Belated birthday resolutions
I'm over a month late on my promise. But it can still be a tradition.
Table of contents:
It's been a new year. And my birthday. In 2011, so much has changed that I could spend weeks just thinking about it, doing nothing else, and still learning from it.
I wrote a similar post shortly after my last birthday, and I like the title so I'm keeping it.
Thanks, previous year!
Looking back to the end of 2010, I had set out to fulfill 4 concrete goals:
- Understand my place on the web
- Take more risks
- Take more steps back, think ahead
- Use the power of choice
Time to grade myself :)
1. Understand my place on the web.
I knew this was a stretch - I am still not sure where I want to be. In 2011, I moved from being a web developer at Mozilla to starting my own company, SoWink. I learned that working for a social product is extremely fun. I recently increased my open source contributions to the web as a whole and am planning to continue this trend.
But do I really understand where I want to be years from now? Or even this year? No. I'm considering this goal a moderate success, but mostly a failure. A failure from which I should be learning a lesson. What is that lesson? I'll have to think about it...
2. Take more risks
Definitely achieved. Starting a company, moving, traveling alone, going hang gliding.
It would have been even better if I had taken more time to learn more about the non-technical essentials of running a company. But that would have taken time from something else, surely.
3. Take more steps back, think ahead
I've spent some time thinking about my future, life, and what matters. This is worth a separate blog post in itself. I'm still not satisfied with my time perspective. I want to spend more time thinking about the big picture. I want to have a better grasp of the next few years, and maintain a better balance in my life.
I want to thank the people closest to me for asking me thought-provoking questions throughout the year that have encouraged me to do this more.
4. Use the power of choice
While I have still occasionally victimized myself, I understand now that it is difficult not to - especially when under heavy stress. But the past year has taught me to say no more, to negotiate better, to actively choose my path. Most of all, it has taught me that I do have the power of choice, that I can do what I want, and that grabbing an opportunity and making the most of it can really change one's life.
Working at a startup, I have had to continually adjust my expectations, evaluate how the product has been going, how much work can really be done, become better at estimating and less worried about missing deadlines. I went through several failures, delayed launches, intense debates and arguments.
Failing fast and often has taught me how to deal with stress better. It has the downside of not giving me enough time to think and learn from it, so I'd like to take some time this month of January to think back more and jot down lessons learned.
Since last year went so well, I'm setting some stretch goals for this year, too.
- Improve social life
- Eat less meat
- Develop management/leadership skills
- Learn about emerging markets and ideas
Improve social life
I've been living in the US for a long time now, and I've yet to reach the social life that I want. I've got some of everything, but not enough. My social network is not very responsive nor extremely well aligned with my values and goals. Obviously this is my fault and my responsibility. I want to change that.
So, this year, I will focus on spending more time with people who I've neglected and deserved better, and also meet some new ones, both for personal and professional reasons.
What am I looking for?
- Friends for activities, to exchange personal ideas, and to generally improve each other's life through motivation and keeping one in check. Awesome people to hang out with, basically.
- Talented mentors, be they engineers, managers, investors, or otherwise people with experience that can help me with advice and whom I can look up to.
Ultimate goal: fulfilment and satisfaction with where I live and what activities I do, as well as where my life is heading, socially. More concretely, surrounding myself with a network that helps me grow and be generally happier.
Eat less meat
In 2011 I met some people who inspired me to eat less meat. I tried it for a while, but ultimately fell back into habit and the convenience of eating meat. This year, I want to try harder, even if I have to go a bit out of my way. Some of the reasons:
- The industry of meat production and distribution is absolutely disgusting and cruel (both to animals and to workers).
- It's not an efficient means to feed ourselves as a population.
- It's very unhealthy, and most of the meat is full of hormones and additives that would not be necessary if proper treatment and procedures were in place.
I won't go into details, you can do the research yourself.
Ultimate goal: eat meat at most once a week. If I can do this for even just 3 months this year, I'll be happy. If I think I can go beyond this, I will.
Develop management/leadership skills
Last year, I founded a company. I didn't even stop to blog about it. Expect a blog post with further details soon.
One of the things I learned is that I enjoy helping other people through management and leadership. It would be ideal if I could work in a position that allowed me to be a technical lead of some sort, and be responsible for one or more of:
- technical product decisions
- scalability, performance, team technical culture (e.g. peer programming, workshops, etc)
- developer professional growth, helping others learn more and find/understand their career path
- drive innovation and user experience from a technical side
Ultimate goal: strengthen my social and leadership skills, with a technical focus. Qualify for more-social technical-positions.
Learn about emerging markets and ideas
Being aware of the market and new ideas is important for playing a conscious, proactive role in society. One can do this by keeping up with market trends, new technologies and what technical changes are happening overseas.
Lumped in with this, I'd like to learn the basics about the business and legal side of technology, which would help me understand and better communicate with people working in these fields, as well as how to be better at it myself, why not.
Ultimate goal: understand what society is doing as a whole, technologically and economically, and what are the areas of growth and decline.
Onward, I say!
11 months from now, I will report back.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to my life in 2011!