That's a Wrap, 2022
An end-of-year round up for 2022.
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Only a few days left in 2023. Time certainly flies, doesn't it? To close out 2022, I wanted to share a few things that I've been thinking about, some goals for the next year, and a short Q&A with y'all. Let's get to it.
One Big Personal Shift in 2022
From August 2021 to August 2022, I just wanted to run. I didn't know what I was running to, or perhaps what I was running away from, but I wanted, no, needed, to run nonetheless. That's what 18 months of working in your bedroom can do to you. Thanks, Covid. So I quit my job, threw a bunch of clothes in a backpack, traversed 20 European countries in four months, and met some interesting folks along the way.
And 2022 started off in a similar fashion: I booked an impromptu flight to Argentina with my friend Mike, and I lived in the southern hemisphere for a couple of months. This trip was followed by a Europe encore that took me to Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, and the Netherlands, before I rented a Uhaul and moved to New York for business school.
But life is nothing if not a series of cycles, of mean reversions. For 12 months, my life was defined by a desire to move. To escape. To explore. In November of this year, my desire to explore began reverting to the mean.
I flew to Medellín, Colombia for eight days to hang out with some friends, and by day five, an unfamiliar sensation was forming in the back of my mind.
Did I... miss home? Was I looking forward to returning to New York? This soon?
For the first time since I embarked on this journey around the world, I was ready to go home. And that home was New York City.
I love New York.
I love seeing my classmates on the 1 line from Times Square to 130th Street every morning, as we have turned this subterranean train into our school bus. I love how I have friends from New York and Philly and India and Colombia and Nigeria and Argentina. I love going to Jake's Dilemma for Rugby Happy Hours every Wednesday. I love feeling the energy of the city in the streets of Hell's Kitchen and Chelsea and West Village. I love the hustle of the crowds. I love how nicely New Yorkers dress. I love hitting Sullivan Street Bakery every morning for coffee, and I love freezing to death while trying to save 5 minutes on my commute by Citibiking to the Times Square subway station.
A year ago, I was longing for a sense of adventure, and my longing dragged me thousands of miles from home. But now? New York provides that adventure in my backyard.
I'm not done traveling. I'm writing this sentence from a hotel in London at 2 AM, and I have plenty of travel planned for 2023. But it is nice living somewhere that really feels like home.
So if there was one big theme for my 2022, it was that I found my home in New York City.
Some Not-So-Personal Stuff from 2022
Of course, plenty of other things happened in 2022.
Russia invaded Ukraine. Tom Brady retired, then unretired, then got divorced. Tesla crashed 70%, and Elon's biggest fans turned against him. Crypto died. SPACs died. Growth stocks died. NFTs were sent to the shadow realm. AI technology seems to be eating the world. Twitter's CEO office became a hot potato. Sam Bankman-Fried stole $10B, and now he's chilling at his parents' house in California. Argentina lost to Saudi Arabia before winning the World Cup. Queen Elizabeth died, and Will Smith slapped Chris Rock (yes, that happened this year).
And that barely scratches the surface.
Pretty hectic year, innit?
Now I would like to make some predictions for 2023. There's a pretty good chance that none of them will come true and I'll be 0/9 this time next year, but that's part of what makes predictions so much fun.
So here they are.
- Tesla will fall below $40 per share
- Biden emerges as the front-runner for the next election
- The AI bubble burns out by Thanksgiving
- Meta stock outperforms the S&P 500
- A real "recession" doesn't hit
- Linkedin becomes oversaturated with mid content as people diversify away from Twitter
- Bitcoin goes sub-$10,000
- The number of people trying to "build audiences" online 10x's
- Musk plans to re-IPO Twitter after cutting costs
Some Goals for 2023 and Beyond
I'm a big fan of "calling your shot," so here are three of mine.
Goal: Get Conversationally Fluent in Spanish
I have always liked the *idea* of being bilingual. You know, flying to another country, switching tongues, and instantly communicating with the locals. But actually acquiring another language? It's a humbling process. Being able to picture an idea in your head, but not being able to articulate that idea because the one word that you need continues to evade your grasp? It's infuriating. But you know what's even more humbling? Having dozens of friends who can speak 2, 3, or 4 languages fluently, while you can only speak English.
So I've doubled down on Spanish. I'm listening to Spanish podcasts (on 80% speed, of course), chatting with someone from Bogotá several times per week, and reading Colombian financial news every day in an attempt to accelerate the learning curve. It's going well so far, maybe I'll start writing Young Money en español in 2024.
Goal: Reach 100,000 Young Money Subscribers
We're closing in on 28,000 readers now, which is wild considering I was under 2,000 readers at this point last year. But I don't want 28,000 readers. I want 100,000 readers. That has been the target since I went all-in on this blog. It may not happen in 2023, But I do want to make that dream a reality before I graduate from business school in May 2024.
Goal: Publish a Book (or 2, or 3)
This isn't a 2023 thing, but it is my North Star right now. Being a published author is one of the coolest accolades that one can have, and I want to join those ranks. But I don't just want to write a book, I want hundreds of thousands of people to read my book.
And that is a much taller task than simply writing a book. While you can never guarantee that 100,000 people will buy your book, you can improve your odds by having a large distribution list, and I believe the success of a hypothetical book will be tied to the success of this blog. So this goal is tied to the previous one. Keep writing, keep growing, and then sooner or later, see if we can't write a best seller.
Q&A with the Readers
How do you decide your niche if your interest is all over the place?
I can only speak from a writer's perspective, but I think niche is a byproduct of one's publishing volume. If you go back and read my early stuff, I jumped all over the place. Some pieces were typical personal finance debates, others were more philosophical. After 4-5 months, I figured out my rhythm and voice.
If you have a variety of interests, write about your interests. The ones that you keep coming back to will become your "niche" over time.
How has the newsletter business / ad money been affected by the economic downturn?
The simple answer is that companies, especially startups, are paying less per ad because cash is tighter now. An ad slot that might have gone for $2,000 a year ago is probably hitting $1,300 now (this is just a rough estimate). That being said, profitable companies are still allocating plenty of money to marketing.
Do people with unique talents or invaluable skills owe it to the world (or themselves) to find and develop their replacements to continue their contributions after they are gone?
Now this is an interesting question. No, I don't think people with unique talents owe it to anyone to find and develop their replacements. However, I do think that the greats in different disciplines, from sports to art to writing to cooking, can provide immense value by teaching the next generation the tools of their craft. Maybe this is through direct mentorship, or maybe it's through publishing a book or simply documenting their work.
Which company will hit a $1 trillion market cap in the next decade?
Amazon (it is "only" worth $850B now).
On a more serious note, I have no idea. If TikTok were to get banned and the metaverse bet actually pays off, Meta would easily eclipse $1 trillion. Will those things happen? I don't know. You can make arguments like this for pretty much any stock, really.
What's the vibe you want 2023 to embody (whether in markets, personal goals whatever)?
I want 2023 to be the most fun year of my life. If you aren't enjoying yourself, then what's the point?
That's a wrap for 2022, Happy New Year! I'll see you guys next week.
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