Looking Ahead: A Roadmap for 2021
However, I also missed my chance to become a published author and product designer.
2020 came and went with enormous highs and dreadfully frustrating lows. What makes some of those lows even lower is that many of them were preventable and within my power to reach. But who am I to complain? I'm grateful to be safe, healthy, and relatively happy entering 2021. And, while I missed or lost many opportunities, no one can say I didn't capitalize on the opportunities I was able to pursue. More on that here.
So, 2020, thank you. At times, you sucked, but you weren't without your blessings. My heart goes out to all those affected by COVID-19.
With that said, given all that happened in 2020, I'm psyched to hit the ground running with 2021. There is so much coming down the pipeline. More product launches. More community-building. More operating. And so much more writing.
I'm ready to grind.
Here is some of what's in store for 2021 (honestly, mostly as a measure of accountability for me, if anything). Note that these are all personal goals/projects, and unrelated to/non-inclusive of my work with organizations like Dorm Room Fund, MZZ Ventures, and Astra Labs:
1. dormops: dormops went through several iterations in 2020. Initially, we were a product studio; then, we were a marketing agency; towards the end of 2020, we were effectively a consultancy. In 2021, we're taking everything we've learned from all those pivots and honing in on our core ecosystem. With 4 product launches in the works (and a new CEO on the way!), dormops is fully positioned to become the marketing education product ecosystem I envisioned at this time in 2019. I mean, just look at this mockup:
2. The Cereal Intern: I started writing The Cereal Intern in early-2020 to plug myself into the world of tech and to start building a stronger personal brand. While I did enough to tick both items off my checklist, I know I can do so much more with the newsletter and with the platform I've built for myself. Here's what's in store for TCI in 2021:
a. A newer cadence of 2x a week, instead of 3x a week, to improve my writing quality and enable greater focus on new TCI campaigns, such as...
b. Monthly Product Hunt Recaps on the last Friday of each month, where I'll publish special-edition issues covering the platform's top monthly products and the growth strategies they've used to build consumer awareness.
c. Monthly Industry Deep Dives on the last Tuesday of each month, where I'll publish data reports and interviews on choice high-growth markets. For January, we're looking at alternative meats!
Lots in store for the newsletter and I'm so stoked to learn. Know anybody who works in the alternative meats market? I'm open to interviews :)
3. Data Science: 2020 ended with one of the best career moves I've ever made — joining Correlation One's Data Science For All. Over the past eight weeks, I've learned a fantastic amount about Python and Git, and I can't wait to spend the first eight weeks of 2021 learning R and SQL. I want to ensure that I continue fleshing out my programming skills post-fellowship, so I've set the following goals for myself:
a. By my birthday in 2021 (August 19th), I want to complete 1 hackathon using the stack I'm familiar with (Python, R, SQL, and HTML/CSS, to some extent).
b. I also am committing to using my new coding skills to supplement/perform analysis for each Monthly Product Hunt Recap and Industry Deep Dive with The Cereal Intern. I don't want to fall into the trap of losing my technical skills because I work in primarily non-technical roles (at least, as of now). Coding for TCI will help me keep my keyboard frosty.
4. American Dreamers: In 2020, I had my chance to become a published author. Or, at the very least, to get about 75% of the way there. Somewhere along the way, due to a mixture of overcommitment, medical emergencies, and shortsightedness, I lost my opportunity.
Don't get me wrong, I know it was entirely in my power to do what I set out to do. There are no excuses here. That's why I'm putting it in writing and committing to my book, American Dreamers (name TBD). If you want to keep up with my journey, head over to my accountability page here.
5. Continued Self-Education: I'm happy that I ended 2020 more experienced with skills/tools like Python and Sketch than when I started 2020. However, I still personally feel that I have a long way to go until I can feel comfortable across more of the product lifecycle.
With that said, I've decided to do the following for 2021 to continue my learning journey in product and tech:
a. Finish DesignerUp's Product (UX/UI) Design Masterclass! I've been at DesignerUp since late 2019 and, while I've learned so much about design, I've never actually completed the company's masterclass! I'm excited to complete the course and finally build a portfolio with some real designs/case studies. (Deadline: 03/2021)
b. Self-teach HTML/CSS through 3 major projects: a clock app, a to-do list app, and a text editor. If I'm able to finish these projects by my deadline, then I'll add on some others! (Deadline: 03/2021)
c. Complete CXL's Technical Marketing MiniDegree in order to shore up on some key skillsets and bridge my non-technical experience with some more technical tools. I've been eyeing this program for some time and, with DS4A ending in mid-February, I'm eager to pursue this program in earnest. (Deadline: 05/2021)
d. Get certified as a Tableau Analyst! I've been eyeing a Tableau certification for a long while, as well, and I'm grateful that Tableau gives free licenses to students! I hope to complete this program after DS4A ends and before graduation. (Deadline: end of 05/2021)
6. At least 30 minutes of cardio. A day. Quarantine has really taken its toll on my body, cardio, and general health. This goal is really about fitness in general (I'm also committing to an hour of general exercise every day), but cardio is something I've tended to overlook in the past. Let's change that in 2021.
7. Early bird gets the worm. This year, I've been good about seizing the day early with my wake-up times ranging consistently between 8:30 and 9:30 (if you don't consider that early, just know that my 2019 wake-up times were between 10 and 10:30). My goal is to bring that time even earlier and to establish a wake-up time between 8 and 8:30 every day.
8. Meditate! God, meditation is soooo good. Even if you don't believe in its scientific benefits, only good can happen from sitting back and letting your mind run free. I plan on actively meditating every morning for 10-15 minutes.
9. Get a job. 'Nuff said.
Oh yeah. A packed 2021. I've set my sights on accomplishing all the goals I wasn't able to accomplish this year, and I feel uniquely prepared to tackle them all.
0 goals down, 9 to go.
2021, here we come.
Interested in an accountability partner? I'm looking! Send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can connect!