My 2022 retrospective
Issue 124: A look back at the year and onward to 2023
Surprise, I’m in your inbox one day early instead of the standard Sunday send. Since this is a 2022 reflection I wanted to squeeze this in on the last day of the year (according to the Gregorian calendar). In this issue, I’ll share my reflections on 2022—some of the great moments, themes, and what I look forward to in 2023.
In order to have a good retrospective, you need good data and insight to look back on. There is absolutely no way I would recall the events of 2022 without journaling. This is the second year where I wrote daily notes consistently. The most insightful aspects of this was re-reading how I felt at the time certain events happened—something very difficult to retrospectively recall. In addition to revisiting daily notes I referred to these other sources to construct the story:
Photo sharing apps: photos are a great way to recall moments and are often loaded with metadata. When I looked through my photos for the year, certain shots sparked memories of events that occured.
Screenshots: it's amazing how much screenshots capture is also a capture of your life
Email archives and important labels tagged
My Hype doc that captures key professional moments.
If you want to get started on daily journaling, all you need to do is pick a tool and start writing. Regardless of what you pick, create a “2023” file and start capturing intention and revisit it weekly, if not daily. I can assure you it’ll give you a great data set to look at when looking at it at the end of 2023—start now.
2022 was the end of a phase
This year felt like the close of a chapter of my life, or the end of a phase in The Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’m approaching the end of my 30s, entering Year 4 at Webflow, and Year 18 in my professional career.
Without doubt, the hardest challenge this year was losing my 19 year-old cat Wilson. He was truly the Tony Stark of this phase—a fan favorite that held everything together. When I lost Wilson, it marked the loss of so many other things in my life. He was a friend I raised as a kitten when I was a kid in college and the companion who was always around as I painted in the art studio. As I reflected on this, 2022 was the first year in my professional career where my beloved cat was not around, and it’s a reality I need to face in the next phase.
These reflections prompted me to ask the question, “How will impact and purpose show up in the next 10 years of my professional career?” It’s a big question—something I’m continuing to write and not ready to share. However, what I share below are key focuses that inform that.
Guiding principles for 2023
1. Health is wealth
In order to achieve any ambitious feat, one must be healthy and have a sustainable career. There is no pride in being a small spark that burns out quickly. I’m getting older and recovery takes longer—having soreness in muscles I didn’t realize I had. I think many of us are also working through the physical and mental aspects of our health impacted by the pandemic. Going to physical therapy and being more intentional about stretching, ergonomics, and dieting is crucial this year for me. One of my other goals is to diversify my fitness habits by cycling and getting back into strength training at the gym.
2. Be ambitious, go for broke
Once healthy, I’m going to take big swings in this next phase. While being in the midst of day-to-day work it is important to remind one’s self of the desired outcome. My focus next year is to be ambitious and start with the outcome before thinking about logistics or what can go wrong—focus on what happens if things go right. Be clear on what you want success to be and make sure you’re progressing towards that.
3. Embrace the boot strapper's mindset
To quote the legendary WWF announcer Jim Ross, this recession looks to be a slobber knocker. This is the second recession I’ve been through in my professional career, and they all suck—full stop. People will talk about the market conditions and many aspects justified, but the human side of it is not fun and can be scary. I’m going to hunker down and operate more lean in my personal and professional life. It’ll be important to reduce waste, save, and weather this storm a bit. We’ll get through it—I know it, but I’m preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.
4. Make for the sake of making
When was the last time you made something just for the sake of making it? If your answer is, “all the time!” that’s incredible! It’s something I’m focusing on for 2023. This may mean making a daily doodle to get the creative juices going or returning to making art for art’s sake. All too often I feel there is so much pressure to grow side projects and it’s okay to keep something as a hobby. It is in our nature as humans to create and build.
5. Protect your time, help with resources
If there is one thing I need to really protect, it’s my time. I only mentor one person at a time, and though I wish I could open up my calendar to make an impact, it’s going to burn me out and affect what I need to focus on. Instead, I’m going to create resources to help the community. It might be making this newsletter more robust, zines, and help develop other people to mentor at scale. Protect your time, and remember that burnout cane come from doing things you love.
Do more, do less
The new year is the opportunity to turn the dial in your desired direction. Instead of thinking of it as a fresh start, a trip around the sun is my iteration cycle, and the end of December is retro—yeah, that's a long sprint. Here’s my reflection on what I want to double down on and what to do less of.
Dial it up
More meditation and spiritual nourishment
Blogging and publishing on my website (web1 and web3 shaking hands here)
Play more video games. I spent more time downloading games on the Xbox than actually playing it
Making more art—drawing, and photography
Take more road trips and explore the vastness of California and other neighboring states
Turn it down
Less social media and scrolling
Junk food (time to shine, air fryer)
Buying gadgets—I don’t need a new iPad or Kindle. My mantra will be using my current devices to the ground before replacing them
This year saw a lot of firming up our team infrastructure and some amazing designers joined an already great team. In addition, Webflow Conf was back in person at The Midway in San Francisco. It was such a joy to connect with customers in person again.
We have some exciting things cooking in 2023 and really looking forward to seeing what the team does this year—stay tuned!
100 issues and a zine for Proof of Concept
Hitting 100 issues of this newsletter was a proud moment for me. What started as personal accountability to bring consistency into my life has become a joyous micro-community of awesome people. In addition to 100 issues and creating my first digital zine, I've sending a newsletter weekly consistently since September 13, 2020. I’m going for that Cal Ripken iron man streak!
GV Design Exec offsite
I had the honor of being a part of this wonderful retreat with some amazing design execs. The few days in wine country with some of the best design execs in the field was exactly what I needed to connect with the community of leaders. I also had the chance to catch up with my mentor there—the first time in-person in three years!
By the numbers
Most popular newsletter posts this year
Went from 1,475 to 4,291 subscribers this year (190.915% increase!)
75 purchases of the 000 Series zine
1 design interview (Thanks Brooke Clifton for being the first interview!)
Thank you to these Substack publications for recommending this newsletter!
Other fun facts
Conference talks: 2
Podcast interviews: 2
Mentions on This Week in Startups: 1
Angel investments: 7
Favorites from this year
Film: The Batman
Book: Build by Tony Fadell
Favorite Documentary: Light and Magic
Personal investment: Physical therapy—saved my body this year
Best purchase: air fryer (How did I live without this before?)
Pen: LAMY fountain pen
TV Series: Andor (a close runner-up is Winning Time)
Software of the year: Arc by The Browser Company
Museum visit: Palm Springs Air Museum
Things that were a bit of a letdown
Movie: Thor: Love and Thunder
TV Series: Obi-Wan Kenobi
Self-disappointment: I have not seen Everything Everywhere All at Once yet!
Most disappointing tech update: iPad Pro M2 (still going strong with my 2020 iPad!)
Ugh, those Raiders: The Raiders broke the record for most blown leads at halftime with four
Viral tweet of 2022
It's always the random tweets that go viral. LOL.
"Not on my bingo card"
Some things I absolutely was not expecting this year:
Elon Musk buying Twitter
People impersonating me on Twitter and Instagram for Crypto scams
Being included in a research book because of a meme I made
One Medical getting acquired by Amazon
Fun 2023 predictions
It's time to play Nostradamus, Nate Silver, and Mel Kiper Jr. Let’s place a few bets on what might happen in 2023.
Spatial interfaces and canvases will be more common internet UI patterns (very excited about this)
Apple will launch its XR headset and deliver the knockout blow to MetaSome new fad will emerge aside from Crypto and AI, and everyone will pivot toward that
John Wick: Chapter 4 is going to be awesome
The Lakers and Raiders will suck (sigh)
The rise of solo creators and entrepreneurs
Thank you for reading this year!
This tiny space on the internet brings me so much joy to write and converse with all of you. Thank you so much for reading. I wish you a happy new year and hope 2023 is a great one for you. See you on the other side!
Yes, today is my birthday
People ask how it is to have a birthday on New Year’s Eve. Honestly, it’s not that exciting, and that’s okay by me! On the last day of the year when everyone has high expectations of what transpires in the night, I like to keep it low-key.
I’m not huge on gifts but if you want to do something you can buy The 000 Series zine or share this newsletter with people who might enjoy it. This newsletter is 100% organic with no advertising and I rarely cross-post it on social. It grows because of your incredible support. Thank you.
Tweet of the week
First time ever mentioned on TWiSt
Obsidian was last year and not going to be biased and say Webflow