My 2017 New Year’s Resolutions

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It is that time of the year again when people start making promises to themselves. Promises about what they want to do, change, or accomplish.

In 2016, the major changes I made were:

  • Keeping to a strict morning regimen (gym at 5:30am, make breakfast, then start working at 7:00am sharp)
  • Significantly reducing my carb intake and transitioning to a mainly protein and salad diet (I was getting a little chubby!)
  • Switching from “toriaezu beer” to “toriaezu high ball” at nomikais. The beer was making me chubby. (For those that don’t know Japanese, “toriaezu” basically means “for now.” “I’ll have a beer for now”).

I plan to stick to the above changes this year, but there are a few additions I would like to make.

Read More Non-Tech News

The recent U.S. Presidential election caught most of us in the tech world by surprise. Despite some of the smartest minds on the planet congregating in technology, hardly anyone saw this coming (aside from Peter Thiel, of course). Although that is startling, it is also eye-opening. Populists movements, from Brexit to Duterte (Philippines), have been happening right under our noses. It was arrogant of us not to notice them. But we didn’t notice because most of us read from the same sources. Facebook and Twitter enable us to find personally relevant information from the people we’re interested in; however, they also put us into echo-chambers, making us oblivious to what is happening outside of our immediate circles.

While I believe that we can solve many of the world’s problems through technology, we will fail overall if we do not deeply understand the problems outside of our own bubbles. My first step for this new year’s resolution was subscribing in The Economist. I have always enjoyed their articles when they’ve popped up on social media, but have never officially subscribed. This won’t be a silver bullet by any means, but my hope is that it will at least provide new perspectives on what is happening not just in the technology world, but the entire world.

Step Up Online Security Measures

I believe that we are at the dawn of a global cybersecurity war. We have always had threats, but there are a confluence of factors that will exacerbate them. First of all, whether or not Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and potentially influenced the outcome of the U.S. election, the idea that it was possible sets a nasty precedent for other attackers. There will undoubtedly be copycats on the way. Second, as we put more of our physical world online, we expose ourselves to unsettling risks. Internet of Things (IoT) will drive significant innovation over the next 20 years, and we plan to invest in entrepreneurs on that forefront. However, we need to be cautiously optimistic about the implications. Imagine a world where the truck in the 2016 Nice attack was driven by hackers remotely. That is a very real future that we face. At the very least, governments and large corporations will face more frequent and even more challenging cybersecurity threats than ever before.

I do not have the answers to these problems, but I will do what I can. As an investor, I am keen to support more entrepreneurs with creative solutions to these threats. On a personal level, this year I am adding two-factor authentication to more of my accounts and adding more complexity to my passwords. This step is probably minuscule in the grand scheme of things and certainly not foolproof, but again, I will do what I can.

Level Up My Japanese

The stage that I am at right now with Japanese is no longer about fluency, but eloquence. My Japanese is probably at about 95%, which means I can understand and communicate just about anything. But it is not just about what you say. It is also the way you say it. Word choice matters. This year I want to put more energy into adding more vocabulary into my verbal artillery, and understanding nuances between different words so I can use them more effectively.

This is going to be a hard one to measure, because there aren’t any proficiency tests at this point. What I can do is form a routine, like my morning workout. So my plan now is to block out some time in the mornings to work on this initiative.

So there you have it. These are my 3 New Year’s resolutions. Although my first two resolutions may signal otherwise, I am optimistic about 2017. I think we will see a boom in the tech IPO market, much more M&A, and more brilliant people starting companies in Japan. Let’s dive in 2017 -I’m ready!

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  • Alan Schmoll

    I’m with you on the 2016 resolutions, 2017 I am moving from physical to mental improvements. Becoming more regimented around meditation, and tied to that somewhat the removal of instant gratification driven distractions like FB on my cell (pro trip : also block the URL on your mobile browser to block out the workaround). All the best for 2017!

    • jamesriney

      Just seeing this now. I like that antifacebook hack. Happy new year!