The retrospective that I write yearly is an opportune moment to reflect on the year that just past. Whenever I write my retrospectives, I start by reading the last one to see what I was thinking about last year and then comment on how I did against my last year’s goals. The last retrospective I wrote was in 2016 and it’s interesting to note that I accomplished a lot of what I had planned to accomplish in 2016.
Year in Summary
Starting Year 3 at WE
I generally have a 2 year cycle for most companies I work with. However, I decided to extend my stay at WE which represents only the third time in my career where I have stayed beyond 2 years. I have to say that the work I do is HARD (as opposed to difficult) but meaningful work tends to be hard. I love that the work I get to do here is very different from the work that I would typically get to do in other companies. I have an opportunity to help reshape the organization at its core which is a rare opportunity especially when an organization has continued to be very successful in the course of its 23 year journey. I’m also very grateful for colleagues and team mates who have made the journey last year truly enjoyable.
Last year was a year that I started reading (or rather listening) again. I was frankly tired of not being able to read. In order to fix that, I decided to give up on my hang up on listening to Audiobooks and gave it a shot. It made sense as I have a rather long commute (about 1.5 hours each way) on a daily basis. Listening to audiobooks is a very different experience for me as I’m generally not an auditory learner; I found myself rewinding a lot and also wished that I had a way to safely take notes while I was driving. However, the switch was still very worthwhile
Last year, I was able to listen to Hit Refresh, Joy Inc and Measure What Matters. I also started Good to Great. All 4 have been a really incredible learning experience for me and have reinvigorated my personal drive.
Stuff took a bit of a pause last year as Greg and I got really busy towards June. Greg took on a new job as I got heads down at WE. While we found the idea itself useful as we tend to use it on an ongoing basis but the upkeep of using scrapers as well as it being a viable business was actually quite tough. While we might keep the project going as a pet project, the reality is that we’ll likely pivot to focus on some other opportunities instead
Biking continues to be another highlight for me. I biked a total of 789 km this year including another century (100 KM ride). We also added 2 more regular riders to the group and we hope to continue to build on those stats.
Last but not least, I decided to switch my blog from The K Unit to First Tiger. When I first started The K Unit, the name was chosen out of an inside joke among a few of really close friends. It was also a mixed of being goofy and serious. I also wasn’t as serious about it. This rebuild allows me to rebuild on my own personal brand and is also intended to be a bit more grown up as well.
My Goals for 2019
2018 was an amazing year as it allowed me to exercise my broad experience at WE in a way that I have never been given the opportunity to do so. However, I did a lot of “doing” and not a lot of personal growth or reflection. 2019 is the year that I want to re-focus on personal growth.
- Continue biking. My 789 Km in 2018 is an improvement from the 598 Km in 2017. I’m enjoying the company, my bike and the routine. Goal: Ride 1000 Km in 2019
- Continue reading. The reading has spurred a lot of ideas and inspired me to want to do more. Goal: Read a total of 10 books in 2019
- Continue writing. I’ve written 5 blogs in the last 4 weeks which is actually a pretty decent pace for me. I’m starting to get the hang of this again. Goal: Publish a total of 20 blog posts or pages for firsttiger.com in 2019
- Stop reacting. I often stop planning when things get really busy. As a by-product, it impacts my ability to focus on the things that are really important for me. Goal: Create a plan in January and review and revise it on a weekly basis in 2019
- Start on my new project. I have a new idea that I’m working with a number of friends that I’m excited about. It’s a B2B idea that I’m hoping to pilot with a few friends. Goal: Create a tool that I can use to plan and track my project budgets in 2019
- Get practical hands-on experience with either Machine Learning or Big Data. Goal: Complete 1 Machine Learning or Big Data course and run an experiment in 2019