Dec 27, 2013

This year, let your resolutions look back

A Story Year-ending

With a new year around the corner, people make resolutions. At year-end, people also look back and reflect. It occurred to me that one can't be prepared for the new until at peace with the past. If you are chained to the past with heavy chain, you can't run forward.

In fiction writing, resolutions aren't about making a todo list for the future. Instead, resolutions wrap up the tensions and struggles the characters experienced throughout the narrative. Whatever disappointments or complications one suffered from, there's comfort and light at the end. That's what a resolution is - to make peace with the past.

With that in mind, I don't want to make plans for the future yet. I want to remember the past year in summary and reflect whether it means a beginning or an ending.


1. About this time last year picked up an online Python programming tutorial - since then I explored other materials (Udacity is awesome) and learned to program. 
  • What I learned - I learned to program, which helped me appreciate technology in a different way, which helped me understand our Zeitgeist a bit differently. 
  • I also learned that the really valuable skills relating to code may not even be coding. It might be problem-solving, learning to abstract, learning to manage complexity, and learning to create re-usable modules. 
  • It taught me patience: you really can't get good overnight. All good things takes time.
2. During the last year and a half, I built a bunch of products with a friend with hopes of launching a business.
3. Read a whole bunch of stuff that I never read in business school or in my past life - Martin Seligman and Gretchen Rubin on Happiness, Thiel's essays (mind-blowing!), Paul Graham's articles, Andreesen's blogs, Noah Kagan's newsletters, Amy Hoy's Unicorn Free, Chris Gullibeau, Ferris's 4-hour book, etc.
  • What I learned - there are lots of smart people, and the possibilities for making a living in the world are really endless. In the short-run, options may be limited (because of expenses), but if you can begin to think what your passions are longer-term, rich and rewarding life-career is within your grasp. It helps to be working with smart, successful people. But, usually, you have to become smart and successful yourself to attract those people. Catch-22.
4. Wrote some cool blog posts about my experiences across business and coding in SF.
  • What I learned - I learned to communicate with readers. I'd spent a ton of my life sending email back and forth in a corporate cube. None of that stays with you. No one cares. But for the first time, I learned how to build an audience and a following; to communicate.
5. Became an author! Wrote my first e-book about Coding Bootcamps based on my insider-view experience of having worked for one and knowing bunch of people in the space.
  • What I learned - You can productize just about anything. It doesn't have to be software.
  • What I learned - You don't have to be an expert or have talent in the field (though it helps). The only talent you need is talent for action and energy. If you start, it is possible to bring others to contribute to the effort. It is the first requirement of team building.
7. Built meetup communities - Ruby Rookies and SF Product Management FastTrack (the latter with a friend, Ritu).
  • What I learned - learned what it is like to start something from nothing, how to create resources, identifying and tapping into unmet need of anonymous others, and how that leads to a community of like-minded folks.
8. Family. My younger brother got married to a wonderful wife, and my parents' cat is adorable. 
  • What I learned - We go through ups and downs. Friends sort of come and go ... and it's hard to know who is a friend until you fail. Those that are real stay with you. Family on the other hand is family. They love you and support you no matter what. They are more important than all the rest, so remember that.
What I learned - Cats are cute!


This seems good enough place to stop. Everyone is busy, and I'm too old to keep making lists. Would love to hear from you - what your resolutions are; what you did and what you learned.

Happy New Year!

New Project

One of the things I decided to do for 2014 is to put up a new website with my own URL (since I had always used someone else's url - like this blog). I'm going to do something constructive with it by getting non-technical MBAs more familiar with some of the tech stuff I'm playing with - sort of web101 for non-technical MBAs. It will go up on Would love your readership and support!

(If you enjoy these thoughts and would like to support my writing efforts promoting personal learning and understanding of technology, please consider supporting me through gittip.)

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