In 2018, I found I wanted to go backward to go forward more than I expected.
At work and in my writing and my service, I differently assessed where I was last year to plan for this year. Where 2017 featured many public facing advances (I became CEO! a creative piece of mine was published somewhere! I), my 2018 featured far more internal or private advances.
I am proud of what I’ve done. There’s more to do.
Below find both a recap of important milestones in my year, and, farther down, find a review of how I did on my 2018 Resolutions.
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2018 was a harder year for me than 2017. No surprise then that I think I learned more important lessons this year than last. I started the year in Morocco 🇲🇦 with my wife. I also spent time in Mexico City 🇲🇽 (my first pyramids!) with a close friend I get to see more now, plus road tripping in Kentucky with a childhood buddy and relaxing in Key West ☀️. I grew a beard. I became a far savvier whiskey 🥃 drinker, writer and thinker. I revived my secret handyman aspirations: running electric, installing faucets, fixing furnaces, framing basements and restoring old woodwork. I trusted my gut, and I led a reorganization of my company, aiming to give my team greater independence to thrive. I worked so damn hard. But I had so much fun too. I gardened and cooked and danced and sang karaoke 🎤 (one of my many quirky annual traditions, this one with my best friend) and celebrated a Super Bowl 🏟 and, with my sister, I threw a big surprise party for my father. I read more than I had in years. I launched a podcast to interview writing greats and traveled back to SXSW and SF for work. I thought about journalism and storytelling and personal finance and love. If you worked with me, or laughed with me, or believed in me or trusted in me or, hell, if you were even just patient with me, thank you. 2018 wasn’t my best year. But clearly if I get years better than this, I am the luckiest bird around. Whether 2018 was great or not for you, I hope you’re hopeful and grateful and inspired. I am, and I’m thankful for that.
Find my full archives here.
- For my company, I led a six-month visioning exercise that informed a reorganization. It was the most exhaustive professional initiative I’ve ever taken on. I am deeply proud, and I’ll be sharing more about it. Among other changes, it led to my being joined by a new Chief Product Officer, my friend Kristin Dudley.
- I co-developed a version of a job-interviewing card game with Kristin, who invented the game design.
- I produced and launched a podcast called The Writing Process, interviewing masters including Rapper T.I.
- I traveled to Morocco to bring in the New Year and Mexico City in August (including my first pyramid visit!). I also went to Key West with my wife.
- I helped curate and moderated a panel with Salesforce at their San Francisco HQ. (I returned to SF for the Social Innovation Summit in June). I also went to Tampa, Florida for the first time.
- I wrote a profile of Lithuania’s startup economy after traveling there in 2017.
- I did a road trip in Kentucky, including Louisville.
- I got way deeper into whiskey and cocktails, aided by those Bourbon trail and Mexico trips.
- We celebrated nine years of publishing Technical.ly.
- I developed and led a grant-funded reporting project in Pittsburgh.
- I grew a beard.
- I hosted a surprise 65th birthday party for my father.
- I went an entire year regularly going to the gym, and hitting some goals.
- I hosted a concert by my friend John Elliott.
- I hosted an unconference on the future of news for the 10th time.
- I completed a program on empathetic leadership.
- I moderated a panel at SXSW, among other speaking.
- I finished a pledge to read a dozen books by women and writers of color.
- I wrote My 12 Rules to Live By.
- I became the chairman of the nonprofit that supports The Workshop School, a public high school in West Philadelphia. (I raised more than a $1,000 for the school this year.)
- I did a bunch of house renovations, including finishing my basement, remodeling my bedroom and discovering hardwood floors. I learned a whole lot, including electricity and plumbing. I also finished a pew.
- I did a lot of reading, including a bit on economics and a ton in linguistics.
- Friends and I hosted our third annual Personal Finance Day.
- I was interviewed on a new podcast from my friend Jason Brewer, and then I wrote this.
- I was interviewed on a few other podcasts, like here and here and here and here.
- JANUARY: Start submitting: I submitted fiction to a few publications but I came to an important conclusion. I want to focus on a single longer-term project I have. So I’ve resolved to set aside shorter fiction for now. [FAILED]
- FEBRUARY: Be healthier: I (mostly) succeeded in my temptation bundle of only having a drink when I’ve been to the gym. I’ve done a pretty good job of going to the gym regularly. I also, uhm, sorta, made progress on portions. [PROGRESS]
- MARCH: Return to French: I did an admirable job staying with my French learning to the summer but this fell off in the second half of the year. I’d like to return. [PROGRESS]
- APRIL: Be a great board member: I’ve stepped off one of the four boards I was on this year, though I then stepped into the chairman of another. [COMPLETED]
- MAY: Finally sync married finances: We did meet with a financial planner, and we had several important conversations but there’s a lot more work to be done here. [PROGRESS]
- JUNE: Advance publish project: This resolution ran into my first one, and I recognized I had to pick one of them. This didn’t move forward. [FAILED]
- JULY: Be a better CEO: I am proud of how much I delivered on this, considering how much time and energy this took. I led a company reorganization that feel distinctly my responsibility. [COMPLETED]
- AUGUST: Drink whiskey better: I got smarter about what I drank, why and my understanding about it all. I took a long-awaited trip the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and I learned quite a bit about Pennsylvania’s own tradition. [COMPLETED]
- SEPTEMBER: Find my own platform: I wanted to explore a new creative project that was entirely my own to feel out my own creative platform, and I did so with a writing process podcast. [COMPLETED]
- OCTOBER: Be a better mentor: I took several opportunities to embrace more thoughtful approaches about mentorship: asking questions and serving as a sounding board for younger and/or differently experienced people than I to whom we felt I could be supportive. [PROGRESS]
- NOVEMBER: Complete the novel manuscript: I didn’t finish this, but I made progress and moved forward a plan. [PROGRESS]
- DECEMBER: Finish the basement: I didn’t finish. I did advance this with plenty of father-son time. [PROGRESS]