This had been on my mind for the last week or so. A lot of things have happened this year, so here are some highlights of 2011 in roughly chronological order.
– Places travelled: LA, Austin, New York and San Francisco (twice), Cairns, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo.
Pumping Iron @ Venice Beach - lift not real
– Flew between Sydney and Melbourne at least 6 times. I know this route fairly well now =)
– Been part of the youth leadership team at Padstow Chinese Congregational Church for the first 5 months of the year. Its great to see them doing amazing things. Our youth group is growing up so fast now!
– Started going to a new church in Melbourne.
– Attended UFC 127 in Sydney, my second live UFC event.
– Organised the first SXSW Meetup in Sydney and Melbourne for people from the music, film and digital industry.
Getting my Bruce Lee on - Austin, Texas
– Attended the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas. I saw the Startup Bus finals at SXSW and the energy and enthusiasm that the best entrepreneurs and hackers from around the world bring, and I wanted to be a part of that.
– Drove from San Antonio to Washington DC to help a friend move house. My US first road trip was a lotta fun! It was my first time driving in the US and I drove a big Penske truck (like U-Haul) and we were pulling a trailer with a car. We drove for 2 days straight halfway across America.
Roadtrippin' across the US - I drove this Penske truck!
– Finished up at Next Digital. It’s where I got my foot in the door in the digital industry and I closed a chapter of my life. I’m grateful for the opportunity they gave me three and a half years ago.
– Worked for airbnb, a disruptive accommodation website. Organised their first party in Australia and 110 people turned up. Organised an event where airbnb gave free ice cream to hosts in 14 cities around the world!
– Entered Australia’s first Startup Weekend competition to meet and test myself against the best entrepreneurs from Melbourne. I ended up winning!
– Organised Product Camp Sydney and spoke on the topic of innovation. It was rated as the most popular talk before the conference (thank you friends for voting for me). You can read about it here and here.
– Lived in Melbourne for 6 months. From Burnley to Fitzroy and now Northcote.
Streetart near where I lived in Fitzroy
– Started a meetup for Melbourne startup founders and hackers called MCombinator.
MCombinator crew - Melbourne's up and coming startups
– Attended events in SF and Palo Alto – Startup BBQ, Zaarly pubcrawl, Startup Weekend SF pre party. It was awesome to meet hundreds of people in the startup scene from the US and the world.
– Cycled across the Golden Gate Bridge which was an amazing experience and hung out with two friends, Vanessa and Dom from Sydney in SF.
Aussies at Outside Lands, SF
– Played my first game of squash.
– Became a godfather to Liam, Ashby’s son and one of my best childhood friends.
– Started up my own company, Native Tongue which came out of winning Startup Weekend.
– Launched a product and exhibited at Techcrunch Disrupt Beijing a few months later. It was exciting to be exhibiting alongside entrepreneurs from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, China, Japan and Australia. We were featured on some of Asia’s biggest blogs like Technode and some local ones too. Best of all we have paying customers!
Representing Native Tongue at TechCrunch Disrupt Beijing
– Walked across the Great wall of China and got through the Great Firewall of China (hello VPN).
– Joined Melbourne’s newest co-working space, York Butter Factory and a fantastic community of local entrepreneurs.
– Took some salsa lessons and graduated from Salsa Level 1.5 (intermediate), despite missing two classes!
– Turned 30 =)
Phew, that’s been a big year!
I feel like I’ve done a lot this year. I’ve taken some risks and seized opportunities where they presented themselves. It seems like its paid off. Whatever I’ve done, I’ve given it 100%. My 2012 will be about focus and capitalising on the opportunities that I’ve created for myself.
I’m out like 2011,