9 Things We Learned In 2018

Philip Cleave
December 24, 2018

With the year coming to a close, we thought it would be a good point to take a step back, and look over some of the things that made us sit up and take notice over the past 12 months. 2018’s been a memorable year for a huge number of reasons,  some specific to us, and some that made headlines around the world. So join us as we take a look back at 2018.

Football didn’t come home

The England football team’s best run since 1990 put a feel-good spring in the step of almost everyone we know, and made waistcoats fashionable again. There was consternation in the office when we realized that an office meal out had been booked to clash with England’s first group match, but a tablet and restaurant wi-fi came to the rescue.

Sometimes the British weather can be too nice

That World Cup run also coincided with a long period of record-breaking hot weather (Something that our writer says was also the case in 1990). Space near office air conditioners became prime real estate and owners of drop-top cars were feeling pleased with their purchases. However, after the fourth week, most of us were praying for it to cool down a bit.

We have big competition but we’re not scared

In September, our industry saw some huge news when SurveyMonkey went public and their shares soared. We’re not as big as them, but we do have big ambitions.  You don’t always need massive resources to be noticed – you need a good product, good people, and the smarts to support your customers, which is what we’re doing and why we’re growing rapidly.

Data Protection Armageddon didn’t happen

The coming into force of GDPR on May the 25th was expected to be a nightmare for everyone who handles personal data, but now 6 months down the line, It’s definitely been a positive change for us: we’ve picked up business as companies look to improve their compliance, and our mailing list is more refined, but the expected flood of requests to be forgotten hasn’t (yet) materialized.

Not all Elon Musk’s ideas are good

This year seemed to see Tech industry superstar Elon Musk go off the rails a little bit, with the oddest episode being the attempt to help the rescue of the kids who got trapped in a cave in Thailand using a makeshift submarine (two words that really should never be used together). While undoubtedly done with good intentions, reacting to being rebuffed by accusing one of the rescuers of being a pedophile wasn’t a good look.

There’s a planet next door populated solely by robots

Space is cool and the ongoing exploration of Mars using robotic rovers took another step forward with the landing of the Insight probe in December. We might not ever get to visit, but hearing sounds recorded on another planet is amazing.

Plastic’s Not Fantastic

The growing impact of plastic waste on the environment became a hot topic for most of the year and has led to movements to ban or restrict all sorts of products, though we’re yet to see many major changes in the products sold on shop shelves.

Fighter Jets are loud

It’s fair to say that a good few of us at SmartSurvey are aviation nerds, and while the slant is usually towards airliners, there was much excitement on the 12th of July when a squadron of 8 RAF Tornado jets was circling the office, seemingly in a holding pattern for the big RAF 100th anniversary flypast over London.

Facebook Knows Everything

That Facebook is a huge engine, swallowing petabytes of personal data for who-knows what purposes isn’t really news, but early 2018 marked the point where it became much more of a topic outside tech circles. It’s still got hundreds of millions of users, but it’s become a thing about which “something must be done”, with social media industry leaders spending a lot of time in front of politicians and committees. You’d need to be braver than us to predict how this will go.

So – that was what stood out for us this year. What about you? We’d love to hear your highlights of the year, so head to the comments to share them with us!


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