Turns out I’ve been writing these end-of-year posts for over a decade and a half! Who knew… Anyway, what happened in 2023?
2023 was all around a good year for me personally. (Globally, admittedly, much less so.) Fantastic work, a very relaxed personal life. Everything just as it should be. After a couple intense years before, I appreciated that even more. I certainly feel like I’m headed into 2024 from a very good place.
Last year I was reflecting a little on social media and other outlets. Boy oh boy has that space changed. Twitter (now: X) has imploded even further through Musk’s incompetence and/or willful destruction of the service. I’m practically off of Twitter except a wiped zombie account that I only keep around so that some stragglers might learn where to find me on other sites. Mastodon seems to be puttering along but hasn’t managed to break out of its niches. Bluesky has a super nice community but is equally (if differently) niche. Instagram Threads (which just opened to EU-based users the other day) appears huge if a little sluggish — truly the Facebook of the text-based social media sites. (What niche Facebook fills today I don’t even know.) LinkedIn has been having a bit of a moment, which was very unexpected to me. And since all of this is a little fickle, I keep writing, at least occasionally, my newsletter.
Work-wise, it was a packed year, lots of stable, longer-term work. The kind I like best. I continued working Stiftung Mercator’s Digital Society Centre as well as the European AI & Society Fund, intensified my work with the Sovereign Tech Fund, and for good measure added some more compact projects including one with another public interest pooled philanthropic fund, Civitates. Couldn’t be better, and I’m very much grateful for all the excellent work relationships, friendships, things I learned.
During some coaching last year, I found out some aspects that keep me engaged professionally:
Working with pioneers who are ahead of the curve in their field; in a tight-knit team; that has quite a bit of autonomy to experiment and learn; on stuff that matters (which to me tends to mean common good / public interest). Knowing this so explicitly seems really helpful to filter for the right types of projects.
That has been my guidance for picking out projects in 2023, and will be for 2024. Though I’m at a point where I’m considering possibly going steady — or at least trying it out for a bit — to optimize for those exact aspects.
The theme for 2023
Last year I wrote:
2022 was for healing, care (for myself and others) & growth.
This year I struggled a little with putting the name on it, but maybe this: 2023 was nice & steady. It was stable, solid, resilient; truly a year of great foundations.
Friends & Family
I’m happy to report that it appears most friends are doing well. Some fairly serious health issues among my parents, who aren’t getting any younger. But other than that, it’s green lights all around.
Speaking of health, I think I’m in a better condition than I’ve ever been in my life. So, no complaints.
2023 I once more didn’t travel all that much, and barely by plane. That was pretty intentional, I’ve been trying to cut down on trips and especially flights pretty heavily. As far as I can puzzle together without spending any major time on it, I’d say 10-12 trips total, with a total of 6 flights, maybe?
Just for comparison’s sake I pulled up posts from 2013 (because it’s 10 years ago) and 2016 (because I remember it being a travel-heavy year) and the difference couldn’t be more stark: In 2013, I traveled 102 days over 15 trips to about 9 countries. In 2016, it was a total of 152 days on the road over 21 trips to 11 countries. That was 5 months not spent at home! Insane. Anyway, no more of that for me, thank you. I did however get in quite a bit of hiking (including Scotland’s West Highland Way and the Black Forest’s Westweg), which makes me very happy indeed.
Speaking & Media
I’ve been pretty much off-stage all year, and barely wrote anything public-facing. Most of my writing other than on my blog/newsletter/socials is behind-the-scenes work that’ll never be published under my name. I don’t think I miss that part? I’m not sure. Might step it up a little again so I don’t get rusty.
It was a slow book-reading year. Maybe 19 books not counting the many more that I just skimmed?
Firsts & some things I learned along the way
Firsts: Every year I try to remember what I did for the first time in my life. Off the top of my head I can’t quite remember anything, even though I’m pretty sure there must be a whole range of things. (I’m out somewhat sick as I’m writing this, though, so maybe I’m just blanking in the moment.) Well, I might add some stuff later.
So what’s next?
I’m wrapping up 2023 on a high note. I’m looking forward to reading and writing more in 2024, as always. Other than that, to smooth sailing!
For now, I hope you get to relax and enjoy the holidays.