My (personal) year-end review
This issue is a more personal update. I’ll be sending out my “Lessons From 10 Years in Crypto” post tomorrow.
I’ve never written a personal year-end review, but I recently found Syed Balkhi’s year-end blog posts and loved his framework. Sharing mine (with a few small tweaks to the structure) in case it inspires others.
Spent January in Buenos Aires, working with my Forta colleagues
NBA weekend w/ my brother in February - sat courtside at a Nuggets game, and had so much fun that we decided to make it an annual tradition. My dad is joining this year!
Theresa and I lived and worked remotely in Europe for 5 months. I didn’t study abroad in college and honestly didn’t think I would get the opportunity again. Very grateful. We visited Malaga, London, Iceland, Dublin, Sofia, Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Vienna, Budapest, Paris and Bordeaux.
Our friend Ethan visited us in Iceland; our friend Helen visited us in Sofia, and my cousin Sean visited us in Budapest and spent a weekend in Vienna. Budapest was the highlight from a location standpoint. Paris was the highlight from a sentimental standpoint because my parents came over and we saw the last stage of the Tour de France (for the second time). It never gets old.
Theresa and I got married in September, and had wonderful celebrations in Cozumel, Kansas City and Eureka, CA.
Weekly couples counseling continues to be the silver bullet to success in our relationship. I’ve learned so many useful tools.
It was a full year of growth and learning at Forta, as you would expect for any startup, but I’m incredibly proud of how our team navigated everything. The threat monitoring vertical got a lot more crowded. So much talent (largely from Israel) came into the space and raised the bar. We had two energizing, productive offsites in Buenos Aires in January, and Mexico City in October.
We also successfully turned on network fees in August, and started selling data to amazing teams like TRM, Blowfish and OpenZeppelin. We also developed strong partnerships with Blocksec and Chainpatrol. Both teams are contributing their data to our products now. We doubled down on exploit detection in Q4 and launched the Attack Detector 2.0 in collaboration with Blocksec and Nethermind. At least a dozen DeFi protocols are using the Attack Detector now to monitor for threats. We also came to the realization that threat detection alone has a fairly low market value, and the real opportunity is threat prevention. This will be our focus in 2024.
I invested in two new companies, and one additional fund this year:
What’s Our Problem: a Self-Help Book for Society (by Tim Urban) - Probably the best and simplest description of today’s political and social dynamics.
Poor Charlie’s Alamanack - Charlie Munger had so much wisdom…about everything. I also realized in the last few days that he is my business idol. Started his career as a lawyer like me, but transitioned to business and investing because it was more interesting/lucrative. Extremely well-read across many disciplines and the consummate family man. He had 8 kids!
The Happiest Man on Earth - I cried more than once reading this book. It’s shocking what humans can do to each other. Eddie Jaku, a Holocaust survivor, has a lesson for all of us. Here’s his TEDx talk, but it’s no substitute for the book.
Richer, Wiser, Happier - Some of the most successful investors in the world depart priceless wisdom about investing and life.
Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet - A must read for anyone in crypto that wants to better understand how and why the Internet works the way it does.
All-In - my favorite 90 minutes of the week because it’s the only long form show with healthy, non-partisan debate on the most pressing business, tech and social topics.
My First Million - Shaan and Sam are entertaining, and I learn a lot about the non-Silicon Valley side of entrepreneurship.
Delphi Digital podcast - technical conversations about the bleeding edge of crypto. Great guests, great questions.
What gave me energy? (things to maximize in 2024)
Learning/reading, combined with letting my mind wander and ponder things (“unstructured thinking time”)
Understanding the other side of issues/arguments
Attending events and meeting new people, especially when it’s outside my domain (ex: Decentralized AI conference in Austin)
Long conversations with friends, both in person and over the phone
Traveling - seeing new things, experiencing new cultures
Creating experiences/memories for family and friends
Writing a few, long-form thank you letters to family members who have had a special impact on my life
Restarting 30,000 Feet (a way for me to comfortably express my thoughts about things, because I suck at Twitter)
“Learning Saturdays” - Since I don’t have kids yet, I’ve started carving our Saturdays for learning. I try to spend most of the day reading and listening to podcasts.
Drinking lots of water
Plenty of sleep
Product strategy conversations
Substantive user feedback calls - because this is how you learn and can make progress
Sales calls - because I learn about company’s pain points, what questions people have, and how my message resonates
Crafting/refining “the story”
What took away energy? (things to minimize in 2024)
Fear of flying
Dwelling on the worst case scenario
Comparing myself to others
Watching Youtube or looking at Redfin before I go to bed (I don’t have Instagram so this is my guilty pleasure)
Looking at crypto prices
Worrying about taxes
Goals for 2024
Take our honeymoon!
Help our foster dog “Meredith” and her puppies find their forever homes
Share more meals with friends
Get back to hosting monthly crypto dinners
Schedule more unstructured learning/thinking time
Minimize the amount of short form content I consume, and maximize the amount of books and podcasts
Surround myself with more people that are farther along than I am in the areas I want to grow.
Grow Forta into the leading on-chain threat prevention network in Web3
I have a lot to be thankful for. Have a great 2024 everyone!
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