Reflections on 2012

2012 was quite a rollercoaster year for me. It kicked off coming off of an unexpected December divorce and so I started the year by giving away over half of my (remaining) possessions and moving out of the house I’d dreamed of since I was a kid. It was time for a change, to hell with whether I wanted one or not.

In January I bought a condo in a historic old manor and began having it gutted and completely renovated. I didn’t even think – about the purchase or the renovations, I just did. Life was at a weird place and I just needed to Act and start building the new life that I wanted.

A couple of days after moving in, I got to teach a class at MIT – which, I guess this is the geek in me, but I count as one of my coolest ever accomplishments and helped set the stage for Me vNext.

There was a lot of teaching in 2012 – something I’ve always wanted to do, and at such incredible places. In addition to MIT – where I ended up teaching 2 more classes after the 1st, I taught classes for TechStars and Boston Startup School, for Microsoft’s Foundry, Skillshare and I also got to give a really fun talk on Following Your Own Path at Babson.

I got to spend another year meeting & learning about some of the most promising new startups as a member of the Advisory Board for SXSW’s Accelerator, judge for MassChallenge – world’s largest startup competition, and advisor to TechStars.

In the summer I decided I needed more change and left my job as Microsoft’s Evangelist for Startups to follow a dream and launch a hacker space. Before I started, I spent a few weeks traveling to 5 cities across 3 different countries. I almost never travel except for work/conferences, so I had some catching up to do. It was incredible – I got to see Paris for the first time and visit London during the 2012 Olympics. I caught up with some old friends in NYC at HOPE (yep, that would be: hackers on planet earth), was a beach bum in Florida and spent some time in Washington DC with my parents.

Launching hack/reduce was quite a ride. I got named by the Boston Globe as an Innovation Amplifier – one of 25 people turning up the volume on innovation in Boston, which is exactly what I strive for – so that was a thrill. I met the most amazing & brilliant people who are most definitely going to change the world. And I overcame my camera-shyness enough to be videoed (yikes!) and interviewed for all of the wonderful press that we got.

In the end, hack/reduce sadly didn’t turn out how I wanted, but it was an amazing experience that’s given me a ton of ideas for things I want to do. I always advise others to Fail Fast, so… don’t mind me, just eating my own dog food here.

I’ve ended the year getting back to my roots a bit. Writing some code, thinking about better ways that we can develop software, and trying to figure out what I should be doing next to make the most impact possible in 2013. It’s a little scary trying to move forward when you don’t quite know where you’re going. But, I also get bizarrely uncomfortable as soon as I start finding myself getting… well, comfortable. So, I guess I’m in the right place.

I would say that I hope 2013 is a bit more stable, but then… what fun would that be? So…

Here’s to a chaotic and exhilarating 2013. Happy New Years!


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