Reflecting Halfway Through 2021

This is is part of my live-learning series! I will be updating this post as I continue through my journey. I apologize for any grammatical errors or incoherent thoughts. This is a practice to help me share things that are valuable without falling apart from the pressure of perfection. 

It is now halfway through 2021! 

What a transformation, existential ride the world has been on in the last year and a half.

We were unsure of what 2021 was going to look like. In some ways, I have optimism and see positivity. In a lot of the world, and specifically, here in Canada, cases of COVID-19 have dropped significantly. 

Here in Toronto, the city is starting to return to life. You can see it in the smiles on the patios as you walk, rollerblade, bike or drive by. You can just feel the energy being here.

Growing up, you would always hear that time passes by quicker as you get older. I can now say that I have experienced that phenomenon. 

Days are largely the same. Wake up, run, team call, flow state, lunch afternoon calls, some downtime to relax, a night rollerblade and back to bed. 

Most of these are days are quite neutral with some days creating moments of excitement: a new lead or contract or breakthrough in technology. Other days surface emergencies and fires that you sometimes desperately try to put out hoping that it doesn’t spread. 

I’m more mature. I’m still a child. I still have some optimism and idealism left in me but the realism has settled in. 

I get excited about my work and am still energized almost every day. I get stressed about inflation, the housing situation here in Canada and other places in the world, and what the future looks like both in terms of the technology that continues to creep in and the looming threats of climate change.

I know I am on to something although I still have trouble articulating it. With Speak Ai, we’ve seen some amazing traction and signals. But, we’ve also felt like we are in quicksand, or standing still, which in this environment and world is not good. 

I continue to strive forward with the goal of helping people as much as I can. I’ve also recognized a continued pattern of overextending myself to help others in ways that don’t always help me. I didn’t feel that way before the reality of being almost 30 and continuing to rent with sometimes little access to the liquidity and value that I’d like. 

I living quite frugally. There are things I want personally. But, I don’t want them as nearly as much as I want to just work with amazing people solving problems and driving innovation. 

I have visions in my head that I know if possibly not solving the world’s greatest problems, will at least create joy and spark creativity. I would love to see those come to life.

Recently, I saw a hip-hop cypher at Coronation Park in Toronto, one of my favourite spots that I will head to after I finish writing this part of the reflection. After seeing that I could barely fall asleep. That is what I came to Toronto for. The people. The culture. I was too scared to join the freestyle because I was on rollerblades and the fear of failure was too much. But, it was a beautiful moment I won’t forget. And, I will join in at some point.

I came to Toronto in 2020. Since then, the city and the world have changed immensely. And, while there is a new level of economic disparity, it gives me hope to see the cities bristling with energy and inspiration. I hope to harness that in the second half of 2021.

What do I want to see by the end of the year?

I would like to see some long-time visions of building technology come to life. That may mean some sacrifices and reframing how I look at things, but I believe that is okay. You have to do what you have to do.

I’d like to be using Speak for everyday creation and activities that help me grow the company, my personal brand (eww) and the amazing customers who lean on us for support. I’d like to create more videos. I have a camera sitting right in front of me for god sake. 

I wrote an article about making it $1 million in revenue in 2021. It seems we might not quite make it (not with that attitude Tyler!), but we’ve already made enormous strides. I’d like to continue to focus on the good we did during these first six months and amplify them to continue that growth. Some of that was asking more questions about why we are doing things. We brought people in to help who are good at a lot of things we aren’t. We talked to customers and users more. We valued our own product and work better. We refined who we want to serve.

I need to hit the road for some blade time to think more about this but I hope to return. It was nice to revisit the website and find a bunch of content from the end of 2020 and the start of 2021. I hope I can carve time and energy to make more here for you. 

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