2022 lasted about 12 months. During those months, I learned a lot, formed many opinions, and hopefully make some things that are built to last.
Coming off the sheer relaxation instilled by the Christmas - New Years period, I dont remember much from January. I had my birthday. More notably I had my aesthetic "anonymous" birthday, characterized by going out to the bar alone, made friends with some patrons, and learning their life stories. I learned about how one patron's son played guitar in a band I liked (I forget the band).
Around each birthday I feel a deep despair about the idea of growing old, and turning 23 was not the exception. Some might consider it unhealthy, but I think this sort of consideration for your age and your place in the world is great at keeping oneself focused on the future.
I read Ubik by Philip K. Dick. This was my first sci-fi novel for many years and definitely the one I enjoyed the most since reading Ender's Game many years back. My completion of Ubik was simultaneous with my growing interest in the world of Cryptocurrencies - leading me to enjoy many fun parallels that could be drawn between the sort of society that Dick presents with the society Crypto enthusiasts wanted to push towards.
On March 1, 2022 I started using Obsidian for journaling and note taking. Out of the 290 days that have passed since then, I have logged 57 journal notes. That is a remembrance rate of ~20%. Not the best definitely, but that means that I journaled my thoughts more than once a week!
In 2023, I will journal on 80% of days.
At this time, I also started research on my Black-Scholes project. I wanted to experiment with options pricing for simulated assets. The artifact generated from this project is its GitHub repository: https://github.com/thornewolf/BrownianMotionAndOptions.
- Nothing really is gained from a project if it doesn't generate long lasting artifacts.
- Financial pricing models are simultaneously surprisingly simple and surprisingly complex at the same time. The motivations behind each part of the Black-Scholes equation was straightforward but associated with some pretty dirty math that was definitely initially above my paygrade.
- There are real prices you can attach to taking on risk. The insights from this project can be generalized to much more than just market assets, but any sort of endeavor that requires capital.
My favorite note to myself in March is probably the one about pouring my coffee.
This morning, my coffee was pouring more slowly than usual. I had mistakenly turned the filter around. Taking a moment to set down the press, adjust the filter, and resume pouring took longer than continuing to pour would have taken. I did it anyway.
As for music, I got really into Toro y Moi's album, "June 2009". The raw nostalgia oozing out of this 2012 release completely overwhelmed me at the time, and even still finds a way to keep up that allure half a year later. I look forward to this becoming an album I hold dear to my heart for years to come. Given that Toro is born, raised, and based in the bay area, I feel that my love for him as an artist is fitting.
Only two journal entries exist for April. One of them is commenting on how I have forgotten to journal for two weeks. It seems that I am still working on the Black-Scholes project at this point in time. The lack of information I have on april is the perfect example for why I should be more consistent about recording my day to day. Since I don't have any records for the next few months, I presume I completed my Black-Scholes project and has less of an incentive to open Obsidian (where I was also keeping my notes on Black-Scholes).
May - June
Nothing particularly interesting happened during these two months. I had a period of inactivity following the completion of my Black-Scholes project. I read a few books by Haruki Murakami, my favorite author. If my timing is right, I read "Hear the Wind Sing" and "Sputnik Sweetheart".
During this time period, I discovered the artist John Glacier, who I later realized collaborated with Vegyn, another favorite artist of mine. Her amazing underground, downtempo, UK hip hop vibes place her as one of my favorite artists of the year.
I created my first draft for util.fyi on July 7th. Here it is! My first time dipping my toes back in front in development for many years. Tons of things had changed in the frontend landscape that I was completely unaware of. I built this using Python Flask, which I was most comfortable with at the time.
Over the course of July, I put a lot of effort into fleshing out util.fyi as a project and even a product. Eventually, I settled on a sort of link shortener that offered premium features - very similar to how other sites like bit.ly and rebrand.ly operate.
Steve Lacy's release of Gemini Rights, featuring the hit single "Bad Habit" had to take the album for the month for me this July. A contender for my AOTY.
I went to Europe! Over the course of two weeks, I visited Switzerland, Germany, Spain, and France. I had a great time, ate a lot of delicious food, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Additionally, I discovered possibly my top band of the year, Voxtrot.
I practice building in public for util.fyi, by regularly posting development updates in a software-focused discord server I was in. It gave me a sense of accountability to address any bugs or feature requests that people made. While the project drove no revenue, it was great to get the change to experience that sort of back and forth with the closest thing I had to stakeholders on my own work.
My top album in September is the Dalai Lama's album of prayers set to music, "Inner World". The complete serenity kept me grounded throughout the day, allowing me to work and relax with a noticeable increase in my own inner peace.
I launched "links" for util.fyi. This is eventually what the website became dedicated to as a fully fledged product.
Later in October, I finalized my design for util.fyi that looks like the following:
Not to shabby if I do say so myself. Especially for the first product that I have built out for myself. Here is a screenshot of what the site would look like during normal use.
After having worked on the website nonstop for essentially a month and a half, I was feeling burnt out and decided to set the project down. Possibly to be returned to on a later date.
I finally did some exploration around the Electronic DnB genre that Yameii Online got me into, and I discovered another persona, Doom Doom, from Yameii's mastermind producer. Soon after I was introduced to the Breakcore and Jungle genres.
This is the month I started a YouTube channel. https://www.util.fyi/youtube. I had a lot of fun uploading my first few videos and definitely plan on doing uploading more in the future. There is just a lot of stuff to do in the world and it's hard to sit down and record a video, since you can't really do it incrementally. (Assuming no prep period, which can be completed incrementally).
I also was promoted during this month. The promotion landed after about 1.5yrs of employment at Google. The timing was unfortunate for my since I think I had been ready to be promoted for about a cycle, but the timeline is still great! I definitely worked hard for it.
My top album this month would be "DiSASTER PRELUDE" by Bladee. I've been a big Bladee fan for a while, and he really delivered with this release.
I picked up actually cooking for myself in December. After having kicked my nasty habit of ordering food all the time, I was eating frozen food every day I was at home. Mainly making egg/chicken meals for myself.
My top album of the month is probably Little Simz's new album "NO THANK YOU". Her lyricism is definitely put in the spotlight here, not to say it wasn't also before.
I won second place at a work hackathon with my website snaptaptap.app. The intention is to allow merchants to rapidly create product listings my using LLMs to pre-fill product attributes like description and price. I am proud of what I put together over the span of a couple days.
Next steps for this project include letting the user export their created products quickly to their favorite store builder, like Shopify. I know that my own mother could make great use of this product since her product listings tend to be highly unique and can not often be listed as the same product.
Reflection and Looking Forward
I had three key projects over 2022. Black-Scholes, util.fyi, and snaptaptap.app. Black-Scholes showed me how I can but massive amounts of effort into something but if I don't document it, it will disappear into the wind. snaptaptap.app demonstrated the opposite, how I can create something rapidly and immediately have more of an impact because I actually had a place and a time to share the project's artifacts with the world. A lesson learned is to target somewhere between util.fyi and snaptaptap.app in terms of effort involved vs. time spent on presentation.
2022 was a great year - if I dare say, the best year of my life. Now I need to consider how I will spend my time in the year ahead.
- I want to journal for at least 80% of the days in the 2023. (292 days)
- I want to write a new blog post/article at least once every two weeks. (26 posts)
- I want to read one book at least every other month (6 books)
- I want >$0 MRR on something I have built myself. Alternatively, I want >$100 in total revenue.
These goals are not as aggressive as one might see in a lost of "inspirational" content. This is because I want them to be realistic in conjunction with each other. It would be difficult to write a high-effort blog post every week if I am spending half my free time reading or building. I plan that these metrics will target a happy medium that makes me enjoy 2023 even more than 2022!