Time for a Change

I Haven’t Been Able To Write

It has been almost two months since my last goal update. My life has been very tumultuous as I have struggled with an awkward transition. I spent the last few years working on a domain-expertise partnership in order to facilitate the development of my long-term project, which we will call “Matador.”

In the last year, it gradually became clear that this was not going to work. My partners and I have very different long-term goals; they have decided to transition away from the domain whose expertise formed the basis of our partnership. I talked with them and we decided to part ways, very amicably. The time was well spent, as I leave with a deep and thorough understanding of the domain and the legal and procedural context of the future product.

The End of One Chapter Is The Beginning of Another

When I realized that the partnership would not work, it became clear that I needed to redefine my direction and radically transform my life in order to accomplish what I have set out to. My long-term goals have not changed, but the way I get there will have to be very different from what I had planned.

After talking at length with Upendra Kulkarni, I feel very strongly that what he calls “The burden of proof” for non-credentialed engineers is too high for me to reach my goals if I remain uncredentialed. I need to finish my degree.

Moving Forward

Upendra also highlighted the importance of tangible projects and results as a component of that burden of proof. To that end, and also out of adoration and envy for Pieter Levels, I decided to take on the Levels Challenge. I will build a dozen startup products in as many months. I am currently on #2. At some point during this year, the real work on “Matador” should begin, maybe even as part of one of the 12 startups.

I finally feel like I am in a place where I can properly reflect on my goals and give myself meaningful, constructive feedback. I completely redesigned my goal vision-board. The old one categorized goals by time-horizon, while the new one categorizes them by what they are; Learning, Project, Staying Current, and Continuous Reinvestment. The time-horizon and urgency of each goal is reflected by its position on the list rather than its category.

2017-04-02

This/Each Week

  • Advance on HackerRank
    • moved to learning goals. i have not made any progress on this
  • Read Hacker News
    • I am going to remove this because i read it all the time
  • Read Indie Hackers
    • Moved to learning goals
  • Eat Less, Eat Better, Drink More Water
    • ✔️
  • Yoga at least once a week
    • ✔️
  • Watch a documentary
    • moving to learning goals
  • Journal about goals each week
    • ✔️
  • Blog post about each major area of focus
    • Investment
    • Book Reviews
      • ✔️
    • Projects
      • ✔️

This/Each Month

  • Read a book each month
    • ✔️
  • Invest >$1,000/mo
    • ✔️
  • Attend a business networking event
    • I attended the fundraiser dinner for stand up placer and made some great contacts including the new sheriff!
  • Volunteer
    • Stand Up Placer
  • Play Chess
    • I need to make more time for this!
  • Learn a new skill
  • Try a new hobby
  • Kayaking
  • Amateur Radio
  • Sail

Personal Goals

  • Eliminate all debt
    • I am slowly chipping away at this
  • Eliminate recurring costs
    • ✔️
  • Save at least $1k/mo.
    • ✔️
  • Start a new business which turns a profit
    • I have started buying parts to start DJing again

Learning Goals

  • Complete Bootcamps, Certifications, and Educational Programs
    1. Free Code Academy
    2. Andrew Ng
    3. Martin Shkrelli
    4. Coursera Data Science and Machine Learning
    5. Insight Data Science
    6. Metis Data Science
  • Programming
    1. React
    2. C++
    3. Golang
    4. C#
    5. Angular
    6. NodeJS
  • Learn new skills
    • Learn to fly
    • Land Sailing
    • Learn Achery
    • Learn to shoot
    • Learn the constellations

Project Goals

  • Get Astria out of alpha
    • this is getting closer!
  • Make at least one app completely of my own which has regular independent users. Use a new language or framework.
  • Sell food from carts again
  • Build a tiny home
  • Use machine learning to solve a problem
  • Use machine learning to make money
  • Grow food
  • Start DJing again ✔️
    • Podcast
    • Weekly gigs
  • Start a monthly podcast about doing good
  • Set up ancestry websites for people
  • Expand my aggregation tool to enable users to sign up and save their preferences, etc
  • Build out Todo tool with features like past-due and editing existing entries
  • Professional Fundraising: Throw fundraiser events for worthy causes
    • I talked a lot about this recently and I think this is a really good idea. It might be the best candidate for an offline business which ties closely with the DJing and doing good podcast.
  • Customer service chat ops
  • RaaS
  • FSaaS

2017-02-25

This/Each Week

  • Advance on HackerRank I have not made time for this. I want to say I will this week, but it seems more likely that this will take a back seat for the time being.
  • Read Hacker News It would be hard not to do this every day. I will remove the goal but continue doing this.
  • Read Indie Hackers This is a constant source of inspiration and I intend to attend another of Jeff‘s meetups next month.
  • Eat Less, Eat Better, Drink More Water Check
  • Yoga at least once a week Check
  • Watch a documentary Check
  • Journal about goals each week Check
  • Blog post about each major area of focus
    • Investment
    • Book Reviews
    • Projects

This/Each Month

  • Read a book each month Next month I am hoping to finish both The Ethical Slut and How to Win Friends and Influence People, both of which I have been in progress on for some time.
  • Invest >$1,000/mo in market-tracking ETFs I am simplifying this goal to be any kind of investing, with it in mind that then default will be my stok portfolio but that there are other ways to invest in business as well which should fall under this same goal.
  • Volunteer
    • Stand Up Placer I have helped with several recent events and intend to help with several more in the next months.
  • Play Chess I played a game against a coworker, and have a few more I want to play. This has also segued into learning Go which seems at least as intellectually stimulating.
  • Learn a new skill
  • Try a new hobby
  • Kayaking
  • Amateur Radio
  • Sail

Personal Goals

  • Eliminate all debt Next month, I intend to eliminate amazon debt, and start working on eliminating tmobile debt which will also…
  • Eliminate recurring costs
  • Save at least $1k/mo.
  • Start a new business which turns a profit see below

Learning Goals

  • Programming
    1. React
    2. C++
    3. Golang
    4. C#
    5. Angular
    6. NodeJS
  • Learn new skills
    • Learn to fly
    • Land Sailing
    • Learn Achery
    • Learn to shoot
    • Learn the constellations

Project Goals

  • Get Astria out of alpha
    • I think I have come to believe that caching functions in the database is not a good strategy. I will strip the majority of the code related to that and focus on simplifying and consolidating architect and implementing the new query and schema functions and alternative authentication methods. Then it is basically done.
  • Make at least one app completely of my own which has regular independent users. Use a new language or framework.
  • Sell food from carts again
  • Build a tiny home
  • Use machine learning to solve a problem
  • Use machine learning to make money
  • Grow food
  • Start DJing again
  • Start a monthly podcast about doing good
  • Set up ancestry websites for people
  • Expand my aggregation tool to enable users to sign up and save their preferences, etc This was driven by an API which was killed by google. I built a jank alternative in order to do my project Damage Report, but this will need to be expanded and developed into a better complete product. I think that it can be one of my apps this year that I can offer per my other goals.
  • Build out Todo tool with features like past-due and editing existing entries
  • Professional Fundraising: Throw fundraiser events for worthy causes
  • Customer service chat ops
  • RaaS
  • FSaaS

Reflecting on 2016; Planning 2017

Note: this post is very flow-of-thought and was composed over several days. The goals derived from it are more structured and can be found at accomplish.cjtrowbridge.com.

 

Looking back, most of my goals for 2016 were learning goals, and went unaccomplished. All but one of my non-learning goals was accomplished. I successfully doubled my income, I learned to sail, I bought a new car, I revisited hobbies like Amateur Radio. Sadly, I did not find time for starting a new business selling food.

I did want to put more emphasis on my learning goals, but I think I struggled this year with defining myself on the spectrum between polymathism and specializing in mastering a smaller skill set as advocated by Peter Thiel in Zero to One.

After reading lots of books on the topic and attending Burning Man, I think I can confidently say that I lean polymath on that spectrum. I would rather dabble in many things than specialize in a few. I might have guessed as much based on the example of my forebearers.

With this aspect of myself finally defined, I feel freer to expand my focus on more skills as I had planned to in 2016.

My main priority for 2017 will be finding independence and security in the many areas I am currently dependent and over-committed, such as:

  • I want to eliminate all debt and start saving and investing.
  • I want to start at least one formal business and several informal side-projects which turn profits.
  • I want to remove or eliminate all recurring costs wherever possible.

I also want to renew my focus on learning.

  • I want to be proficient in more programming languages and frameworks.
    • C++
    • C#
    • Golang
    • NodeJS
    • JS
    • Angular
    • React
  • I want to learn new skills
    • Learn to fly
    • Learn the constellations

I make lots of apps that people use, but none of them are mine. I want to develop web applications that people use which belong exclusively to me. These should not be in languages which I am already familiar with; rather new languages I learn. Likely Golang or C++ would be ideal candidates for this. Perhaps with new implementations of Astria?

I want to again double my income. This will certainly require income diversification as my current job can not double in value again this year.

Revisiting side gigs will be a primary focus. A lot of lucrative projects fell by the wayside as my focus narrowed during 2016, and deserve revival:

  • DJ-CJ This is easy and makes a lot of money. I need to get back into it. I want to expand my previous work to include regular content creation via perhaps a weekly educational podcast on the current top 40(?)
  • Food Carts: This is such a good idea which I have a track record of success with. There is just no reason I am not still doing this.
  • Growing Food: I have been talking about this for years, and I wish I had made more progress. This is so important and it’s only going to become more important. I want to get to at least a prototype this year.
  • RaaS: Referrals are the best form of marketing, and a real problem which has not been cracked yet. There should be a simple way to sign up for a platform which automatically incentivizes your customers to evangelize and then automatically rewards them.
  • Professional Fundraising: Raise money for worthy causes by throwing fundraiser events.
  • FSaaS: My work in field services management has led me to believe that the current field services industry is terrible and needs transformative change. I see huge potential in combining something like Magic with something like Postmates. There is just no reason that there is not a general-purpose field services as a service company. I have been developing this idea since June 2016, and it would be a natural extension of my previous work and highly lucrative.

2017-01-27

This/Each Week

  • Stay up on Medium and contribute regularly
    • I feel like the quality of medium has gone down. I find myself less interested and finding less content I enjoy. I will remove this goal.
  • Advance on HackerRank
    • I have not made time for this. I will create an event this week to try to do so.
  • Read Hacker News
    • I read this every day
  • Read Indie Hackers
    • I have stayed up on this and even gone to a live event of his since the last time I wrote about this.
  • Earn a quarter of my money with Ridesharing
    • I am deprecating this goal as I no longer believe in this.
  • Earn a quarter of my money freelancing
    • I still need to get this going. I will create an event this week to make some progress.
  • Eat Less, Eat Better, Drink More Water
    • I would say I have accomplished this.
  • Yoga
    • It has been several weeks since i have done this.  I will try to make it happen this week.
  • Watch a documentary
    • I have this in for later this week. It has been a few weeks. I need to do better here.
  • Journal about goals each week
    • I have put it off because of being in limbo at work. I am still in limbo, but enough other things have happened for this to seem worth doing.
  • Blog post about each major area of focus
    • Investment
      • My stock portfolio currently constitutes the entirety of my investments. It is at +27% for the last month, having recovered all of the losses I suffered during the election.
    • Book Reviews
      • I have not made time for reading, and I intend to do so this week, now that I am settling into my new schedule and the anxiety of the school semester starting has passed.
    • Machine Learning
      • I have made some interesting contacts and expanded my thoughts on how I will go about getting into this.
    • Development
      • I have posted about several projects, and have plans to post several more.

This/Each Month

  • Read a book each month
    • I am still on track for this. I have three books officially in-progress and just need to buckle down and finish one.
  • Volunteer
    • Stand Up Placer
  • Play Chess
  • Learn a new skill
  • Try a new hobby
  • Kayaking

This Year

  • Complete Undergrad
    • I have made progress and been given special permission to advance faster than usual.
  • Become profitable with the platform
    • This is still months away.
  • Learn More Programming Languages/Frameworks
    • C++
      • I am going to be starting a class for this hopefully in the fall.
    • C#
    • Angular
    • Node
    • Python
  • Start a profitable new business
    • Mobile food sales
    • Throw fundraiser events for worthy causes
  • More Amateur Radio
  • More Sailing
  • Build a tiny home
  • Maintain a buffer of six months of resources
  • Use machine learning to solve a problem
  • Use machine learning to make money
  • Land Sailing
  • Learn Achery
  • Learn to shoot
  • Learn to Fly
  • Learn The Constellations

Business Goals

  • Sell Food Again
  • Grow Food
  • Maximize independence
  • Start DJing again
    • Podcast
    • Weekly gigs
  • Start a monthly podcast about doing good
  • Set up ancestry websites for people
  • Expand my aggregation tool to enable users to sign up and save their preferences, etc
  • Build out Todo tool with features like past-due and editing existing entries
  • Throw fundraiser events for worthy causes
  • Customer service chat ops(?)

2016-12-04

This Week

  • Advance on Khan Academy
    • I am frustrated by a lack of time. This will change soon, but I have set up a forked strategy for the coming year. Either my work contract will be settled, and I will continue working at Tech 2U, go to Sierra and worry about this later, or I will use my new days off to go to ARC where my assessments render this step un-necessary. Either way, I am removing this goal.
  • Stay up on Medium
    • I have done a great job of staying up on Medium every day, and contributing regularly. I will expand this goal to include contributing regularly.
  • Advance on HackerRank
    • I have not had time for this, but with my coming transition, I will hope to make more time to advance here.
  • Read Hacker News
    • I still read this almost every day. I will pin it to chrome to keep it fresh in my mind.
  • Read Indie Hackers
    • I have stayed up on this as well as SE Daily. I am feeling inspired and continuing to absorb.
  • Earn $100 with Lyft
    • I have far surpassed this goal. I think one or two nights a week is realistically more than enough to accomplish this.
  • Earn $100 with Uber
    • I have far surpassed this goal. I think one or two nights a week is realistically more than enough to accomplish this.
  • Earn $200 with Upwork
    • I have not yet completed this. I will make a calendar entry to try to get this done this week.
  • Eat Less, Eat Better, Drink More Water
    • I think I have more or less done well here. I certainly have room to grow, and I ordered more soylent to that end as well as doing better grocery shopping.
  • Play Chess
    • I have not played chess in weeks. I am setting a firm goal to play a game this wednesday.
  • Learn a new skill
    • This has fallen by the wayside. I will hopefully have time this week.
  • Try a new hobby
    • This has fallen by the wayside. I will hopefully have time this week.
  • Yoga
    • I have done some yoga, and I am scheduled to do more this wednesday night.
  • Kayaking
    • It has been cold. I have been looking at a new hard-bottom kayak that would make this easier.
  • Watch a documentary
    • I really want to watch Adam Curtis’ new one. I will create a calendar entry for this week.
  • Blog post about each major area of focus. Enumerate learning and accomplishments, direction, and upcoming goals.
    • Investment
    • Book Reviews
    • Machine Learning
    • Development

This Month

  • Earn enough with ridesharing to pay tuition
    • Done, removing
  • More Amateur Radio
    • I have not made time for this, but I still would really like to.
  • Volunteer
    • Stand Up Placer

This Year

  • Complete Undergrad
  • Learn More Programming Languages
    • C++
    • C#
    • Node
    • Python
  • Start a profitable new business
    • Food Carts(?)
    • Local NPO/NGO Fundraising(?)
  • More Sailing
  • Build a tiny home
  • Maintain a buffer of six months of resources
  • Use machine learning to solve a problem
  • Use machine learning to make money
  • Land Sailing
  • Learn Achery
  • Learn to shoot
  • Learn to Fly
  • Learn The Constellations

Business Goals

  • Sell Food Again
  • Grow Food
  • Maximize independence
  • Start DJing again
    • Podcast
    • Weekly gigs
  • Start a monthly podcast about doing good
  • Set up ancestry websites for people
  • expand my aggregation tool to enable users to sign up and save their preferences, etc
  • Build out Todo tool with features like past-due and editing existing entries
  • Create an organization which throws events to raise funds for worthy causes

2016-11-12

  • Advance on Khan Academy
    • This has proven difficult to find time for, but I have blocked off the bulk of my free time this week to devote to making some real progress here. Time is getting short!
  • Stay up on Medium
    • I have really done a lot here. This has become my go-to instead of reddit and facebook. I find myself marking a lot of things to come back and re-read. Medium has become a huge part of my regular learning and growing.
  • Advance on HackerRank
    • I haven’t made time for this. I have been too busy lately and I probaly will be for some time, but it is still something important that will become more important once I complete my Khan Academy work.
  • Read Hacker News
    • Still read this almost every day.
  • Read Indie Hackers
    • This has been a great resource for inspiration and drive with my work.
  • Earn $100 with Lyft
  • Earn $100 with Uber
  • Earn $200 with Upwork
    • I haven’t made time for this, and it’s not clear at this point if I will have time or the need to. Depends how the negotiations with work go.
  • Eat Less, Eat Better, Drink More Water
    • I feel like I have accomplished a lot here.
  • Play Chess
    • I haven’t played since with Ben, but I moved my regularly scheduled time to wednesdays after work and before yoga, so I think this will be easier to get done moving forward.
  • Learn a new skill
    • I haven’t learned any new skills this week :[ Will block off some time this week for that.
  • Try a new hobby
    • See previous
  • Yoga
    • I have made great progress here, returning to a weekly commitment to yoga. I want to make it more frequent but time is short these days.
  • Kayaking
    • I haven’t been kayaking for months. Hopefully I will find time for this in the coming weeks, but I really need to get a hard kayak before that because mine has a leak =/
  • Watch a documentary
    • I cant remember the last time I watched a documentary :[ will create a weekly event to remind myself.
  • Blog post about each major area of focus. Enumerate learning and accomplishments, direction, and upcoming goals.
    • Investment
    • Book Reviews
    • Machine Learning
    • Development
  • Get ubuntu running on Droid 4
    • I started this, but it seems not to be quite on the same scale as the rest of these issues.
  • Take a discovery flight
    • This has gone to the back burner but assuming everything with work turns out how I want, this will likely happen soon.
  • Sail
    • It has gotten a little chilly, but I’d still like to try to stay in the habit when there is time. Hopefully in the next few weeks if things slow down.
  • More Amateur Radio
    • I have been engaging with content around this topic but have not actually done any radio since burning man. It has gone to the back burner with the chaos around work and school.
  • More Scuba
    • I would love to do scuba but this will need to wait until it is warmer.
  • Practice Languages
    • German
    • Japanese
    • French
    • Spanish
    • ASL
  • Volunteer
    • Stand Up Placer
  • Complete Undergrad
    • I need to finish Khan work this week before I can take the next step here.
  • Learn More Programming Languages
    • C++
    • Node
    • Python
  • Start a profitable new business
    • Food Carts(?)
    • Local NPO/NGO Fundraising(?)
    • Rent out spare cpu/gpu cycles as compute
  • Build a tiny home
    • I have spent a lot of time thinking and talking about this. I think it will depend a lot on how work turns out, and whether we end up moving somewhere with extra space.
  • Maintain a buffer of six months of resources
  • Use machine learning to solve a problem
  • Use machine learning to make money
  • Land Sailing
  • Learn Achery
  • Learn to shoot
  • Learn to Fly
  • Learn The Constellations
  • Sell Food Again
  • Grow Food
    • I got some sweet new grow lights.
  • Maximize independence
  • Set up ancestry websites for people
  • expand my aggregation tool to enable users to sign up and save their preferences, etc
  • Build out Todo tool with features like past-due and editing existing entries

2016-08-21


This Week

  • Advance on HackerRank: I haven’t made time for this. I am not sure I still feel it is an important goal. I will move it down to a lower priority.
  • Eat Less, Eat Better, Drink More Water: I feel I have made great progress here.
  • Stay up on stock and financial news: this is also becoming a lower priority. I will remove it.
  • Yoga and Kayaking: yoga has still not bee a priority but I will try to make it happen in the coming weeks, and try to set it up as a real habit at least once a week. Kayaking has sort of given way to sailing, though it is less physically active. I need to make time for both.
  • Watch a documentary I have wathced lots of ted talks and documentaries lately 😀
  • Learn
    • Theban: I have practiced transliterating several stanzas from vafthrudnismal. It has been a challege.
    • Enochian
  • Get rid of all the stuff ive been trying to sell
    • Ford Escape: this blew up in such a way as to become zachary’s problem. I have promised him a percentage and he is working on selling it.
  • Blog post about each major area of focus. Enumerate learning and accomplishments, direction, and upcoming goals.
    • Investment
    • Book Reviews
    • Machine Learning
    • Enterprise Development

This Month

  • Take a discovery flight: This goal gave way to burning man but it is still in the budget once i recover financially.
  • Play more Chess
  • More Amateur Radio
  • More Scuba
  • Practice Languages
    • German
    • Japanese
    • French
    • Spanish
    • ASL
  • Try a new hobby

This Year

  • Double my gross monthly income from $2600 to $5200: I am currently at about 3600. With raises in the coming months, I am on track to accomplish the goal for my tech 2u income. I still need to develop the additional sources. added DJing as a potential source.
  • At least half of that new income should be from new sources: $1300/mo ($325/wk).
    • Lyft?
    • DJ CJ
  • Start a profitable new business
    • Food Carts(?)
    • Local NPO/NGO Fundraising(?)
  • Land Sailing
  • Learn Achery
  • Learn to shoot
  • Learn The Constellations
  • Learn More Programming Languages
    • C++
    • Lisp(?)
    • Scheme(?)
  • Learn More Languages
    • Russian
    • Latin
  • Learn to Fly

2016-07-10

This Week

  • Advance on HackerRank I dont feel like I’ve made enough time for this. I moved it to the top of my bookmarks to remind myself to take more time for it.
  • Eat Less I feel like I have had success with this. I am eating less and working out more and my bodyfat percentage has gone down as a result.
  • Eat Better I am eating a lot more salads and a lot less carbs.
  • Drink More Water  I feel like I am doing well here, drinking at least a few liters of water per day.
  • Stay up on stock and financial news I am staying up to date on stock and financial news. This has facilitated more sucess with day trading.
  • Yoga I have not done any yoga since I came back to sac. I need to make this a bigger priority. I will try to attend at least one class this week.
  • Kayaking Kayaking has always been the easiest goal to succeed in. I love kayaking and I make it happen as much as I can.
  • Watch a documentary I couldn’t tell you the last time I sat down and watched a qhole documentary. I will create a calendar event to remind myself to do this this week.
  • Get rid of all the stuff ive been trying to sell I finally sold my old thinkpad! Now just the old car left in this list. It should be repaired in the next couple of days and then I can start working towards getting rid of it.
    • Ford Escape

This Month

  • Take a discovery flight This might have to wait until next month, but it’s going to happen!
  • Take sailing lessons Today, I will pay for this and then the classes take place in a couple weeks!
  • Play more Chess I haven’t made a chance for chess lately. I will put an event in my calendar to make this happen.
  • Get a new kayak This hasn’t been a priority as my old one was less damaged than I thought, and my new car would be hard to put a hard kayak on. I will cancel this goal.
  • More Amateur Radio I have started carrying it around with me but haven’t made a chance to use it. I will create a calendar entry this week to find a few stations to start listening to.
  • More Scuba I met someone who is certified! This is a less urgent goal but still one that I want to accomplish. I will try to find an opportunity for this.
  • Practice Languages
    • German
    • Japanese
    • French
    • Spanish
    • ASL
  • Try a new hobby I will make a calendar entry to do one of these this week.

This Year

  • BE quantitatively closer to a degree. I will sign up for sierra this week, marking this goal complete.
  • Double my gross monthly income from $2600 to $5200 I have made great progress. I am 30% of the way there.
  • At least half of that new income should be from new sources: $1300/mo ($325/wk).
    • Lyft? I am getting a new california driver’s license this week which will take care of the application for lyft.
  • Start a profitable new business
    • Food Carts(?)
    • Local NPO/NGO Fundraising(?)
  • Learn Achery
  • Learn to shoot
  • Learn The Constellations
  • Learn More Programming Languages
    • C++
    • Lisp(?)
    • Scheme(?)
  • Learn More Languages
    • Russian
    • Latin