2017 Year in Review

Per usual, I’m doing my “Year in Review,” just as I’v done for 2012201320142015, and 2016. This is the 6th year that I’ve done it.

And, as things go, I spent time reviewing my own years in review and was completely overwhelmed by how much has happened in just the last 6 years that I’ve been writing these recaps.

It really is unbelievable the amount of things that can occur in one, single, year… completely blows me away.

This year, in particular, was the most exciting year of my life and also one of the most challenging, most frustrating, and most joy-filled as well.

That always seems to happen.

In addition, just like previous years, I would have never been able to predict what was going to happen in that year, just like now, as I’m writing this post, I cannot imagine what will happen and transpire in the next 365 (or 360 now…) days. All I can do is just hang on for dear life.

In that way, I’d like to organize this post in those two types of buckets: The things that I had predicted would happen and the things that I did not see coming.

The Things That I Predicted Would Happen (That Actually Happened)

Here are a list of things that I believed would happen that actually happened…

  1. I knew that I would continue (and finish) my 365 vlogging challenge and on November 27th I uploaded my final vlog. I’m so glad that I completed this personal challenge for a number of reasons.
  2. I I knew that I’d be helping to coach soccer for my youngest and it was a joy to do, most of the time. Committing to these types of things is easy… until it’s not.
  3. I knew that we’d still be living in San Francisco because I believed that my best chances of success in the technology world would be found here in the greater Silicon Valley area. We are, in fact, still here.
  4. I knew that this would be a year of distinct personal and professional growth. I was right, at the meta, but completely unaware of how that was going to actually happen.
  5. I knew that I’d continue to struggle (but that I’d win) my battle against alcohol. I had had my very last drink on December 4, 2016 and had already experienced the extremely positive benefits of being sober. I knew that I could go the distance and I haven’t had a drink since.
  6. I knew that we’d continue to homeschool the oldest and provide an alternative schooling experience, some of which I capture now and again on the Hackschool category. I love seeing her grow…
  7. … and I also knew that my oldest would continue developing her own entrepreneurial chops as she continued to partner with me on a revenue-generating project. That’s also one of my favorite vlogs of the year I think.
  8. I knew that I’d finish and launch my Medium.com native macOS client, mnml. I remember sharing in April that I was almost done and then 2 weeks later I launched and it was featured worldwide. I knew this because I am someone who finishes.
  9. I also knew that I’d probably shut down a previous project that had, in most ways, failed. Most of the things I do end up this way and I’m okay with that at this point in time.
  10. I knew that I’d still have a bit of time for fun and recreation and that I’d still be playing a bit of World of Warcraft from time-to-time. What I didn’t expect was to finally get an achievement that took me, literally, 10 years to get. Small wins, I know.
  11. I knew that my wife and I would make it to complete year #12 of our marriage.
  12. I knew that I’d be still advocating heavily for mental health on all fronts and be working out, religiously, every single day.

And I think that about covers that…

… now, onto the more exciting list!

The Things That Happened That I Could Not Have Predicted That Would Happen (#MindBlown)

This was one of the most surprising years of my life.

  1. For starters, I had no idea that I’d resign from a startup that I cofounded and that had raised $3M in seed capital and that had successfully acquired customers and that was making real revenue. I left operations in late 2017 but my official final day was the 31st of December. Technically, I haven’t formally announced my resignation anywhere on the interwebs so… I suppose this might be “it” … I guess. There’s a lot more to share here, but, I’ll do that in a bit.
  2. I had no idea that I’d take my own medicine in terms of how to start a new career and how I’d bank on relationships driving me to my new career and obsession which is blockchain.
  3. This almost deserves another bullet point (so I’ll do just that) but you could have never told me that I’d be working in the bitcoin, blockchain, and cryptocurrency space full-time. I was fascinated by it years ago but didn’t think I’d actually jump in head-first. Crazy to think. It’s absolutely bat-shit crazy.
  4. I had no idea that I’d create a new email newsletter and that I’d actually like writing for it. I didn’t think people would actually care.
  5. I had no idea that I’d get our team into YCombinator’s Startup School. That was kind of fun.
  6. I had no idea that I’d quit Twitter, finally. I also ended up purging all of my other social accounts, like Google+ and also completely clearing up my LinkedIn and moving my formal Curriculum Vitae to my blog. It feels good to be in control.
  7. I had no idea that my own vlog would inspire and challenge my brother to iterate through his experience with YouTube and eventually land on a bitcoin-centric channel that ultimately spawned a full-time startup and business.
  8. And… I had no idea that the YouTube channel would eventually move me to partner full-time with my brother on the venture. Again, mind-freakin’-blown. Just working with my brother was something that I never thought would happen (again).
  9. I had no idea that I’d start putting together a new To-Do List App, mostly because my life had become so crazy that I wanted to iterate on my existing workflows and optimize the hell out of them. As an engineer, you just end up building these for yourself and, as I like to do, then share them with the world.
  10. I had no idea that I’d get the Warglaives of Azzinoth.
  11. I had no idea that we’d discover that we’d be adding a 5th person to our family. This was our best kept secret of 2017. He’s happy, healthy, and he’s the King Buddy.
  12. As a consequence of King Buddy arriving, we took a trip back east to visit family and have a bit of a vacation as well. One of the things that we got to experience was seeing our favorite soccer team destroy another of our favorites in El Clásico in Miami. This vlog is also one of my top 5 of the year.
  13. I also had no idea that we’d move from our awesome apartment in Hayes Valley to a home in Glen Park. This was part of our decision related to #11 though because we needed more space. I had also not planned on having the youngest change schools mid-year. That’s been an interesting swap.
  14. Similarly, we sold our awesome BMW i3 for a larger Audi Q5 to handle more warm bodies. I thought we’d keep that thing for ages.
  15. I had no idea that my last remaining grandparent would pass away. I traveled back east to visit with family and dressed up a bit.
  16. I had no idea that I’d move on from an email address that I had been using for over a decade and literally start from scratch with a new one. The transition has been much less painful than I had anticipated. In fact, it’s been awesome.
  17. I had no idea that I’d submit myself to a 5-hour round-trip for work at my now previous startup. Now that I think about it… what in the hell.

And… I think that’s a good list to start with (at least as my memory serves me right now).

There were a few events that happened this year that I did not publicly share or write about but I feel comfortable now sharing and capturing here on my blog.

The first is that my youngest had open-heart, bypass surgery and her operation was a complete success with only one minor complication. The anxiety and fear that I had going into this operation are impossible to explain well. No parent should ever have to do walk through something like that.

Grateful for the team of medical professionals that we had assembled together and so grateful for the outcome.

The second event was that I was part of an intervention this past year. Yes, one of those things that you may have seen on tv. It was one of the most intense experiences of my adult life and I hope that I’ll never have to participate in one of those things again.

Of course, I will if I am asked, but… wow. Again, words simply can’t describe this very adequately. I am so grateful for all those who also participated and I’m so happy to see the person involved accept help and receive the treatment that they so desperately needed.

And… that’s where I’ll stop on this retrospective.

I’m exhausted from reviewing the past year and overwhelmed by all that has happened… and… I can’t believe that we actually survived. But, we did.

I couldn’t be more excite about this year. I have some ideas of what may happen this year but I plan to be thoroughly surprised and amazed as the year continues to roll on.

But, it couldn’t be nearly as crazy as last year… right?