Happy belated new year! Hope you had a wonderful holiday season, wherever you were. Grant and I celebrated my milestone birthday on the Salar de Uyuni in southwest Bolivia. At over 10,000 sq km, it’s the largest salt flat on the planet. It’s unique color, flatness and size make it ideal for taking photos that play with perspective. A couple of days in advance, we managed to find a hardware store in San Pedro de Atacama and explained to the owner in broken Spanish what props we were looking for. He rummaged through piles of dust-covered cardboard boxes and uncovered a set of metal house numbers. He even helped us find and bend hardware that screwed into the back of the numbers to stand them up. The results aren’t half bad!
How does it feel to be forty? Pretty fantastic. It’s been fascinating to look back on all the important personal events that have happened in the last ten years.
- 2019: I left the world of venture design for network science
- 2018: My team at Anthemis co-founded altbank and zevie, both of which have since launched products
- 2017: I met Grant and moved in with him, just in time to celebrate all 3 of our parents’ 70th birthdays
- 2016: I completed year one of The Reliants Project, which introduced me to the discipline of network science
- 2015: After I attended my first Anthemis Hacking Finance Retreat (and securing HK permanent residence status), I relocated from Hong Kong to London
- 2014: My first ultramarathon and vipassana meditation were both in 2014, along with my first pop-up dinner
- 2013: My first time at Burning Man, which is also when we started selling SolSource in the US
- 2012: The year we loaded the first 150 SolSource on a flatbed truck bound for Xining, China and I committed to learning Mandarin
- 2011: My strong appreciation for western China began with trips to Qinghai and Yunnan, funded by my highly-rated Airbnb listing :p
- 2010: This is when Cory and I split up, but it’s also the year that Intuitive Automata won the WSJ Asian Innovation Awards
Regardless of where you are in relation to the 40-year-mark, I highly encourage you to think back over the last ten years and see how far you’ve come :]. Of course, it’s not all about looking backwards. This milestone made me reflect on what lessons and open questions I want to take forward. Top of mind are:
- What new habits will serve me for the long term (and why are some of my foundational ones, like meditation, so hard to maintain)?
- Where will this world of network science take me? How might I apply what I learn to address issues of social isolation and mobility?
- Where do we want to be living in 10 years? Would we actually like splitting our time across several cities? If so, which ones?
- How much and what sorts of adversity and challenges might I encounter? Does adversity help me grow faster or can I grow just as fast without it?
- How might Grant and I mark milestones and celebrate our relationship with people we care about?
Would love to hear what stood out for you at your last milestone birthday.