2019 Year Review

2019 was the most crazy year of my life. I wrote 3 drafts totaling >10000 words trying to summarize it, but my perspective kept changing and so I felt any such summary I wrote didn’t capture how I felt. Instead I’m just publishing shortform what went down as objectively as possible.

January:

  • the good: got into the 6 uni classes I wanted. Super amped!
  • the growth: split with gf of ~3 years. Really sad. Distracting myself with exam prep. Each day: wake up, drink coffee, study, sleep. Strong support network kept me sane <3

February:

  • the good: Aced all classes. allowing for chill time to chat with a close friend Aaron Peddle about business ideas.
  • the growth: really miss gf. gradschool rejection letters coming in. what do I do after grad?

March:

  • the good: Helped a couple friends by applying to jobs for them in exchange for $. Talked with Aaron about this as neat business opportunity.
  • the growth: studying 6am-7pm on campus, then moonlighting startup from 8pm-11pm and primarily sleeping on campus .

April:

  • the good: nailed exams for semester. launched “repstem” to automate the job hunt for engineers. repstem has a couple paying users now + one new user we met through organic referral.
  • the growth: exam season makes me sleepy

May:

  • the good: repstem making ~$200/month with ~4 users.
  • the growth: signed up for a japanese course that was 5 days/week & multiple hours/day. its insanely hard. Moonlighting startup + barely passing first half of course, freaking out about potentially not graduating because I can’t memorize all the verb conjugations. feeling antsy, booked flight to Africa for change of vibe and perspective shift.

June:

  • the good: got into Harvard business school. survived uni. Repstem at ~14 paying users. partnered with a coding bootcamp from silicon valley, time to haul ass.
  • the growth: weird feeling to be done Uni. lots of systems & support structures: gone.

July:

  • the good: amazing experience in uganda/kenya/rwanda/tanzania. summited Kilimanjaro with food poisoning. repstem at 30+ users. cut trip short to setup office in Los Angeles.
  • the growth: something feels a bit off. slight apathy to everything. unsure why.

August:

  • the good: dating a fashion model in Hollywood feels cool. There is a dave’n busters arcade with a great DDR machine! Repstem doing ok.
  • the growth: very low energy for anything. grinding long days. hard to focus on anything.

September:

  • the good: i’m alive.
  • the growth: unable to close preseed investment round for Repstem. bussing from LA to SF and was working on repstem + pitching 18+ hr days for a week, not eating, hadn’t showered or shaved, and getting roasted by high profile investors who had valid concerns about the business model. sat in coffee shop for several hours. couldn’t get enough energy to pick up my cup to take a sip. can’t remember anything from past week. Everything is foggy. ended up back in L.A. pretty sure I took a bus at some point. dangerously sad.

October:

  • the good: went back to Canada and officially graduated. Spending time with family completely changes my mood.
  • the growth: burnt on repstem. No personal money left + need to support family. have to decide if I’m going to continue working on it from Canada or return to SF and work for a different company (can’t feasibly do both)

November:

  • the good: got a job @ Cruise Automation, back in SF
  • the growth: shutdown repstem. really hurt, but learned a lot.

December:

  • the good: returned to canada for christmas, feeling energized again.
  • the growth: figuring out what to do next

Well, that was an experience.