2022: A Year of Gumption
Lessons from four years in the Bay Area and the intentions I'm setting for the new year
I love the turn of the new calendar year. As arbitrary as it may be, it offers an opportunity to let go and reset intentions for the year ahead. 2021 marked my fourth year in the Bay Area and a year of agency and change. Looking back, I can characterize each year by a core intention:
2018 was a year of Yes — I moved across the country and embraced a new city (SF), new job (hello, venture), many new friends, and a host of new hobbies (hip hop dance, backpacking, skiing). It was at times overwhelming, but it exposed me to so many interesting, smart individuals and pushed me to expand my curiosities.
2019 was a year of No — I learned the hard way the consequences of overextending myself. I had to learn to say no, so I could focus more deeply on a select number of priorities, including investing and community building.
2020 was a year of Introspection — This was a tough year for many, and at times, I felt guilty for feeling sad or stifled when I knew so many others were suffering in worse ways. I threw myself into work and shared ways to make a difference even when so many things are broken. I cried. I leaned on my housemates who became chosen family, and in peers in communities like The Grand to find solace from the loneliness and uncertainty.
2021 was a year of Movement — I found myself revisiting my disposition of 2018: saying yes instead of no. I sought change. I became a content creator, started angel investing, contributed as a founding fellow to On Deck's First 50 program, and ultimately left a job and team I adored at Bloomberg Beta for an exciting new opportunity to build and invest at On Deck. In parallel, I went nomadic for 5 months across 12 cities, 6 countries, got bangs, settled into a new home in SF, pursued love.
As I set my intention for 2022, these are the highlights from 2021 that I'm commemorating to inspire the coming year.
• Create to connect
I got into blogging over a decade ago for two reasons: as a way to connect with others and because I strongly believe that if I'm spending time on a platform, it is more valuable to be an active participant versus passive consumer. In 2021, I started hosting audio-only conversations on Clubhouse — about building startups in "unsexy industries" to how to learn anything — and co-hosted #thisisnotadvice, a video series about the future of work with my teammate Roy Bahat. Video was a new, and frankly scary, medium to explore, but leaning in also led to unique opportunities like interviewing journalist Sarah Frier about her book about Instagram on IG Live. I also experimented with making TikToks and even co-hosted a Clubhouse chat where I got to meet one of my favorite TikTok creators Nick Cho. These outlets offered catharsis and inspired new opportunities to meet other creators.
• No need to "save" good things
As part of my 5-month nomad life, I traveled alone to Greece and Italy. After a brief stint in Spain, I intended to return to San Francisco, but I had wanted to visit Greece since I was a child reading mythology comics in bed. For a long time, I held the romantic notion that I needed to "save" this destination for a special occasion — a major birthday, an anniversary, perhaps a honeymoon. With helpful nudges from great friends, I booked a one-way flight to Athens, then Santorini, Naples, on my own, just for me. While solo travel isn't new to me, it felt special to claim a destination and create memories that reflected the privilege of being healthy and having the utmost freedom to pursue my desires and ambitions.
• I decide when is the "right" time
Leaving Bloomberg Beta was one of the hardest decisions I had to make in 2021. Over the course of four years, I fell in love with the craft of venture investing, had the fortune of working with colleagues whom I consider extended family, and supported founders for whom I continue to be an unyielding supporter. I had one of the best jobs I could ever imagine doing, but I always had an itch to build. So when Erik Torenberg and David Booth, the co-founders of On Deck, offered me the opportunity to become Partner and build an accelerator and help put 1,000 startups into business, I decided it was the right time to jump into something new. It was one of the most momentous decisions I made in 2021.
Looking ahead, 2022 will be a year of Gumption.
My 2021 highlights share some common traits around embracing experimentation, discomfort, and pushing to reinvent myself. Gumption, to me, combines courage and play. It's going to guide me to pursue projects with a spirit of "done, not perfect, ready for feedback."
January is already off to a roaring start — delivering on ODX1 founders' needs, prepping for demo day, hiring an investment team, scaling for ODX2 and beyond. In parallel, I'm looking forward to sharing more writing, making videos, curating themed dinner parties and offsites, diving into areas of renewed interest (web3, robotics, longevity, fertility, cities), and angel investing.
Subscribe and stick around to see how 2022 will unfold.