Over the last week, with the start of the new year, I’ve been reflecting a lot on my goals for 2014; should I have any, and if so should I proclaim them loudly to the world or keep them to myself?
After mulling things for a while (as the astute reader will no doubt note, I’m penning this little missive on the 12th of the month) I’ve decided to try the public route. So without further prefacing let’s dive into the strategic goals for 2014. Not all are things I’ll “complete” this year, many are the start of what I hope will become a lifelong journey. But as someone told me this week - no matter where you want to go, you have to start from where you are. So let’s go.
1. Come to grips with my hearing loss.
As those of you who know me better know, over the last few years I’ve had pretty dramatic hearing loss. Over that time it has progressed from annoyance, to at times debilitating. It’s a big drag for my personal relationships, not least with my wife and kids, and frankly it is now a fairly serious professional impediment. Some people I hear perfectly, others I can’t catch what they are saying at all, which can make a meeting basically useless. I’m redoubling my efforts with specialists and will probably have to start wearing hearing aids. The status quo is no longer acceptable. Wearing aids is inconvenient, but I’m confident wearing Google glass will look orders of magnitude dorkier. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice. Nevertheless, if the current trend continues I’ll be deaf in a few years, so I guess the sooner I start dealing with that, the better.
I’m embarrassed to write that over the last few years I haven’t been as diligent on physical fitness as I have been most of my life, and frankly I’m feeling it. I feel much slower and sluggish. With two small kids and lots of work it’s not easy to find spare time for exercise, but obviously that’s due to me not making it a priority. Now it is. I’m mainly working out at Ironmonger Row these days. Say hello if you’re there. Some of the guys at Lokku have signed up for marathons or shorter races as a way to motivate themselves. I probably won’t do that just because I hate running on concrete, and living in the Barbican means I can only run on concrete. But never say never.
3. Spend more time outside with my kids.
My son is now 3 and actually capable of doing things outside (walks, etc). Big goal is to not squander the weekends and spend lots more time outside, whatever the weather.
4. Mein geschriebenes deutsch DEUTLICH verbessern.
Obwohl ich, meines Erachtens, gut deutsch spreche/verstehe/lese, bin ich nie in Deutschland zur Schule gegangen, und somit blieb es mir “erspart” richtig schreiben zu lernen. Das ist mir peinlich und ich werde 2014 mich deutlich bemühen, besser zu werden. Es ist in London wirklich nicht leicht - hier findet man viele deutsche, die aber alle perfekt englisch sprechen. Selten besteht die Gruppe nur aus Deutschsprecher, was natürlich dazu führt, dass immer wieder englisch benutzt wird. Ab sofort findest du mich als Nutzer "freyfogle" bei Duolingo, ich werde da bei Stufe Null anfangen und einfach weitermachen bis man - mit Erwähnung auf meiner Zeit in Weimar (1997-98) - gezwungen ist mich mit Goethe zu vergleichen.
5. Spend much less dead/bad time online.
Over the last few months I’ve caught myself falling into the trap of aimlessly surfing online. it’s good to have some down time, but I can use my time (almost certainly my most valuable resource) much, much better. I’m on it. Let me know if you have any recommendations for tools to help, right now I’m using LeechBlock.
6. Diversify Lokku.
This year we started on our new strategy for Lokku (the company I founded 8 years ago), with the main goal of moving to being more than just our flagship brand Nestoria - while also continuing to grow Nestoria. We’re off to a tentative good start, but 2014 is the year where we need to start seeing results. Won’t be easy, but we’re bringing in new talent to help, and I feel encouraged and energized, not least thanks to the great team trip to Bilbao to kick off the year, last week.
7. Keep angel investing.
Over the last few years I’ve stumbled into a few angel investments, mainly investing in former colleagues, and am delighted to say they are doing well. I look forward to doing more, and blogging about it here it is an endlessly fascinating topic.
8. More blogging/tweeting.
Even though I didn’t post much, several times over the last year I’ve had interesting experiences or conversations as a result of people telling me they read something on my blog. Especially given point 1, written communication will probably be more important for me. If you don’t yet, you should also follow me on twitter as I’ll be tweeting more. One trend I’ve enjoyed from others is the publishing of week notes. I will try to have my week notes up by midnight every Friday.
9. Spend more time in Berlin.
All the cool kids are raving about Berlin, and it’s a city I’ve wanted to live in since I visited in 1997. The tech scene is taking off and I want to be a part of it. That won’t happen over night, but as a first step I’ll be in B on the 23rd of Jan. The day is already pretty full, but ping me falls du in Berlin bist und wir uns treffen sollten.
I’m hopeful to spend meaningful time in Berlin with my family this summer, a combination of work, holiday, etc. Anyone who has ideas on how to help me make this happen I will be very thankful.
Goals I’ve made good progress on that I need to keep pushing on:
10. Help my children become bilingual
I’m really pleased with my decision to speak only German with my son as we’re now able to have actual conversations auf deutsch. That being said, his English, by virtue of being in nursery all the time, is better than his German. So this is one I need to stay on top of. Step one if find a German-speaking child minder to help us from mid-February when we come back from an upcoming trip to Germany. If you know of one, please get in touch.
11. Keep learning generally.
The last year has been good for learning, several little experiments I set myself turned out great (Bitcoin, I love you!) though frankly many of the lessons have come at the harsh hand of experience. But that’s the nature of the learning beast. This post and the ideas in it are hopefully a small first step to a 2014 of much more learning.
So, I just read back over the list and I’m pleased with it. Let me know what you think and how you think I’m doing. I’m looking forward to a great 2014.
Final point - this Tuesday is the first #geomob of 2014, the geo event we organize at Lokku. You should come. I’m also looking forward to this event on Thursday by the founders of writeLaTeX that will focus on innovation in scientific publishing.
Happy New Year.