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).

obediently 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.

Hennaya 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.


One response

  1. Well done sir!

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