2019 Year and Decade in Review plus 2020 Goals
An entire decade has finished which brought crazy life experiences. This last year brought a new course, new blog, plus plans for the future!

Published on Wednesday, January 1, 2020

That was fast. Last I checked in with you, half the year had already passed. Then I planned to do a third quarter update and suddenly it was the end of the year. I even have a draft of the third quarter newsletter and now I'm just rolling it into the year-end newsletter.

It's been quite a decade

An entire decade is concluding and Twitter is a-fire with decade-in-review posts.

I am going to keep this quick, let's go over what happened since 2010!

  • 🎓 I graduated from business school with a degree in MIS and a minor in Entrepreneurship.
  • 💑 I married my wife, Cassie and 👶 we had two kids, Rami and Saira!
  • 🏠 We bought a house.
  • ✈ We took a 6-month sabbatical in 2015 and lived in Europe. In the decade we traveled around North America and Europe, visiting various US states, Montreal, Hawaii, Iceland, Britain, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, Morocco, France, and Italy.
  • 🏢 I started full-time as an Application Developer at General Mills and am starting 2020 as a Lead Engineer at Target.
  • 🌎 I started Keep Track of My Games and started a new blog, Looks Good to Us
  • 👨‍🏫 I became an educator and released 5 video courses, including becoming a Pluralsight author
  • 🎤 I was a public speaker and spoke at over 20+ community events
  • 🎮 I helped develop and create 5 games and played many others
  • 📱 I released 3 mobile apps
  • 💰 We achieved a 40%+ savings rate after discovering the idea and community of financial independence
  • 🚗 We owned the same cars, a Corolla and Elantra, the entire decade. 😋

Holy Shit. I did a ton of stuff. I have a LOT to be proud of and thankful for. 🙏 The next decade will hopefully be even more rewarding for me and my family.

2019 Goals in Review

Again let's start with a review of what I set out to do in 2019, as of my last update.

Primary Goals

Professional

Personal

  • ⛔ Pay off all non-mortgage debt
    • We paid off most of it except Cassie's school loan, which will be gone by November 2020, if not sooner. Instead of paying it all off, we are saving for a car purchase (in cash) for March/April.
  • ✅ Passive income should account for 2% of earnings, 1099 income for 5%
    • Passive income as a % of W-2: 2.08%
    • 1099 income as a % of W-2: 2.89%
    • Total side earnings: 4.97%!
    • Total % of annual expenses: 8%!
  • ✅ Replace my PCs at home with a single good Ultrabook/Notebook and a NAS
    • As of yesterday, I completed upgrading my PC to SSDs-only and 32GB of RAM
    • I also bought a used Lenovo Yoga 720 laptop earlier in the year which I love
  • ⛔ Push 3 substantive updates to KTOMG throughout the year: Steam review revamp, Raven 4 upgrade, and Linux hosting
    • I completed 2 major updates: RavenDB 4 upgrade and IGDB migration. I am partially done with the 3rd update.

DIY

  • Learn how to cut trim/baseboard and finish the nursery
    • Let's leave this at just paint since I decided to leave the trim.

Stretch Goals

Professional

  • ✅ Set up a quarterly newsletter
    • But I need to actually send it out every quarter 😅
  • ⛔ Publish 1 more Pluralsight course on Azure or TypeScript or React
  • ⛔ Publish 4 additional Pluralsight guides throughout the year
  • ⛔ Participate in 1 Pluralsight Mentoring session
  • ⛔ Become a Microsoft MVP with a focus on Azure/TypeScript content
  • ⛔ Speak at a JSConf or ReactConf event
  • ⛔ Speak at the React MN meetup about TypeScript or GraphQL
    • I did speak at the .NET User Group on RavenDB, though!
  • ⛔ Record a YouTube video walkthrough of my Raspberry Pi baby monitor written guide
    • I put out a feeler video instead, to see if there was any interest.

Personal

  • ⛔ 1099 income should account for 12% or more (+2% over 2018) of W-2 income
    • Again, this wasn't my focus for 2019 and probably won't be for 2020 either. I'll readjust my goals accordingly.
  • ⛔ Travel completely free somewhere in the US with wife and 2 kids using miles/points
    • This summer we did a trip up to Voyageur National Park with friends and rented a cabin
    • This goal will be for Summer 2020 and 2021, as we are gearing up for a huge trip in 2021, more info later!
    • We did earn 80,000 travel rewards points though, which will go towards those trips
  • ⛔ Participate in Ludum Dare during the spring

DIY

  • Install luxury vinyl plank in my office
  • Replace baseboard/trim in my son's bedroom Paint son's bedroom trim.

Unplanned Accomplishments

I like including this because it goes to show you can't predict everything for the year!

  • 🏆 Wrote freelance technical articles for RavenDB
  • 🏆 Started a new blog with Cassie
  • 🏆 Wrote a small app for tracking my savings rate
  • 🏆 Reached a savings rate of 40%, more than double last year's. I still can't believe we were able to accomplish that, it's huge!
  • 🏆 Started a new role at work and was promoted
  • 🏆 Learned a ton about Storybook and how to use it on large projects

Reflection

Wow, I had a great 2019! There are quite a few partial or incomplete goals up there but all the important things were hit: new course, lots of writing, shoring up personal finances, in addition to some unplanned accomplishments like our new craft blog.

Let's Go 2020

I feel like each year this list gets smaller and smaller -- which is good, I think. I would like to stay focused on what's important and will move the ball forward.

By the way I should just mention that I haven't truly shared the why behind these goals. I have a why but I am keeping that close to my chest. Just know I have 5-, 10-, 15-, and 20-year goals in mind when I write these and all these goals work towards those larger ones. You have to have the why nailed down to work towards, otherwise your goals exist in isolation.

Content

I want to continue doing paid and free content creation in 2020. I feel like one course is a good goal to balance everything else but two would be great.

  • 👨‍🏫 Publish 1 Pluralsight course, Stretch: 2 courses

I have a couple paid opportunities to write and so I'd like to do at least two more. Tangential to that, I am tired of the friction of static site + Git + Markdown and would like to leverage Ghost since I've been really happy with it for the LGTU blog.

  • ✍ Write 2 articles on React, TypeScript, RavenDB, or Azure
  • ✍ Write 4 freelance articles
  • 👻 Migrate to Ghost for this blog

I enjoy speaking but I don't intend for it to take over my life. Doing one or two large conferences a year is enough for me! I would still love to get a chance to speak outside Minnesota, so I've applied to KCDC, NEJS, and React NYC.

  • 🎤 Speak at NDC MN and one other regional conference, Stretch: Speak outside MN.

Financial

Now that I finished two major migrations for KTOMG, I want to work on getting my first paying user. To do that will require some more infrastructure work but I feel confident I can make it happen in 2020! I'm also feeling the friction of a heavy web front-end stack so I'd like to simplify it a bit.

Right now LGTU doesn't cost us much, about $15 per month. I'd like to earn at least that much in affiliate revenue for 2020.

I modified the financial goals from last year to take a different perspective. Rather than measuring side income in terms of W-2 income, I'm comparing it against our annual expenses which is much more under our control. In 2019, it covered 8% of our expenses which is awesome. We also maintained a respectable 40% savings rate (see also The Gap) and I want to maintain that momentum going into 2020. It will actually be tougher since we have to buy a new (used) vehicle.

  • 💰 Passive and 1099 income should cover 10% of our annual expenses
  • 💵 Maintain a 40% annual savings rate

I activated my GitHub sponsor profile. If you want to support me directly, that's a way to do it. I am not sure what to expect from this but I'll be pleasantly surprised if I get at least one sponsor in 2020.

  • 🙏 Have one sponsor on GitHub

DIY

I still feel like I'm in the "learning" phase of DIY but I am starting to get comfortable knowing what I want to do around the house. I have one specific project in mind I'm very motivated to do and it would teach me everything about framing and drywall in a small, controlled space. I'd like to build a closet around the sump pump in our basement family room (which is otherwise just exposed in plain sight 😑).

  • 🛠 Finish the last egress window cover
  • 🛠 Finish one basement-related project
  • 🛠 Stretch: Finish an upstairs home project

Looking forward

I am pretty excited about what 2020 holds and how it will get me closer to my overall goals in life and family. Each year seems to be even better than the last and I hope the trend continues. I'm sure some of these goals won't be achieved in total but even making progress against them is a huge win.

What are your goals for 2020? Do you have any specific things you want to get done?

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About Kamran

I'm a technologist, speaker, and Pluralsight author and I specialize in building full-stack solutions with a focus on modern web technology and cloud native architecture.

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