As I was reflecting on 2011 the other day, I had the thought “I didn’t do very much this year”. I mean, this should have been a banner year for me, and at first glance, I just kind of floated through the year. As I was sure that couldn’t have been the case, I figured I needed to do a year in review type of post to feel better about life So this is my attempt to show that I’ve actually done something this year and I haven’t just been eating cereal and watching movies (though I do enjoy that combo)
I started the year “living” in Utah, I put this term in quotes because I live wherever I am, and was only in UT for about 2 months, so most would dispute my resident status, I was living there for a bit, so whatever I tried ice climbing for the first time ever with an old mission buddy Dan. It was awesome, you’ll never feel like more of a man than when you have snow in your beard and an axe in your hand that keeps you from death.
A week later I drove the car home, parked it back at Mom’s and flew me and a suitcase + laptop bag to New York City. I moved into a one bedroom apartment with my good friend Sam right by Washington Square right downtown New York (it’s where NYU is) and worked on Union Square (where Max Brenner chocolate is). Honestly, it was a dream come true for me, I had always wanted to live in NY, never had an excuse to get out there, and had always been a bit scared of the city for some reason. After living there, it is one of my favorite places now, you really do fall in love with the city.
I saw some great stuff though, a few highlights are being the only guy working on Union Square with a red beard and a flannel, being offered drugs at least once a day cause apparently I look like white trash, eating every ethnicity of food I can think of, cambodian sandwich shops, football in central park with Quentin and the Vayner Media boys, snow storms in the city and pushing cabs out of snow drifts while walking home at 3am, the New York public library, meeting up with Uncle Bruce at grand central station, riding to the top of the Rock with my buddy Geoff, jogging and playing basketball along the river, getting caught singing my heart out at 5am at work when i thought I was alone, shake shack, living a block from the Comedy Cellar (where Seinfeld got his start) and just being around that community. I seriously can’t say enough good about that city.
Work was cool too, I was out there with some great people (tisch, cohen, keith and quentin and then all the Techstars companies) we had a great time building a great tech community in NY while building great companies. They blew it out of the water, seriously.
Middle of my New York stint, I had Katya Musienko, who was one of the first people I taught (she and her mother) as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, get married. I got my old missionary companion who is in dental school in Boston drive down to NYC (bolt bus rather) and we hopped a midnight flight out to slc, rented the car, drove the 3 hours and surprised Katya for her wedding. It was great to see her and her mom, couldn’t be more proud of her.
It was a fun trip and great to be with old friends. I saw Schlegelmilch while I was up there and we had fun catching up as well. Old droogs warm the soul.
So the end of April I finished up my New York stay, we did our Techstars demo day, was seen on TV in the Techstars TV series on bloomberg (for better or worse) closed up shop, and I gave Sam his house back, rolled up the air mattress, and hit the road.
I had been working on a conversation management tool called Rumzi that was at this point morphing into a social media aggregator / api. I started putting more and more time into that until August when we realized we were building an API, which we weren’t particularly excited about building, so in August we shut it down and moved on. One of the more educational ventures I’ve forayed into. But I get ahead of myself.
I moved home in April where I have good family and the quilt shop, and Missouri, all of which I love. The quilt shop has been growing like crazy, we are up to 20+ employees there now, and are a major part of our community, which is fun to be involved with. I’m a part of the county business association, and the city business association, etc. It’s fun to work on.
I went to Minnesota to support the SIFE team I helped get started while I was at school out in HI, they are doing amazing stuff (like really amazing stuff) and it was an honor to still be a part of their success and watch them continue to raise the bar for what is possible while you’re in college.
I spent the 4th of July back home, and went down to the Lake with the family, first time I’d been down there in probably 10 years. We played cards and went swimming for a solid 4 days, it was magical. I’m serious, going down there with all the kids was like rediscovering everything I loved about Missouri as a kid, it was pure unadulterated joy.
About a week later my old friend Justin flew out to Missouri and we road tripped to Chicago for the Pitch Fork Music Fest which was fun, not completely my style of music, but it was fun to be a hippy for a weekend and just love sweet jams. Then we flew out to Myrtle Beach and played in a condo there. Fun fact about Myrtle Beach, it is the trailer park of beaches, cigarettes and coors light were the main stay at this hill country resort. It was fun though, met up with a good friend, Geoff, and had 3/4′s of the Magicians Alliance (cruise troupe from last Christmas) back together. We went exploring (read antiquing) through the coastal towns of North Carolina as we meandered back to Washington DC. We stopped at Kings Dominion for my 3 year fix of amusement parks and had a total blast.
We topped the trip off with my first domestic train ride ever and trained it up to Boston from DC. It was actually really cool. Train stations are all on the backsides of towns anymore, so it was thick woods and coast until I got into a town then you saw the dusty old school part of the town. Loved it. Saw old friends in Boston, walked the freedom trail again, ate some canoles and real italian food, then flew home. Not a bad blip in the radar of the summer.
End of August I packed the car and drove to Boulder for another Techstars demo day (ten more companies launched) then continued on to SLC. Got an apartment, settled in with friends, got office space for Justin and I to work out of, then headed to the slot canyons of southern Utah. 127 Hours type of stuff, but I got to hike some of America’s treasures.
Beautiful area, everyone should go see this place, not even kidding.
Continuing the saga, I moved out of the apartment and into my car, went to Copenhagen to work with Alex Farcet and Startup Bootcamp. I have never made it up to Scandinavia in my travels, so it was fun to go see the land of my heritage and work with startups that I love so much. Saw the original Christus, ate some amazing food, tried to order a “danish” and made some great friends. Oh, and watching Denmark vs Portugal soccer match at a bar downtown Copenhagen was also a surprise highlight of the trip. Good times all around.
Justin and I taught ourselves Ruby on Rails (a rapid prototyping programming language) and I’ve been working out in office space in Utah since then. Moved into a new place right in Sugar House (south side of SLC) and have been living the high life of a true blue rent payer. Had Quilt Market in Houston where me, Dave (missionary buddy / business partner), Mom and Sarah had a weekend only us old women could appreciate, needless to say it was a blast. I flew home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but besides that have spent the rest of my time indoors in Utah. Girl troubles continue, but all in all, nothing really to complain about. In fact, after writing it all out, I’ve had a great year. My criteria for a good year is did I learn new stuff, make new friends, and see new places (as a single man that’s all I have see) so by that criteria, things went pretty dang well this year. To all my friends and family that were a part of my experiences this year, I thank you, you are what makes life meaningful. To those who are still friends but we didn’t get to connect this year, I’ll try to do better next year. Thanks for all the fun, I hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and here’s to a great new year.