Last year, I took a look back at some of the things that I accomplished throughout 2018. It was a simple writing, but something which really provided some fantastic perspective.
Oftentimes, it can be all too easy to lose track of the little victories which we accumulate in pursuit of our broader goals. But for me, acknowledging these smaller steps has led to an ever-growing appreciation for the bigger picture.
And so with that, here are a few of the highlights from my 2019 year.
January & February
I kicked the year off by sharpening my meme-making skills. 😂
As with the last couple years, January brought me what’s become an annual picture with my friend Arlan Hamilton — the work she’s doing with her team at Backstage Capital is something I love supporting here in Atlanta. Her talk this year was no less compelling.
I was super excited to have my friend Emily Best here in Atlanta to discuss the work she’s doing at her company Seed&Spark, and the opportunities for the Atlanta film scene.
“Three sibs” picture with our brother before he went abroad to Germany for six months!
Two of my best friends in the world formally asked me to be their best man. I could not be more thrilled and am so excited to be there to support Luke and Danielle when they get married. It seems I’ll have to go rent a tux! 🤵
I had an awesome time recording my first podcast as a guest on Tyler Wagner’s show, “The Business Blast Podcast”. We talked about music, startups & tech, my time as a music journalist, and how learning to build relationships has been key to all of it. 🎙️
I did an interview with Omni Calculator for their #HuntedHunters series discussing music-tech, startups, and the importance of cultivating relationships.
Sometimes the most interesting opportunities come to you from the most serendipitous of sources. 🙃
April & May
I got retweeted by Dee Snider, the legendary lead singer of Twisted Sister! 😱
And getting retweeted by Atlanta Magazine was kinda cool too.
I was floored (and truly humbled!) to be name-dropped by Jessi Hempel during her interview with Recode. Formerly of BackChannel, Business Insider, Fortune, and Wired, and now the editor-at-large at LinkedIn, I’ve followed Jessi’s writing for a few years now, and it was some of the first material I gravitated towards upon my entrance into startups & tech. Sometimes in this business (as with everything in life, I suppose), you wonder if you’re making any sort of impact or impression. It’s moments like this that underscore the answer: yes. 😱
Go out and bring the very best value you can to people; all the rest takes care of itself.
Here’s the full transcript of the interview and here’s the podcast itself. I highly suggest listening to the whole thing (I’d also recommend listening around minute 23:01 😉).
I didn’t make it to the #PitchAtlanta event at the Atlanta Tech Village, but I did make it to the afterparty where I was introduced to the incomparable David Lightburn.
Here’s a snap of the great panel I hope to hear live next year!
The excitement continued as I became more politically active, meeting a number of rising stars. Some I took pictures with and some are people I’m quietly continuing to meet with. 🗳️
Get out there and get active!
Here I am with Georgia Senate candidate Jon Ossoff.
And here I am with Gwinett County Board of Ed Representative Everton Blair, Jr.
June & July
Went to a great 90s punk tribute show downtown with the bestie Abby (before her move to Ohio). This picture accurately captures our friendship. 🙌
I could not have been prouder of my parents — their win at the 11th Circuit (in a gender discrimination case) was cited at this year’s NELA Conference in New Orleans. Huge deal with far-reaching results. ⚖️
I met Kwam Amissah around the holiday time last year through Ruben Harris. It’s been awesome to see his growth in the tech world and exciting to hear about his current projects — here we are at Flatiron Atlanta!
(Picture taken by the incomparable Tammy Carson, whom I also met this year!) 📸
I always love it when Career Karma CEO Ruben Harris is in town and I’m able to come out to support him. He’s doing awesome things in tech and I’m super humbled to count him as a friend & ally. 🚀
I’m also continuously thrilled by the serendipity of tech — it was at this event, heading out to support Ruben, that I had the immense pleasure of meeting Charles Pridgen, a huge asset to the Atlanta tech scene. 👍
Then it was time for a break for a little while. Wheels up for a couple weeks in Europe traveling with my mom — one of my best friends in the world. ✈️
And here’s the post-flight exhaustion in the Frankfurt airport.
First stop (same day!) — historic Mainz, Germany. The medieval history nerd in me was all kinds of happy. 🇩🇪
Next day — first full day in Germany, we went to Heidelberg. 😎
We took in some amazing Jewish history in Worms. Here’s Mom going into a synagogue that is hundreds of years old.
Hopping over to France, we experienced Colmar, a town in Alsace known as “Little Venice.” 🇫🇷
We saw the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg in France. The medieval history nerd in me continued to geek out. 🏰
I saw a hedgehog at our Airbnb and my life was complete.
We stopped in Basel, Switzerland to see the synagogue. It was closed, but the architecture is amazing. 🇨🇭
Stopped by the Jewish Museum of Switzerland in Basel before leaving the city.
Next day brought Lauterbrunnen — it’s cold in the Alps even in the summer.
We climbed the Schilthorn (ok, it was a cable car, but it was still 9744 feet up!). 🚠
Jungfrau is known as the “Top of Europe” (11,333 feet). It also means snow in the summertime. 🗻
Driving back north to Germany, we decided on a couple side-stops…
Like Vaduz, Liechtenstein! I feel like Fulton County in Atlanta is bigger than this whole country. (But it’s an awesome country!). 🇱🇮
And dinner in Bregenz, Austria. 🇦🇹
This is my Mom, the badass master scuba-diver, Columbia-trained attorney licensed in three states, mature as can be…
I wasn’t leaving Germany this time without seeing Augsburg. The historian in me demanded it.
We went to see the synagogue here. Truly one of the most gorgeous synagogue interiors I’ve ever seen. They didn’t allow pictures in the sanctuary, but I will be going back sometime in my life.
Ulm, Germany was beautiful. We took time to see some of the most popular sights.
And some of the most nondescript — here is the Holocaust Memorial behind the newly rebuilt Ulm synagogue. ✡️
Before we did dinner in the town, we had to climb the Rothenburg city walls. Here’s Mom trying to distract me from taking a good picture because she thinks she’s funny. 😂
While Josh finished his final exams, we took in the beautiful town of Bamberg.
And here’s the camera capturing my face just after she tells me a ridiculous joke. 🤦♂️
Last day before our flight home with Josh in the morning. Some wine in Frankfurt to celebrate a wonderful trip.
Back from Europe, a week of rest, and then I so enjoyed finally having the chance to meet the phenomenal Lolita Taub in person. Gorgeous view of Baltimore in the background!
Then over to Washington, D.C. to visit Shaina for her birthday. She makes funny faces.
She also made me a special keychain — “one tiny fuck” as she called it.
We hit up the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. to take a peek at work from David Best (who’s most well-known for his ephemeral wooden Temples at Burning Man). 🔥
And yes, we are very mature…
I did an awesome interview with entrepreneur Rich Cardona which I’m excited to post in the new year! And had the immense pleasure of meeting Allen Gannett before heading back to Atlanta.
I published this piece on three things you should be doing on LinkedIn (or you’re missing out!).
And then dropped my second podcast recording as Mario Porecca’s guest on his fantastic show the “Ten Minute Mindset.” We talked about humor, humility, creating value, how to define a mission, and how to build relationships with people who might otherwise seem unreachable. 🎙️
Made it out to Atlanta Blockchain Week to hear about some of the great blockchain and crypto stuff happening in Atlanta tech. ⛓️
I met Jon Ossoff again at his official Senate campaign kickoff event.
And I met the legendary civil rights icon and hero Congressman John Lewis as well!
You know it’s gonna be a good month when it starts with old college friends coming to visit — thanks Esther!
October was an absolute marathon of Atlanta tech! I started the month off by landing access to the first-ever OTT Fest! The sheer number of talented film, tech, and media speakers over the multi-day event was incredible. 📽️
I finally met OTT Fest founder (and newly-minted Thea CEO!) Kate Atwood in person.
I won a Roku…from tweeting about the amazing panels… 😱🤣
Over the same day during lunch, I raced up to Google Atlanta in Midtown and was able to see my friend Antoine Woods speak at their Founders RoadMap event.
So I was able to add to my “Google guest” pass collection (I’ve now crossed off Atlanta, Seattle, and San Francisco ha).
I was super excited to serendipitously hear Stefanie Jewett speak too, and finally meet her in person as well. 😃
I was able to attend the TechStars Atlanta demo day and hear some awesome new companies pitch! 🚀
I kept up the pace by heading out to Atlanta’s Startup Battlefield.
I was excited to record my third podcast episode as a guest with Luke Williams on his show, the “Grab a Cloud” podcast. The episode drops early in 2020! 🎙️
And my fourth show as a guest, on Emily Velilla’s show, also releasing in the new year. 🎙️
Then I capped off October’s tech marathon by going down to my first Atlanta Startup Village event (thanks to Aly Merritt for the invite!).
Actually that’s a lie; October’s tech marathon was really capped off with an awesome care-package from my friends over at Shrug Capital (thanks Nick and Niv!). 📦
Could November begin any better than another amazing care-package from the incomparable Nikki DeMeré, who has become one of my closest friends and allies?
I don’t think so. 🤗
I was super excited to represent my alma mater Brandeis University at the college fair this year. Once a Bradeisian, always a Brandeisian. 😎
Back up to D.C. to spend Thanksgiving with Shaina. Can’t believe I’ve now known her for ten years. But she works for a tour company and told me some of the cool things about D.C. as we walked around. 🇺🇸
And I introduced her to her first Philz Coffee! ☕️
A day in Fredrick, Maryland with Shaina and Kate, two of my closest friends in the whole world. It was cold haha. And Kate’s son is adorable, even if he’s not interested in the picture. ❤️
Met up in D.C. with my other college friend Victoria — and I was rocking my Liechtenstein shirt.
And I started planning a short webinar with my friend Elaine Jacques — we’ll see about getting it out the door in the new year. 😉
With multiple birthdays and anniversaries, December is family time.
Met this wonderful girl a couple months back — here we are at Garden Lights at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Chelsea made funny faces in some pictures… 😂
And we saw Hanson! The 90s kid in me was happy. 🎸
December is also friends and siblings time.
Mom couldn’t resist taking one last funny picture of me for the year. ✡️
And of course I had to finish the year by posting my new list of “100 Independent Albums and EP’s” that people probably missed in 2019. Gotta keep the ties to the music world strong. 😉🎸
Reflecting on 2019
This was a marathon year for me. I feel as if the seeds that I sometimes serendipitously planted years ago in tech and music really began to yield amazing relationships and opportunities in 2019. And I don’t see it stopping anytime soon. I can see myself continuing to write about music, tech, relationships, mental health, business, and diversity, and so much of my inspiration is drawn from dialogues I had this year.
No plan ever survives the battlefield, and 2019 was certainly no exception to that rule. But I’ve grown as a person and as an entrepreneur, and intend to keep that trajectory moving at full force as we move into the next decade.
Bring on 2020! 🚀
(And remember to look for the orange sunglasses. 😎 😉)