I thought I'd kick off my return to work this year with a blog post. I spent the past two weeks mostly out of the office and in a kind of semi-vacation state. Fortunately, I wasn't travelling during the holidays which used to be the case every year. Time was spent with my wife's family and putting the finishing touches on the house. Time well spent but now I'm ready to get back to my usual routine.
Nevertheless, something I am not inclined to do right now is look forward and try to predict what the year will bring. Nor do I feel like discussing New Year's resolutions since I've never really been one to make many of them. There are a few here and there but they are mostly reminders to keep at what I was doing verses coming up with all new ones. What I much more prefer to do nowadays when January rolls around is to look back at the previous year and think about what went right and what went wrong. In no particular order, here are two lists:
-Spent the first year married to my wife. At this point, most would write "my wonderful wife, without whom I'd be blah blah blah...." You fill in the blanks. We're not like that. We had a great year in terms of not killing one another. We had a great year in terms of getting tons of things we wanted to achieve done. We've supported one another in our ups and downs this year and as a couple, we've become stronger and happier. If I married when I was in my early twenties this would probably be far more sappy (and I'd probably be divorced by now). Well, I'm in my late thirties and I'm about the long haul. I know I made the right choice and I feel ever more comfortable and content with that choice and keeping it that way.
-I bought a house this past year. I was never going to buy a house. There was never a plan to put down roots. Unfortunately (or fortunately as I know see it) the right house crossed our path. We found a place which was mostly perfect for what we sought and we just bought it. I didn't really give it much thought and it was more gut than brain. In hindsight, I should of bought earlier. It's probably not a good investment nor will it be cheap to maintain. Fuck it....it's mine and stay off my lawn! :-)
-We continued building out Liquid Labs. We've learned so much since launching back in February of 2012. We are approaching the end of our second year of existence and I am super happy with what we've achieved. Roberto did wonders with Device Ident and it was truly a pleasure making that happen with him. Michael and I have been working really well as co-founders and I am still shocked at how well he fills in my many gaps. Regardless of what happens, I know that I can look forward to years of working together. We have a great team in place. I stuck to my rule of hiring those I think will work out best and not hiring based purely on experience or resume. I believe I was mostly right. Our core team, including Bianca, Nik, Sebastian and Esteban have been a pleasure to work with and gel pretty well with one another.
-I continued my focus on fitness (nothing new outside of reducing long, aerobic workouts....cycling/running) but managed to increase my amount of sleep (very new). I've always been a gym junkie and have been eating basically paleo for the past four years or so. I'm not all out strict about it but have been quite good at leaving out grains and staying away from lactose. Sleep though had become a real problem. I was down to four or five hours a night which just wasn't going to cut it. With long workdays plus workouts in between, my energy levels were shot. Making a point to get to bed early and fit in at least 7 hours sleep was a focus area this past year. With the new house, we have a far quieter bedroom, can completely black it out and I've cut down significantly on alcohol. I wasn't boozing but a glass or two of red wine in the evening wasn't necessarily beneficial to my sleep. My energy levels have returned to where I want them to be and this is a big win coming into this year.
-Not wrong per se but we've continued learning a ton of new things with the company. So many theories we had on how things were supposed to work didn't work out that way. We've continually had to adapt our model and refocus our energies. This was quite frustrating in the past year as we hoped to have nailed down our general strategy a year or so in. It's almost inevitable that one correct course regularly when building a business but there were a couple open flanks that we should have seen earlier and corrected for. On a positive note, this makes us stronger for the future but it also has made us more cautious on many fronts where I'd prefer to continue being bold.
-On a personal investing front I was also a bit too reserved with my strategy. I under-invested in stocks during the year preferring to sit in cash far too often. I had some great returns in the year with breakout stocks such as Facebook. Yet performance was so good in 2013 and I sold far too early on many things trying to lock in gains. With stocks such as Tesla or iRobot, I simply wasn't willing to hold on and go for more. Further, some dogs crept into my portfolio and should have been weeded out far earlier. I am taking a for more aggressive approach to my portfolio this year. I further missed dabbling earlier in Bitcoin. I don't necessarily regret having missed the hype swing way up and to the right at one point in the past year (although it would of been nice) but I should have watched the currency one or two years earlier. I'm becoming ever more fascinated by it.
-I blogged way too infrequently. As we were so focused on building out our business, I let things I enjoy doing, such as writing, slip. As much as I enjoy writing for those who read my blog, I far more enjoy the practice of thinking out loud. I want to get back to writing more often this year and I should have done the same in the past year. It's such a good way to really think things through and I thought very few people would really care about what was going on in my world. Having left venture capital, I figured many of my readers wouldn't necessarily care about the things I'd have to write about in 2013. I believe that was the wrong way to approach it. There will always be new people to read ones blog and I didn't really think much about why I write. That shall be corrected.
You win some and you lose some. Some years you are up and some you are down. Thinking about 2013 doesn't necessarily have me raving about what a great year it was. At the same time, so much has happened and it's probably more difficult to celebrate one win or another as there were so many little ones along the way. What I do know is that I am looking forward to this year and whatever it may bring. I believe it's going to be an exciting time in the near-term and many positive developments are to be expected. I hope to share those with you via this blog or when our paths cross. Enjoy 2014!