In 2021, I worked hard, got in shape, started traveling again and meet some new amazing people.
Some big family issues got sorted out too, freeing lots of mental cycles to focus on my own life.
In short, I started enjoying life again.
- Sold Boxy Suite and got a nice 6-figure exit 💰
- Skied for the first time ⛷
- Learned to surf 🏄♂️ and climb 🧗♂️
- Started seeing someone new I really like 🥰
- Hired a new amazing teammate 🫂
- Got my motorcycle license 🏍
- Hit $20k MRR, thanks to Typefully
- Had to let go of a teammate. Even at a small scale, handling a team is very challenging. 😔
- Almost got acqu-hired 💼 It would have been a nice outcome, but would have limited my optionality. I am okay with this not happening.
- Ending the year struggling with Mailbrew's growth 📉
The value of community
This year in June, I joined the first edition of Remoto: a community of remote workers coming together in the Italian Alps for weeks on end, to live, work and explore nature.
I loved it. Made somme new friends, ate amazing food, and explored Val di Susa.
It also gave me the idea to organize something similar, but in a different setting.
Enter surf retreat: a group of 13 founders living together in Fuerte Ventura for a week to work, surf, discuss and share ideas. It was an amazing opportunity to come together and get out of our Twitter timelines.
In a world where we all work remotely, the value of these initiatives cannot be understated. It gives us back the serendipity we lose by working from home.
I would argue that remote work + these kind of initiatives every few months is vastly superior (happiness-wise) to a standard office job.
This may seem obvious, but I will write it anyway, since some people may be in the place I was at the beginning of 2021.
If you are feeling stuck, in life or work, doing something, anything, is the solution in 99% of cases.
Get moving. It's half the job of getting unstuck.
When it comes to personal matters, I have found that getting out of the house to do (group) activities particularly effective. You will meet new people, disconnect, get perspective, energize yourself.
It doesn't really matter what you do, as long as you do something you like. Better if it involves other people.
Stuff that worked really well for me: dancing, climbing, joining (or organizing) trips with friends (or strangers).
Nice bonus: it gives you stuff to talk about with friends and with the new people you meet. It makes you interesting.
Leaving some slack in the system
My company's experience with Typefully inspired this learning, even if it's really hard to exactly pin down what I learned.
Here's the story:
- Typefully was launched as a side-project to promote Mailbrew.
- I was a bit skeptical at the time and thought we should focus all our attention on Mailbrew. It's common startup advice that you should be laser-focused, especially in the early stages.
- Typefully is now growing faster than Mailbrew and proving to be a bigger business. This process started when our Typefully/Mailbrew time split was still 20/80.
What I got out of this story:
You can't exactly predict what will be successful. When a system is imperfect, it's better to have some slack/randomness in it. You should be okay with the linear downside of less focus because the upside of trying new stuff in tech can be non-linear (👋 Taleb).
Most of the time, external factors (for Typefully, the rise of Twitter creators) will be a bigger driver of scale than the effort you put behind a project.
Running on a super-tight personal/work schedule, with no room for exploration, is a mistake and may make you miss some huge opportunities.
This last point strikes home for me because it's a tendency I have. I want to optimize the shit out of everything.
It's hard to strike a balance. Being completely unfocused and distracted by a myriad side-projects is a recipe for stress and failure too.
Questions from Twitter
What are you most regretful about 2021?— Raphael Schaad (@raphaelschaad) December 20, 2021
The amount of stress I endured and the tight schedule I ran on. I need to take better care of myself and work less.
How have you been involved (or more involved) in the crypto world?— Edo (@_3d0ard0) December 20, 2021
I remain bullish on Bitcoin (though I am not a maximalist anymore, I think there is space for other coins and use cases).
I have also been red-pilled on web3 and Ethereum. Smart contracts and what they are enabling is fascinating and the implications over the next decade might surprise us.
This was reflected in my crypto investments.
I also started learning some Solidity to get a better grasp of what smart contracts really are, minted some NFTs, bought my first ENS domain 🙌
Writing all of this I realize how much my involvement has changed when compared to 2020. I want this to go up more for 2022.
What you’re looking forward to trying out/experimenting with next year 🙂— Adam Collier (@CollierAdam) December 20, 2021
I want to launch a crypto project. As a builder, I am fascinated by the economics, the incentives, and the new stack.
Which of your opinions about tech/SaaS/business have changed this year?— Jesse (@JessetheSibley) December 20, 2021
Really hard to point anything out here. I feel like I am constantly starting from scratch and questioning all my learnings every day.