2018 Year in Review

In Jeff Bezos’ 2016 Annual Shareholder Letters for Amazon, he talks about measuring Amazon’s success as a function of experiments run. Essentially, instead of looking at net income or revenue as a way of tracking progress, you can use the number of new things tried. I think in 2018, I ran the most experiments in my life.

  • In 2018 I finally had the guts to “drop out” of University.
  • Then I decided to come back to University and finish my degree.
  • Started an interview podcast series called Atila TV
  • Travelled through 5 European countries in 10 days
  • Worked an 8-month internship at Properly
  • Started a Youtube channel about software engineering, programming, business and self-improvement

Big Ideas and Lessons Learnt in 2018

The biggest thing I learnt in 2018 was the nuances of human nature and how irrational we can be. I sort of knew that humans can be irrational but seeing how people react in the face of contradicting evidence and how they can create narratives to support their worldview was a bit surprising. Though, in 2019 I would learn that creating these narratives is actually a very important part of human progress, but we’ll get to that in 2019 year in review.

I also learnt the importance of distribution in today’s information economy. There is a great quote I love which is that “First time founders focus on product and second time founders focus on distribution”. Essentially, attention is arguably the most important asset in today’s economy and the ability to both get your audience or customer’s attention and deliver your product to them is something that many people, including myself either underestimate or misunderstand. I think watching Gary Vaynerchuck videos was very helpful for this.

Smartest People I know

Jeff Bezos and Gary Vaynerchuk are the smartest people I know. In 2018, they had some of the most insighful opinions and accurate predictions on the current and future state of our society.

Best TV Shows, Podcasts, Books of 2018

Here is the list of the content mentioned in that article:

In the article I linked above I go into more detail on why I picked each book, podcast, blog, youtube channel etc. and what I learnt from each one.

Best Books of 2018

  1. Crushing It, Gary Vaynerchuk
  2. Principles, Ray Dalio
  3. Influence, Robert Cialdini
  4. Bad Blood, John Carreyrou
  5. Leonardo Da Vinci, Walter Isaacson
  6. Programming Collective Intelligence, Toby Segaran
  7. Ogilvy on Advertising, David Ogilvy

Best Podcasts, Blogs and Videos of 2018

  1. Inverted Passion 
  2. Gary Vaynerchuk
  3. ValueTainment
  4. Matt D’avella 
  5. Johnny FD 
  6. Impact Theory and The Joe Rogan Experience  
  7. Scott Adams 

Best Music of 2018

  • Scorpion by Drake was an absolute banger but you probably already knew that.
  • J Hus is my favorite rapper at the moment and has been since 2017, his EP Big Spang was okay but I still love his other music and I think you should know he exists so if you are a fan of rap, Rnb, Dancehall, Afrobeats you should check him out!
  • A very lowkey british band called Wstrn had an amazing album called Double B33K. British music is absolutely amazing, I’m surprised they haven’t blown up in America yet. Though with the internet, quality products has a way of eventually getting the attention it deserves so I think it’s just a matter of time.
  • The Who We Be playlist on Spotify is also really good


Predictions for 2019

Here are a list of predictions that I have for what will happen in 2019. Note that I am currently writing this on May 14, 2019 so you know that at least one of these predictions is already wrong. However, I am including everything here for historical context. Here is the original tweet thread of the predictions. Some of them may seem obvious now but pay attention to the timestamp on the tweets, I tweeted these back in:

Goals for 2019

  • Help 100 students get $50,000 in scholarships
  • Find a way to track the above goal
  • Get Atila to $1,000 month in revenue by December 2019
  • Pay off at least $5,000 – $10,000 in student loans
  • Get better at balancing spending time with friends while continuing to work very hard
  • Deploy hackathon project for Properly and get it used by 1,000 unique visitors
  • Go camping and do an outdoor activity e.g. rock climbing, bungee jumping
  • Try an MMA/combat sport activity: Brazilian jiu jitsu, Muay Thai, etc.
  • Go skiing at least once
  • Go on more high quality dates and get into a relationship
  • Upload 10 new episodes for Atila TV
  • Find a reliable, high quality person to help edit and produce each Atila TV episode
  • Be able to comfortably afford a Patagonia jacket
  • Speak at 3 conferences
  • Upload 12 videos to my Youtube channel (one for each month)
  • Add 18 blog posts to my blog (1.5 for each month)
  • Eat a plant-based/vegetarian diet for 50-80% of my meals
  • Play in a competitive, recreational soccer league
  • Go to the gym 3-5 days a week, try to go in the morning on Mondays and Tuesdays 8 hours a week
  • Go on at least 2-4 hill runs this summer
  • Get 8 hours of sleep at least 2 days a week

That’s it for 2018. See you guys in about 7 months, for my 2019 review.

Looking forward to it, it’s going to be a great year!

Gradatim Ferociter
Step by step, ferociously