My 2021 in review

To reiterate; I am mostly writing this for myself, but happy if anyone finds it useful. (I actually just read my last two years of reviews and were surprised how I didn’t remember some of the most amazing books and how great they were, that things happened in 2020 that I thought were in 2019, and ofc I smiled when seeing the photos of the kids and the wonderful tweets.)

This year I felt stretched

I went into this year knowing that work would take all time, and I guess that prediction was more than correct. I wrote in my yearly goals:

My work is so challenging that I can’t add any new personal “projects” or responsibilities, but instead will focus on balance and getting to a mental space to take opportunities and challenges with an open and learning mindset. Instead of writing personal goals which is “painting a bulls-eye and figuring out how to get there”, my personal goals this year will be about honing my mental abilities so that I can “like a sailor feel the wind and see the currents of the water, and act accordingly.”

Remembering the year, it didn’t feel like I did much but working, but writing this post is (as always) rewarding. I have not only worked and rolled with the punches!

The work is intense but rewarding

Yes, Pale Blue Dot is an all-consuming, wonderful thing. Not only did we go from 8 to 15 portfolio companies (and three more in the making) we also went from three to seven people working for the fund!

We also went public with our Research and our Thesis posts. It feels like we are just getting started!

This year it feels like the climate emergency has reached public awareness and to a degree as well in the investment world. We see more and more funds doing non-regular investments as they want to be part of the movement.

At the same time, the world of startup and venture is increasing like there is no tomorrow (or as if tomorrow will be amazing, maybe). One of the questions we constantly talk about at Pale Blue Dot, is if the show will keep going on or if the “market will be corrected.” I truly hope that more money will be put into addressing the climate crisis, no matter of the rest of the venture world.

Projects, mini-events, and changes

  • 🥗 I tried to move the cooking (and it has been a lot of cooking) to vegan, and I still find it hard to make some dishes without cheese. Whenever dining out, or being at events, I have registered as vegan and this is the first year that hasn’t felt like a compromise. Still not there, but getting there.
  • 🏠 After summer, we fixed the garage drainage, swapped the heat-exchanger to a modern version, and installed solar panels on the roof. Not only good for climate reasons, and being able to charge the new EV, but also good to use less electricity as prices surge. Lots of house projects!
  • 🍷 I kept my plan to not drink alcohol and worked on other ways to “turn off” and wind down, and I feel like I will probably never drink alcohol again. I also reduced sugar consumption and got away from all sugar habits but only eat it “when celebrating.” (And, increased the consumption of potato crips!)
  • 😅 Both my parents are on the other side of cancer. My dad is in treatment and my mom is “declared healthy!”
  • 📺 This year, I also enjoyed movies and TV series with Arvid, and so far we’ve seen Fight Club, Forrest Gump, Dallas Buyers Club, American History X, 1917, Nightmare before Xmas, No country for old men, Captain Fantastic, Pulp Fiction, Interstellar, Inception, Band of Brothers, The Good Place S1, and The Wire. We’re almost done him reading the amazing City of Thieves for me — it is superb to enjoy high-quality stories with him.
  • 🏃 My plan was to run 100 times (at least 4k per run), but that failed and I ended up at 73 runs. I’m OK with it — but most of all liked the change from 2020's long-distance now-and-again to this year’s short-distance often.
  • 🏊 This year, at the age of 42, I learned the wonder of open-sea swimming (something my wife has touted for many years, and I never understood).
  • 🖌 I decided to learn watercolor painting and set a goal to paint every day in Q1, which was a great way to force myself to learn, but also became a bit much from time to time 😃

Writing & thinking

Oh, wasn’t last year’s promise and goal to write more? Yes, it was. Did it succeed? No, it didn’t! I haven’t published a single blog post, but only done concepts (that I could have turned into longer articles):

I’m not sure I should give myself the goal to write more but will need to think about what the next steps are.

Travels

This year wasn’t a year of traveling for most people, and the same for us. I went to Finland for Slush, to Stockholm for a dinner, and that was the work travel in 2021.

On the family side, we did a lot of hikes, slept in tents and bivouacs ⛺️ with the kids — and did a wonderful week of cross-country in Bruksvallarna (which required a two-day family drive… 🚗 ).

Some amazing days cross-country skiing in Brukvallarna
Hiking in Store Mosse national park
We were awoken by horses in the middle of the night when camping on a hike (🐴 !)

Best of the input

📚 This year, I watched a lot more movies and TV series with Arvid (👆), and I’m not sure if that is why, but it was harder to get to 35 books read. Looking back, I read 37 books in 2020, and 41 (!) in 2019.

Non-fiction (books)

  • 💣 How to Blow Up a Pipeline is a contrarian view to the climate debate; a question of what is most important of property rights & the accumulation of wealth and actually following through on addressing the climate issue of fossil fuel. I’m not endorsing blowing up pipelines, but I am fully supporting questioning the system.
  • 🧠 Projections was a unique book — about the brain and non neurotypical states/mental disorders like depression, borderline, anorexia, and many more. Karl Deisseroth’s work is amazing, and I think he will be getting a Nobel prize in Medicine.
  • 👶 Lifespan redefines old-age and death as a disease, and with that explaining what makes us atrophy. I think either David Sinclair, is a bluff or will also get a Nobel prize in Medicine.

Fiction

  • ✝️ Lent was such a frustrating and wonderful book. When I was halfway through the book, I was about to give up. Why this historical account and what was the plot. And, then suddenly: the book did a complete turn-around and turned into a meta-story. Recommend, and recommend to persevere through the first part.
  • 🧑‍🚀 The plot of Hail Mary isn’t one I thougth I would like, but the story of an involontary astronaut collaborating with an alien “spider” to save the solar system was… a surprise.
  • 🧞‍♂ ️The Hidden Palace was lovely. It is a sequel to one of my favourite books, and therefore it was amazign to revisit the charachters and story. It is in a tricky section of the venn-diagram: historical fiction, fantasy, and love story. But — worked for me.
  • ❤️ The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a book about being gay in a catholic Ireland and a AIDS fearing world. Read it to understand how narrow minded hatred and fear can be.
  • 🐍 I never expected East of Eden to be as good as it was. I often believe the classics to be dated and “too slow,” but I was wrong. It is a really good book about evil and choices.

Non-fiction (podcasts)

Other mind-openers

Sometimes Twitter can be funny, but sometimes it can make me stop and reflect. Both these tweets did the latter.

Self-explanatory
Galloway’s great advice on how to find your passion — and how that is not what you think.

Apart from those two, Twitter is a source of so much wisdom, shouting, and joy:

Lord! So funny!
Even if I didn’t play Factorio in 2021, this was crazy to see!
The visualization of music made it so much more enjoyable to me.
Wombo! And, the thesis meme! Such joy!
I have heard we are only using the powerful computers in our pockets to 10% of their potential!
Oh. So many questions!
Just because Trump left, the world isn’t free of stupid men with microphones.
Oh, Microsoft Word. The laughing stock of the tech world.
What the heck!?
This made me laugh so hard!
And, LinkedIn is a constant joke in social media, and now that it joined Microsoft, it makes more sense.
Seeing how some of the TikTokers do it is more than amazing!
I watched this wonderful singing husky so many times during 2021!
Twitter is such a strange place — sometimes you can see the parallel worlds meeting.

Endnote

I wrote a plan for what I wanted to do and how in 2021, and looking back at this I can see that some goals are good for me, but some I seem to ignore whatever I have written. 2022 is just around the corner, and I will start writing my plans coming days, with that in mind.

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Vegetarian, stoic, founder & investor. Father of three. Malmö/Sweden. Twitter @hajak.

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Hampus Jakobsson

Hampus Jakobsson

Vegetarian, stoic, founder & investor. Father of three. Malmö/Sweden. Twitter @hajak.

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