I write this as I sit by the wood stove in my family's home north of Baltimore, MD in the USA. This is the first spell of quiet I have had in many months, and it's giving me a chance to reflect on the last year.
2014 has been a whirlwind blur of work, challenges, and successes for which there was little or no time to celebrate. I can count on one hand the number of days since June I have not worked, including weekends. I had sworn off working 18 hour days, but have worked more of them this year than I've had days off. We've had 4 full-time employees, 2 interns, and more than 80 contractors working for us this year, producing 4 full programs and the bulk of the materials for 4 more that will be launching in 2015.
Not only do we have 5 full programs and basic Arabic now, we also have the systems and processes in place for future programs. It is hard to describe how much time and work has gone into building, testing, and rebuilding the programs to create the best order and presentation. All the technical bits â€” down to microphone settings, editing transitions, etc. â€” have been carefully tested and standardized.
Our language maps are now available in Heffers in Cambridge and Foyles in London. Our first delivery of maps to Foyles sold out in less than a day, which was incredibly exciting. We have set up the mechanisms for using Amazon's fulfillment, so our maps are now being packed and shipped by Amazon, which is also very exciting. While I have been happy to print labels, pack maps, and take them to the post office, it is a tiresome process and not the best use of time!
We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. It's clear our materials on memory need to be expanded into a separate course. Most people looking at Linguisticator still have trouble grasping both the scale and differentiation of our programs. We have more languages we need to finish and more we need to start. We need to do more to facilitate learning through private lessons and personalized training schedules.
Despite all the work left to do, I am very pleased with how far we have come and the milestone we have reached: Spanish, French, Italian, German, and English. This Christmas, I am extremely thankful to be spending some much needed time off with my family, who have supported me from the beginning of this process now almost 4 years ago. It has been a difficult â€” at times almost backbreaking â€” year. I'm going to return to staring blankly into the fire now, but I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Frohe Weihnachten! Feliz Navidad! Buon Natale! Joyeux NoÃ«l! Ø¹ÙŠØ¯ Ù…ÙŠÙ„Ø§Ø¯ Ø³Ø¹ÙŠØ¯!