20 Things About 2020
11 min read
Not really a fan of yearly reviews. I think there are easier ways to brag about your accomplishments than trying to mask them under an annual review. However, if you should ever review a year, this one would be it. So here are 20 things about 2020 from my perspective.
This first point probably surprises on one. For most, this year has brought massive changes to their lives. For me, though, it didn’t change anything. Maybe it’s because Finland handled the whole situation relatively well. Or perhaps it is just that life, in general, is a lot easier for a privileged white male, and even things like global pandemic can’t change that. It tells a little bit about my social circles’ size when I say that nobody I genuinely know caught the coronavirus this year. Maybe I’ve just been fortunate (knocks on wood)?
This was a challenging one for Nyxo. Last year ended on a positive note, taking part in TechCrunch Disrupt, getting a small business loan approved, and then the COVID. We lost some clients: all the work we were doing with airlines evaporated instantly, some clients stopped answering email entirely, and some asked to talk again in the autumn. We applied for Business Finland COVID funding but got almost nothing (later, I found out that companies doing half the revenue we had, had received over ten times as much funding). My co-founder had just flown to San Fransisco to explore that option but was forced to fly back after just two weeks. Eventually, we also had to lay off the people we had hired at the beginning of the year. That was hard.
It remains to be seen what happens next. We’ve managed to get some of the momentum back, but we are still far away from what we had a year ago. I’m going to write a separate post about Nyxo at a later time, and I certainly hope it’s not an obituary, but you never know with these bootstrapped startups (you either succeed or you die). If you one help, trying out the app, giving feedback, and leaving an app store review is something I would really appreciate.
- Your boy’s got bachelor’s now
Yeah, so I finally have something to show for my studies after this year, after managing to submit all the required papers for completing a Bachelor’s of Science in cognitive science. I know this will surprise some people because most have probably thought that I have a degree in something already. Thing is, I started studying cognitive science in 2013 and managed to complete almost both master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in two years, but I didn’t. I was so caught up in other things, such as building companies, that I didn’t even have time to submit my Bachelor’s thesis to be reviewed despite it being finished. This year I realized that my parents might never witness me graduate, so I decided to put some of my time into completing my studies (I’ve personally don’t see them as being that valuable anymore, I might write about why in the future). I still need to finish up on master’s thesis, but I hope to get that done in the spring now.
- Spending more time with my parents
This year I’ve focused more time on spending time with my parents, which is weird because a few years ago, my only reason for visiting them was to checkup on the apartments I own in city they live. Not because we were on bad terms or anything, I was just in the wrong place and felt going there as a burden. But this year I’ve spent more time with them. They’re getting older, and eventually, it will be too late to spend that time with them, so better do it now.
- Loneliest year?
Maybe it’s COVID, or maybe it’s because I don’t have many friends, I’ve felt very lonely this year. Depressingly so. It could also be an age-related thing; I’m turning 30 next year. Maybe it’s just how it works. Maybe it’s because I’m a miserable person to be around. Maybe it’s my bad personality and the fact I’m not good with people. Maybe It’s Maybelline.
- Six years of 60 hours a week
Since 2014 when I stopped studying full-time, I’ve worked an average of 60 hours a week. Sometimes this has meant studying and working full-time at the same time, sometimes it has been working two jobs simultaneously (once even three jobs for a short period), but mostly it’s been because I’ve worked a day job while building a company. This year is no different; however, I’m starting to see that this will no longer work (the cognitive strain seems to be too much). Next year I might dial down on the workload a little and spend more time being bored.
- A great year for falsely thinking you’re great at investing
This year has been tremendously great for my savings and investments. So great that I’ve started to consider selling all my stocks and even some apartments (I bought two more this year, bringing the total number of managed apartments to four). At the same time, I even noticed how people, in general, seem to be more interested in investing, which is a good thing but also makes me a bit skeptical if we’re approaching the top of the roller coaster and things will soon start looking a lot scarier.
Reading and writing more
Earlier this year, my goal was to speak at more software development conferences (I did my first ones in 2019 and liked the experience a lot), but COVID ruined that plan, so I decided to write some software articles. That has been a mild success, so I might do more of it in the future.
I also read more this year (about 100 books, 30 more than last year) and plan on spending more time in future reading. This year, I hit a bit of a slump with reading and had only read four books in June before I again found the interest to continue reading. Let’s see if I have something similar next year or if I’m finally able to get to my goal of reading ten books a month 😄
- Cyberpunk 2077 (and gaming in general)
I haven’t been gaming in a long time, but this year I decided to change that and bought the new Xbox Series X, and boy, did it change my evenings. I’ve been having almost as much fun playing as I 15 years ago. Cyberpunk 2077 is also great; I don’t care what others say. I’m going to post some of my thoughts about the game soon.
- VC fatigue
I’m not sure what the reason behind this is, but I’m getting tired of VCs and startups a little. It seems always to be the same people getting funded. It’s not as interesting as it used to be, and I don’t think anyone’s really “making the world a better place.” Nyxo was the first actual startup I founded, and it was a great exploration to why the Finnish VC scene is so male and white. This year we didn’t really speak with any investors; I guess they lost interest in us or we lost interest in them.
- Queen’s Gambit and chess
Found a new hobby this year: chess. All thanks to Queen’s Gambit (I’m guessing a lot of people can say the same). Before the show, I had never played in my life. Now I’m both playing and reading about strategy.
- Living those teenage dreams
When I was a teenager and had just gotten my driver’s license, I used to envy other people who were driving new cars (or even had their own vehicles). The only car I had access to was my father’s truck. But this year my dad and I decided to buy a new car together (for him, I don’t particularly appreciate driving)—an all-electric Volkswagen e-Golf. The teenage Perttu is very happy to finally have access to a car from this decade (my dad is also pleased, which is nice).
- Pretty fucking good at React Native
I’ve coded a lot this year. I’ve built new apps, large component libraries, refactored some of my old projects, and built some truly novel stuff as well (for example, a cross-platform renderer for mobile and web using React Native, as well as few App Clips by cramming React Native inside that tiny space). I applied for few jobs out of curiosity, and it turns out and pretty fucking good at what I do. For me, that kind of feedback is a big thing because three years ago, I still considered myself mainly a designer who does code, but now it’s the other way around.
- Eames lounge chair
This is going to sound shallow and materialistic, but one of the highlights of this year for me was buying an Eames lounge chair. It the most beautiful thing I’ve ever owned, and I’ve found myself spending more time at home to sit in it. I’ve desired this chair for five years now and finally decided to get it after all this time. I can die (happy) now.
- Losing all interest in moving to USA
A year ago, if someone had asked where I want to be in 2 years, I would have said, “living and working in the USA.” But this has changed my mind on this matter. Reading about all the stuff happening there, lousy handling of COVID, racism, white supremacy, the healthcare clusterfuck, republicans (even from an outsider’s perspective, Mitch McConnell seems like a pawn of satan) has chipped away all my interest. I don’t think Biden’s election will change this in the short term either, so it could be that one of my biggest dreams just died this year.
- Helping others
I’ve tried to spend more time helping others this year. I should probably do more in this area, but offering help doesn’t come easily to someone who is afraid myself to ask for help. So I’m saying now, if you need help with anything, no matter if it’s work related or not I want to help. Just ask, I will most likely say yes.
This year I noticed a very weird behavior which isn’t like me at all: I’ve put around 30 euros in to taking part in weekly lottery. For those who don’t know, one of my family members suffer’s from gambling addiction, and it’s also the reason I stay away from all forms of luck based games that have money. I’ve also studied a lot of statistics so I should have a pretty good understanding of the miniscule odss. Despite, this year there has been times I’ve though that winning a million euros from a lottery would certainly help. And what is so bad about a small lottery ticket? And even though one of my friends says that lottery is in essence about spending a few euros to dream, I don’t think I should continue doing it. I’d rather lose my money the old fashioned way: paying taxes.
- Year of inactive lifestyle
There’s one word well descripes the change from previous year: sedentary. I’ve been so inactive this year that it’s almost embarrassing. Although the situation is what it is, this isn’t the way to go forward. I’m not much for new year’s resolutions, but if I had to make one it would be to focus more on exercise and stuff. Maybe if I work less I can fit more exercise to my week?
- What happened to summer?
Not sure if I’m the only one who felt that there was no summer? I mean it was warm and shit, but some how it felt like the summer lasted for three weeks and then it was back to rain and darkness.
- Not the worst year, not the best year
Looking at everything going around the world, I must say I’m in an incredibly priviledged position. Yet, I feel like should have accomplished more this year.