2013 Goals – How Did I Do?

Sometime in February of 2013, I decided (inspired by my buddy Scott Britton) to write down and publish my goals for 2013. Though it was a great year in a lot of ways, I didn’t accomplish much of what I thought I wanted at the start of 2013 (original list of 2013 goals here).

Goals Completed:

  • Paid off my student loans (yay!)
  • Charged $100/hr for consulting work. Ended up doing more than 20 hours of it (20 was the goal) and made this a solid income stream in 2013.
  • Took improv classes. They were a lot of fun, though didn’t have the social impact I thought they might. However, totally worth it – it’s like adult playtime. And a few of the people in my group were hysterical.
  • Read 75 books on the year. Currently sitting at 72, but within finishing distance of 3 books right now. Will definitely complete this by December 31.
  • Wrote a blog post that got 10,000 views. That would be this one – Why Real Businesses Don’t Charge $5 a month.
  • Completely eliminate sugar from my diet. I did a great job with that, only eating sugar at Thanksgiving. Otherwise, I never ate or drank sugar.
  • Started and ran 1-2 social groups in SF. I started a growth group for people running growth at different startups in SF, and have a good friend that I’ve been co-hosting dinners with. Will continue with both in 2014.
  • Go to a music festival. This was actually one of the highlights of 2013, as I went to a bunch of awesome shows – Tiesto, Muse, Kendrick Lamar, Kaskade, Avicii, Zedd, Skream, Blink182, Porter Robinson, Goldroom and a few others. I realized that I really enjoy seeing live music, and will do more of this in 2014.
  • Got a mentor in the publishing/writing space. Made a lot of progress in this area in 2013, and feel pretty well positioned to launch Traction Book (finally) in 2014.

Came Close:

  • Go camping with friends. Instead of camping, I ended up doing a bunch of awesome weekend and road trips, but no camping.
  • See Louis C.K. live. He never toured any of the cities I was living in, but I did see a bunch of other comedians live – Daniel Tosh and Jim Gaffigan to name a few. I’ll see him next time he’s on tour.
  • Create an event at least 20 people attend. I’ve co-hosted an intimate, invite-only event for 15 people. I also realized this year I function better in smaller settings, so won’t have this goal next year.

Complete Failures:

  • Sell 10k copies of Traction Book. This was just naive from the start. I had no idea how long it takes to write a book – f’ing forever. If I write a book again, I’ll definitely have a different way of approaching it (which I’ll write about in the future).
  • Travel outside the country. Another year gone by and I still haven’t done this. I am planning a trip in February that should allow me to cross this off.
  • Go electronics-free once per quarter. I didn’t do this, and it’s really kind of stupid that I wasn’t able to get it done. Will be doing this in January 2014.
  • Be able to bench 1.5 body weight, squat 2x body weight, and deadlift 2x body weight. I worked out very sporadically during 2013 and didn’t stick with the Stronglifts program I started the year with. Not sure that I’ll ever make lifting a priority – I’ve started doing some other workout routines that I enjoy more.
  • Spend $500 materially improving someone’s life. Still time to do this, but it was one of those things I never made a priority.
  • Meet David Sacks. This was never a priority, and kind of a stupid one. I’ll meet him when I have something more to offer.
  • Give one talk to at least 200 people. Didn’t follow up on opportunities where this could have happened. Applied to speak at the Lean Startup Conference, but wasn’t accepted.
  • Try Brazilian Jiu-jitsu for a month. This one was easy to do and I blew it. Signed up for classes in January.
  • Volunteer 1x/month at least. Another relatively easy one, though I have signed up as a mentor in a program starting March 2014.

Goals I Put on the Backburner:

  • Reach 1000 blog subscribers. With the year I had, my priorities shifted away from blogging and more towards finishing the book, networking and working on Airbrake for much of the year. From what I’ve seen, bloggers with large audiences do a few things: blog a lot, or do worthwhile things outside of blogging that helps them build an audience. I definitely want to fall in the second camp, as writing a blog post takes me a long time. I’m confident I’ll accomplish this at some point, but it just wasn’t a focus in 2013.
  • Write 3 guest posts for reputable blogs. This is in the same vein as above, blogging just wasn’t a focus in 2013.
  • Create a TV show. One of my major realizations in 2013 was that my time is limited, and I want to focus my limited time and energy on really crushing 1-2 things. I still want to make a TV show, but not until I get a few other things off my plate.
  • Start a charitable organization as a side project. Same as above – I worked on focusing on a few things in 2013 and really trying to nail them.
  • Start a company or organization focused on improving education in some small way. Same as above.
  • Create an interview series on mental models. Again, same as above.

Cool Things that Happened:

Though it may seem like a failure of a year given how many goals I failed, it was a really excellent year in so many ways. It’s been by far the most productive, financially rewarding and educational year of my life. Some awesome stuff that happened:

  • I moved 3 times, from Pittsburgh to Vegas to San Francisco (where I live now). Didn’t expect this going into 2013.
  • Met and built close relationships with some incredibly smart and successful people that have vastly accelerated my learning trajectory.
  • Lived in Vegas. It was every bit as crazy as people imagine. One memorable night, I ended up on stage with Tiesto.
  • Grew a lot in terms of being honest and vulnerable in my communications and interactions with people. This has been incredibly freeing and life-changing in a positive way.
  • Ran growth at Airbrake until acquisition by Rackspace.
  • Had the experience of building my own sales team and going through the hiring/firing/managing cycle for the first time.
  • Feel like I’m on solid financial ground for the first time in my life, which is mentally very freeing.
  • Got really into art and learned a lot about painting and art history.
  • Started learning how to make my own music and have been playing around with remixing songs in the chillstep genre.

Major Realizations

This year was incredible. I learned so much about what it actually takes to run and grow a company, became a much better marketer, and went through the hiring/management experience for the first time. Looking back, the theme of the year (unintentionally) was one of learning. I learned what it takes to run and grow a startup, and learned a lot about my own skills and limitations in a professional sense.

On a personal level, I became much more  honest and vulnerable in my conversations and relationships. I also learned a lot about energy and how it works in terms of attracting others to you, and have become a much happier and more engaging person in 2013. I’ll continue to work on this in 2014, along with some other goals I’ll detail in my next post.