It all started with a question from my 8 year old - "Daddy what is your new year resolution?". Years ago, I made a resolution to not make one on new years but be more resolute in things I wanted to do at any point in time. However, 2020 has been a weird year - so why not rethink it.
#1 Love More...
Like many people, I lost a loved one - although not to COVID-19, he was the strongest and bravest in the family and the last one you expect to depart the world. The importance of this person in my life cannot be overstated. I rushed to India amidst the pandemic for a week. It was an unnerving experience - grieving on one side, scared for my own life on the other, and being for my son, spouse, and mom that I love both in the moment and in longevity and no I am not dramatizing.
He had always told me - the best way to do something that you have to but don't want to is to do with love and happiness. Every other emotion just makes it painful. You have to play your part for your loved ones irrespective of their flaws!
The regret is my inability to see him and have him the joy of playing with my son in the last 10 years owing to variety of things mostly imprisoned to the legalities of immigration and prioritizing "work" over everything.
Separately, the work from home aspect was a blessing. Yes - we can argue about future of work but it took off 3 hours off travel time which I reprioritized to loving myself via exercises, playing 5-6 games of chess with my 8-year old, ping-pong with him, and more. We as a family got to know our flaws, interests, and learn/grow with each other.
The learning from the loss and the fear that COVID instilled made me wanna love my folks more. Just more and more...
#2 Build More...
It wasn't just personal life that was tumultuous, work also played its part with a lot of uncertainty. While pandemic accelerated certain industries it decelerated others leading to a big reset everywhere. As a guy who has always been at the forefront of such resets, it all felt very helpless.
I so desperately wanted to get to the underbelly of the pandemic, find the invisible enemy, and solve the world problems. I went learning about genome sequencing, mRNA technique of building vaccines, and when I began to feel more and more helpless, I wondered if there was a way to connect experts. I genuinely wanted to solve it, bring the world back to normal, give my boy a better world.
Eventually, I ended up coding FabFam - an app for family management. It was a far cry from taking on the COVID-19 virus but the vision was to help families manage their lives better. It now has 1500 downloads with a 10+% retention rate with no single dollar spent on ads. Not exactly a retirement plan but building something trounced the hallucination of building something.
Similarly, as layoffs accelerated, I began to hear from people on skills they needed to upgrade and stay relevant, things that were trending and things they weren't. I built a AI powered tool called SkillGuide. I created a custom Skills Named/Entity Recognition Engine, ran it against thousands of jobs to identify key skills and then began to realize it gave me insights on tech stacks in various companies, tools that were trending vs. others that weren't trending and more! I wrote about it and that post continues to remain one of the most viewed one. I know there is something in it but not as a standalone. I am still missing a trick!
That was not it - me and my wife tried ClassIn - an idea of creating a marketplace for small businesses to reach consumers. We started with gyms, yogas, and classes. I learned a lot about small businesses, the defragmentation, and how far behind the world is technologically. I learned that the tools exist and the biggest issue was the ability to bring them together. I started incorporating them into FabFam.
The biggest learning - consumers are way ahead than the businesses. Businesses spend a lot of time either talking or thinking and being inward focused rather than consumer obsessed. They just need to build stuff for their consumers.
Each time I build - I learn something new, it gives me a sense of excitement, accomplishment, dignity, confidence, and my shot at solving a problem. I walk away smarter about business, tech, and more. That feeling trounces every meaningless meeting, work politics, and just every other non-sense.
I am onto my 8th or 9th idea on personal time excluding the things I build at work. In the mean time, it seems like I have my next calling both at work and in personal life. They may only converge this time. Fingers crossed and more on that at an opportune time!
I simply want to build more and more...but this time be deliberate about connecting several dots!
#3 Write More...
One of the things I stumbled upon in the pandemic was my journal from school. I had series of poetries in English, original cartoons that I had drawn, and few songs that I had written. It just brought back heart warming memories of things that I cherished.
Years later, I learned the power of being your own brand champion. About 20 years ago, I was an introvert (not any more). However, I very quickly learned that to have my own brand, I needed to find my own voice and that got me into writing. Slowly but steadily I learned the trade, that journey led me to social media, SEO, better presentation, video presence, body language, modulating my voice for audio, and many others.
I needed to get out there, be a voice, be an inspiration, be findable, and slowly but steadily build my narrative. I was very disciplined about all of it until 2020. Somewhere in the middle, between all the personal and work "busyness" year, I simply didn't focus enough.
And if you are wondering, if the length of this blog is all enough of writing more :) I get the message - I will end it here by saying, I strive to get back into writing more probably a lot succinct next time.
I am going to go tell my son - daddy wants to love more, build more, and write more!