrate, Shannon.

About Shawn

Co-owner and one of the founders of Radar Hill, Shawn is an award-winning public speaker. He loves working with business owners, and tries to keep up with marketing trends.
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