What a wild year 2020 has been. Even those of us that were closely monitoring the pandemic had no idea how it would change things.
This year has been difficult, but I know I am fortunate. My wonderful girlfriend, Holly, moved in with me. And despite how bad the virus has been, my friends and family have been in good health.
I’ve been publishing these annual reviews every year for the last several years. You can check the archives and find my reviews from 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. During that time, I’ve been a producer for casinos, started fantasy sports business and joined two startups—one of which I’ve been at for the last few years.
I am doing a bit of an abbreviated review this year. I don’t have categories, just a few things I’d like to discuss.
Product Notes is a consumer products forum—it’s a place where people can ask questions, get recommendations, and discover great deals.
It has been my primary project for the last several years. I’ve always been obsessive about researching things before I buy them. I’d have these notes I’d take comparing various products. One day I decided to start publishing them on a blog.
The site has grown in users, revenue and visitors almost every month since then. It allows me to do things like go out and purchase a bunch of products to test. It lets me do things like find the best Nespresso machine, write reviews on $500 Away bags and make our dog, Remi, a model. I’m fortunate that such a fun project has turned into such a success.
If you’re ever trying to figure out what to buy, make sure you stop by.
Civiton was intended to be a collection of broad topics for discussion—something like reddit. However, I’ve mostly used it as a personal notepad. I post things like my recipes for recreating Hello Fresh Spices. I haven’t put near as much effort into the project as I thought I would this year.
My experience with the site this year has raised a couple questions for me. Does it makes sense to have such a broad site? More niche ones are probably easier to grow.
The bigger question I have is whether to have some sort of personal archive? When trying to figure out whether something like that exists I stumbled upon this concept called Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte. It’s a well articulated concept similar to how I’ve been treating Civiton.
If I did something like that, what is the relationship with this site? What I publish here is certainly more formal that the gibberish that most of my notes are—which brings me to this site.
Other than a few security updates. I haven’t touched this site in the last year. It feels like the personal website and blog are dying. It’s sad, but most people have moved away from blogs and on to social media. I work in tech and feel like few people have their own websites anymore.
I don’t really know what this means. As long as things are working without too much effort, I’ll keep it up. What next though? If something catastrophic were to happen, would I rebuilt it? I’m not sure.
COVID-19 caused many to lose their jobs or businesses. I am incredibly fortunate to work for a company like SalesLoft—one that cares about its employees and encourages autonomy.
For the last 9 months we’ve been working from home—it still feels strange. I never really knew how much I’d miss the social aspect of being in an office. A significant amount of my day is spent talking with teammates on Zoom, but it doesn’t feel the same.
I spent 2020 as the designer for our UI components and workflow teams. The UI components team shipped a ton of important features such as updates to our data tables, date picker and our select inputs. The workflow added flexibility to running Cadences. I can’t talk about it yet, but we have a ton of big improvements coming in 2021.
2020 has been the most difficult year of my life.
I know that most of 2021 will likely be hard. However, I am optimistic that things will get better.
I wish you and your loved ones the best.