December 23rd, 2009

How did I do?

Back at the beginning of the year, I made a list of resolutions. Now that 2009 is drawing to a close, I suppose I should evaluate how I did.

For 2009, I resolved:

  • Not to learn anything: fail. At work, I learned a lot of technical stuff, and also learned about the green energy field and about working with utility companies. Thanks to the BSFC, I learned a bit about the process of getting a new organization off the ground. I learned some relationship lessons. And I learned a lot about Africa.
  • Not to launch any products: fail. We launched Google PowerMeter this year with several utility partners (Yello, JEA, first:utility, and SDG&E) and device partners (TED and AlertMe).
  • To become uglier and less happy: unfortunately, I made substantial progress on this one. This has been a tough year for me personally. I have been on an overall downward trajectory, and am ending this year much less excited about life than the last. As we put 2009 behind us, I hope I can turn the page and change this.
  • To remain in the U. S. for the whole year: a big fat fail. I saw Africa for the first time, and it strengthened my resolve to do something good for those in the greatest suffering and need.
  • Not to produce anything of noticeable benefit to others: fail. I contributed to the SMS for Life project, which is starting to show good results. In one of our pilot districts, stockouts were reduced by about 75%, which likely meant that lives were saved. I think it's reasonable to attribute some of this to the new information on stock levels that became available through our project. And I hope that the mapping piece I contributed made the project more effective, even though I have no direct evidence of that yet.
  • To give up the guitar: wellll... I haven't given it up, but I've played it much less this year, and have barely played at all in the last few months.
  • And absolutely not, under any circumstances, to build absurd contraptions: alas, I succeeded at this one.

What for 2010? I'm considering a few things. I guess the main thing I learned this year is what happens when I try to focus singlemindedly on saving-the-world goals to the exclusion of all else, including myself. It seems rational, but it's turned out to be pretty bad for me. I reached my limit and went beyond. I'm not sure exactly what to do next, but I'm thinking that I need more music in my life, and a commitment to enjoying life. Believe it or not, the latter is a very strange concept to me right now, and it's hard to accept.