2019 Year Review

I like reading people’s year reviews so I decided to write mine as well, albeit a couple days late.

People tend to include the goals they set in the previous year, compare them to reality and set the goals for the next year.

Looking back, I set some 2019 goals for myself on Twitter:


The truth is that I achieved none of this.

  1. Decided to not pursue it any longer since it relied too heavily on ever-changing external services.
  2. The plan was to launch computer themed fashion apparel shop. I actually did a very small version of this.
  3. Didn’t even try since my artwork portfolio hasn’t grew as big as I wanted to.
  4. I threw together some numbers and discovered it’s impossible to earn a good living with a weightlifting gym in a small town.
  5. I chickened out. I really like how right now all my limbs function 100% and want to keep it that way. I concluded this sport is too dangerous.


Last year’s realization

Goals make us blind

Given how I fail at reaching my self-imposed goals that I set just for the sake of having some goals (society wants this from me), I discovered that goals to me are meaningless, and I will refrain from having them in the future.

Goal planning and strictly sticking to it is an act of making ourselves blind to the infinite options which are not part of the original plan.

I want to try, make and build things. I want to make things better as they were yesterday. This is a continuous, non-linear progress. Goals are just stops in between, and they make you miserable when you miss them.

This year I learned a lot about optionality. To take advantage of it, we need to recognize the option when it reveals itself. If our eyes are too centered on the goals we have for ourselves, we may miss what is right in front of us.


Reflecting on last year’s projects


I launched quite a couple of new side-projects this year so I will only mention the most interesting and lucrative ones. You can find the full list here.

jurgenstudio

Since my Berghain replica unexpectely started selling well after a couple of marketing stunts (I posted it online “just for the lols”), I’ve seen there’s money to be made in this space.

That made me decide to put some focus on growing my one-man-band creative studio that produces niche products from concrete.

I created a couple new products and will continue to do so this year. And perhaps expand the business with a friend who does 3D design.

Windows 95 Jewellery

I adore computer aesthetics from the 90s. Dial up modems, the birth of mainstream internet — a computer renaissance. This led me to contact a Chinese factory and ask them to produce Windows 95 themed pins, keychains and earrings. In fact, 150 of each, which cost me around $400.

After a couple of marketing stunts these things actually started selling (around $12 per piece), and I just ran out of the stock. Not sure I want to replenish my stock since I may be a little bit scared of copyright infringement lawsuits.

This was such a fun ride. I may research the business of niche jewellery some more later this year.

MyHandmadeStory.com

After sales started coming in for my little concrete business, I joined several communities and groups for people who make and sell handmade products online.

What I discovered is there’s a constant influx of people who want to start working in this line of business, but have no good idea how to deal with and grow such a business. I decided to start a website that would educate (and motivate) such people on how to market and grow the business of handmade products via success stories of makers who are already good at this.

Currently I have 4 stories posted which I had to work really hard to get. It certainly wasn’t easy to convince handmade business owners to take a couple of hours to make the interview and publicly share their revenue numbers — for a website that was basically empty at that time!

I learned a lot about cold outreach emailing and will continue to improve my game. This is a long term project, hopefully I get to publish many more interviews this year.

Synonyms Deluxe

I built a free browser extension that enables people to look up synonyms for English words. At this point, more than 30 users are using it on a daily level.

I get a lot of requests from my friends to enrich their texts because I can express myself well. The secret is out - I have no idea what I’m doing, I just use this extension. 😊

Gitfuck

I like software development, and I like complaining about it. I like the tragicomedy of it. So I built an automated program which scans for swearing on GitHub, adds a meme-esque picture in the background and posts it on Instagram. It’s hilarous!

Art

My main artworks that I do are still concrete sculptures, but recently I started exploring a new direction: concrete “paintings”.

I’m really drawn to creating them and I’m receiving wonderful feedback. Will continue exploring this direction.

I want to have an exhibition this year.

Life

In July, it was my 30th birthday.

I don’t know what to think of it.

I think I’ve actually just started living.

Friends put up an ornamented dead tree for me on that day.

Unexpected dietary adjustment

Last couple of years I suffered from a weird condition where I was experiencing random brain fog and fatigue throughout the day.

I thought my body was severely broken.

Unrelated, I’ve seen some friends doing keto, so I decided to give it try (to lose some weight). I discovered my hormonal (?) mood swings stopped completely.

I accidentally cured myself.

Books

I always kinda struggled to focus and read books, so I only read a couple per year. This year I discovered audio books and was very delighted by this medium.

They fit my lifestyle much better. I really went at it and listened to more than 20 books.

My favorite was Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. It made a big impact on me, which is heavily reflected in what I wrote about goals.

Physical activity

I continued lifting weights 3 times per week as per usual.

I’ve never felt so physically strong and fit before in my life.

I also started skateboarding again, which is a big pleasure for me.

Relationships

What I particularly liked this year is how much deeper my relationships with my friends and family have gotten. It didn’t happen on its own - I continuously try to exhibit effort through random acts of kindness and appreciation, which made a big difference.

Still single, though. 😒

My job

Perhaps the largest update in this year’s review is that I decided to part ways with Nightwatch.

After spending so many years pouring so much effort into building it, this was the toughest decision I had to do in my life.

But things happen. People grow apart. Only intrinsic motivation lasts.

I decided to start afresh and find something else to work on.

Updated:

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