I roared into this year with a plan.
After a 2018 of mixed results, I intended 2019 to be different. In many ways it was. My company had a big Q1. I got personal time back. By the end of summer, though, a key hire that was a major part of my work strategy had their own major life change. My plans had to change. Work taxed me more than expected, and that had ripple effects in personal ways too.
Knowing what I was working toward, I was exhilarated for most of 2019. Yet I still ended the year tired and distracted by reestablishing plans I thought I already had set. This year I was reminded that leadership may start with setting a plan but it’s tested by reacting to inevitable changes to that plan. I did that. I’m at least a year wiser.
Below find both a recap of important milestones in my year, and, farther down, find a review of how I did on my 2019 Resolutions.
Find my full archives here.
- We celebrated 10 years of publishing Technical.ly, and prepared for the 10th annual Philly Tech Week, which will take place next May.
- I instituted a major reorganization of my company that returned us to near 30-percent top-line revenue growth in 2019, including our largest Q1 ever and several other big goals.
- Also as part of that reorganization, I worked with my company cofounder Brian Kirk to transition him out as an employee, after 10 years, in as stable, planned and thoughtful way as I could have expected.
- I attended SXSW for business development goals. I spoke at the #WeDC and Amplify Philly houses.
- I went to the American Whiskey Convention, and wrote a thing.
- With my wife SACMW, I traveled to Peru, including climbing Machu Picchu and eating our way through Lima.
- I gave an hour-long keynote on startup clusters and economic development for a university’s innovation speaker series.
- I refurbished my grandfather’s desk and repurposed a reclaimed pew.
- I oversaw the ninth annual Philly Tech Week, which included several pilots ahead of the 10th annual. It is part of a major initiative to celebrate that 10th annual. The core team celebrated hitting our big goals.
- I moderated the feature panel at Campus Philly’s Annual Meeting.
- I tried to find a way to honor the 10th anniversary of my mother’s passing.
- I gave the commencement address at a small 12-person graduation for a IT vocational program in Delaware, and it gave me all the feels.
- I continued writing several times a month on this blog and (mostly) sending my newsletter. (Subscribe here!)
- I continued my apprenticeship in whiskey.
- I traveled Italy’s Amalfi Coast, while visiting my best friend Patrick at his grandfather’s childhood home in a tiny village in Campania.
- My wife and I installed a commissioned piece of signage art inspired by historic photos I uncovered of our home, which was formerly a beer distributor.
- I wrote an essay introducing my concept of “journalism thinking” that got a few thousand views and lots of social chatter in the first couple days. It resulted in several provocative conversations and felt like a strong foundation to which much of the last 10 years of my work contributed.
- I began a second year as Board Chairman of the nonprofit that supports the public high school Workshop School.
- I continued my place on the board of LEADERSHIP Philadelphia.
- I attended the Social Innovation Summit in Los Angeles.
- I installed my first garbage disposal.
- I pitched and led a session at the national Online News Association conference entitled: “Real-Life Local News Revenue Experiments (that aren’t Advertising).”
- I led two major reports for foundations, leveraging Technical.ly newsroom resources, one for the Kauffman Foundation and one for the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
- I attended the world championships of Overwatch, the esports giant, with my best friend Patrick.
- I interviewed CNN’s Michael Smerconish during our 11th annual Klein News Innovation Camp, an unconference on the future of news.
- I spoke alongside Kickstarter cofounder and former CEO Yancey Strickler as part of our pilot of ADVANCE, a conference by Generocity.org.
- I was given the ‘Community Leadership Award’ by the young friends group of the Urban Affairs Coalition.
- I did a dance with my goddaughter at Thanksgiving.
- I gave a five-minute, high-level ‘lightning talk’ version of my ‘journalism thinking’ concept at Ignite Philly.
- I fixed my washing machine.
- I completed a two-year term on the board of directors for Philly Startup Leaders.
- My wife and I hosted my family for Christmas, the first time we ever hosted a major family holiday. Though just 10 of us (due to some sickness and travel constraints), I wanted to do it well. It was a really lovely day.
Next, here’s a review of my 2019 Resolutions.
- JANUARY: Join a Writers’ Workshop — I went through a Blue Stoop revision class and, upon its completion, transitioned with a few classmates into our own workshop. More to come. [COMPLETED]
- FEBRUARY: Start with Leftovers — This Resolution needs to be a lifetime pursuit of mine. I went through spurts of reserving restaurant meals and cooked dinner for lunches, encouraging smaller portions myself, but I still tend to want to “finish my plate.” [PROGRESS]
- MARCH: Read a Book Monthly — This is settling into a solid habit of mine, one that I lose sight of during particularly overwhelming periods of work. But I managed to get this done, with the help of being ahead of the goal for the first half of the year. [COMPLETED]
- APRIL: Build small habits — I stretched and flossed more, and kept up my gym habit, but I fell off my language learning with Duolingo by the early fall. [PROGRESS]
- MAY: Master Gardening — I kept healthy plant life on my second-floor terrace and inside my bedroom for the entire year, even extending the collection. [COMPLETED]
- JUNE: Give myself a raise — I’ve focused a lot on business growth, at the expense of my own development. I did give myself a modest raise, though not quite where I want to be. [COMPLETED]
- JULY: No sunburn in 2019! — This still isn’t a true habit of mine, but I did arguably complete this. [COMPLETED]
- AUGUST: Tidy up my digital footprint — With the help of a friend weekend, I took down an old WordPress I wanted to remove but, turns out, I was overly ambitious. I still have a Tumblr and a storytelling site I want to find a completed end for. [PROGRESS]
- SEPTEMBER: Find a Movement — I further decreased the nonprofit boards I’m on, focusing primarily on a West Philly high school, continued my nonprofit donation strategy and developed with my wife the first draft of a plan for campaign donations. More tellingly, I think I found that the local journalism work I’ve always been involved in may just be the movement that I am presently most embroiled in. Though not exactly what I intended when I made this a resolution, that was itself an important discovery for me. It resulted in this essay. [COMPLETED]
- OCTOBER: Speak more — I didn’t do as much sales-forward speaking as I intended, though I did do more on journalism (related to my “movement”). Find all here. [PROGRESS]
- NOVEMBER: Pursue Patent — Inspired by my sister, a U.S. Patent holder, and, at this time last year, involved in tech-forward discussions at work, I thought this was a realistic place to explore. I even sought out a Patent veteran. Instead, I didn’t touch it at all. [FAILED]
- DECEMBER: Basement Order — I made considerable progress here, resulting in a playful ‘ribbon-cutting ceremony’ for family on Christmas. Though I have lots of trim and finishing touches to do, I consider this one a major success, compared to where I was. [COMPLETED]