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Looking back at 2018 after one day into 2019, one word comes to mind, tumultuous. I started a new job, read more books in a year than ever before, and got back into writing and recording original music. Picked up some new life lessons that I'll be trying to implement in 2019. We'll see how that goes.

2018 included some Nordic highlights. I finally got to live the dream of seeing Finnish rock vocalist (ex Nightwish singer) Tarja Turunen sing a medley of Nightwish songs. Her concert was one of the best live shows I saw in 2018. Thanks to a friend I was also introduced to the Finnish rock group Sturm und Drang. Although the band is unfortunately no longer together, their 2012 album "Graduation Day" is one of the best rock albums I've heard in a long time (here is one the singles from the album). I also found out from 23andme that I'm 2.4% Finnish! Hence my affinity for everything Nordic.

As an avid podcast listener I've added a new section to this year-in-review, "Current Podcast Subscriptions". It's a snapshot of the podcasts I'm subscribed to right now. Curious to see how this list evolves in years to come.

I wanted to also surface this wonderful Scott Forstall interview from 2017. Scott was the software leader for the first iPhone, and this was his first public interview since he had left Apple. The interview is inspirational and includes some fantastic lessons and stories.

 

 Books

Posts

Movies & Documentaries

Albums

Current Podcast Subscriptions

  • a16z
  • Jocko Podcast
  • Radiolab
  • Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher
  • The Ben Shapiro Show
  • The Bill Simmons Podcast
  • The Daily
  • The Joe Rogan Experience
  • The Kevin Rose Show
  • The Lowe Post
  • The Tim Ferriss Show
  • This Week in Startups

wait just start Posts

In my 2016 post I set a few goals for 2017. Travel more (visited Sweden and Denmark). Launch a project (Bechant). Read (see below). Refine my diet (tried Keto, low-carb, learned a ton about nutrition) and exercise regiment (hello Kettle bells). And explore the great city of New York (done and done!).

Beyond the goals one experience stands out from 2017. The weekend long retreat I took in January with meditation teacher and author Tara Brach. I learned a lot about myself and met a lot of great people during the weekend. It coincided with the release of a new album by my all time favorite musician Mike Oldfield (first link in Albums section). Now every time I listen to the album the wave of emotions from the weekend envelop me. It was during this weekend that I wrote the post "A moment with my future self".

In the last quarter of 2017 I made a big change professionally by switching to part-time work. I spent my free hours diving deep into several industries (school nutrition, social emotional learning) seeking out potential entrepreneurial pursuits. Although I didn't find a concrete problem to solve, I learned a lot about the industries and also about my process for researching and refining a problem. My biggest takeaway? Remain disciplined. Make progress everyday. Read something, brainstorm, do something everyday. And eventually one idea can spark something bigger.

And so in 2018 my priority is discipline (borrowing from the first book in the Books list below). Setting up processes and habits I will follow everyday to make progress in relationships, music, career, personal projects, health and fitness. Did I mention music? I'm excited to say that I'm working on original music again! The last time I put out music was in 2012, so I'm already excited for what's to come in 2018.

And so here is to a disciplined 2018, here are some of my favorites from 2017...

 

 Books

Posts

Movies

Albums

NYC Places to eat/go

wait just start posts

2016 was a year of experiences. My second year in New York. My first year back at a startup. I got to see Sting and Peter Gabriel live, tried go cart racing and iMax Shift, took handstand lessons and got to hear the US Chief Data Scientist speak. I also traveled the most I've ever traveled in a single year, highlighted by a trip to Amsterdam and Cape Town South Africa.

In 2017 I aim to travel more. Launch some personal projects. Read. Refine my diet and exercise regiment. And continue to explore the great city of New York.

Here are some of my favorite things from 2016...

Books

Posts

Movies

Documentaries

Albums

NYC Places to eat/go

wjs posts

2015 was a year of many changes for me. I quit my job at Dell after 4 years of service. Sold my car, moved out of my condo, packed two suitcases, and moved to Brooklyn, New York. I started a new job at Amplify, only to get laid off 9 months after because News Corp. decided they no longer wanted to be in the education business. Thanks to friends and connections I was able to find a new opportunity very quickly and I'm happy to be back at a startup working on an important problem (child literacy).

I learned, experienced, and started many new things this year. This post is a collection of some of my favorites (they are not ranked in any order).

Books

Movies

  • Nightcrawler
  • Whiplash
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • A Most Violent Year

Documentaries

Podcast Episodes

Albums

Song discovery of the year

NYC Places to eat/go

wjs posts