My 2019 in review
I am mostly writing this for myself, but happy if anyone finds it useful. (I actually just read my 2018 review and still laughed at the “best tweets.”)
Projects and Work
- 😢 I decided to ramp down my time at BlueYard from September. It was a hard choice, as I love both the team and the mission, but I have decided to focus on the climate crisis (more on that below). This year I planned and ran the event “Manhattan Projects against Climate Breakdown” — which I loved, learned a lot, and is very proud of having done. (The whole event here on YouTube 📺.)
- 🏠 The Ground is really booming — Josefine Hjertström took over from Renée and is a master running the place — both as an organization and as a host making it a second home for rebels, geeks, and people with wild ideas.
- 👨👩👧👦 Skåne Startups is now at the reign of amazing Vala Zulfiu. It is a gift to have so many great people around!
- 🤔 I got an award as the “world best investor”… Not taking that title too seriously 😂
Mini-projects & hikes
- 🍛 I wanted to cook more varied dishes in 2019, and did a great Q1 with 86 unique days. Super-happy and created a sheet to reuse (you can check here for inspiration).
- 🎧 Did a podcast series, Full Worlds, about world-building as a way to get to talk to amazing sci-fi authors. When I suddenly got to my “end-goal,” and got to interview Ann Leckie (post), I was done and stopped.
- 🎿 I switched my running for cross-country skiing and signed up for Vasaloppet 2020 (yes — it will be 90 km of love).
- 🥾 I did some lovely hikes with the kids and wife this year — the super nostalgic was spending a week in my parents' cabin in northern Sweden and hiking the trails I did as a child.
Writing, thinking, and The Climate Crisis
I didn’t write as much this year, not sure why, but didn’t feel like it. My mother has been ill, both by accidents and of cancel — and my daughter had another epilepsy attack. I have been thinking, so let’s get to that.
I have realized three things about AI and consciousness.
- 🕸️ Lots of AI is just crowdsourcing humans.
- 👶 Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) can only happen if AIs are trained in a high-entropy and messy environment because otherwise, it will be specialized.
- 🧠 Consciousness feels like an unnecessary evolutionary cost, till you realize the value of stories to gather mass amounts of human (Harari-style), and a story is much more powerful if you are really part of it.
All three worthies of more text, but that won’t happen here because of the next topic that takes my focus.
But, then the climate…
🌍 Mostly I have been pondering what we can do about the climate crisis.
It started by doing a “climate version” of Pascal’s Wager.
- 🏭 On the one hand, we have the question if climate change is human-made, heating the planet, and if we are moving towards impending doom. (Let’s say, I’m a believer of that bet — even if I hope to be wrong.)
- 💰 On the other hand, we have the question of how the world is run. Politicians seem to be rather powerless, and the capitalist system doesn’t value an externality such as “global temperature” or pollution. Is there a new solution around the corner? (I have the feeling that there isn’t, even if I wish there were one.)
That gives us the following four outcomes:
Realizing that three results are OK, and only one is disastrous made it more than obvious that I should spend all my time on that outcome.
Secondly, I started to consider what I could do. (It is easy to get millennihilism… 😩!)
The most valuable thing we all have is time, passion, and focus. What could I do best? Start a company working on solutions? A party? A movement? Blog about it? I realized that I am best equipped to focus my time on investing in and helping startups working with solving the problem. (I wrote a blogpost on how anyone can figure out their role.)
Best of the input
I ended up reading (and finished) 41 books (which serendipitously — or not? — was the exact same number of books I read 2018!), and there were some that stood out.
Let’s start with non-fiction:
- ⚖️ The Divide was amazing to highlight that the world is not necessarily “getting better” in a Panglossian-Rosling-Pinker way! (I did read Factfullness and liked it as well…)
- 👂 Permanent Record was a great reminder of the surveillance capitalism that almost had faded from my memory.
- 🌋 On the same gloomy topic (but not blaming the US for most atrocities) were The Ends of the World, which is a great account of how the world has turned to dust before and how.
- 🐿️ The review that I wrote that got most highlights were Atomic Habits, and I truly liked it, and it’s tips and tricks (“hacks” I guess it should be called today) on how to get more things done in less time.
- 🦉 The Second Mountain was a great book about how to find meaning and purpose in the phase of one's life when you have assembled enough skills.
- 📚 Finally, like the rest of the planet, I loved Educated. I’m not a big reader of biographies or scorning on other’s belief systems, but this book rocked!
In fiction, four books stood out:
- 🧙♂ ️The Name of The Wind (not to be mistaken for Gone with the Wind 🤣)! I am not a big fantasy fan, as I find a lot too archetypical, but this book proved that fantasy can still tell great stories!
- 🔫 The City of Thieves was like being in a Quentin Tarantino movie, and it was a ride to remember!
- 🙍🏿♀️ Kindred was the only book I forced my wife to read — and she liked it as well.
- ⛵ And, even if I had to look up so many words (made up or not), I really got caught up in The Scar. (It can be read stand-alone even if it is a steep learning curve.)
- 🧠 I loved Patrick Collison’s tweet on how to gauge someone’s intelligence and creativity by asking, “What are the best arguments against the principles of your worldview?”
- 🚶 I agreed with Gurwinder Bhogal’s tweet on how “Human life is gradually turning from a struggle against suffering into a struggle against pleasure.”
- 🙈 I laughed and agreed with @kramski’s tweet, “I love how being an adult is just saying ‘But after this week things will slow down a bit again’ to yourself until you die.”
I didn’t watch a lot of movies, TV-series or documentaries, but one that I did see and liked was Brené Brown’s Netflix talk, especially the quote: “If you want to drive diversity (or similar) — your comfort is not the center — you will get your ass handed to you.”
The Tweets that entertained me the most:
And, then two tweets that rang extra true for all time working with enterprise customers:
2020 will be different for me. Let’s get back to that. 🚀